July - September 2016
Volume 10 Issue 4 

ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin

Technology Trainings & Events
(Central Standard Time)

Are You At Risk? Identifying Web Accessibility Gaps in Your Organization
June 29, 2016 1pm CST
With recent lawsuits, updates to legal standards, and an increasing number of DOJ & OCR inquiries for inaccessible IT, web accessibility is on a lot of organizations' minds. But how can you tell whether or not your website, web application, or native app is meeting accessibility requirements?
For more information:info.3playmedia.com.
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA)
July 7, 2016 1pm CST
An overview of the Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) specification, ARIA and WCAG, key ARIA features and where ARIA is supported. For more information: www.ssbbartgroup.com
Implementing & Evaluating Web Application Accessibility
July 7, 2016 1pm CST
While awareness of web accessibility is increasing, it can often be an overwhelming thing to implement. In this webinar, Jared Smith, the Associate Director of WebAIM, will provide an overview of web accessibility. His expertise in the field will leave you with web accessibility tips and strategies that you can implement right away, as well as tools and resources for evaluating your site or web application's current accessibility. For more information: info.3playmedia.com
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference
July 10 -14, 2016
Arlington, VA
If you are working in the field of assistive technology or rehabilitation engineering, studying or just interested in the field, then this is the conference for you! You will be able to learn about the latest advances in technology solutions for persons with disability and network with others with similar interests while earning continuing education credit. For more information: www.resna.org/conference.
Association on Higher Education and Disability(AHEAD)
July 11 - 18, 2016
Indianapolis, IN
The annual international AHEAD conference brings together professionals in the fields of higher education and disability for a week of information-sharing, networking and theoretical and practical training. There are strands on technology for people with disabilities. For more information visit: https://www.ahead.org
Web Accessibility Training
July 19- 20, 2015
Logan, UT
This hands-on training session, sponsored by Webaim, will teach basic web accessibility principles and to advanced accessibility techniques. For more information visit: webaim.org/training/
July 21, 2016 1pm CST
Moving focus to open dialog boxes, indicating the beginning and end of dialog boxes, ensuring dialogs can be closed via keyboard, and ensuring calendar components are accessible via keyboard and don't rely on color or formatting. For more information: www.ssbbartgroup.com.
Introducing DAP: The Document Accessibility Toolbar
Aug 2, 2016 1pm CST
This toolbar is a plug-in for Microsoft Writer. It will walk content providers through the process, step by step, to create accessible documents easier than before. Even for those who know how to do it themselves, the toolbar will prevent them from overlooking important details. DAP is free and can be downloaded from the Internet. For more information visit: easi.cc/clinic.htm
Demonstrating the Accessibility of Adobe Digital Editions (eReader)
Aug 18, 2016 1pm CST
Adobe Digital Editions is a free e-reader for ePub, PDF and similar documents available for Windows, Mac and most smart phones. It works well with screen readers such as NVDA and JAWS.The normal document reading commands work well. Besides it has an extensive set of keystrokes to enhance its accessibility. For more information visit: easi.cc/clinic.htm.
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
Aug 23, 2016 12:00pm CST
This audio description workshop/training session will provide an overview of the "Fundamentals of Audio Description" and access awareness, particularly with respect to people who are blind or have low vision. Audio description, a translation of images to words, has been shown to provide access to the wide range of media and arts (television, film, performing arts, museums) that comprise any culture. The focus of the webinar will be on understanding audio description as a kind of translation from what is seen into what is heard--the visual is made verbal. For more information: www.accessibilityassociation.org.
How to Use JAWS Screen Reader to Verify Accessibility Features in a Web Application
Sept 27, 2016 12:00pm CST
Accessibility can be quite abstract. Developers and testers often have no formal training in accessibility and using assistive technologies. Keyboard testing can be easily done without a mouse and low-vision can be tested just as easily. Screen reader, however, is complex even for blind users. This webinar will explain the concept of how the screen reader accesses information as well as demonstrate selected features of a web application. By the end of this webinar, developers and testers will be able to verify intended accessibility features using JAWS screen reader. . For more information: www.accessibilityassociation.org.

Join Us for Next Accessible Technology Webinar

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is hosted and coordinated by the Great Lakes ADA Center and the Pacific ADA Center, members of the ADA National Network.

The ADA National Network provides comprehensive services for up-to-date information, consultation, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses, employers, governmental entities, service providers and individuals with disabilities.

