"The tension, the promise, and the peril of the exoskeleton: It is great for some, but in the gusto for technological solutions, for stories that “inspire” and for devices that pull people into the “normal” world, people can lose sight of a future that could be much better. " Rose Eveleth at The Atlantic writes about exoskeletons and other forms of assistive technology for people with disabilities, the life-changing things they can do, and the possibility that they are blinding us to other ways to look at disability, accessibility, and infrastructure. This is part of Remaking the Bodies, a series on how science and technology are re-engineering the human body.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. [more inside]
For most of us, the internet is functionally a necessity, with much of our lives lived on or enabled by the Web. But for the disabled, the internet is too often an unfriendly, inaccessible place, with many sites and services not being designed to support accessibility. But Web accessibility needs to be for everyone, in our ever more connected world, not only from the standpoint of letting the disabled into an increasingly important public accommodation, but because accessibility is just good design. (SLSlate)
Even though Lorenz, who, like Downey, is blind, can't see the space before her, she knows exactly what to expect. On her desk at the ILRC's current office on Mission Street, she keeps a tactile floor plan that Downey printed for her. The plan's fine web of raised lines looks like an elaborate decorative pattern, suggesting a leaf of handmade stationery or a large sheet from which doilies are about to be cut. Though Downey has consulted on other architects' projects since going blind six years ago, this one marks a turning point for him. The community center is the first space he's designed since losing his sight. The center recently opened its doors to the public with a celebration to inaugurate the new space, located on Howard Street in the city's Yerba Buena district, just down the block from the Moscone convention center. But on this May afternoon, the walls are just beginning to go up.
The Department of Justice has postponed its NPRM on the accessibility requirements of websites for places of public accommodations under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, from March 2015 to June 2015. The NPRM for accessibility requirements of government websites was due in December 2014. [more inside]
“It’s an unbelievable sensation,” Mr. González said. “I’m feeling this painting down to the detail of each fingernail.” (SLNewYorker)
What does a city for women look like? "In the city for women, a woman can sit alone in parks, linger, run, jog, without much diminished fear at any time of the day. Women too can be flaneurs and have the right to loiter. Rather than just prioritise safety and freedom from harassment, women can prioritise speed and convenience of mobility. Women’s mobility is not just about getting from point A to B, but also about social mobility. Greater physical mobility for women is conducive for social mobility and self-actualisation." [more inside]
The exhibit Fashion Follows Form: Designs for Sitting, at the Royal Ontario Museum through January 25, 2015, showcases the work of designer Izzy Camilleri, whose company IZAdaptive features chic, stylish, comfortable clothing — all of it designed for seated people who use wheelchairs. [more inside]
Increasing the accessibility of cultural capital: "In New York, a place whose cultural institutions attract people from around the world, there are residents who not only have never visited those institutions but also some who have never even been uptown."
The Accessible Icon Project seeks to change public perception of the disabled by subtly redesigning the traditional blue-and-white accessibility icon. New York City is one of the first to embrace the new design.
Also: OpenDyslexic, a free font designed to lessen confusion between visually similar letterforms.
Also: OpenDyslexic, a free font designed to lessen confusion between visually similar letterforms.
