How to Guides

Texas Wins FCC Award for Accessibility Tools

The Texas state government won one of seven awards for innovation in accessibility communications by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) award. The award was for Texas’ new web tools that help people create accessible Microsoft 2010 materials. The tools can help users create everything from accessible Word document to PowerPoint slides.

The tools offer a set of learning modules that help people create accessible documents and use the features of the Microsoft Office 2010 suite.

Read more at the Office of the Governor Rick Perry website.

Starting this September 24th, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals introduce its fall schedule for their comprehensive webinar series that tackles the hottest and most important topics in digital accessibility today.

The IAAP Webinar Series delivers you valuable knowledge and connects you with other accessibility professionals. Here's what a recent attendee had to say about our Webinar Series: “I really value these webinars. Thanks, IAAP, for making these learning opportunities happen.”

Read on to learn more about our upcoming webinars. There are comprehensive courses for both beginners and developers!  

Currently Scheduled Webinars:  

Using Assistive Technology (AT) in Accessibility Testing

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Time: 12:00 p.m. Eastern (UTC – 4 hours)
Speaker: Kathy Wahlbin, CEO and Founder, Interactive Accessibility

Target Audience: Beginners 

Assistive technology is fascinating and empowering to people with disabilities, yet it presents compliance challenges for producers of online content. Technology provides endless opportunities to gain access to services and content, but often organizations misunderstand or don’t know the accessibility guidelines or how to test for accessibility.

Join us for our September 24 webinar to learn how you can use assistive technology in accessibility testing. 

Register for the webinar

Read more about the Using Assistive Technology (AT) in Accessibility Testing webinar

Web Components and Accessibility 

Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. Eastern (UTC – 4 hours)
Speaker: Karl Groves, Senior Technical Lead, Accessibility Software Consultant, Director of Training, The Paciello Group
Target Audience: Developers. This session requires experience with HTML and CSS and at least a basic understanding of and experience with JavaScript.

There's an exciting new technology available to developers: Web components. They offer a new way to encapsulate new functionality into webpages directly, allowing for custom elements with their full presentation logic and business logic to be built in as though they were native. This technology also allows for new, customized versions of existing native functionality and improvements to the native functionality without needing to require that functionality to be built from scratch. This creates new opportunities and challenges for accessibility. 

Join us for our October 8 webinar to learn about Web components and accessibility. 

Register for the webinar

Read more about the Web Components and Accessibility webinar.


Webinar Format: The webinars will be hosted in the Adobe Connect webinar platform, which is accessible with a variety of browsers and on mobile devices. Captioning will be provided. For additional details about Adobe Connect accessibility, go to this Adobe Connect Accessibility Features page.

Join IAAP today to get the member webinar rate. Individual membership fees are waived for membership between now and 3/15/2015.  

WAI announce publication of the completed Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM)

WCAG-EM is an informative W3C Working Group Note. It describes an approach for evaluating how websites, including Web applications and websites for mobile devices, conform to WCAG 2.0. WCAG-EM provides guidance for individuals and organizations that evaluate web accessibility. It is also useful for those that have others evaluate their website.

Addition information can be found at the WCAG-EM Overview.

Seven videos have been release that will help customers who are deaf or hard of hearing in New Zealand with tax compliance. Revenue Minister Todd McClay explains, “Sign Language is the third official language in New Zealand with around 42,000 of us using it every day.” He continues to say, “It is important that Inland Revenue communicates directly with customers, and doing this in their preferred language helps build constructive and ongoing relationships.”

The W3C is inviting people to submit ideas, suggestions or comments to a (publically-archived) mailing list. In addition, code can be contributed directly on Github. The tutorials on the Web Accessibility Tutorials page will provide guidance on creating websites that meet WCAG 2.0 standards. They provide assistance to people in a variety of roles:

  • Developers: boiler plate solution for many common issues
  • Designers: creating elements and composites that lend themselves to accessible code
  • Trainers: access to compelling examples to aid in accessible web design education
  • Content Authors: concepts and techniques for creating accessible content
  • Project Managers: principle for planning accessible websites.

While additional tutorials are coming, current tutorials cover the following topics:

  • Images
  • Tables
  • Forms
  • Sliders/Carousels

The recent iOS 7.1 updates includes some updates to the accessibility features. Some of the Accessibility highlights include:

  • Keyboard, calculator and many icon glyphs are now included in the bold font option.
  • Reduce Motion now includes Weather, Messages, and multitasking UI animations.
  • New options to display button shapes, darken app colors, and reduce white point.
  • New wallpapers which low-vision users may find make it easier to see text and images. They are available in a selection of solid colors with a polka dot pattern.
  • New option turns on "Button Shapes". This is intended to make buttons easier to distinguish from other text on the screen (such as icon labels).

Although not tagged as part of accessibility, an update to Siri could have some positive implication for users with disabilities.

  • Manually control when Siri listens by holding down the home button while you speak and releasing it when you’re done as an alternative to letting Siri automatically notice when you stop talking.

More information on the iOS 7.1 updates and for more updates see

Kathy Wahlbin, CEO and Founder of Interactive Accessibility and invited expert for the W3C WCAG 2.0 Working Group, Mobile Accessibility Task Force and WCAG 2.0 Evaluation Methodology Task Force, is presenting tonight at PixelMEDIA in Portsmouth New Hampshire. Kathy will discuss how the accessibility is changing and impacting today’s businesses. In addition, she will look at some of the coding and testing techniques that help bring websites and other digital content into compliance with WCAG 2.0 and Section 508.

Register for the event right away.

We recently posted some videos on the Access Matters blog about setting up and using TalkBack, which is the pre-installed screen reader service provided by Google for Android devices. It occurred to me that there must be some good walkthroughs for iOS accessibility, so I decided to go on a YouTube hunt for you, our loyal Access Matter Blog readers, and find the best iOS Accessibility walkthroughs.

Ben Heck, modder and host of Element 14’s The Ben Heck Show, is creating a single-handed accessibility mod for use with the Xbox One’s controller.

In Episode 113: Ben Heck’s Xbox One Teardown Episode, Mr. Heck showed a clip of the accessible Guitar he built in Episodes 105 and 106 and teases his next episode, in which he will build the accessible controller. The controller modifications will include:

  • A spiked thumb-stick, which will help discern direction.
  • A left trigger and gamepad on the backface.

More detail will be revealed on this Friday’s live episode.

According to Game Spot, Mr. Heck will donate the controller mod to the Able Gamers Foundation.


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