The Next Session is Thursday July 21, 2016 1:00 - 2:30pm CST The Real Life Accessibility: Software versus Disability-Based UX Testing with Speaker Lynn Wehrman, WeCo President and Director of Accessibility Services

Picture of Lynn Wehrman
Lynn Wehrman

Accessibility testing software has been the traditional approach to measuring accessibility for websites and software. While it can be extremely helpful in determining some aspects of digital accessibility, many accessibility software manufacturers admit that their products often miss the mark in determining what is accessible to real users who live with disabilities. Applying a combination of accessibility testing software and using the skills of testers who live with disabilities can yield results that are much more representative of, and useful to, end users who live with disabilities. We'll discuss:

  • Current accessibility requirements (WCAG/508) that cannot be measured with accessibility testing software.
  • A list of common "false positives" and "false negatives" to watch for when using accessibility software.
  • Why UX testers who live with disabilities are better able to vet real life accessibility versus non-disabled testers seeking to simulate the experience of living with a given disability or using a given device.
  • Suggestions on how to successfully use accessibility testing software and testers living with disabilities in your development process.
  • The opportunity for attendees to ask questions of a panel of UX testers and Accessibility Specialists who live with disabilities, about their work.

Prior to founding WeCo Accessibility Services in 2011, Lynn collaborated with Janet Peters of the Great Lakes Center to create the first accessible Microsoft Word training implemented by the State of Minnesota Department of Transportation. Additionally, Lynn's accessible web design work at the state led her to start WeCo, a mission-based for-profit organization which trains individuals living with disabilities to deliver disability-based UX accessibility testing through the company's proprietary test platform. Lynn lives with a life-long cognitive disability.

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is free, but participants must register at http://www.ada-accessibletech.org/

Future sessions:

  • July 21, 2016 Real Life Accessibility: Software versus Disability-Based UX Testing - Speaker Lynn Wehrman and Sue Ann Rodriquez
  • September 15, 2016 Speaking the Same Language: Making Closed Captioning Work
  • November 17, 2016 Accessible IT - A Status Report On Legal Milestones

NetFlix to Enhance Access for Customers Who Are Blind

In a first-of-its-kind settlement, advocates for people who are blind have reached an agreement with Netflix to make accessible the movies and videos offered through the Netflix video streaming and DVD rental subscriptions. The settlement provides that Netflix will make its video content accessible by adding a new technology called "audio description" as a feature that blind customers can activate so they can more fully understand and enjoy the movie and video experience.

The settlement was reached between Netflix and the American Council of the Blind (ACB). The Massachusetts-based Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) and Robert Baran, an individual who is blind, were also parties to the settlement. These blind advocacy organizations and Mr. Baran were represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit legal center.

Netflix provides one of the nation's most popular online streaming and DVD rental services, offering convenient and affordable video entertainment, including original content, to millions of Americans.

Under the agreement, Netflix will provide audio description for many popular titles in its streaming and disc rental libraries. Audio description technology lets blind people know what is happening in scenes without dialogue or scenes with significant visual elements via an audio description track that contains narration of the visual elements that is synchronized with the show or movie. Television and movie studios will create the audio description tracks and provide them to Netflix. Without audio description, blind individuals do not know what is happening in scenes without dialogue and can misinterpret the meaning of other scenes. Under the settlement, Netflix will also provide audio description for the "Netflix Original" shows that Netflix has begun distributing such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

Under the agreement, Netflix will also make its website and mobile applications accessible to individuals who are blind and use screen-reading software to navigate websites and apps. Screen-reading software is an interface between people who are blind or low vision and computers and/or mobile applications. The software creates an audio version of text and images that appear on a screen that it reads aloud to a user. The user then controls the computer or mobile device by pressing keys or tapping on a mobile application. With the changes Netflix is making, users who are blind or low vision will be able to independently use the Netflix website and mobile applications.

This agreement is the first-of-its-kind to provide screen-reader and audio access to users who are blind or low vision. These improvements will provide people who are blind or low vision with unparalleled access to online video entertainment services currently enjoyed by millions of Americans. Millions of Americans identify as having a visual disability.

Kim Charlson, President of the American Council of the Blind, commented, "We applaud Netflix for working with us to enhance access to its services for people who are blind. Our goal is to expand the availability of Netflix's services to the blind community and to increase the availability of audio described film and television programming. Movies and television are a central pillar of American culture. As television and movies are increasingly delivered through streaming and home delivery services, ensuring that the blind community receives access to this content is critical to ensure that people who are blind are integrated into modern society."

Attorney Rebecca Williford of Disability Rights Advocates explains, "This is a great example of technology promoting greater accessibility and inclusiveness for people with disabilities. We hope that the outcome of our collaboration with Netflix will serve as a model for others in the online video entertainment industry."

To view the settlement go to: http://dralegal.org/case/netflix-settlement/

DOJ Seeks Comments on Website Accessibility

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is considering revising the regulation implementing title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to establish specific technical requirements to make accessible the services, programs, or activities State and local governments offer to the public via the Web. Title II of the ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in state and local government services, programs, and activities-including many that relate to employment and workforce development. This includes programs, services, and activities that the public accesses online through the internet. The current Title II regulations include guidance about physical structures. However, they do not include technical standards on how to make the services, programs, and activities offered on state/local government websites accessible-which is precisely the issue the DOJ wants to address.

