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Justice Department Joins Lawsuit Over Accessibility of Chicago Crosswalks

The Justice Department last week joined a lawsuit against the city of Chicago that alleges the city has failed to make crosswalks accessible to people...

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Here's what's happening in accessibility news. We provide these news briefs for your information and convenience, and we don't endorse or recommend any of these publications or products. Check back for updates every weekday.

Website Accessibility and the ADA: 11th Circuit Offers Guidance, But How Much Will Change?

April 16, 2021, JD Supra: The ADA and Website Accessibility – A Brief Background: Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities and services of places of public accommodation. Although the applicable regulations define “[p]lace of public accommodation” in a way that seems to limit the ADA’s reach to brick-and-mortar business operations, the past half-decade has brought a flood of lawsuits alleging that company websites (typically retail websites) inaccessible to individuals with visual impairments violate the ADA. However, few of these suits have reached the courtroom, leaving businesses with little case law and no regulatory guidance to rely on in determining whether websites are covered by the ADA and, if covered, what is required to make them ADA-compliant.

American Foundation for the Blind Announces 'Inclusive Power of Music' Centennial Conversation

April 16, 2021, PRNewswire: The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), in celebration of 100 years of creating a more inclusive world for people who are blind or visually impaired, launched a series of "Centennial Conversations"—curated webinars focused on the pressing issues and topics affecting the blind and low vision communities, pairing prominent speakers with younger voices. On Thursday, April 22 at 2 p.m. EDT, AFB presents Matthew Whitaker: The Inclusive Power of Music.

PWDs find work through Microsoft’s inclusivity program

April 16, 2021, BusinessWorld: To improve workplace inclusivity, the Microsoft Enabler Program provides cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) training for persons with disabilities (PWDs), accessibility education for employers, and inclusive hiring from non-profit organizations (NPOs) supporting PWDs.

WTTC releases major new paper for inclusive and accessible guidelines to aid global Travel & Tourism recovery

April 16, 2021, TravelDailyNews International: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) today launches its new high-level guidelines for inclusion and accessibility in the sector which focus on the experience of travellers with disabilities and will help make the Travel & Tourism sector a more inclusive space.

Assistive technology can be prohibitively expensive. This org makes it accessible

April 15, 2021, Technical.ly: When producer Thomas Smith stopped working as a computer programmer a few years ago to pursue a full-time career in music, he needed technology that would allow him to work as a blind man.

How retailers can improve online accessibility and why it matters

April 15, 2021, Retail Insight Network: In a changing retail landscape, and with the Covid-19 pandemic having forced the closure of non-essential retail until recently, digital shopping has recently seen a tremendous rise in use, with online retail sales increasing by 71.7% year-on-year this month alone.

Disabled nominees hope their Oscar moment becomes a movement

April 15, 2021, Coast Reporter: Right down to its production design, the Oscars have not always felt like the most welcoming place for people with disabilities. “I’ve always seen that stage with its stairs as a symbol that they don’t expect people who had mobility issues to be nominated or to win an award,” said Jim LeBrecht, the co-director and co-star of the Oscar-nominated documentary “ Crip Camp.” “It’s always been this kind of negative tacit statement."

Advances in Deaf Education

April 15, 2021, Inside Higher Ed: Educational attainment for deaf people, according to the latest research from the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, has been increasing since 2008. In 2019, about 5 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing adults under 65, according to census data, were enrolled in higher education. That's more than 190,000 people.

Reducing jargon will make financial information more accessible to all

April 15, 2021, Stuff–NZ: OPINION: Jargon is an obstructive beast. It blocks our access to knowledge and seems set to intimidate. Jargon around money is particularly frustrating. Money is part of everyone’s day-to-day lives, and how we manage it is critical in being able to provide for our families, reach our goals and, ultimately, have the retirement we deserve. We should all have easy access to financial know-how, in language we understand.

Transforming approaches to disability

April 14, 2021, Raconteur: Disability is still a “dirty word”. So says disability advocate Marianne Waite, who believes many people are uncomfortable with even the idea of disability.

Website Accessibility: What Apartment Operators Need to Know

April 14, 2021, Multi-Housing News: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26 percent of adults in the U.S. have some type of disability, and 4.6 percent have a vision disability with blindness or serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses. Some of these individuals are apartment residents and prospective renters visiting multifamily websites to obtain information.

Practical Tips for Accessibility, Search & Human Experience Design

April 14, 2021, SEJ: New growth opportunities for web-based businesses can be discovered by exploring the synergy of accessibility, search, and human experience design. Optimizing web pages for search engines may present limitations that interfere with the freedom to design human experiences. After all, searchers are emotional humans.

Vispero and Revolve Win Top Honors at TravelAbility’s Barrier-Breaking Adaptive Product PitchFest

April 14, 2021, EINPresswire: TravelAbility’s LaunchPad, celebrating technology and products that make travel easier for people with disabilities, was held virtually on April 1st and featured 15 finalists selected following a rigorous review process that began back in June of 2020. “We are thrilled that our attendees were surrounded by cutting edge technology and innovative products that help people with disabilities experience more travel.” commented TravelAbility founder Jake Steinman.

Digital generation gap: China tells companies to make their sites and apps more ‘elderly friendly’ as online population balloons

April 13, 2021, South China Morning Post: The Chinese government has asked the country’s websites and mobile apps to redesign their pages and interfaces so they are easier for the elderly to navigate in Beijing’s latest push to narrow the digital gap among a rapidly ageing population.

Ten ways to make digital communications more accessible

April 13, 2021, Charity Digital–UK: We all understand the importance of making digital communications accessible. As charities, we want to ensure our messages and advice are received and understood by the people we want to support, and those who can make the changes we want to see. So why do we sometimes fail to be inclusive in the way we communicate?

Playgrounds Designed With Accessibility In Mind Make Play Fun for Every Kid

April 13, 2021, Next City: When it comes to providing play opportunities to children with disabilities, not all playgrounds are created equal. On most playgrounds in the United States, complex play structures with lots of stairs and uneven ground coverings like woodchips or gravel make play inaccessible to kids who depend on mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers. Traditional swings or narrow slides are inaccessible to kids who need a caregiver’s support or the extra safety feature of a harness to use them.

National Rail’s ‘accessibility process’ failed to see problems with Prince Philip website tribute

April 12, 2021, Yahoo! Finance–UK: National Rail has said that it will address its “internal accessibility process” after it failed to pick up issues with its tribute to Prince Philip. The train website removed its blue-and-white aesthetic in favour of a black and white one after the royal’s death, but was criticised by users for being difficult to read.

Stark opens Public Library to shape ‘largest’ digital accessibility resource

April 12, 2021, 150sec: While Stark users are still raving about the recently added Focus Order feature, the company has delighted accessible software advocates with the launch of its Public Library—the “largest, centralized accessibility resource on the Internet”.

CommonLook Gives Back to Higher Ed with Free Software and Training

April 12, 2021, GlobeNewswire: CommonLook launches a unique program that delivers two of their PDF accessibility tools to higher ed institutions in the United States and Canada at no cost. These tools work as plugins within Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Children with disabilities often invisible in official statistics, report finds

April 11, 2021, The Irish Times: Children with disabilities have little opportunity to participate in the development of legislation and policies which affect their lives, a new report has found. The report, which focuses on the realisation of the rights of children with disabilities, also said they are relatively invisible in data and official statistics.

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