Emerging tech aims to improve life for handicapped

Emerging technology is giving new hope for the handicapped, and harnessing brainwaves for the physically disabled and helping the visually impaired with “artificial vision” are just the start.

Many systems showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are aimed at improving quality of life for people with disabilities.

BrainRobotics, a Massachusetts-based startup, showed its prosthesis that can be controlled by residual muscle strength of an amputee with better efficiency than similar devices, according to developers.

Over time the group wants to use technology from its sister company BrainCo to harness brain waves for improved function. BrainCo already markets a headband which helps identify patterns of brain waves to help improve focus and treat children with learning disabilities.

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Read full article at Source: Emerging tech aims to improve life for handicapped

Top tips for accessibility

Heidi Laidler, Media Access Australia’s User Experience Designer, gave a recent talk about how to test for accessibility at a ‘Hack 4 Good’ event attended by web professionals from around the country. Discover the top tips for accessibility from a user experience point of view, in this captivating podcast article.

Listen to Heidi’s complete address where she delves into the details of how to effectively test for accessibility and incorporate inclusive design principles into your web and digital communications.

Read the transcript of Heidi Laidler’s talk on top tips for accessibility

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Read full article at Source: Top tips for accessibility – Media Access Australia

Why we need to make web accessibility a priority

The world has never been more socially aware than it is today; in recent years the world and our society has taken important steps to becoming a more accepting and inclusive one. However, there is still aspects of day to day life that are living in the past and one of them is the Web. While this may seem disputable due to the fact that new technology puts the Web in the driving seat of development, it has limited accessibility which is making it outdated. The Web has benefitted a large majority but certainly not everyone – and not for a lack of trying.

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Why do we need it?

The guides successfully highlighted the need for websites to improve their design and function in order to become more accessible, preventing the exclusion of people with disabilities. Improving accessibility can be something as basic as decluttering your layout, which may seem simple but the process behind requires a lot of effort; deciding what gets priority and how to relay the same amount of information through a lot less. The result not only helps people with disabilities to navigate your site a lot better but also looks better, helping your business to appeal to a wider audience.

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Read full article at Source: Why we need to make web accessibility a priority – boxChilli Digital Marketing Hampshire

wA11y – The Web Accessibility Toolbox WordPress Plugin

Boost your WordPress accessibility! The Web Accessibility Toolbox contains tools to spot deficits in accessibility and suggestions on how to better it.

Recently released, the wA11y plugin consists of tools to check and correct your WordPress site’s accessibility. (The name is derived from a11y, the shorthand way of writing accessibility, with “w” representing Web.)

 

The plugin was developed by Rachel Carden, a software engineer at Disney Interactive and accessibility advocate.

I decided to give wA11y a spin to see what it could do.

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Read full article at Source: wA11y – The Web Accessibility Toolbox WordPress Plugin

A group of Google employees spent their ‘20% time’ making Google Maps wheelchair-friendly

 

Google Maps is now wheelchair-friendly.

The wildly popular map app will now tell you whether locations are suitable for people with access needs — and it’s thanks to a group of Googlers who worked on the feature in their “20% time.”

It’s a famous policy of the Californian search giant: Employees can spend 20% of their time working on other projects unrelated to their main jobs. Gmail, AdSense, and Google News all started as 20% projects.

These days, Google employees need to get permission from managers to get this time, and most don’t do it. Google HR boss Lazlo Bock says it has “waxed and waned” over time. But some still do — and Rio Akasaka is one of them.

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Read full article at Source: A group of Google employees spent their ‘20% time’ making Google Maps wheelchair-friendly | Business Insider

Writing HTML with accessibility in mind

Writing HTML with accessibility in mind

An introduction to web accessibility. Tips on how to improve your markup and provide users with more and betters ways to navigate and interact with your site. If you don’t want to read the preface, jump right to the tips.

Personal development and change in perspective When I made my first website my highest priority was to get content online. I didn’t care much about usability, accessibility, performance, UX or browser compatibility. Why would I? …

If you don’t want to read the preface, jump right to the tips.

Personal development and change in perspective

When I made my first website my highest priority was to get content online. I didn’t care much about usability, accessibility, performance, UX or browser compatibility. Why would I? I made a robust table based layout and I offered a 800×600 and a 1024×768 version of my site. On top of that, I informed users that the website was optimized for Internet Explorer 5.

This was of course before I started to work professionally as a web designer and my perspective in what was important changed.

Years later, instead of dictating the requirements for my websites, I started to optimize them for all major browsers.

Beginning with Ethan Marcotte’s game changing article I started caring about devices as well.

Making websites for all kinds or browsers and devices is great, but pretty much useless if the websites are too slow. So I learned everything about critical CSS, speed indices, font loading, CDNs and so on.

Getting started with accessibility (a11y)


But accessibility isn’t just yet another item on our to-do list to cross off before we launch our website. Accessibility is the foundation of what we do as web designers and web developers and it’s our obligation to treat it as such.

I spent the last few months reading, listening and talking about web accessibility. It took me some time to get my head around a few things and I’m still at the beginning, but the more I learn the more I’m surprised how much I can do right now without having to learn anything completely new.

In this series of articles, I want to share some of my newly acquired knowledge with you. You shouldn’t treat the tips I’m going to give you as a check list but as a starting point. Incorporating these techniques into your workflow will get you started with accessibility and hopefully motivate you to learn and care more about your users.


Without further ado, here are my accessibility tips:

Source: Writing HTML with accessibility in mind – Medium

New Guide for Affordable and Accessible Technology Now Available Online

A new guide from ACCAN and Media Access Australia was launched this year at the annual ACCAN conference. The Affordable Access project addresses two of the key pillars of digital inclusion – affordability and accessibility of technology.

The Affordable Access project is an online guide which provides information on low-cost technology with useful accessibility features. The online resource also highlights what technology may be suitable for specific scenarios. These scenarios were created in collaboration with people with disabilities to identify commonly used products for various needs. This peer advice is a great approach to the guides as people accessing them can be confident that others are also using the technology.

Affordability and accessibility are essential if all Australians are to participate in an increasingly digitally-dependant society. However, the recent Digital Inclusion Index noted that people with a disability are some of the most digital excluded people groups in Australia. Helping people find the right technology is also a large part of the challenge, especially in specific cases such as the ones listed on the Affordable Access website.

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Read full article at Source: New Guide for Affordable and Accessible Technology Now Available Online | Go Digi