Category Archives: environment

Meet the Blind Man Who Convinced Google Its Self-Driving Car Is Finally Ready

Steve Mahan’s solo ride showed it’s time to take the car to market.

Now 63 and having lost his sight, Mahan has become one of those capsule-bound explorers. In October 2015, he became the first member of the public to ride in Google’s self-driving pod-like prototype, alone and on public roads. No steering wheel, no pedals, no human on board to step in should something go wrong.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Meet the Blind Man Who Convinced Google Its Self-Driving Car Is Finally Ready

Accessibility advocates tweet their barriers | Toronto Star

Disability advocates are hoping social-media campaigns will publicly shame organizations into taking action on accessibility.

Tim Rose made headlines this month when he posted on Facebook about his harrowing back-and-forth with Air Canada, who refused to let him take a direct flight from Toronto to Cleveland because they said his wheelchair was too big to fit in the plane.

Rose started tweeting with the hashtag #wheelchairsarentluggage, in response to an Air Canada employee comparing his wheelchair to an oversized bag.

The hashtag has racked up hundreds of tags, including some by David Lepofsky, the chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Alliance.

Lepofsky started his own campaign a few months ago called #AODAfail. It asks Ontarians to point out narrow wheelchair ramps (or non-existent ones), uneven sidewalks and signs low in colour contrast — anything that creates obstacles for people with disabilities.

Lepofsky, who is blind, said he relies on traffic sounds to navigate the city as a pedestrian. He’s comfortable walking with a cane on the street, but wayfinding in some newer buildings is another story.

Navigating the wide, curved atrium at the Women’s College Hospital is like wading through the Atlantic Ocean, he said.

Before entering the atrium, there’s the matter of getting through the front doors. The hospital’s front entrance has poles on either side of the doors with sensors, so that when a guest waves a hand in front of the sensor, the door opens — dissimilar to most hospital doors, which open automatically.

The washrooms nearest the front entrance of the hospital have signs written in Braille, but Lepofsky points out the Braille only indicates room numbers — not whether the washrooms are meant for men, women or families.

“It’s hard to be that bad. It’s one thing not getting better, but it’s another thing making (accessibility) substantially worse,” Lepofsky said.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Accessibility advocates tweet their barriers | Toronto Star

The inaccessible web: how we got into this mess

Compared to other public spaces, the internet provides us with choices for how we consume and interact. We can use various devices, browsers and operating systems; we can change the size and colour of text; we can navigate with a mouse, keyboard, finger or mouthpiece; or we can use a screen reader to convert words to sounds.

Whatever your needs or preferences, there’s almost certainly a way to access the web.

Theoretically.In reality, the web is a mess.

These accessibility options tend to be forgotten or stripped away, even though accessible websites and apps can absolutely still be beautiful, innovative and user-friendly.

This is more than an inconvenience. This is a human rights issue. Disabled people need these options in order to access the web.

Here are my thoughts on how we got into this mess, and what we can do.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: The inaccessible web: how we got into this mess

Event Websites Need to Have Accessibility Info – Scrappy Deviation

I’ve done a few reviews of events now, and I intend to do more in the future. Some have focused specifically on accessibility issues, while others have included them along with other discussions of the events.

On both of the event reviews I have done on The Orbit I noted that the events DID have a harassment policy on those sites, which were easy to find. This is likely because social justice communities have demanded harassment policies for years and many well known people will not speak at events that do not have those polices highly visible on their websites.

Attendees need accessibility information.

Neither event had accessibility information on their websites. To be blunt, I want this to become as unacceptable as having no harassment policy.

So what should a small event include on their website?

