Raising the Floor News

GPII Design Team to Meet

November 9 will mark the first meeting of a new GPII team working on the design of cloud-based user needs and preferences tools. This recently-funded U.S. Department of Education project will develop methods to enable people with disabilities, and others facing barriers to access, to discover and store the user interface and digital content configurations that work best for them. These can then be used in conjunction with the broader GPII services to deliver custom materials and interfaces to users, whenever and wherever they need them.

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 3:58 am in Highlights

Australian Study Points to Accessibility Role for Public Procurement

We've known for a long time that public sector purchases can encourage more accessible ICT. The public dollar is large enough to encourage vendors to make their products more accessible, and this leverages the entire ICT market. Now a new study, "Accessible Communications:

Posted on October 14, 2012 at 10:23 am in Highlights

New App Describes Photos

Frank Said What? is a new iOS app that provides witty text descriptions of photos you submit, automatically. It's free, and links to your Facebook or Twitter account. Quality and relevance may be limited for accessibility purposes, but it's another step in the general direction of object-to-text visual intelligence that will benefit many people with disabilities.

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 6:21 am in Highlights

AT&T Provides Accessible App to Control Video Services

AT&T has released a new app for iPhones or iPads called Easy Remote that lets you control their U-verse TV settop boxes. The software in the app supplements the accessibility features on iOS devices so you can customize the look of the screen, control everything by voice, hear all menu commands and options via natural-sounding synthesized speech, and use either gesture controls or one-touch actions for input.

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm in Highlights

US Government Funds New GPII Research Project

The US Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) has awarded a contract to the GPII team for "Profile Creation Support for Cloud-based Accessibility". This project, which begins immediately, will develop methods to enable people with disabilities, and others facing barriers to access, to discover and request user interface and digital content configurations that work best for them.

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm in Highlights

Qatar Opens Emergency Call Center to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Callers

Qatar's National Command Center just added incoming text and video calls to its emergency call center service. Now deaf and hard of hearing callers can reach help via voice, SMS, email, and videophone. The service, a partnership between the Ministry of the Interior and QTel, is the first of its kind in the region.

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 4:28 am in Highlights

Industry Alliance Formed to Foster Indoor Positioning Technologies

In-Location Alliance is a new industry body with 22 members, aimed at standardizing and improving approaches to high accuracy indoor positioning (HAIP) -- "GPS for couch potatoes". Technologies in use today include Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi; the Alliance will encourage further development and collaboration to improve targeted ICT performance, where indoor locations matter -- currently a big hole in products and services.

Posted on September 16, 2012 at 8:21 am in Highlights

Google Says We Move From Screen to Screen

A new report from Google finds that people are using more than one device for information and communication functions. Sometimes we shift between devices, such as searching for a product on a smartphone while waiting for a bus, but buying it when we get home. Sometimes we're using 2 devices at once, such as watching TV and following a Twitter feed on the show. The report goes into fine detail on which devices are used to start a functin and how, exactly, we move from one to the other.

Posted on August 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm in HighlightsMarket behavior -- what do consumers do?

Bubbly: Social Networking By Voice

Bubbly is a new social media tool that lets users record and forward voice messages to their 'followers' -- it's like Twitter, but by voice instead of text (although you can share text messages with Bubbly as well). Since there's no reading or text entry involved, and no computer or smartphone is required, it may be a way for many new people to social network.

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 10:10 am in Highlights

OwnFone Offers an Inexpensive, Simple, Personalized Mobile Phone

OwnFone is a new mobile phone with some interesting features. There's no keypad. You register from 2 to 12 people with the company, and they send you a phone whose control surface is pre-printed with those names; just press to dial. You've got a few color and style choices as well; the phones are simple, small, light, and flat. Your number is printed on the back. They plan to add decals for photos and braille. OwnFone is available only in the UK for now.

Posted on August 26, 2012 at 7:41 am in Highlights