As new technologies emerge, what happens to old standards? That’s an issue that Greg Kraus of North Carolina State University attempts to address when he writes about “Screen Readers at a Crossroads.”
At Google’s recent developer conference, they demonstrated their solution to implementing Web accessibility within the Chrome browser. ChromeVox Screen Reader and ChromeVox API provide a different approach than standard screen readers. Kraus gives details on the benefits of the Google solution as well as potential problems when multiple standards and tools compete on browsers.
Read more from Kraus.
For blind and low-vision users, Google products have proven challenging to use. However, new updates to Chrome, Google Apps and Android are improving the accessibility of those products, and Google has committed to continuing those efforts.
Google’s accessibility team presented their updates at the 28th annual CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego, California and showed off their accessibility resources.
Accessibility Resources include:
Google also has a new initiative to work with the Assistive Technology in Higher Education Network (ATHEN) to prioritize accessibility improvements to Google Apps.
It is good news to hear that Google is taking accessibility of its products seriously. These ongoing improvements will only benefit people with disabilities needing to access educational resources.
Great Lakes ADA Center is hosting a free webinar on the accessibility of WordPress, May 23, 1 – 2:30 p.m. with speaker Joseph Dolson, accessible web development consultant and contributor to the WordPress accessibility task force. Free registration for the webinar is available online.
Although WordPress has been developed with great attention to HTML semantics and best practices, there are still holes to fill if you want best practice web accessibility for your website. Learn about what you can do to improve WordPress on the front-end, in the admin, and what you need to know about themes and plug-ins to keep your site accessible.
This free webinar is a part of the ADA Audio Conference Series. The ADA Audio Conference Series is a collaborative project of the ADA National Network. The ADA National Networks are grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the auspices of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).
Higher-Ed IT leaders and technology staff contributed to a 15 minute video presented to the recent Educause technology conference to stress the importance of using technology to make college campuses more accessible.
The video, ”IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say” was produced jointly by the University of Washington’s AccessComputing project and DO-IT Center. A key message in the video was the importance of making technology accessible from the start of a project rather than retrofitting it later.
The University of Washington’s DO-IT Center promotes the success of individuals with disabilities in post secondary education and careers, using technology as an empowering tool. DO-IT stands for Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology. They produce a variety of resources (including videos) for students with disabilities, K-12 educators, postsecondary faculty and administrators, librarians, employers, parents, and mentors.
The Justice Department announced the release of its report “Section 508 Report to the President and Congress: Accessibility of Federal Electronic and Information Technology.” The report, authorized under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794d), provides findings based on a survey of federal agencies on the accessibility of their electronic and information technology and the procedures used to implement the requirements of Section 508.
Section 508 requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities, unless certain exceptions apply. Sections 508 accessibility guidelines was the precursor to the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility (IITAA) guidelines. UIC is required by law to provide accessibility under the IITAA accessibility guidelines. Many Federal accessibility guidelines and actions end up being accepted outside of the Federal government. This 508 report was published to establish a baseline of compliance to the Section 508 guidelines.
On September 17, 2012, U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) confirmed in an email that a complaint by University of Montana Students concerning inaccessible educational technologies is under investigation.
The Alliance for Disability and Students at the University of Montana (ADSUM) outlined these specific allegations:
- Inaccessible class assignments and materials on the learning management system, Moodle.
- Inaccessible live chat and discussion board functions in the learning management system, Moodle.
- Inaccessible documents that are scanned images on webpages and websites.
- Inaccessible videos, and videos in Flash format, that are not captioned.
- Inaccessible library database materials.
- Inaccessible course registration through a website, Cyber Bear.
- Inaccessible classroom clickers.
“These barriers to educational technology should not be tolerated by students on campus,” writes ADSUM director Courtney Damron in part of the letter announcing the investigation to the University of Montana campus; she continues, “Inclusionary and exclusionary practices speak volumes for the reputation of our institution. Students with disabilities have a civil right to post-secondary education at federally funded universities.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has jurisdiction and follows up on allegations by students at public Universities regarding inaccessible online materials.