In 2010, the DOJ issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2010 ANPRM) titled Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations. The purpose of this Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SANPRM) is to solicit additional public comment specifically regarding the regulation implementing title II, which applies to State and local government entities. Specifically, the Department is issuing this SANPRM in order to solicit public comment on various issues relating to the potential application of such technical requirements to the Web sites of title II entities and to obtain information for preparing a regulatory impact analysis. The agency issued its previous notice of proposed rulemaking on web accessibility more than six years ago, and much of the information gathered then is now out of date. The internet, web accessibility, and assistive technologies have all evolved significantly, and are now less expensive and more widely used. State and local governments are increasingly providing online resources and services, and public usage has also increased significantly.

Some of the key issues the DOJ is looking to address are technical standards, benefits to people with specific types of disabilities, input on how to measure the benefits and costs on web accessibility and appropriate time frames for compliance.

The public has until August 8, 2016 to send in comments to DOJ. Instructions for submitting them are online at www.regulations.gov. Be sure to identify your comments with "RIN 1190-AA65" or "CRT Docket No. 128." For those wanting to read a more in-depth summary and analysis of the SANPRM before commenting, the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) has prepared a policy brief that provides an overview of DOJ's questions and the topics for comment relating to the accessibility of state and local government services, programs, or activities offered to the public through the web. Here is the policy brief: http://peatworks.org/content/policy/2016/06

Web Accessibility Tutorials

Picture of W3C logo

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. W3C is the group responsible for the Web Accessibility Content Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). WCAG 2.0 is considered best practice when developing electronic information technology, specifically websites, to be accessible. Did you the W3C also h as tutorials to help developers?

The collection of tutorials shows programmers how to develop web content that is accessible to people with disabilities and that provides a better user experience for everyone.

The tutorials are designed to be used by a variety of people, including:

  • Web developers will find guidance and boilerplate solutions for many common coding challenges.
  • Web designers will learn how to create web page components with built-in inclusive design.
  • Web trainers will find examples to teach people about accessible web design and development.
  • Content authors will learn concepts and techniques for preparing their content in an accessible way.
  • Project managers will gain an understanding of ways to integrate accessibility into their projects.

The tutorials cover various accessibility topics, based on common tasks in web projects. For example, they demonstrate how to provide accessible images and tables using a variety of web technologies, including HTML4, HTML5, CSS3, WAI-ARIA, MathML, and SVG. The concepts and techniques explained in the tutorials apply to other formats as well.

The tutorials provide guidance on how to implement best practice solutions that meet WCAG 2.0 in different situations. They do not cover all situations, technologies, success criteria, and conformance requirements. For comprehensive coverage of the requirements, see the normative WCAG 2.0 standard and its supporting materials, such as How to Meet WCAG 2.0: A customizable quick reference.

The tutorial topics include:

  • Page Structure Concepts
  • Menus
  • Image Concepts
  • Tables
  • Forms
  • Carousels
Picture of Web Accessibility Tutorials

For more information on the W3C Web Accessibility Tutorials visit: https://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/

FCC Proposes Expanding the Availability of Video Described Programs

On April 1, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to expand the availability of video described programming. Video description makes video programming accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired by enabling audio-narration to describe key visual elements of a television program during pauses in the dialogue.

The FCC proposes the following key rule changes:

  • Increase the amount of described programming on each included network carried by a covered broadcast station or multichannel video programming distributor, from 50 hours per calendar quarter to 87.5 (a 75% increase);
  • Increase the number of networks required to provide video description from four broadcast and five non-broadcast networks to five broadcast and ten non-broadcast networks;
  • Create a "no-backsliding" rule, so a network would remain subject to the rules even if it is no longer one of the top five or top ten ranking networks;
  • Require video programming distributors to provide proper customer support contacts in order to improve consumer access to video description.

The NPRM also seeks comment on other matters, such as a potential requirement for described video-on-demand programming, a dedicated audio stream for video description, and a change of terminology from "video described" to "audio described."

On May 27, 2016, the FCC released a public notice announcing the comment due dates for this proceeding. Comments may be filed online in MB Docket No. 11-43 at this link: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs//. For more information, contact Lyle Elder, Lyle.Elder@fcc.gov, of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120.

Comments due:           June 27, 2016
Reply comments due:  July 26, 2016

Links to the NPRM:
Web:   https://www.fcc.gov/document/video-description-expansion-nprm Word: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-37A1.docx PDF:   https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-37A1.pdf Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-37A1.txt

The Great Lakes ADA Center provides expert assistance via a national toll-free information line 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) or Online via Contact Us and presents customized trainings for employers, businesses, government, and individuals with disabilities regarding accessible technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 728)
1640 West Roosevelt Road, Room 405
Chicago, IL 60608-6904

Last Updated on:
Tue Jun 28, 2016