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Archive for September, 2009

Doing IT Differently: The Road To Achievement

By Katherine Ledger.

A practical guide to help people overcome barriers to using IT and live an independent life, inexpensively, has been published by the Royal Association for Disability Rights (RADAR), the UK’s leading pan-disability organisation. ‘Doing IT Differently: Enabling everyone to use computer and information technology’ is sponsored by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), AbilityNet, Microlink and the Information Technologists Company.

Part of a series of self-help publications called Doing Life Differently, the booklet is for everybody at all levels of experience and ages who has problems accessing IT, so it is totally inclusive. It guides the reader through a host of jargon on how to choose and use personal computers, desktops, laptops, mobile phones, smartphones and TVs.

Australian Web Accessibility Reviews Open To All

An online forum allowing anyone to become involved in accessibility reviews of major government and corporate websites has been launched in Australia.

No technical or specialist knowledge is needed to participate in the Australian Web Access Review (AWARe: ),
which asks volunteers to evaluate the accessibility of prominent Australian websites by answering 13 questions, based around WCAG 2.0 (the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

BBC Opens Up iPlayer To Audio Description

The BBC’s hugely popular iPlayer software will now carry approximately 25 hours per week of the broadcaster’s audio described TV programmes, giving visually impaired users access to a range of well-known shows including ‘Dr Who’, ‘Little Britain’ and some children’s programmes.

Audio descriptions assist vision-impaired people by using gaps between dialogue to describe what is happening in a programme. Until now none of the BBC’s audio described output has been available on the iPlayer but there are now plans to make all such programmes available on the system over the next few months, storing them in a new category on the iPlayer site ( ).

Google reCAPTCHA Purchase Boosts Accessibility Potential

The purchase by Google of reCAPTCHA, the most widely used ‘CAPTCHA’ system on the internet, could lead to significant improvements in the system’s accessibility, a leading analyst has told E-Access Bulletin.

‘CAPTCHAs’ are tests used to block ‘robots’ or automated tools from accessing websites by posing a task that only humans can complete. These tests are usually visual, such as interpreting and keying in distorted letters and numbers, but audio CAPTCHAs – where letters are read out for the user to input – are crucial for visually impaired users. The reCAPTCHA system includes audio tasks.