Want inspiration and practical knowledge you need to make your Web presence truly universal?
Join us on September 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Third Annual Online Accessibility Summit at the UIC Daley Library, Meeting Room 1470. Free for everyone, this event brings together some of the Web’s most notable experts in an all-new, one-day only online conference. Individually this event would cost $179 but join us at the UIC Daley Library and participate with your peers for free. Stop in for one or more sessions or stay all day if you like. You can bring your own food and beverages.
The event includes speakers from Deque, Adobe, and WebAIM, and is sponsored on campus by the UIC University Library, UIC Disability Resource Center and the UIC Web Accessibility Committee.
The Topics include:
Accessibility & Plain Language
ARIA Gone Wild
The Gamification of Accessibility
Hands-On Accessibility Testing
Accessibility Implementation Strategies
40 Years of Mobile Dev Experience
The complete agenda is available online .
Live Captioning is provided by WGBH.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Accessibility Summit September 25, 2012!
Could you go mouseless for an hour? Use a screen reader? Try the mobile device/OS Accessibility features? The first Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 9th, 2012, is where web developers across the globe try to raise awareness and know-how on making sites accessible. It is a community-driven effort with the goal to focus one day to raise the profile of digital (web, software, mobile app/device, touch screen kiosk, etc.) accessibility.
Get involved in one of the many public events or other activities via the Global Accessibility Day website or facebook page.
Christopher Dobson at Harper College’s Center for Innovative Instruction will lead a Blackboard Collaborate session “Webinars and Resources for Promoting Accessible Technology” targeted at college and university instructional designers, web developers, faculty and other staff working to support the use of technology in education on campus. Christopher will share information on webinars and other online resources available for those just getting started in their understanding of how to make eLearning and other online campus content and ICTs accessible to all students.
The session will run from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM US Central Time on May 9. Space is limited to thirty attendees and is first come first serve. Register to attend by e-mailing your name and your college or university affiliation to gaadvirtual at gmail.com (email@example.com). Please have Webinars and Resources for Promoting Accessible Technology in the subject line. They will be in touch with information on how to connect to the Blackboard Collaborate session prior to the event.
I hope you can be involved in this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day!
The keynote speaker for the 4th Annual Digital Accessibility Expo (DAE), April 20, is T.V. Raman, Computer Scientist for Google, speaking on “Delivering Universal Access to Cloud-Based Information.” Raman will discuss the Web as a universal platform for delivering content and applications where users access (view) this information via a variety of “lenses” ranging from desktop browsers to hand-held devices. As we move away from a one-size-fits-all world of desktop computing, this talk will examine the opportunities for universal access that this next generation of computing is beginning to enable.
Raman has more than 17 years of leadership experience in advanced technology development. He has authored three books and received over 50 patents; his work on auditory interfaces has been profiled in mainstream publications including the New York Times and Scientific American.
Registration and view the DAE schedule online. The Digital Accessibility Expo is sponsored by the UIC Office of the Chancellor, the UIC Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, the Great Lakes ADA Center, the UIC Office for Access and Equity and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). Sponsors include the AccessText Network, the Microcomputer Science Centre Inc., MSF&W and “SAM” – The Student Accommodation Manager from AMAC.
On September 27, 2011, UIC participated in the 2nd Annual Accessibility Summit presented by the Environments for Humans. Environments for Humans brought together some of the Web’s most notable experts in Accessibility for a one-day online conference on making online content accessible.
For those unable to participate, recordings are now available of topics including mobile device accessibility, HTML5 accessibility, captioning strategies and more. To get to the audio recordings scroll down the page (under “Watch the Recordings, too”) and click on one of the following links:
- Morning sessions: Berman, Smith, Foliot & Kiss
- Afternoon sessions: Sims, Swan, May & Featherstone
Adobe Connect will come up, login with firstname.lastname@example.org as the username and wagc as the password.
Send feedback about the presentations to help us prioritize this event for 2012.