Raising the Floor News

Windows Store Now Lets You Find Accessible Apps

Microsoft's 8.1 update to its Windows operating system adds a valuable search feature. App publishers can now tag their wares with accessibility features, and consumers can search for them by feature. This leaves the real impact up to app developers, since accessibility features aren't required, but it opens up a way to communicate that other app stores don't really have -- another step forward in creating a stronger market for accessibility.

Posted on December 21, 2013 at 10:04 am in Highlights

Business Analysis Firm Issues Report on Accessible Technology

Gartner, an international consulting firm with deep expertise in information and communication technologies, has issued an interesting report on accessibility entitled "Market Trends: New Technologies Benefit Employees and People With Disabilities” [link is to a press release; the report must be purchased]. Pointing to an already large and growing market segment that's looking for accessible products, the analysts recommend ICT companies adopt one of three strategies:

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 10:26 am in HighlightsEconomics

US Department of Education Expands Cloud Accessibility Program

The US Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) was an early supporter of the idea of using cloud computing to advance accessibility. NIDRR continues to fund this work through its Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center at the University of Wisconsin and elsewhere. Now it's established an additional center on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing.

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 4:36 am in Highlights

Book Design Explores Dyslexia

There's an interesting project on Kickstarter that uses typographic design to portray how text appears to people with dyslexia, like its designer himself, Sam Barclay. Barclay recommends the book (already almost triple its Kickstarter target with a November 28 deadline) for increasing awareness of what dyslexia is, and how it can affect the inclusion of citizens, business customers, and fellow students or employees.

Motorola Explores Open Hardware For Phones

Motorola has announced Project Ara, an exploration of open hardware for mobile devices. Through Ara, consumers will be able to construct personalized phones by combining the hardware modules they prefer into an 'endoskeleton'. In accessibility scenarios, a user could select a compatible braille output instead of a visual display module, or pick a large keypad to help with dexterity limitations.

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 8:20 am in Highlights

Web Literacy Standard -- Is Accessibility Covered?

Mozilla Webmaker has released a collaboratively-created Web Literacy Standard, outlining the skills a user should have in order to use the web effectively. Accessibility is explicitly mentioned in one item: "Improving the accessibility of a web page by modifying its color scheme and markup", which some may view as inaccurate or insufficient. Some of the items, such as "Recognizing the visual cues in everyday web services" are obviously problematic. Many of the skills require a lot of cognitive ability.

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 7:54 am in HighlightsPathways to successful use

Global Accessibility Policies: Progress, But Much Remains To Be Done

A report from the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and Disabled People’s International (DPI) indicates that countries are rapidly adding accessibility to their policy agendas: now half the countries of the world have such a policy, up from 31% only a year ago. However, many of these countries do not define accessibility in practical terms, fund accessibility services, or work to improve awareness and professional development.

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 5:12 am in Highlights

Who's Not Online? The Answer Won't Surprise You

The Pew Resarch Center has released a new report on who's not online and why. Many non-users cite a constellation of factors that include usability, accessibility, and digital skills. The number of people in this category, 32% of all non-users, is almost twice what it was 3 years ago. Also interesting is that only 17% of non-users think they could get started on their own, while 63% think they would need some help getting started.

Amazon Introduces Assistance on Demand

Amazon Kindle HD products now come with a free live support service called Mayday. Press the Mayday button and you will see and hear a tech support person within 15 seconds, who can help you with any problem you have with using the device or the content you're using.

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm in Highlights