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New online platform aims to be a game-changer for accessible ICT

An accessibility resources platform that claims to be ‘the first of its kind in the world” has been launched.

DeveloperSpace aims to be a comprehensive portal for information on inclusive digital content and systems, for a wide-ranging audience. Although primarily aimed at developers, designers and anyone building digital systems or content, the site has been created to foster collaboration between different industries and disciplines, in the hope of creating and sharing what the site calls ‘accessible solutions’ to ICT accessibility problems.

To identify and address these problems effectively, computer-users with a range of impairments were involved at all stages of building DeveloperSpace.

Key features of the site include an ‘Accessibility Masterlist’ (which gives information on a range of ICT accessibility features, such as alternative computer settings and audio enhancement), ‘Quicksheets’ (summaries of topics such as social media accessibility and PDF readers) and tutorials on a range of topics, such as inclusive e-publishing and accessible web games.

Other features include a question and answer forum and a ‘Challenges’ section, where people can volunteer to solve accessibility tasks, sometimes for prize money or funding. One challenge is based around improving a ‘photosensitive seizure tool’ (which detects flashing web content that could cause seizures in some users) so that it can be released as open source, carrying a reward of $10,000.

DeveloperSpace was created as the main outcome of the European Commission-funded Prosperity4All project and is part of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII), both of which aim to drive forward inclusive technology development and access to these technologies.

Gregg Vanderheiden – Prosperity4All’s Technical Coordinator and Director and Professor of the Trace R&D Center at the University of Maryland – told e-Access Bulletin that as well as providing key resources, another aim of DeveloperSpace is to collate knowledge and ideas from across the board. He said: “A goal is to bring together input from consumers and all members of a development team – specialists, testers, teachers, researchers and more – to provide individual guides about particular aspects of the site that may be helpful to them.”

Speaking about what makes the platform the ‘first of its kind in the world,’ Vanderheiden said: “The DeveloperSpace differs from other sites in that it looks at the problem comprehensively, providing tools for all types of information and communication technologies – including anything with a digital interface.”

DeveloperSpace has already been used to help build and improve a number of accessibility projects, some of which are highlighted on the site. These include printing services for visually impaired students and a programme to create accessible video for refugees in the Netherlands.

Find out more at the DeveloperSpace website.


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