Study: 78% of Web Users Aged 55+ Say Their Life has Improved by Being Online
New online research from Age UK shows that nearly four out of five (78%) older people who use the internet believe their lives have improved by being online, with nearly one in four (23%) saying they feel closer to friends and family as a result and 42% declaring that they now cannot imagine life without the internet. Carried out by YouGov on behalf of Age UK, the online poll also revealed just how the lives of web users aged 55+ have been transformed: 44% have made savings online, nearly one in three (32%) pursue hobbies and one in five (19%) feel like they are more independent as a result of being online.
From http://www.economicvoice.com/life-online-is-great-say-older-web-users/50035740#ixzz2OGojCEFC, March 22, 2013
WeCo Puts a Human Face on Testing for Website Accessibility
WeCo responds to the shift, from automatic checkers to people with disabilities, in the web accessibility marketplace by hiring additional Testers. WeCo uses user-experienced testers to ensure the website is accessible to the real-life end user.
From http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10488197.htm, March 19, 2013
Voice Activated Remote Gives a Woman the Ability to Control the TV Again
Using your voice to control the world around you is becoming more and more prevalent every day. Who hasn’t heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking to control the computer and then there is always Siri on Apple devices to send emails, setup reminders or check the weather. There are also assistive technology devices that allow you to control your TV, DVD, Radio, or even lights and fans, all with just your voice.
From http://ndipat.org/blog/voice-activated-remote-gives-a-woman-the-ability-to-control-the-tv-again/, March 19, 2013
USA: FCC Wants Text Crawls to Include Sound by 2015
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is circulating a proposed order among commissioners that would give broadcasters and cable operators two years to convert emergency text crawls into audio for the blind and sight-impaired. The order would not initially apply to Internet video delivery, which is being treated as a separate issue. Along with the order comes a Notice of Proposed Further Rulemaking that focuses on how the audio requirement should apply to IP-delivered services or to the migration of programming to mobile-oriented TV Everywhere platforms.
From http://broadcastengineering.com/psipeasipaws/fcc-wants-text-crawls-include-sound-2015, March 19, 2013
Making Technology Accessible for Students with Disabilities
Technology can be a wonderful resource for students with disabilities, but it also comes with its challenges. Some students use forms of technology called assistive or adaptive technology. Assistive technology is software or hardware that helps students with disabilities do something that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. For example, students who are blind or low vision may use assistive technology like screen reading or screen magnifying programs to allow them to access information presented on their computer. Screen readers and screen magnifiers allow students who are blind or low vision to do things like read documents, emails, and webpages. Unfortunately, use of assistive technology does not guarantee that the student will be able to access the information. Challenges arise when certain forms of technology are not created with accessibility in mind. For instance, when words are provided on an image, like on the banner at the top of this page, a screen reader cannot read the words from the image. The individual inserting the image must have accessibility in mind and provide alternative text so that an individual using a screen reader will have access to the information provided on the image.
From http://louisville.edu/disability/faculty-staff/making_technology_accessible.html, March 19, 2013
European Commission Seeks to Improve Access to Rail Travel for Persons with Disabilities
The European Commission is making accessibility an essential requirement for rail infrastructure when newly built, upgraded or renewed. Accessibility can be achieved by preventing or removing barriers and through other measures such as provision of assistance. The rules apply to infrastructure (e.g. obstacle-free routes, ticketing, information desks, toilets, visual and spoken information, platform width and height, and boarding aids) and to rail carriages (e.g. doors, toilets, wheelchair spaces, and information).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/03/18/european-commission-seeks-to-improve-access-to-rail-travel-for-persons-with-disabilities/, March 18, 2013
Making Workplaces more Accessible through Innovation
Each year high school students from around the country compete in the AbilityOne Design Challenge, an annual competition encouraging students to develop assistive technologies that empower people with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment. The top five finalists all go to Washington D.C. to present their prototype and the winners take $5,000 back to their school. NISH, a national nonprofit agency whose mission is to create employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities, sponsors the event. On February 15, 2013 this year’s winners were announced.
From http://www.forbes.com/sites/judyowen/2013/03/03/innovation-for-accessibility/, March 16, 2013
Universal Accessibility: A New Conversation About Web Accessibility
Hundreds of millions of people can't access all the benefits of the internet. Dyslexia, visual impairments and literacy issues impact around 15-20% of people. The result is that the internet is a challenging environment to navigate. Making the internet fully accessible - the most universal, advanced, democratic communication tool ever created - is an important issue. Barriers to entry shouldn't exist. The accessibility technology sector should be focusing on creating, and promoting, solutions for this market. That isn't always the case. The problem is that many accessibility companies seem intent on lobbying governments to lower those barriers, instead of developing better solutions to overcome them.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dominic-tarn/universal-accessibility-a_b_2667341.html, March 16, 2013
Video: GSMA Launches Mobile Policy Handbook
One role of the GSMA is to articulate the common views of its global members on public policy and regulatory issues. Sometimes these views take the form of a ‘consultation response’, whereby the GSMA responds to a government’s outreach to industry on a particular issue. Often, a commissioned report or white paper encapsulates an industry position, or lays out the argument for a specific policy approach. Now, for the first time, the GSMA has collected its global policy positions under one virtual cover — the Mobile Policy Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to the Issues. The handbook currently comprises 32 topics, ranging from spectrum harmonization to mobile phone theft and international mobile roaming.
From http://www.gsma.com/newsroom/video-gsma-launches-mobile-policy-handbook, March 15, 2013
International Federation of Red Cross Releases Trilogy Emergency Relief App
The International Telecommunication Union reports that there are nearly six billion mobile-cellular subscriptions worldwide in 2011 – and a notable 79 per cent penetration in the developing world. That means mobile-enabled early warning systems could continue to transform the way humanitarian organizations deliver aid, build long-term resilience in concert with affected communities. With that in mind, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has developed TERA (Trilogy Emergency Relief Application). Born out of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti through our partnership with Trilogy International Partners, this SMS-based, two-way communication system enables the Red Cross to send blasts of messages to defined segments of a population. Amy Greber, social media officer, says in this blog about TERA: "To date, we have sent 100 million messages to nearly 3.25 million people in Haiti with critical advice on cholera prevention, first aid and, most recently, Hurricane Sandy preparedness."
From http://forums.techsoup.org/cs/community/f/13/p/37195/126284.aspx#126284, March 15, 2013