Accessibility is what allows me to use things like a phone, computer, or an ATM. May 9th is all about this. -Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic. (previously)Global Accessibility Awareness Day is today. It's a day to consider how people with disabilities experience the web, software, mobile devices, games and so on, targeted towards designers, developers, usability professionals and others without much experience with accessibility. There are public events scheduled all over the world, as well as other accessibility-related events. To participate on your own, try one of the suggested activities: turn off your mouse or trackpad and use only your keyboard to navigate websites, try using a free screen reader, such as NVDA for Windows or the built in VoiceOver for Mac and iOS, try watching some streaming videos or movies with captions or add some of your own to a video you've uploaded. Then relax with a sample of described video: Katniss, from the Hunger Games, goes hunting. [more inside]
A life well lived. On October 4, 1973, Josh Miele (4) was permanently blinded in an acid attack by his neighbor (pdf). 40 years later, Dr. Miele has worked for NASA on the Mars Rover project, he's helped develop "WearaBraille", a virtual Braille keyboard interface, and has a new project launching this month: the Descriptive Video Exchange (DVX), which will allow "sighted video viewers to seamlessly add audio description to DVDs as they watch." [more inside]
What do you mean the building codes require us to install handicapped-accessible crosswalk? Fine. Here's your fucking crosswalk. [more inside]
Blind Man vs. Paper Money - the Blind Film Critic demonstrates the problems of using (American) paper money. Unsurprisingly, just getting cash out of an ATM poses its own problem. [more inside]
"Reading printed text is so fluid and transparent for most people that it's hard to imagine it feeling any other way. Maybe that's why it took a dyslexic designer to create a typeface that optimizes the reading experience for people who suffer from that condition." [more inside]
The Free Site Validator is for all y'all web designers who are tired of putting each and every page through the W3C Markup Validation Service. Enter the URL you'd like checked, start the report and you'll soon have every page of the site examined for valid markup and link rot. It also uses OpenID so you might already have an account! [via 456 Berea Street] [more inside]
Porn for the Blind is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing audio descriptions of sample movie clips from adult web sites. This service is provided free of charge. [NSFW]
Web Sites Accessible for Everyone is a fairly comprehensive site, offering a variety of resources for anyone interested in website accessibility. I've found the AJAX and Accessibility section particularly interesting. Thank you University of Washington.
Selected videos with closed captioning Self-uploaded videos aren’t just for hearing people anymore. A small number of videos on Google now have captioning. You can create your own caption files, albeit laboriously.
One key games. Retro Remakes, a reverse-engineer gaming siteand One Switch, an accessibility site, have launched a competition for the best game that can be played with a single key. There's still time to enter, and some entries have already been posted to the forums.
As of October next year, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 comes into effect in the UK. Under this act, a disabled person may have rights to sue a service-providing company if they have difficulty accessing their website just as they might if they had difficulty accessing their headquarters. The Royal National Institute of the Blind website includes a "web access centre", which takes a good look at the issue of accessibility and provides sound advice to web designers whether they are legally obligated to tackle such issues or not.
A keyless keyboard designed to reduce RSI and other typing related injuries - sounds interesting, but slow, and of course useless for gaming. Bit pricey as well.
The Right to Flash is an online petition for Macromedia to properly support Arabic and Hebrew languages which read from right-to-left.
Cynthia Says™ is a web content accessibility validation solution, it is designed to identify errors in design related to Section 508 standards and the WCAG guidelines. The main purpose of this portal is to educate web site developers in the development Web Based content that is accessible to all. Cynthia runs more tests than Bobby and is free. I think the site itself fails the accessiblity test, 'cause it doesn't have "WCAG" in an <abbr> tag, nonetheless it's a good tool. [via zeldman].
The MBTA, Boston's transit system, launched a redesigned Web site today. Fairly unremarkable, if you ask me, except that every single page features a prominent "Bobby Approved logo, which is supposed to mean the site is fully accessible to the visually impaired. In fact, it isn't, which you'll find out if you run a Bobby report on the site.
''Tim,'' said Spitzer with a laugh, ''just slaughtered them.'' What's so special about one geek slaughtering other geeks in a game of Quake? Tim is blind and a company named ZForm is developing videogames to help blind people compete fairly with sighted people. Way cool.
30 days to a more accessible website This series is entitled "30 days to a more accessible weblog", and it will answer two questions. The first question is "Why should I make my weblog more accessible?" If you do not have a weblog, this series is not for you. The second question is "How can I make my weblog more accessible?" If you are not convinced by the first answer, you will not be interested in the second.
Do you see what i see. Anyone work on web projects funded by the Department of Education, or any other organization which is now requiring websites be Bobby Approved?