The Access Board has approved its revised rule for Section 508; final review by OMB will soon be followed by publishing the new regulations. The Information Technology Industry Council is updating its Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to reflect the new rule as well as regulatory actions in other countries. A group of non-Federal accessibility experts has been working at the same time to create a set of recommendations as to how a new VPAT might better serve public sector ICT customers. Let us know what you think, and spread the word.
We’ve got a great opportunity to improve our understanding of the ICT needs and preferences of people with disabilities: the US federal government is performing a study of computer and Internet use, and the time is right to widen the circle a bit. Read about it and add your name to the comments we’re submitting. #a11ycounts!
The US Department of Labor’s Office on Disability Employment Policy has launched a new online resource called the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT). The PEAT website gives employers, ICT providers, and employees/applicants with disabilities a way to move forward on making US workplaces more inclusive. Part of the package is TechCheck, a custom benchmarking tool for evaluating your accessible workplace technology program.
Inclusive Technologies has a new role in a new project at the National Institute on Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST, as technology guide for the federal government, is developing standards for cloud computing. Part of that work requires attention to accessibility. We’re helping them organize that effort, in part by developing a taxonomy that describes what accessibility is in terms of different technologies and audiences. We’ve got a public working group to discuss this and related issues–please add your voice to the dialogue.
Project Naptha can recognize the text found inside images and expose it for normal uses, such as copying and pasting, or routing to a screen reader. Pretty amazing. This could transform how scanned PDFs are handled for accessibility, and lower the agita over artsy text in general, often found in logos and content-rich images.
Naptha can also remove text from images, making the images easier to see or understand. Just speculating here, but if the technique can be applied to videos, one could turn open captioned videos into closed captioned ones by capturing the text (in each frame), erasing it, but saving the text into a synchronized text file.
Hat tip to Steve Faulkner at The Paciello Group.
Say you’re walking down the street, distractedly listening to the music on your mobile device, just about to step off the curb. Wouldn’t you want to be aware of any nearby sirens or alarms going off? One Llama has developed an app that does it — it interrupts whatever is playing, and plays an amplified version of whatever sounds of danger it hears in your vicinity, including breaking glass and screeching tires. Neat technology, and potentially useful to people with hearing or cognitive disabilities.