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Archive for July, 2009

Research – Accessibility: ‘Just The Right Thing To Do’

Article by Peter Abrahams.

In the past year or two it has been possible to detect heightened awareness of the need for accessibility of ICT products and services. This has partly been brought about by court cases such as that filed against in the US, where the National Federation of the Blind claimed that the company’s website was inaccessible and violated disability legislation ( ).

Other factors increasing awareness of accessibility issues include new standards such as the updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0; increased pressure from governments to make e-government services accessible to all; and the ongoing ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ( ).

Outdated ‘Legacy’ Systems Hindering Accessibility

A lack of accessibility in old ICT systems and lack of budget are the two main barriers preventing organisations from making their internal and external ICT systems more accessible for people with disabilities, according to the results of the new survey.

These factors were each cited by 40% of respondents as ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’ barriers to implementation of accessibility in a survey carried out by Bloor Research in conjunction with E-Access Bulletin’s publisher Headstar and Ability Magazine. The finding suggests that providing tools for improving the accessibility of these ‘legacy’ systems could be an interesting business opportunity, say the survey’s creators. Less than a quarter of respondents quoted lack of understanding of accessibility issues as a barrier to progress.

Deafblind Web Users Engage With Social Media

Social media users are being invited to think about the internet in terms of touch, taste and smell, to raise awareness of deafblindness and encourage deafblind people to use social networking sites, in a project from the deafblind charity Sense.

An online ‘Sensehub’ portal ( ) has been created for Sense on a pro bono basis by advertising and digital agency RMG Connect, allowing visitors to link to sense-based channels on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. On the Twitter channel, for example, visitors can view streams of Tweets which contain words like ‘touch’, ‘taste’ and ‘smell’, while the Facebook link takes visitors to a group which encourages people to tag their photos with sense-based words, rather than just people’s names.

RNIB Team Welcomes Off-The-Shelf iPhone Accessibility

An advanced screen-reader and other accessibility features on a new version of Apple’s iPhone represent an “extremely significant development” for a previously inaccessible technology, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

‘Off-the-shelf’ features built into the iPhone 3GS allow blind and visually impaired users to send and receive text messages and emails, browse the internet, play music and make and receive phone calls.