Tag Archives: tech

There’s Always Something to be Done: Liz Henry on Being Disabled in Tech

Liz Henry, with plastic framed glasses, purple blue hair, and a hoody, sits in the Longmore Institute. Her motorized wheelchair is to her left.

Liz is currently the release manager for Mozilla, and has worked in two eras of tech: the 1990s and the mid-2000s to the present. She learned her computer skills from tinkering with computers from a young age, and having the freedom to experiment. In addition to her work in open source software, Liz is a blogger, writer and translator, and is involved in hackerspace projects. Liz deals with mobility impairments, and chronic pain from those impairments, that have a significant effect on how she can work.

The structure of Liz’s work at Mozilla has many benefits for her because of her mobility impairments. Instead of working on a traditional hourly schedule, she has longer timeframes, like six weeks to work on a project. This means that even if she is not productive over a specific hour or even a day, she is very productive over the course of those six weeks. In addition to this, Liz often works remotely with a distributed team who are in many different time zones around the world. It is not important that everyone be working at the same time. It’s more important that communication is strong, persistent, and frequent.  If she has a flare-up and is unable to leave the house she still has the possibility of getting work done. She often thinks, as she is working from bed, that this job is perfect for people with mobility issues.

In addition, the fact that her physical condition can change at a moment’s notice means that she is very good at contingency planning. And since software release, as she describes it, can be  “a constant disaster,” this skill is very helpful in her workplace. In her opinion, anyone with a disability who has managed their own healthcare competently, with all the medical, insurance, and government bureaucracies, has many skills needed in software project management – tracking a complex process and coordinating work across several teams.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: There’s Always Something to be Done: Liz Henry on Being Disabled in Tech – Disability Remix Blog

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.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Emerging tech aims to improve life for handicapped

Australia’s first disability-focused tech accelerator launched | Media Access Australia

Australia’s first disability-focused impact accelerator, Remarkable, held its official launch event on 31 March at the University of Sydney. The Remarkable Accelerator program aims to work with inclusive start-up companies by using technology in innovative ways to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Remarkable, a division of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and powered by the Telstra Foundation and Department of Family and Community Services, began its first accelerator on 6 April with initial participants receiving a $20,000 grant towards masterclass training, access to an extensive mentor network and user testing support. Over the course of 16 weeks, participants are working towards creating and releasing their innovative technology solutions for people living with a disability.

Regarding the rapid advancement of technology and its importance for people with disabilities, Remarkable has stated:“Now is the perfect time to see innovation in the disability sector – the advent of NDIS, access to cheaper technologies and a burgeoning impact investment scene.

Source: Australia’s first disability-focused tech accelerator launched | Media Access Australia

The New Old: High-Tech and Design for Aging | Re/code

While Silicon Valley excels in creating technology that engages younger consumers and makes business practices more efficient, there is a growing opportunity for technologists to apply their skill sets to redefine how people age. Take, for example, the current trend of aging in place. Smart technology has started transforming homes, infiltrating everything from our thermostats to ovens to light bulbs. Studies show that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to age in place, and new smart home monitoring technologies can help them do that. From small “stickable” sensors that monitor medication intake to entire home systems that can identify a fall through motion detection and alert a caregiver for help, home monitoring products are enabling older adults to age safely and independently in the comfort of their homes.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: The New Old: High-Tech and Design for Aging | Re/code

How Our CSS Framework Helps Enforce Accessibility | eBay Tech Blog

An extremely well written detailed in-depth article.. nice to see.

A user interface control not only needs to look like a certain control, it must be described as that control too. Take for example a button, one of the simplest of controls. There are many ways you can create something that looks like a button, but unless you use the actual button tag (or button role – more on roles later), it will not be described as a button.

Why does it need to be described as a button? Users of AT (assistive technology), such as a screen reader, may not be able to see what the control looks like visually; therefore it is the job of the screen reader to describe it aurally. A screen reader, such as VoiceOver for Mac OSX and iOS, can do this job only if we, the developers, ensure the correct semantics are present in our HTML code.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: How Our CSS Framework Helps Enforce Accessibility | eBay Tech Blog

Styling Forms Accessibly | UX Booth

I was waiting at a bus stop when I realized that the person next to me was using sign language over FaceTime on her phone. I had never thought about how video calling benefitted communication for hearing-impaired people.

There is so much that accessibility enables. As a UX developer, I try to incorporate accessibility needs as much as I can when I build websites and web applications so I always enjoy seeing everyday considerations….

When sites are correctly designed and developed, all users have access to all of the information and functionality. In the world of the web, forms are one of the most important pieces for conversion, so striving for good user experience in forms is paramount.

Let’s take a look at how we can create better user experiences for users filling out our web forms through accessibility.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Styling Forms Accessibly | UX Booth

The Future of Assistive Tech Is Simple | Al Jazeera America

…the brightest future of assistive technology — a catchall term for any hardware or software used to “increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities,” according to the Assistive Technology Industry Association — will not be found in such marvelous manifestations. Rather, it will be in the application of everyday technology to enhance accessibility and fight stigma.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: The Future of Assistive Tech Is Simple | Al Jazeera America

People With Disabilities Still an Afterthought in Tech Design

Progress over the past 25 years has made computing more accessible to people with disabilities. But from design to finish, accessibility is still an afterthought in the race to technological innovation.

Despite breakthroughs in robotics, speech recognition, eye-motion sensors, virtual reality and many other areas, the general design approach to new products still excludes people with […]

“There’s this concept called Universal Design, which says that you should be designing a system to support a wide range of users, including people with disabilities,” said Steinfeld. “But you should do it in a way that has value and impact for the general population so that it becomes something that really has a positive impact on society as a whole rather than being a niche solution for a niche market.

Universities are producing “too many developers who don’t know about accessibility,” said Bigham, and need to focus more on that area of expertise because ultimately, accessibility isn’t only about technology.

“It’s also fundamentally about people,” he said. “Therefore, we need education programs that train people to be experts in both accessible technology and the people that use them.”

“It’s not in their mindset,” said Steinfeld.

(curated by Lifekludger)
Complete story at source: voanews