Global Accessibility Awareness Day Post Four: … But We Just Got Started

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and as Global Accessibility Awareness Day draws to a close, we will leave you, with our:

Design Considerations

Document accessibility involves a number of different factors. Choices made to improve the visual appearance of a project may hinder or enhance readability for all users. Furthermore, access to documents encompasses word choice and sentence structure. Finally, it comes down to checking your work to ensure that the document you have created is meeting the needs it was created to fulfill. The below guidelines are a sample of the types of things that should be considered when creating a document, that were not covered in other sections of this article.

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day Post Three: Describe It Well to Help Your Users Get the Picture

Blind users are reliant on textual description of most electronic content. Whether they are using a Braille display or a speech synthesizer, the content they review from documents and websites comes in the form of text.  As we all know, the web and many documents are built with a great amount of graphical material.  With the following tips, however, you can ensure that your content can be enjoyed by blind visitors as well.  

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day Post Two: Accessibility is a Matter of Style

Without some simple but thoughtful styling, your document is little more than a disorganized mess of text.  The careful application of headings, paragraphs, tables, and lists provides your document with much needed structure, so that it can be easily reviewed and understood.  .
 

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The Sighted Guide to VoiceOver

By Clara Van Gerven

Recently, I decided to turn my iPhone screen off, and use only VoiceOver at work for forty days. As the longtime lone sighted person on a team of blind access technology specialists, I will never have the same everyday user familiarity with JAWS or VoiceOver as my blind colleagues, but I strive for as much knowledge of any of these as possible. I’ve read a number of articles from mainstream journalists about accessibility. Some are good; but the majority miss the finer points (and sometimes the not-so-fine points) of how the technology works. Worse, they often miss how blind people operate. Ironically, the most common mistaken assumption is that blind people are somehow different from sighted ones; that they somehow have different needs, different hearing, different lives, and a lot more patience.

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Drafts – Flexible, Accessible, and Fun Text Editor for iOS

By Amy Mason

Hey everybody, did you miss me?
?  *crickets chirp*

Ok, I’ll take that as a yes.  Anyhow, we’ve been very busy on the access technology team lately. With meetings to attend, projects to complete, and IBTC tours to provide, I have found it increasingly necessary to pull together a portable toolbox that will help me make sure I don’t miss something critical, (or interesting). Calendars, to do lists, organizers, e-mail, and notetaking solutions are all required tools to keep me focused and working toward my ultimate goal… world domination… er.. no.. I meant assisting in the effort to expand non-visual access to technology.  

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3D Printing Tactile Graphics 101

By Clara Van Gerven

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National Federation of the Blind Indoor Navigation Challenge

The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute is the premier research and training institute that applies the collective knowledge and life experience of the blind to the development of innovative solutions to the barriers faced by blind people. We are designing the National Federation of the Blind Indoor Navigation Challenge to combine our expertise and experience with that of other technology and research professionals to partner in the development of universally designed access tools and strategies that enhance independent travel for the blind.  Blind people effectively use tools and strategies like white canes, guide dogs, mental mapping, echolocation, and problem-solving skills to acquire and use environmental information to travel safely and independently outdoors and indoors.

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Cosmo Brailler and BERT Software Overview

By Karl Belanger

The Cosmo Electronic Brailler and BERT (Braille Education Remote Training) software are produced and sold by Electronic Brailler LLC. The Cosmo is a Braille writer with several electronic functions, including acting as an input keyboard and embosser for the Duxbury Braille Translator, and working in conjunction with the BERT software. BERT is an online tool, also from Electronic Braillerthat allows a teacher to teach up to 15 students simultaneously over the internet. Teachers can have class discussions by the teacher typing into the computer using six-key entry, and the text will be Brailled on the students’ Cosmo. The software also allows the uploading and completion of assignments, which can then be archived for future reference.

 

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VarioUltra Overview

By Karl Belanger

The VarioUltra is the latest Braille display from Baum. It comes in both 20 and 40-cell models, for $2,395 and $3,995 respectively. The 20-cell model will be reviewed here. The VarioUltra is a slim, well-built display that also has the ability to function as a basic notetaker on its own. The included applications include a word processor, PDF viewer, spreadsheet viewer, calculator, countdown timer, stopwatch, and an alarm clock. The display can connect with JAWS for Windows, Window-Eyes, NVDA, VoiceOver on both the Mac and iOS, and BrailleBack for Android. Currently, some screen access software and devices do not have VarioUltra drivers, so display emulation is needed, which will be discussed later.

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