Technology

Reimagining Accessibility in Canada

Reimagining Accessibility in Canada

“Accessibility isn’t just a moment in time for Microsoft,” says Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “One in seven Canadians has a disability. This is a sobering statistic, and according to the federal government we can only expect this number to grow given our aging population.”

New Technology Enables Inclusive Workplaces

New Technology Enables Inclusive Workplaces

“There is still a prevailing stereotype that equates disability with difficulty and cost. In fact, our research for the last ten years shows that, in 60 percent of cases, there is no additional cost to employing someone with a disability,” says the Executive Director of the Association of Higher Education and Disability, or AHEAD.

Harnessing Technology to Create an Inclusive Workplace

Harnessing Technology to Create an Inclusive Workplace

Technology, says this article on Real Business (https://realbusiness.co.uk) is the solution to creating a “transparent and equal global enterprise environment.” The opinion piece from a communications technology company argues Artificial Intelligence (AI), for example, can go beyond booking meeting rooms and turning on lights on command.

Embrace Technology for an Inclusive Future

Embrace Technology for an Inclusive Future

“The future is already here and businesses must embrace technology so that changes include rather than exclude.” Employers heard this message last April at an event hosted by Business Disability Forum (https://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk) in London, England.

Assistive Technology and Smartphones Promoting Accessibility

Assistive Technology and Smartphones Promoting Accessibility

“Companies are often held back by a perception that recruiting people with disabilities is too difficult and costly,” says Jill Miller, in a special report in the Financial Times. Jill Miller is the Diversity and inclusion adviser at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “However, a lot of the ‘reasonable adjustments’ are low-cost and relatively easy to implement.”

How Can Airlines Improve their Websites for Passengers with Disabilities?

How Can Airlines Improve their Websites for Passengers with Disabilities?

In 2015 North American travelers with disabilities spent $17.3 billion on travel, significantly more than $13.6 billion in 2002. At the same time, complaints about airlines made by passengers with disabilities have doubled to more than 30,000 per year. Amadeus, a travel industry technology company, released a report on barriers to accessibility across stages of the passenger journey that may hold some answers as to why.

Creating Accessible Technology for All to Easily Utilize

Creating Accessible Technology for All to Easily Utilize

In South Korea, consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung is looking at ways that technology, including artificial intelligence, can help people with disabilities. Samsung says its developers are “listening closely to the feedback of those with disabilities, and developing tests so they can directly experience the inconveniences themselves.” Samsung says it is developing a number of technologies with an eye to ensuring accessibility for anyone and everyone, that have the potential to dramatically help those with disabilities, the elderly, and many others.

Introducing the Accessibility Inspector for Firefox

Introducing the Accessibility Inspector for Firefox

On “Marco’s Accessibility Blog,” Mozilla blogger Marco Zehe gets into deep detail about Firefox’s new web site accessibility inspection tool. The Firefox Accessibility Inspector allows web developers to review how well a website works with assistive technologies.

Windows 10 Accessibility: What to Expect in the year ahead

Windows 10 Accessibility: What to Expect in the year ahead

If you use the accessibility tools and features within the Windows 10 Operating System, Microsoft’s recent blog is full of good news. The tech giant says it has been collaborating with assistive technology partners to bring more assistive technology to the Microsoft Store.

Skype Plans Accessibility Improvements

Skype Plans Accessibility Improvements

Skype has several improvements to its accessibility on the way, as part of Microsoft’s mission to “make technology more accessible and empower people to achieve more.” According to an article on Microsoft’s news site ON-MSFT, the Skype development team has been using user feedback and comments to address “accessibility issues.”

Video Games and Accessibility

Video Games and Accessibility

Video game developers are taking changes to accessibility rules into consideration. At the spring 2018 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, game developers from Owlchemy gave a presentation called “Accessibility in VR: How It Can Be Better.” The developers shared their own research on the subject gathered from a total of 82 virtual reality games. For each of those games, they attempted to play both sitting and standing, examined the availability of options and what they offered, gauged the reliance on audio, and recorded how much bending or reaching was required to play. 

Accessibility, Audio Texts, and the Persistence of Print

Accessibility, Audio Texts, and the Persistence of Print

On The Chronicle of Higher Education, Assistant Director of Educational Technology at Yale University Michelle Morgan asks education professionals to consider the historical bias toward printed text, and to look for opportunities to consider alternative methods of delivering course materials. This will be of benefit not just for the students who need it, but all students, because in doing so professors and teachers can flesh out the learning experience.

Apple Proposes a New Line of Accessibility Emoji

Apple Proposes a New Line of Accessibility Emoji

It’s time for “greater representation for diversity within the emoji universe,” says Apple. The tech giant recently proposed a new line of emoji to the Unicode Consortium. Unicode is one of the computing industry’s standards for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text. Working with organizations like American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf, Apple proposed a total of 13 new emoji, for a total of 45 when including variants for gender and skin tone. 

Accessibility in the Workplace: Considerations for IT Professionals

Accessibility in the Workplace: Considerations for IT Professionals

Many workplaces are ill-equipped to provide access for individuals with both physical and mental disabilities,” says this article from CIOReview.com, but now that technology is becoming central to almost every industry, it is easier than ever before for employers to ensure that the technologies they purchase have accessibility features that cater to all employees.

Federal Government Funding for Accessible Technology

Federal Government Funding for Accessible Technology

The Canadian government is looking to make digital technology truly accessible. The Accessible Technology Program is a co-funding initiative to encourage the development of new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies. Private sector firms, not-for-profits and research institutions can apply for funding.

Google Maps Can Now Create Accessible Transit Routes

Google Maps Can Now Create Accessible Transit Routes

Google has just added a wheelchair accessible routing option to select cities in Google Maps. Tailored to public transit, routes can now indicate the availability of wheelchair ramps and elevators along transit routes.

Digital Hub for Technology to Enhance Accessibility

Digital Hub for Technology to Enhance Accessibility

Digital technologies now touch all aspects of daily life, but not everyone is able to access these technologies. Now a digital hub for technology designers has been launched, to address the challenges of over one billion people facing disability, literacy, digital literacy or aging related barriers to using technology.