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Archive for August, 2010

E-Access ’10 Conference Report: Digital Lifeline

By Dan Jellinek.

For people with motor disabilities, who may have problems leaving the house, communicating or with social confidence, online social networks can be a true liberator, delegates heard at this year’s E-Access ’10 conference hosted by Headstar and E-Access Bulletin with One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition (http://www.headstar-events.com/eaccess10).

A discussion group on the accessibility of social networks to users with motor disabilities was hosted by Makayla Lewis of the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, City University London, and herself a carer for her parents and a voluntary worker for people with cerebral palsy.
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Japanese Cloud ‘To Improve E-Government Accessibility’

A ‘web accessibility cloud centre’ to help Japanese government departments improve online services to elderly and disabled people is being built by a consortium led by IBM Japan:
http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/32265.wss
Short Link: http://bit.ly/bEpADT

Working with IT solutions firm the KOA Corporation and the Tottori Prefecture Information-Center (TIC: a third sector Japanese company that supports government IT projects), the cloud centre will feature a collaborative system that allows citizens to browse government websites; report any accessibility issues they encounter; and suggest improvements. For example, users with visual impairments will be able to easily record difficulties in understanding text or images.

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Voluntary Compliance To Web Access Standards ‘Inadequate’

Voluntary application of technical standards on accessibility of web sites to people with disabilities has proved “inadequate”, suggesting more formal regulation is needed, the US government has said.

In a document issued as part of a public consultation process on four new proposed regulations to extend the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to improve technology access for disabled people, the US Department of Justice said: “Voluntary standards have generally proved to be sufficient where obvious business incentives align with discretionary governing standards as, for example, with respect to privacy and security standards designed to increase consumer confidence in e-commerce. There has not, however, been equal success in the area of accessibility.”

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Apple Devices ‘Revolutionary’ For Built-In Accessibility

Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices are “revolutionary” and “game-changing” in offering built-in accessibility functions for people with disabilities, delegates heard at this year’s E-Access ’10 conference in London.

Kiran Kaja of the RNIB Digital Accessibility Team told a mobile phone workshop that while accessibility applications are available for other smartphones – such as the ‘Eyes Free Shell’ for Google’s  Android phone – the iPhone 3GS is a “game-changer” because its accessibility features are built in across all its functions.
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