NVDA, a popular, award-winning and free screen reader for Microsoft Windows, released version 2.017.1 yesterday. The top new features and changes include:

  • Reporting of sections and text columns in Microsoft Word
  • Support for reading, navigating and annotating books in Kindle for PC
  • Improved support for Microsoft Edge

You can visit the NVDA website to download the screen reader and see a full list of what is new in version 2.017.1

Blappy is a blue tooth Android app that enables people with visual and auditory disabilities to effectively communicate. The app translates voice to text and text to voice and allows for high contrast images that can be viewed via the zoom feature. Because Blappy uses Bluetooth, it is intended for people who are 30 meters apart or less.

Blappy is currently available in four languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • English
  • and Portuguese

Conversations can be translated into all four languages.

Developers are currently working on an iOS version. The project was carried out with the support of UC3M's Audiovisual Accessibility Laboratory, which is part of the Center for Technologies for Disability and Dependence in UC3M’s Science Park

Here is more information on Blappy

Structured Negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits –is now available for purchase from the American Bar Association in print and accessible digital format. Visit the ABA website to buy the book. Use code LFLEGAL10 for a 10% discount off the purchase price.  For print-disabled readers, the book is available on Bookshare. More information about the book can be found on Lainey Feingold’s website.

"Structured Negotiationis a nuts and bolts guide to resolving claims without lawsuits in the collaborative and cost-effective method that my clients, colleagues and I have used for two decades," said Mrs. Feingold. She continues explaining, "Organizations that have signed agreements in Structured Negotiation (no lawsuits) include Major League Baseball, Walmart, Bank of America, the City and County of San Francisco, CVS, Anthem, Inc. and dozens of others. The book is full of stories about the people in the blind community and the accessible technology and information issues we have worked on (including web and mobile accessibility) in this dispute resolution process."

TheStructured Negotiation book is for lawyers, advocates, corporate, government, and accessibility champions, and clients frustrated with the conflict, procedures, stress, and run-away costs that typically accompany a filed case.  It has much to offer mediators, students of dispute resolution, and colleagues in the disability and accessibility communities.  Early praise includes the following

"As one of America’s leading civil rights lawyers, Lainey Feingold uses Structured Negotiation to obtain far-reaching settlements without litigation. Now she shares her secrets. This book should be required reading for lawyers and law students alike." Samuel R. Bagenstos, Frank G. Millard Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School; Former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
"Lainey Feingold’s thoughtful and experienced-based distillation of her new approach to resolving disputes through Structured Negotiation has the potential to make a major impact on how we resolve disputes. Bearing strong similarities to Collaborative Law, and integrating well with mediation, the Structured Negotiation model provides a detailed roadmap for principled peacemaking in complex cases."—David Hoffman, Esq., Founder, Boston Law Collaborative, LLC; John H. Watson, Jr. Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School
"If you are a lawyer, an advocate or a person who would like to learn how to reduce conflict in situations where people share vastly different perspectives, you’ve got to read this book." — Jessie Lorenz, Structured Negotiation participant; Executive Director, Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco
"Structured Negotiation has a reach far beyond the legal world.  Imagine if routine business and design challenges were solved with a process that assumed the win-win outcomes described in this book. Lainey’s focus on cooperation, collaboration, and problem-solving points the way to a world designed for everyone."–Whitney Quesenbery – Director, Center for Civic Design; co-Author, A Web for Everyone | Designing Accessible User Experiences

Litigation plays a crucial role in enforcing rights, and sometimes it is the best or only option. But when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Structured Negotiation offers a different set of tools. It is my hope that this book will teach readers how to use them, motivated by the Structured Negotiation success stories I am honored to share.

Scheduled Book Events:

  • Sunday October 16 (2:00 - 4:00):  Book launch and celebration at Ed Roberts Center, Berkeley CA
  • Tuesday, November 15 (5:30 - 6:30, reception following):  Harvard Program on Negotiation Book Talk, Cambridge, MA

Need more details?  Know an audience interested in having Mrs. Feingold speak about the book (or about digital accessibility that has been the subject of so much Structured Negotiation work)? Please let her know.  You can also visit the speaking page of Lainey Feingold’s website to read about upcoming events.

Read more about the book on Lainey Feingold’s website

Buy the book on the ABA website.  Use code LFLEGAL10 for 10% off the purchase price

Registered with Bookshare? Visit the Bookshare page for the Structured Negotiation book

Through a relationship with Quantum Reading, Learning, Vision, OrCam’s assistive technology (AT) device is now available to people who are blind in Australia. OrCam MyEye is the world’s most advance wearable AT solution. It uses a small camera that mounts on the user’s glasses to read printed text in real time into a discrete earpiece. Moreover, it can recognize people’s faces and products in the store. The devices are hand delivered by a trainer who teaches new users how to use the device in their daily life.  

A French start-up Moodstocks specializes in rapid object recognition using smart phones. Moodstocks is different from other existing object recognition apps because it runs directly on the smartphone and does not rely on outside servers. This more affordable, mainstream and accessible method has caught the interest of Google, who has agreed to purchase the start-up. It is still unclear whether Google will use the tech solely for its customer-facing offerings or also launch its own SDK for developers. It is clear, however, that this could be a great step forward in accessibility. 

UMass Boston’s engineering students have collected a year’s worth of Wi-Fi signal data to create a map of the campus. Using the IBM Accessible Location-based Service, people with disabilities will be able to download an app on their mobile device and identify their location using the Wi-Fi signals. They can then put in a destination and the app will guide them, turn-by-turn, and give accessible route guidance based on the current physical campus environment.

This technology has great potential for other environments such as airports, hospitals, office buildings and shopping malls. It could benefit many people such as:

  • Firefighters
  • The elderly
  • People with short term memory issues
  • People with vision disabilities

Read Dr. Ping Chen’s article on GAAD. 

Following the announcement that the regulations for web accessibility proposed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2010 under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be further delayed, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has condemned the delay. While the rule making has been delayed, many companies and organizations are choosing to conform to the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines for Web Accessibility in advance of the final rule making. 

Facebook can now automatically create alternative text for images generating descriptions that enable users who are blind or have low vision to envisage the content of the photo. The iOS app provides an audio breakdown of what’s happening in the photo using object recognition technology.

Using its vast supply of user images, Facebook has trained a deep neural network driving a computer vision system to recognize object in images. As is a standard in the WCAG 2.0 guidelines, the results are translated to “alt text,” which can be read by screen readers. 

Anyone familiar with the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines know how important alt text on an image is for people who are blind or have low vision. Twitter has recently upped their accessibility and added an option that allows users to add descriptions to images allowing screen readers and braille displays to announce and display the text.

The feature is enabled by using the compose image descriptions option in the Twitter app’s accessibility settings. It is available in Twitter’s iOS and Android applications. Descriptions can be up to 420 characters. 


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