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Archive for the "Assistive Technology" Topic

Assistive Technology for Users with Mobility Disabilities: iOS Switch Control

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The iOS Switch Control accessibility feature is built-in to iOS and can be used with a variety of Bluetooth switches, Bluetooth keyboards, and the iOS device’s screen. This accessibility feature allows people with significant motor disabilities to operate their iOS device. The iOS Switch Control has two modes that the user can use: item scanning and point scanning. Item scanning scans through all the elements on the page. Sometimes elements are grouped together (for example: a drop-down menu), and by selecting the group of elements, the scan mode will drill down and start scanning the individual elements in that group…. Read More

Computer and Mobile Phone Access for People with Mobility Disabilities

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Users with mobility disabilities access computers and mobile phones in an array of ways. These users include people who use wheelchairs, people with limited manual dexterity, and those with limited reach and strength. It is important to note that the baby boomer generation is starting to show age-related disabilities, including but not limited to arthritis, which can make it quite difficult and painful for them to use technology. Today, I’ll offer an introduction to the ways these users access technology, and in future articles I will go into more depth on some of these technologies. To begin, we’ll focus on… Read More

ZIP, Z I P, or Z.I.P.? Forcing Correct Pronunciation in Screen Readers

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If you’ve ever used a GPS navigation system or app while on a road trip, you know that sometimes the software can’t parse an abbreviation or pronunciation that we take for granted. For example, St. Dunston Lane gets read as “Street Dunston Lane” or McLean is read as “McLEEN” instead of “McLANE.” These are not life or death issues in terms of vehicle navigation or accessibility, but they can be annoying. What do you do when a screen reader is mispronouncing a word that you consider important to your organization’s message?  In general, we do not recommend screen reader specific… Read More

How the W3C Text Alternative Computation Works

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The Text Alternative Computation Over the years, there has been a lot of confusion about the W3C Text Alternative Computation and how this works, especially when influenced by the addition of CSS and ARIA attributes. As a bit of forewarning, this article is not primarily meant for general web developers, though having an understanding of these concepts will aid their efforts in building accessible software. Instead, this article is meant to aid browser and assistive technology vendors, as well as those who test and evaluate web technologies for accessibility, in order to identify where the breakdown is between the W3C… Read More

The Latest Innovations in Inclusive Technologies

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I had the pleasure of attending my first M-Enabling Summit in Washington, DC earlier this week. The Summit aims to set a unique stage for identifying emerging opportunities, technological developments, and future innovations for accessible and assistive mobile applications and services. The Opening Session and Keynote at this year’s M-Enabling Summit focused on many fascinating technologies and new developing ways to interact with customers and product users. Technologies such as 3D printers, cloud-powered devices, driverless cars and facial, gesture and speech recognition offer new features, capabilities, one-off customizations and interactions that can assist user’s with disabilities. Peter Korn, Accessibility Architect with Amazon Lab126,… Read More

Infinite Scrolling – Impact on Accessibility Series: #1 Common Issues

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This blog is the first of three in the “Infinite Scrolling- Impact on Accessibility” series.   Before examining the common issues, it is important to know the definition of infinite scrolling and the Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 standards that may impact users. Definition and Standards Infinite scrolling is a design practice in which content on the page continually load as a user navigates down the page or screen- eradicating the need for pagination.  Authors must take the following Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 standards in consideration when applying such technique into their application. Section 508 1194.22(l)“When pages utilize scripting languages… Read More

Indicating Link Purpose with ARIA

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An Analysis on Different Screen Reader Behaviors Authors must avoid using the same text for links that retrieve different resources. Users without disabilities may be able to identify the links differently based on other page content; however, users with cognitive disabilities and users who are blind or visually impaired may have difficulty making the distinction when link text does not adequately describe each link’s purpose. For example, across a site, you have several links that direct users to view more information on a particular section, such as Read Review for a particular project. When there are multiple links of the same text,… Read More

Android 5 Lollipop – Switch Access has Arrived on Android!

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There are several accessibility features added with Lollipop – version 5 of the Android platform that is now available on many Android models including the Nexus 5. The new accessibility features include a high contrast option that improves contrast of text, a color inversion view, options for color correction to assist people who are color blind, and switch access.  The addition of switch access builds on the keyboard support provided with Android and is a big step forward. Historically Apple’s iOS had more accessibility features such as Assistive Touch and switch access (iOS 7+) — new additions with Android are… Read More

Considerations for Testing with Speech Recognition Software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking

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SSB recommends testing with multiple types of assistive technology (AT) whenever possible. The focus of AT testing is not to verify technical compliance but to understand whether the implementation is accessibility supported and whether the content is functional for people with disabilities. This functional testing optimally includes speech recognition, screen readers, screen magnification, and other accessibility features used by people with disabilities such as color and contrast software, switch control, and devices used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing etc.. Historically some people have focused testing efforts with screen readers only this does not accurately reflect the… Read More

Dragon 13 ARIA Support is Here!

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Dragon Naturally Speaking 13 (both premium and professional versions) was release recently and adds support for the Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) specification. Dragon is speech recognition software that allows a user to dictate text as well as control their computer through spoken commands. Dragon 13 tests for this post were performed using Internet Explorer 11 and Firefox 31 (with the Firefox Dragon extension) that is installed when Dragon 13 is run the first time with Firefox. aria-labelledby The aria-labelledby property allows authors to reference page content such as text as the accessible name for a control such as an… Read More

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