October � December 2012
Volume 7 Issue 1 

Welcome to the Great Lakes ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin

Technology Trainings & Events
(Central Standard Time)

HighEdWeb Conference
October 7 - 10, 2012
Milwaukee, WI
HighEdWeb is the national conference for all higher education Web professionals, from programmers to marketers to designers to accessibility experts, who want to explore the unique Web issues facing colleges and universities. For more information, please visit http://2012.highedweb.org/
WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
October 9, 2012 1pm
This webinar will provide an overview of web accessibility evaluation and how the WAVE tool can facilitate human evaluation. The WAVE tool is a popular and powerful accessibility evaluation tool that provides easy-to-use feedback on the accessibility of web content for people with disabilities.For more information, please visit http://www.ada-audio.org/Webinar/AccessibleTechnology/Schedule/
Closing the Gap Conference
October 17 - 19,2012
Bloomington, MN
The 30th annual Closing the Gap conference will cover a broad spectrum of technology as it is being applied to all disabilities and age groups in education, rehabilitation, vocation, and independent living. The conference showcases hundreds of product exhibitors. For more information: http://www.closingthegap.com/conference/.
National Rehabilitation EducationConference
October 28 - 30, 2012
Arlington, VA
National Rehabilitation Education Conference is a means of facilitating communication and sharing information among professionals involved in training, recruiting, hiring and enhancing the development of qualified rehabilitation counselors. This year there is a track on using technology. For more information: http://www.ncre.org/fall.html
EDUCAUSE Conference
November 6 - 9, 2012
Denver, CO
The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference unites the best thinking in higher education IT by bringing together insightful people, innovative research, supportive companies, and useful resources.There is an accessibility track and for more information: http://www.educause.edu/annual-conference
Accessing High Ground: Accessible Media, Web, and Technology Conference
November 12 -16, 2012
Boulder, CO
The annual Accessing Higher Ground conference focuses on the implementation and benefits of Assistive Technology in the university and college setting for people with sensory, physical and learning disabilities. Other topics include legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance, and making campus media and information resources - including Web pages and library resources - accessible. For more information visit: http://accessinghigherground.org/
Easy-to-Read on the Web Symposium
December 3, 2012
This symposium brings together researchers, practitioners, content authors, designers, developers, and users with disabilities to share research-based experiences, including examples, tools, concepts, and ideas, on how to make information on the Web easier to understand by different audiences. The symposium aims to explore the user needs and state of the art in research, development, and practice to contribute to a common understanding of easy-to-read on the Web. For more information: http://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2012/easy-to-read/
Assistive Technology Across the Lifespan Conference
December 6 - 7, 2012
Wisconsin Dells, WI
ATALC brings state-of-the-art assistive technology information to Wisconsin. The conference will provide comprehensive information and resources through innovative presentations and an interactive exhibit hall. All categories of assistive technology will be represented; all age groups from birth through adult and senior services, as well as all levels of expertise from beginner to advanced. For more information visit: http://www.atacrosslifespan.org/
Assistive Technology in the Transition Process
December 6, 2012, 6:30 - 8:30 PM CST
Minneapolis, MN and Online
Minneapolis, MN and Online PACER Simon Technology Center will demonstrate the latest Assistive Technology being utilized in post-secondary and employment settings that young adults in transition should know about. The session will also highlight free process tools to help transition students develop the AT skills they need. For more information: http://www.pacer.org/workshops/
Mobile Accessibility
December 11, 2012, 1PM CST
This session will discuss the status of accessibility in mobile devices including Smartphones and service providers.For more information: "http://www.ada-audio.org/Webinar/AccessibleTechnology/

A Free Toolbar to Evaluate Websites for Accessibility

WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It is used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page.From the mail Wave site http://wave.webaim.org/ you can, enter a URL, upload a file, or enter HTML code directly to receive the overview report. In addition WAVE can be installed as a Firefox toolbar, a Dreamweaver Extension, or Google toolbar.

About Our Speaker

Jared Smith is the Associate Director of WebAIM and has provided web accessibility training to thousands of developers throughout the world. With over 13 years' experience working in the web design, development, and accessibility field, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that is used to help others create and maintain highly accessible web content.

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is featuring a webinar on WAVE on October 9, 2012.

Don't miss it, register today at http://www.ada-audio.org/Webinar/AccessibleTechnology/

The Accessibility of eReaders

An eReader is a device in which you may store an enormous number of ebooks. ebooks are electronic or digital books. It is quite convenient as you don't have to lug tons of books around and instead have one light and good sized device on which to keep your books stored. eReaders are also capable of connecting to online book stores and libraries to easily load books right on the device. eReaders can be portable devices used primarily for reading electronic books, such as the Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook. They can also be general purpose tablets with book-reading apps, like the iPad or Samsung Tablet.

