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‘Audiogame Jam’ will spawn accessible games for visually impaired players

A series of audio-based videogames that can be played without sight will be created during a ten-day ‘Audiogame Jam’ in October, to raise funds for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and spread awareness of the barriers faced by blind and visually impaired gamers.

Game developers from around the world will take part in the event by developing and building accessible games during the ten-day period – October 12-28 – and uploading them to the Audiogame Jam website before the deadline. After the event, all games submitted are available for anyone to play for free.

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One in five museums do not provide online access information, research uncovers

Museums are inadvertently contributing to a “disability engagement gap” by not publishing accessibility information on their websites needed by millions of potential visitors, a new report has found.

The State of Museum Access 2018 report found that people with disabilities are less likely to visit a museum if it does not provide this information on its website. Published by VocalEyes (a charity working to increase arts access for blind and visually impaired people), the report recorded whether access information was available on the websites of the 1718 accredited UK museums.

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Accessible learning resources can help close disability employment gap, report claims

Making digital resources in further and higher education more accessible – in order to comply with new regulations – can improve disabled students’ learning experience and help get more disabled people into work, according to a new report.

‘Accessible Virtual Learning Environments’ was published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology (APPGAT) and cross-party think-tank Policy Connect, and written by Robert McLaren, Head of Industry, Technology and Innovation at Policy Connect. It sets out a series of recommendations on how institutions can make their digital content more accessible for students, particularly those with a disability.

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Digital banking – not a one-size-fits-all solution

By Donna J. Jodhan.

Digital banking continues to be a hotly debated topic in Canada, but this subject doesn’t just affect Canadians, it affects all customers doing business with banks around the world.

On the one hand, we have banks claiming that digital banking is the way forward and that in the mid-to-long term it will benefit all customers, whether they are visually impaired or not. On the other hand, there are blind and visually impaired customers who feel strongly that they are being left out by digital banking.

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Lawsuit claims Apple’s website is inaccessible for visually impaired users

A lawsuit has been filed against electronics giant Apple in the United States, over claims that its website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is not fully accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

The action has been taken by Himelda Mendez, described as “visually-impaired and legally blind” in the complaint document. Mendez is filing the lawsuit on behalf of both herself and “others similarly situated”, according to the complaint text.

In the complaint, Mendez is described as a “proficient JAWS screen-reader user,” but has encountered “multiple access barriers” when visiting Apple.com that denied her the same level of access to the goods and services offered by the company as sighted users.

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Driverless cars and advanced tech highlighted in new Government transport plan

Autonomous vehicles, digital wayfinding systems and other technologies will play a key role in making transport more accessible for people with disabilities, according to plans in the UK Government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy.

Produced by the Department for Transport (DfT), the strategy sets out the Government’s goal to create an equal access transport system by 2030. Responses to a public consultation in 2017 on a draft ‘Accessibility Action Plan’ were used to help develop the strategy.

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Disabled music fans asked to get vocal about access barriers at live shows

A charity is asking people with disabilities to contribute to new online research about accessibility issues at live music events and nightclubs, and by acting as ‘mystery shoppers’ at gigs and events.

The research is being conducted by the Attitude is Everything charity, which works to make live events more accessible for people with disabilities. The charity is asking anyone with a visual or hearing impairment to complete a survey on ‘sensory impairment and live music’ on its website.

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Going global: The Global Disability Innovation Hub

In July, a bold new partnership to improve global access to assistive technology was announced at the UK Government’s first Global Disability Summit. The ‘ATscale’ project features various strands being worked on by different partners, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Department for International Development (DFID), UNICEF and GDI (Global Disability Innovation) Hub.

For some, this will be the first they’ve heard of GDI Hub, although the organisation has been active in a wide range of global, disability-focused projects since launching in 2016.

Here, we take a closer look at the Hub and its work – including the ambitious assistive technology (AT) project announced at the Disability Summit –  through a chat with its Research Development Manager, Paul Steynor.

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Government stands by accessibility directive exemptions amid sector criticism

The UK Government has published its response to consultation feedback on its plans to implement European accessibility legislation. At the end of April, the government launched the public consultation on the EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector websites and mobile applications, detailing how it planned to introduce and handle the directive.

The consultation gathered 44 responses from individuals and organisations, including the British Computer Society’s Digital Accessibility Specialist Group, disability charity Scope and RNIB.

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On-screen TV guides to become more accessible for people with sight loss

Electronic programme guides used to navigate TV channel menus are set to become easier to use for people with a visual impairment or hearing loss, thanks to a series of new requirements for UK broadcasters.

Organisations using these electronic programme guides (EPGs) must now take the following four steps: provide a text-to-speech function within EPGs; highlight or list separately programmes with audio description or signing; provide a magnification or enlarging function, and; make sure that viewers can switch between default and high-contrast displays.

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