The most important thing is to be honest. If someone is told the event they’re attending is wheelchair accessible, but they arrive and find steps leading to the entrance, they’re going to have a bad time. So be as honest as you reasonably can about barriers that may exist for people, while still working to remove any barriers you can.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Event Websites Need to Have Accessibility Info – Scrappy Deviation

Learning Is For Everyone: Instructional Design For Accessibility (Free Technical Article!) – eLearning Industry

Instructional Design For Accessibility: How To Ensure That Learning Is For Everyone Designing eLearning that is accessible for people with disabilities isn’t easy. The key is to find ways in which basic principles of good web design, along with the principles of Universal Design, can improve access to and the experience of eLearning for all learners, regardless of ability. In Learning Is For Everyone: Instructional Design For Accessibility free technical article, Obsidian Learning examines several importa

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Read full article at Source: Learning Is For Everyone: Instructional Design For Accessibility (Free Technical Article!) – eLearning Industry

Google’s Latest Accessibility Feature Is So Good, Everyone Will Use It | Co.Design | business + design

Google’s Latest Accessibility Feature Is So Good, Everyone Will Use It

Though it was developed for users with severe motor impairment, Voice Access could revolutionize how anyone uses their phone.

Announced this week at I/O 2016 as something that will ship with Android N, Voice Access is a way for people with severe motor impairment to control every aspect of their phones using their voices. But once you see it in action, the broader impact of Voice Access is immediately obvious.


Here’s how it works. When Voice Access is installed, you can enable it with Android’s “Okay Google” command by just saying: “Okay Google, turn on Voice Access.” Once it’s on, it’s always listening—and you don’t have to use the Okay Google command anymore. With Voice Access, all of the UI elements that are normally tap targets are overlaid by a series of numbers. You can tell Voice Access to “tap” these targets by saying the corresponding number aloud.

But these numbers are actually meant to serve as a backup method of control: You can also just tell Voice Assistant what you want to do. For example, you could ask it to “open camera,” and then tell it to “tap shutter.” Best of all? Any app should work with Voice Access, as long as it’s already following Google’s accessibility guidelines.

Technically, Voice Access builds upon two things that Google’s been laying the groundwork on for a while now. The first is natural language processing, which allows Google Assistant to understand your voice.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Google’s Latest Accessibility Feature Is So Good, Everyone Will Use It | Co.Design | business + design

Mobile Apps Like Uber and Airbnb Raise Novel ADA Title III Issues

Are online-only businesses like Uber and Airbnb covered by Title III of the ADA, and what would coverage mean when the businesses don’t own or operate the vehicles or accommodations that customers use?

Title III of the ADA only applies to owners, operators, lessors, and lessees of “place[s] of public accommodations.” Businesses such as Uber and Airbnb do not fit neatly fit into this definition because, as web-only businesses, they are not actual “places” of public accommodation.  Moreover, they don’t own, operate, or the goods or services – the vehicles or accommodations – used by the end customer.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Mobile Apps Like Uber and Airbnb Raise Novel ADA Title III Issues | ADA Title III News & Insights

Why accessibility is good for business (according to my mechanic) » Simply Accessible

I was lucky to find my mechanic, Pete. There was only one problem. A single, 6” step that stood between my wheelchair and his garage.

There was only one problem.

A single, 6” step that stood between my wheelchair and Pete’s office. Most people wouldn’t even notice, but it was enough of a hindrance that I couldn’t get into the garage.

Each time I needed to have work done on my car, I’d have to call ahead and make sure Pete or one of his employees could meet me in the yard to discuss the issues with my car, get the keys, or arrange payment.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Why accessibility is good for business (according to my mechanic) » Simply Accessible

National Gallery’s Tom Roberts’ Auslan captioning app helps hearing impaired art-lovers

Visiting an art gallery would seem a predominantly visual experience, but while most art-lovers can expand their knowledge with an audio tour, people who are deaf or hearing impaired usually miss out.

Thanks to new captioning and Auslan tours for the National Gallery’s Tom Roberts’ exhibition, art-lovers of all abilities can find out the secrets behind the masterpieces, all from the palm of their hand.The tours are available to download for free on the Open Access Tours app, alongside similar versions for some of Australia’s most popular arts and cultural venues.

Hearing impaired and deaf art-lovers can find out more information about the artworks in the NGA’s Tom Roberts’ show thanks to the Open Access Tours app. Photo: Graham TidyHearing impaired gallery regular Haydn Daw said the captioning takes the pressure off for visitors straining to hear audio commentary.

“If you can read it it’s so much more relaxing and you can get the story right,” he said.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: National Gallery’s Tom Roberts’ Auslan captioning app helps hearing impaired art-lovers