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Procurement is key for accessible ICT in the workplace, claims new guide

A detailed online resource to help employers purchase effective accessible technology through their procurement processes has been released.

The guide, called ‘Buy IT!’, has been produced by the US-based Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT).

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How to buy a hamburger without losing your self-esteem: bluetooth beacon technology in Toronto

By Mel Poluck.

When the CNIB (formerly the Canadian National Institute for the Blind) opened its community hub last summer in Yonge St., Toronto, it set its ambitions high.

“We moved in, sat down and thought ‘how can we make this neighbourhood the most accessible in Canada?’” says CNIB’s Kat Clarke, Specialist Lead (Toronto), Advocacy and Government Relations (Ontario).

“The closest intersection to us wasn’t accessible, so we advocated to the [local council] to make it more accessible, which they’ve done,” says Clarke.

Now, a CNIB pilot aims to take local accessibility a step further using simple technology. ‘ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled’, allows blind and visually impaired people to find their way around the interiors of shops, cafés and other businesses in the neighbourhood via an app on their phone.

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Gaming industry takes One Special Day out to raise £100,000

The video games industry is being asked to raise £100,000 in a single day later this month, to boost and support the number of gamers with disabilities.

Organised by gaming charity SpecialEffect, the One Special Day fundraising project takes place on September 29. The organisers are asking developers and other companies from across the video games industry to donate revenue from games sales and in-app purchases on the day.

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Google Maps calls on millions of users to boost access info

The Google Maps team has requested its extensive user community help improve its accessibility listings.

As reported in previous issues of e-Access Bulletin, Google has taken various steps to increase its accessibility offerings in maps during previous months (see e-Access Bulletin December 2016: http://eab.li/7v ). Now, however, the Google Maps team have explicitly asked that its ‘Local Guides’ – a community of millions of users who voluntarily collect data – proactively add in wheelchair-accessible location information to maps.

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Global committee comes to the UK in new inclusive tech event

The UK chapter of an international accessibility organisation will formally launch at a new conference in London in November.

The TechShare Pro conference will host the introduction of the UK branch of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), alongside a programme of talks, workshops and activities on digital inclusivity.

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Opening up the arts: interview with Matthew Cock, VocalEyes chief executive

Matthew Cock is the chief executive of VocalEyes, a charity that works to make the arts more inclusive for people with disabilities, primarily through audio description services at theatres around the UK. He helped lead VocalEyes’ work on State of Museum Access, a report that delved deep if and how 1,700 UK museums publicised their access information online.

Matthew is also one of the organisers of the Jodi Awards. This annual event celebrates positive use of technology to widen access to information and resources in museums, libraries and other cultural organisations for people with disabilities. E-Access Bulletin caught up with Matthew to find out more.

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New app helps to combat poor customer service faced by people with disabilities

A new app-based system has been launched that aims to “shake up” the customer service industry across shops, banks and other venues.

The Welcome app lets people with disabilities tell shops and venues of their arrival, so that staff can provide tailored assistance suited to their condition.

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Housing help tips, podcasts and lifelines for people with sight loss, collected online

A new online housing guide for people with sight loss has been launched, collecting together existing resources, advice and podcasts to help people in a range of situations.

The free guide has been created by sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust, as a comprehensive portal for visually impaired people who are looking for a new home or experiencing housing issues.

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Talking ATMs launched at all branches of major UK bank

Santander has announced talking ATMs for blind and visually impaired customers across all of its UK branches.

Many banks offer talking ATMs at some branches, but Santander’s move makes it the first bank to offer the service at every one of its UK outlets – around 1,400. In May, HSBC launched 1,500 talking cash machines around its UK branch network.

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Interview with Penny Melville-Brown OBE: Baking Blind – an online and global adventure

Cooking is yet another daily task that many people take for granted. Having sight loss can make cooking incredibly difficult, but Penny Melville-Brown OBE – disability rights advocate and Director of Disability Dynamics – wanted to show the world otherwise.

Baking Blind is her YouTube channel and online project, featuring videos of Penny – who is blind – preparing all manner of dishes, from curries to quails’ eggs to Turkish delight.

Earlier this year, Penny entered the Holman Prize, a competition run by San Francisco’s LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired organisation to fund big ideas and innovative projects pitched by people who are blind. Penny’s ambition was to take her online cookery project around the world, cooking across the globe and filming it as she went.

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