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Here's what happened in the accessibility world from April 4–10, 2021

Be sure to check Accessibility News Briefly for the latest news and updates — and don't forget to subscribe to get weekly recaps right to your inbox. It's the easiest way to stay informed.

As a reminder, we provide these news briefs for your information and convenience, and we don't endorse or recommend any of these publications or products.

Why tech accessibility matters, and the long road to improving it

April 10, 2021, CNET: Comedian and writer Zach Anner relies heavily on tech. As someone with cerebral palsy, he says his independent life is possible because of digital platforms like ride sharing apps and meal delivery services, which allow him to more easily go about his day.

Court rules grocery store’s inaccessible website isn’t an ADA violation

April 10, 2021, Ars Technica: A federal appeals court struck a significant blow against disability rights this week when it ruled that a Florida grocery store's inaccessible website did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ruling contradicts a 2019 decision by a different appeals court holding that Domino's did violate the ADA when it failed to make its app accessible to blind people. The disagreement between courts creates uncertainty about the rules that will govern online accessibility in the future.

Live Music Should Be More Accessible For Disabled Fans

April 9, 2021, VICE: Renée Yoxon remembers the hours wasted before the pandemic figuring out whether or not a concert venue would be accessible to them. "I never felt good going to a venue because of my physical disability," said Yoxon, a Montreal-based musician and music teacher who suffers from chronic joint pain and uses a rollator walker as a mobility aid. "It's really hard to find information about whether or not a venue is accessible. You'll call 1000 places and ask what their accessibility features are because they're not listed on their website or on Facebook." At one point, they recall, a venue said there wouldn't be an issue with accessibility at both the entrance of the venue and the bathroom, but when Yoxon arrived, the bathroom was out of order, and the only other one available was down a flight of stairs. "I couldn't get down there and I had to leave early," said Yoxon. "I don't really enjoy going to new places, because that kind of garbage happens all the time."

Roanoke advocate for disabilities is alleging Valley Metro bus system is discriminatory

April 9, 2021, WSET: An advocate for disabilities is calling on the Roanoke bus system to do better after she alleges the bus has passed him multiple times leaving him stranded.

On Designing for Accessibility and Usability During a Pandemic

April 8, 2021, Hacker Noon: As 2021 progresses, designers will have a tough path to navigate in getting usable feedback from consumers to make sure websites and apps are not only staying on top of user needs and industry trends, but also to ensure that websites are truly accessible.

Service dogs can help veterans with PTSD; growing evidence shows they may reduce anxiety

April 8, 2021, The Fayetteville Observer: As many as 1 in 5 of the roughly 2.7 million Americans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hearing aids ‘cosmetic,’ not covered by insurance in Ohio. Some lawmakers want to change that

April 7, 2021, Springfield News-Sun: Hearing aids for children should be covered by health insurance to make early intervention for deaf and hard-of-hearing kids more affordable for Ohio families, according to a bipartisan group of state lawmakers.

Home deliveries for customers with disabilities improved with new accessibility options

April 7, 2021, THIIS–UK: Home deliveries for customers with disabilities are set to be improved after HelloDone teamed up with DHL Parcel UK to offer customers with disabilities delivery accessibility options through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The Fashion Industry Is Ableist, and Stylist Stephanie Thomas Created a System to Change That

April 6, 2021, InStyle: "I know the power of including authentic voices and seeing people that look like you in the media," says stylist Stephanie Thomas. She is a congenital amputee with missing digits on her hands and feet who has been styling actors and influencers with disabilities for over 13 years. Her work has been seen everywhere from Kohl's adaptive clothing launch to Nike campaigns.

TikTok Adds New Auto-Captions Feature to Improve Accessibility

April 6, 2021, Social Media Today: TikTok has added a new auto-captions option for video clips, which will enable creators to switch on automated text overlays for their uploads, improving accessibility in the app.

United States: Renewed Attempt At ADA Web Accessibility Legislation

April 6, 2021, Mondaq: On February 18, 2021, U.S. Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC), Richard Hudson (R-NC), and Lou Correa (D-CA) re-introduced the Online Accessibility Act in Congress as H.R. 1100. The bill would codify the principle declared by some courts, such as the Ninth Circuit in Domino's, that a website (and mobile app) that is not accessible can violate the ADA, and set a standard by which accessibility is measured for the purpose of compliance with the ADA.

Blind and visually impaired teens adapt to Zoom for social activities

April 6, 2021, Seacoastonline: When nearly everything went virtual and the term "lockdown" was newly abuzz last spring, Stephanie Hurd and Ryan Menter began asking how they would modify their teen programming for Future in Sight, a nonprofit that provides education, rehabilitation and social services to those who are blind or visually impaired.

Black deaf community works to preserve, celebrate Black American Sign Language

April 5, 2021, ABC11: For Daisy Rivenbark, Black American Sign Language is much more than a language. It's a part of who she is. "I am extremely proud. I can't explain it. I can't hide it. I can't deny it. I mean, it's my language. It's who I am," said Rivenbark, NCDHHS Deaf Services Specialist.

Pandemic Side Effect For Restaurants: Increased Disability Accommodation Claims

April 5, 2021, JD Supra: The restrictions placed on indoor occupancy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced businesses to think creatively in order to stay open. Businesses across all sectors have turned to technology in adapting to their respective locality’s regulations, including implementing remote work, holding meetings through videoconference, and offering online methods of commerce.

Public facilities accessible for all should be the goal

April 5, 2021, Williamsport Sun-Gazette: That’s a draft mission statement for the city’s new Accessibility Advisory Commission, created in the past year by City Council as it strives to come into compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

UES Candidate Says City Fundraising Rules Harm The Disabled

April 5, 2021, Patch: An Upper East Side City Council candidate is at odds with the city's Campaign Finance Board over its fundraising rules, which she says are unfair for people like her who have disabilities.