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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.

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New window: How to Add Alt Text to Your Instagram Posts (and Why You Should)

November 12, 2022, Make Use Of: Imagine you're scrolling through Instagram but can't clearly see what's on each post. Would you rather not use the app at all? Of course not. That's the reality of at least 2.2 billion people worldwide with a near or distant visual impairment. But they shouldn't be left out of the fun on Instagram because of it. In this article, we'll show you how to add alt text to your Instagram posts, so you can accommodate the visually impaired. Let's jump right in.

New window: Advocating for the Hearing Loss Community: November 15th, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

November 11, 2022, West Side Rag: On November 15, the NYC chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America will present a program on advocacy for the hearing loss community. Attorney Bruce Gitlin will speak about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it affects us individually. Chapter member and advocate Jerry Bergman will discuss local advocacy initiatives, and attorney John Waldo will discuss national initiatives.

New window: Calgary’s Next Economy: Included by Design is opening doors to improved accessibility

November 11, 2022, Live Wire Calgary: Sean Crump has spent years in Calgary dedicated to making local businesses more accessible. His company, Included by Design, and before that, Universal Access, has been focused on improving the physical accessibility. “Through Covid, as you can appreciate, obviously less and less places were interested in making their space accessible when the doors weren’t even open to their general public,” he said. “It really gave us a time to kind of have a bit of perspective on what we’re doing.” Crump said that’s when they began developing a new, tech-driven platform called Krooshl. He wanted to look at more of the disability inclusion narrative. “It identifies all the accessible businesses, restaurants and those types of things and allows people with disabilities to book or register for events or do anything like that on there,” he said. It also helps businesses identify what they need to do to be inclusive. That might include things like staff training and elements that go beyond just the physical environment.

New window: How to Practice Inclusive Marketing in Multifamily

November 10, 2022, Multi-Housing News: As a company, your commitment to inclusivity in all areas should be ongoing, said Lee-Wen. “It’s not just a fly-by-night trend.” Inclusive marketing should be a clear component of your marketing goals, from brainstorming to campaigns. It should start at the firm level, with a marketing team and company culture that prioritizes inclusivity. Do your company values and culture promote inclusive thinking? When you have a framework that prioritizes diversity, all your employees are working toward the same mission, and demonstrating these values in all areas of business, including marketing, can impact on your company’s bottom line. “If inclusion is part of your company’s DNA, it’s easier to translate that to not only your customers but also your employees,” said Jones. “You may need to regularly reevaluate your brand values to stay up to date and refreshed.” The Deloitte report cited that 57 percent of consumers are more loyal to brands that demonstrate a commitment to addressing social inequities, in addition to marketing inclusiveness. Hiring and retention practices are a valuable way for firms to show their commitment. “Customers (get) excited about a brand that supports diversity and inclusion,” said Jones.

New window: World's tallest woman takes her first flight after the airline modifies several seats

November 10, 2022, CNN Travel: Rumeysa Gelgi, the world's tallest living woman, recently boarded an airplane from her home country of Turkey to San Francisco. However, it wasn't just any flight. It was Gelgi's first, and one that highlighted a growing attention to accessibility. Gelgi, 25, stands at 7 feet, 0.7 inches tall. Her proportions are a result of Weaver syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes bone overgrowth. She has been a Guinness World Record celebrity since her teens, and holds records in several size-related categories, including the longest fingers on a living person and the longest back on a living female person. Gelgi regularly travels to share her story, and uses her warm wit to spread body positivity on social media. However, despite her international profile, she had never flown on an airplane before. Like many people with Weaver syndrome, Gelgi uses mobility aids to get around, and a long flight would require special accommodation for her extraordinary frame. But in September, Gelgi finally took to the skies. In an Instagram post a few weeks later, she shared photos from her trip aboard Turkish Airlines, which was made possible after the airlines removed several seats on the plane so Gelgi could rest comfortably on a stretcher during the 13-hour journey from Istanbul to California.

New window: High Tech on the Low Episode 74: Usability Not Just Accessibility

November 10, 2022, Geektime: Menashe Shani, CEO and co-founder of Purple Lens, aims to innovate on the traditional web accessibility offering and shift the paradigm to one of usability for all. In my podcast, I explore the many different facets of the world of high tech from development to marketing, to sales, to entrepreneurship, all with the goal of collecting key insights on startups for listeners to gain value from this knowledge-sharing. So, what did I discover this week? Web accessibility has been an issue since the internet's adoption. In short, it is the inclusive practice of ensuring access to websites by people with physical, mental, and situational disabilities. To the commonly referred to as able-bodied internet users, this may seem almost intuitive or somewhat inherent that a website should be “accessible”. However, it is only once we are truly confronted with a handicap that we ourselves could even begin to grasp what it means to enter a website and find it inaccessible.

New window: Are you using an accessibility overlay to help disabled users? Don’t!

November 10, 2022, Search Engine Land: Briefly defined, an overlay is a broad term used to classify widgets or technologies that inject third-party source code into a page (usually JavaScript) to make accessibility improvements on the front-end source code of the target page. These overlays have grown in popularity over the last several years to the point that they are now on tens of thousands of sites across the web. Although dozens exist, the two most popular overlays by market share are UserWay and accessiBe. For a monthly fee, these overlays promise users 100% ADA and WCAG compliance, protection from legal lawsuits and a superior UX for disabled users, by installing what amounts to one line of code to the website. The reality though is far harsher.

