Industry News

A recent article by the Wall Street Journal brings attention to the growing number of lawsuits being filed against businesses under the ADA due to inaccessible websites.  The Internet has become a way of doing business and is no different than a physical store in many ways.   The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently reviewing the ADA and is expected to issue new regulations on website accessibility later this year that will take a much broader view of the ADA’s jurisdiction over websites. 

Read the full article, Disabled Sue Over Web Shopping.

When emergency responders attend a person with a disability, they may not know how to interact with the individual. For example, they may assume someone who cannot speak to have a hearing or intellectual disability. Therefore, EMS workers may talk loudly to the person or cannot understand her.

First responders in Ellington, Connecticut know better. They have taken a class on working with persons with disabilities. Among the five presenters, two use wheelchairs and one wears hearing aids. The class focused on awareness and interaction etiquette, communication methods, and emergency response plans. For further information, read Ellington CERT Team Hosts Class for Working With Persons With Disabilities.

The Future Publishing and Accessibility Conference will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark June 13th and 14th, 2013. The two-day conference will focus on challenges and innovations within the digital publishing realm. Three main themes that will be discussed include:

  • Changes in publishing companies, manufactures, and libraries
  • Future dominating players
  • Socio-economic and commercial consequences

For a schedule of events and registration information, go to the Future Publishing and Accessibility website.

The fourth National Symposium on Informatics (NSI) will be held at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia April 23rd to April 25th . This year’s conference will be based on technology and persons with special needs. Specific themes include:

  • Emerging technologies and development in such areas as health and education
  •  Latest research in computers and technology for persons with various disabilities, such as cognitive, hearing, mobility, and visual impairments
  • Web Accessibility Conformance

Visit the NSI website for a schedule of events and registration information.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, Monster Worldwide, Inc. and National Federation of the Blind (NFB) announced on Wednesday January 30, 2013 that will be the first job search and recruitment website in the industry to provide job seekers who are blind with full and equal access to all of its products and services including mobile applications.

“Unemployment and underemployment in the blind community are significant problems and given the extent to which computers and the Internet have become integral to our daily lives, it is essential that websites are accessible to everyone,” AG Coakley said. “We are pleased to have worked with the NFB and Monster to make the company’s valuable products and services accessible and to provide better employment opportunities to job seekers who are blind, visually impaired or have other print disabilities such as dyslexia.  We are hopeful that with the ability to access written information in an audible text to speech format, these users will now have access to jobs, and better jobs, than ever before.  We want technology to improve people’s lives, not create obstacles or barriers.”

This announcement is a result of the agreement with AG’s Office and the NFB.  As part of this settlement agreement, Monster Worldwide will:

  • Contribute $50,000 to the Commonwealth to fund the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind’s (MCB) job internship program
  • Provide $50,000 to serve as the title sponsor of the NFB’s annual convention in 2013
  • Monster will make its desktop and mobile websites fully and equally accessible
  • Mobile applications will be made accessible within two years
  • Monster will ensure that the templates employers use to post job advertisements on its site will be fully and equally accessible within six months
  • Monster will also train its customer service representatives to assist users who are blind and will establish a standing committee to oversee implementation of the agreement and other issues related to accessibility in the future
  • Monster has also agreed to work with the NFB to encourage higher education programs to incorporate accessible design and assistive technology in to their core curricula

Read the full press release, First in Industry to Make Website Accessible for Blind Users.

Interactive Accessibility is proud to congratulate the Top 50 Corporations for Diversity winners.  It is exciting to see businesses set the bar high and to assure that they have a diverse workforce.  

The global economy represents people from all walks of life including different ages, races, ethnic background, genders, sexual preferences, and abilities.  This diverse group has never been a more formidable voting and buying power.  Companies that ensure that their services, products and solutions are designed to include and appeal to this diverse customer base will continue to be winners.  The leaders know the importance of assuring their workforces reflect the makeup of their customer base.

"Our firm is proud to have a diverse workforce.  We are excited to follow in the steps of giants like Wal-Mart, AT&T, IBM, Northrop Grumman, Office Depot and Cisco Systems.  Businesses of all sizes can learn a lot from these leaders.  Please join us in recognizing these leaders in diversity and inclusion."
— Kathy Wahlbin, Interactive Accessibility, CEO and Founder

America's Top Organizations for Multcultural Business Opportunities

View the complete list of winners.

Interactive Accessibility applauds AT&T for setting the bar high for other global and national corporations.  AT&T has been committed to Accessibility, Inclusion and Diversity for many years. This move to build a Corporate Accessibility Technology division and to nominate Christopher Rice as the Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO) continues to show their commitment to accessible services, products and telecommunications. It is clear that AT&T is committed to access for all and believes everyone should be included,” says Kathy Wahlbin, CEO of Interactive Accessibility.

AT&T has appointed Christopher Rice as the first Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO) as part of the launch of its new Corporate Accessibility Technology Office. The new office will help ensure accessibility gets top level priority and adds accountability as the company develops new technology to meet the needs of customers with disabilities.

AT&T is opening the door for other companies to add accessibility to C-level attention and accountability.  Technology and the web opens doors for the disabled and accessibility and can make the difference between happy new customers and a frustrating user experience.

“AT&T demonstrates its commitment to accessibility by working closely with the disability community to identify areas for improvement,” says Claude Stout, Executive Director of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.

Read the full article - AT&T Launches Corporate Accessibility Technology Office and Further Expands Commitment to Customers with Disabilities.


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