In theory, the digital text on an eReader is also more accessible because you can manipulate that format in a way not possible with a paper-bound book. Many users benefit from varying the text size to suit their needs. Both types eReaders have some accessibility advantages and developers have been making their products more accessible to people with visual or physical limitations.

However, there is concern about how accessible these devices are to people with disabilities. Institutions of higher education and public libraries are especially concerned since the Justice Department has sited some eReaders as excluding persons who are blind or have other disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Emerging technologies like e-readers are changing the way we interact with the world around us and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the programs where these devices are used," Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a recent press release.

What makes an eReader Accessible?

But just what makes an eReader accessible or not? That answer is more complex that it might first appear. At the very basic level, an eReader is accessible if people, including those who are blind or have other disabilities can use the device to read. But, there are many factors involved in this process. The hardware of the eReader must be accessible, then the apps or software must be accessible, and finally there is the format of electronic text. There are dozens of formats used in publishing electronic books which complicate accessibility efforts.

There are universally accepted standards on what makes an eReaders accessible, nevertheless guidance in from website and software accessibility is a good starting point.

Below is a quick checklist that can help you determine the accessibility of any given eReader and electronic book.

  • Is the eReader (and book) accessible to screen readers?
  • For Example:

    • Text can be selected and read aloud.
    • One can directly access book text and copy it using screen reader
    • One can set highlight and make notes using screen reader
    • Speech rate and volume easily adjustable.
    • Physical keyboards have tactile markers and on-screen keyboards voice selection prior to actuation/key press.
    • Easy to mute and to pause the audio on the device or software reader.
    • Images have alternative text descriptions

  • Is the eReader (and book) able to be used by people with low vision or color blindness?
  • For Example:

    • One can set high-contrast or adopt native OS contrast settings.
    • User interface can be enlarged
    • The controls are not differentiated by color alone.
    • Device controls are clear and large enough to be seen or easily identifiable by touch.

  • Is the eReader (and book) able to be used by people with motor difficulty?
  • For Example:

    • Readers able to be navigated solely by voice.
    • Hardware controls can be used with pointing devices or alternative keyboards?
    • Accuracy level and targets for touch devices is adjustable or changeable.
    • Devices are light, durable, and able to be mounted.
    • Able to be set up independently by the person with a motor disability.

  • Is the eReader (and book) able to be used by people with hearing loss or deafness?
  • For Example:

    • Audio output can be configured and adjusted easily.
    • Captions are available for videos and multimedia
    • Audio only cues and alerts have visual equivalents.

Resources to Learn More

This article is just a starting point for learning more about accessible eReaders. The following resources will help you learn more on the topic. Or contact http://www.adagreatlakes.org/WebForms/ContactUs/ with additional questions

Making the Web Accessible for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Often when we talk about website accessibility, we interpret that to mean accessible to blind individuals who use a screen reader, but in fact accessible means usable by anyone with limitations in how they interact with a website. One commonly overlooked group regarding website accessibility is people with cognitive disabilities.

One of the difficulties in addressing website accessibility for individuals with cognitive disabilities is the wide range of areas that may affect their web interactions. The concept of cognitive disabilities is extremely broad and not always well-defined. Usually it means that a person has greater difficulty with one or more mental tasks than the average person.

A cognitive or neurological disability may affect a user's ability to read the textm navigate the website, keep focused on the task at hand, comprehend the material, or any combination of similar issues.

Addressing these varied needs can turn into quite a lengthy list for web developers. Luckily good design can make improvements without too much difficulty. Basic design principles like, consistency of navigation, clear intention of any interactive elements, avoidance of unexpected sounds or useless animations, and generous use of white space are part of accessibility and usability for people with cognitive disabilities and those without. For more information on addressing specific needs of people with cognitive disabilities http://webaim.org/articles/cognitive/design has an excellent article on the topic.

Readability at times can be a more difficult area to address. Good readability guidelines apply to all text on your page, whether in navigation, graphics or just plain content. The most important part of any page is the content and following plain language guidelines will help you make your content as readable and intuitive as possible.

Plain language is a movement started with the passage of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which requires Federal agencies to communicate clearly in a way that the public can understand and use. These guidelines are an excellent starting point for addressing content accessibility on a website.

A quick checklist of implementing plain language is provided by the http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/quickreference/weblist.cfm website

Additional Resources

The following are additional articles to learn more on website accessibility for individuals with cognitive disabilities:


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:
Wed Jul 3, 2013