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When a video goes viral no one ever says, “This video was so serious and informative, I just had to share it.” No, they’re usually belly laughing when they click the share button. Unfortunately, the subject of digital accessibility doesn’t inspire laughter. And in the Section 508 guidelines, there isn’t a single punch line. The TV show Tosh.0 is funny, but WCAG 2.0? Not so much.

On September 12, as part of its Accessibility and Innovation Initiative speaker series the FCC will present live demonstrations of new and compelling technologies designed to enhance accessibility. Among the demonstrations will be:

  • How a smartphone can scan printed material into electronic text
  • How a web-browsing assistant can extract news articles for later reading
  • How cloud computing can enhance accessibility for all

Dr. Yevgen Borodin who is a renowned professor and entrepreneur known for his research in computation methods and non-visual interfaces for improving web accessibility, will discuss “Improving Accessibility for the General Public.” Read additional detail on Dr. Borodin’s presentation and the live demonstration of accessibility enhancing technologies.

W3C WAI updated two supporting documents for Web Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0: Techniques for WCAG 2.0 and Understanding WCAG 2.0. WCAG 2.0 itself is a stable document and, therefore, does not change.

The WCAG guidelines and success criteria are designed to be broadly applicable to current and future web technologies, including dynamic applications, mobile, digital television, etc. For an introduction to the WCAG documents, see the WCAG Overview. The W3C Working Group Notes that were just released provide specific guidance. They include code examples, resources, and tests, which are periodically updated to cover current practices for meeting the WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has published the completed Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communication Technologies (WCAG2ICT) as an informative W3C Working Group Note. The new guide addresses the interpretation and application of the WCAG 2.0 standards to non-web documents and software. WCAG2ICT was made possible through the collaborative effort to support harmonized accessibility solutions across a wide range of technologies.

WCAG2ICT is directed towards ICT managers, ICT developers, policy makers, and other wanting to understand how WCAG 2.0 can be applied to non-web document and software. WCAG2ICT specifically provides:

  • Overall context for applying WCAG 2.0 to non-web documents and software.
  • Guidance on applying the WCAG principles, guidelines, and Levels A and AA success criteria to non-web documents and software.
  • Key Terms related to applying WCAG 2.0 to non-web documents and software.
  • Comments on the definitions in the WCAG 2.0 Glossary.
  • Comments on conformance.
  • Background information on some topics.

WCAG2ICT also includes material from the WCAG 2.0 standard to provide context, along with specific guidance related to non-web ICT, formatted as follows:

  • WCAG 2.0 principles, guidelines, and success criteria — the exact text from the WCAG 2.0 standard. These are visually styled in pale yellow boxes and usually prefaced with "Principle...", "From Guideline...", or "From Success Criterion…"
  • Excerpted text from the "Intent" sections of Understanding WCAG 2.0, an informative supporting document. These are visually styled in pale yellow boxes and prefaced with "Intent from Understanding Success Criterion..."
  • Guidance on applying each success criteria to non-web documents and software. These are visually styled in pale blue boxes with a heading on a dark blue background that starts with "Additional Guidance..."

More details on the WCAG2ICT can be found in the WCAG2ICT overview on the W3C website.

As someone who uses Assistive Technology (AT) to make it through her day, I’m telling you, you non-AT users can get pretty… weird. Something about interacting with an assistive technology (AT) user like me causes some normally very composed and astute people to lose a bit of their cool. I get it. I’m sure when I roll up in my wheelchair not in full control of my own body and chatting with my mom using my word board, I can catch the average bear off guard.

Twenty-three years after the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, Governor of Delaware, Jack Markell, recently released A Better Bottom Line: Employing Individuals with Disabilities. In a recent blog post, Governor Markell explains that, “only 20 percent of the 54 million Americans living with a disability are employed or seeking employment, compared to almost 70 percent of people without disabilities.” That is why he released A Better Bottom Line: Employing Individuals with Disabilities as a blueprint for governors, which is not about feel-good social policy but about employing individuals with disabilities because it is good business.

On July 31st at 2pm the Federal Trade Commission will host a free webinar informing blind and low vision consumers on protect themselves from identity theft. People who wish to participate can join the webinar 15 minutes prior to the event. You are strongly encouraged to test your computer prior to the event.

While many websites claim Section 508 or WCAG conformance based on the evaluation of a tool, the truth is that at best the site passed the automatic accessibility features that can be judged electronically.


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