Communication Accessibility Guidelines for Events

conference live captioning 2Event organisers not only have to consider physical access – they also have to consider communication access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, while one in six people in Australia have a hearing loss, this aspect of events is often forgotten by event organisers and venue managers. Communication accessibility is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. While some venues claim that a hearing loop is installed, this may not be sufficient, particularly if it is not functioning as is often the case.

Auslan signingDeaf Children Australia have produced a comprehensive set of guidelines for event organisers covering Auslan interpreters, live captioning, and hearing loop technology. At the end of the guidelines is a useful checklist. Unfortunately the website has pale lettering on a white background.

People who have a hearing loss often choose not to reveal this conference captioning Geraspect of themselves, consequently organisers receive little, if any, feedback about the efficacy or otherwise of hearing loops. Anecdotally, people with and without hearing loss often find captioning useful particularly if they have English as a second language, or if the speaker has an unfamiliar accent. More technical detail on hearing loops can be found on the Printacall website.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Choosing an IT system and designer

computer screenThe Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has a comprehensive Toolkit that takes potential purchasers of IT systems through the process of procurement, inlcuding assessing potential suppliers, and overseeing the successful implementation of accessibility features. It also shows how to build the skills required to manage the accessibility of the resulting system and user interfaces once the set-up phase is complete. This means ensuring that documents staff produce for uploading to the website also meet the accessibility criteria.

Download the IT Procurement Toolkit here.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Blending UD, e-Learning and ICT

elearningThe authors* of this chapter examine how to blend universal design (UD) with e-learning tools used by post-secondary faculty and with information and communication technologies (ICTs) used by students in traditional classroom, hybrid, and online courses. The focus is on how instructors can design and deliver their courses in an accessible way using e-learning.  The authors conclude: “Considering UD when selecting and using e-learning materials in traditional, hybrid, and online courses can ensure an accessible learning experience for the diversity of students in today’s colleges and universities. Collaboration between the wide array of stakeholders is needed to design, implement, and support accessibility and usability. This includes the students, instructors, ICT vendors, institutional IT procurement specialists, and campus disability service providers.”

*In S. E. Burgstahler (Ed.), Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice (2nd ed.), pp. 275-284. Boston: Harvard Education Press.

Dowload the chapter here 

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Introduction to GAATES

GAATES logoThe Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) is keen to support the concepts and principles of universal design. This Canadian based NGO has a comprehensive website with resources relating to the built environment, ICT, transportation, tourism, disaster management, and conferences.  The GAATES about us section describes their vision:

“A comprehensive implementation of Universal Design principles takes everyone into account and results in fully inclusive and sustainable environments.  Implementing the principles of Universal Design is the sustainable approach to designing for everyone as it equitably addresses the full life span of individuals as well as environments. This approach is quickly replacing the limited scope and vision of accessible and barrier-free design. Mainstreaming education about Universal Design rather than relying on codes and standards about accessible design, is the only way we will truly achieve an environment usable by all – without adaptation.

Universal Design and Accessibility do not exist in a vacuum, they are inter-dependent upon a number of factors; Education by designers and developers; Development of best practices criteria for Built Environment, ICTs, Transportation, Tourism, etc.; Legislation, Standards and policy that recognize the important of Universal Design; and Universal Design adaption of all facilities and services.

GAATES promotes this comprehensive and inclusive approach, and our unique multidisciplinary, multi-cultural, multi-regional membership assures a global vision in all our projects and solutions.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Apps for All Challenge

accessible_appsEvery minute, 47,000 apps are downloaded around the world, but millions of Australians are missing out if the apps are not accessible.

Four winning apps in Australia’s only accessible mobile apps competition, The Apps for All Challenge are making a difference. The challenge is run by the Communications Action Network (ACCAN) to draw attention to the benefits of including digital accessibility in software development.

Winners were judged on accessibility, which means that an app can be used by the most people possible without the need for modification. Apps in the challenge were also judged on ease of use, market gap, value for money, universal design and availability. To see the winners, go to the Every Australian Counts link.

 

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Banking, IT and Diverse Personas

Screenshot diverse personasBarclays Bank IT Accessibility Team has been developing resources to aid project teams when they’re thinking about how accessibility should feature in their design process. One of these is their ‘Diverse Personas’ – a set of profiles of  a range of people with disability including dyslexia, colour blindness, cerebral palsy and mental illness. The Diverse Personas handbook uses comic book characters. Each profile details the likes and dislikes of the person, which methods they use to engage with the bank and why, how they currently use technology, and, more importantly, how they’d like to use it if they could.

Thanks to Shane Hogan from the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland for this item.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin

Disability and mobile Internet

world wide webGerard Goggin’s latest publication focuses on the Internet, which is now 25 years old, but mobile Internet accessibility is struggling to keep up. He asks, “the web is our virtual commons, but how can we empower all people to use and contribute to the web regardless of language and ability?”

Gerard Goggin is Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydisability in australia goggin newelldney. His research focuses on the social and cultural aspects of mobile media and Internet, as well as disability and digital technology. He co-authored the landmark book with the late Christopher Newell, Disability in Australia: Exposing a social apartheid.  A review of the book provides an overview of the issues covered.  A good reference for understanding the routine oppression of people with disabilty in Australia.

Facebooktwitterlinkedin