New window: WHO launches training in assistive products

November 10, 2022, The National Tribune: More than 2.5 billion people worldwide need assistive products like glasses, walking aids, continence products, and therapeutic footwear in their everyday life. To meet this increasing need, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching Training in Assistive Products or TAP, a groundbreaking training programme designed to increase access to the world’s most needed assistive products, on Thursday, 10 November 2022. TAP is an open-access online learning platform that can equip primary healthcare workers like nurses, doctors, and community health workers with the knowledge and skills to provide assistive products. The training complements other WHO tools and resources in supporting countries to improve access to assistive technology. TAP is currently available in 10 languages, including the six UN languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

New window: Helpful resources for the busy parent of a child with a disability (Surviving Parenting)

November 9, 2022, Syracuse: After years of working in special education, I have collected a wealth of resources that I can suggest to parents as they navigate their child’s education, but that’s not all they need as they navigate daily joys and frustrations. But what does a busy mom of a child with a disability actually need?

New window: TechSlice highlighted these 4 change-seeking innovations at its latest Demo Day

November 9, 2022, Technically: Rebecca Rosenberg of ReBokeh is a founder with a visual impairment. She never quite found an assistive technology that worked seamlessly for her, so she instead built app-based technology that is already helping ReBokeh’s client base. The tech offers visually impaired users patent-pending filters to help see objects better, as well as a zooming feature to enhance directions on outdoor signageRosenberg reported 925 downloads, with 25 to 50 new ones each week, in the 19 weeks ReBokeh has been available for iPhone. Users regularly engage with the app for over 25 minutes, she said. She also recently took her company through Towson University’s StarTUp Accelerator. But Rosenberg said that ReBokeh is more than an app. The company is working on informing machine learning processes with predictive algorithms r to more readily provide visual augmentation to clients. “We want to be the go-to company for all things low-vision,” Rosenberg said.

New window: Kiandra builds Dylan Alcott-backed disability employment site

November 9, 2022, Melbourne-based Kiandra IT has built an online jobs platform to help people with disabilities find employment. Kiandra was selected by Get Skilled Access (GSA), which was founded by former wheelchair tennis player and Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott, to build the site ‘Field’. According to Kiandra, Field was built “in a way other sites hadn’t properly addressed before” and was disability-led, designed, delivered and maintained.

New window: Here’s who’s representing DC tech in the Timmy Award finals

November 9, 2022, Technically: Tech in Motion, the national network for tech events, just dropped the local winners of its Timmy Awards. The awards, now in their eighth year, honor tech companies and individuals raising the bar in the national tech industry (you can check out last year’s winners here). Companies compete in six categories: Best Tech Startup, Work Culture, Manager, Workplace for Diversity and Tech for Good. Of note, only one company was a repeat this year from last year’s selectees: MPower Financing. The community votes for the regional winners, who then advance to the national competition against individuals and companies from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Southern California and Toronto. A panel of judges from Google, Etsy, The New York Times’ dev team and other employers will select the national winners at a ceremony on Nov. 10.

New window: Lenovo on how to make tech accessible to all

November 9, 2022, Unleash: Diversity in the technology industry has been a problem for years. More specifically, we’ve often seen a bias against women, people of color, people in the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities. Although many tech companies recognize the need for change, diversity continues to be a key challenge. Lack of diversity is also reflected in product design. Companies need to understand that their customers come from across the globe and from vastly different backgrounds, which is why it’s so important to think about inclusion.

New window: FestivalsWithoutBarriers campaign aims for more accessible festivals

November 9, 2022, Music Ally: Attitude is Everything is an organisation campaigning to improve accessibility to concerts and festivals for disabled people. Its latest campaign kicks off today as a partnership with UK live industry bodies AIF, AFO and BAFA. It’s called FestivalsWithoutBarriers, and is geared towards driving change at more than 200 festivals and events in 2023. The campaign is based around three calls to action. First, to make sure disabled people get good information about the accessibility of events when tickets go on sale. Second, that the artist booking process for these events includes questions about access requirements. And third, practical changes to make festival workplaces and volunteering accessible to disabled people. Attitude is Everything and its partners will work to support festivals in putting these principles into practice with a mixture of guides, training and events.

New window: WIPO’s Accessible Books Consortium Names Its Award Shortlists

November 9, 2022, Publishing Perspectives: In a late-day announcement today (November 9), the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva (WIPO) has named two shortlists of finalists for its 2022 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. In this context, ABC, of course, stands for the Accessible Books Consortium, a public-private partnership led by WIPO. It includes organizations that represent people with print disabilities such as the World Blind Union (WBU); libraries for the blind; standards bodies; and organizations representing authors, publishers, and collective management organizations.

New window: iOS 16.2 to introduce ‘Custom Accessibility Mode’ with streamlined experience for iPhone and iPad

November 8, 2022, 9 to 5 Mac: Apple on Tuesday released iOS 16.2 beta 2 to developers as the company gets ready to make the update available to the public in December. Officially, it adds the new Freeform collaboration app and improvements to the Home app. Under the hood, 9to5Mac found out that Apple has been working on a new “Custom Accessibility Mode” that will provide a “streamlined” experience for iPhone and iPad.

New window: iOS 16.2 to introduce ‘Custom Accessibility Mode’ with streamlined experience for iPhone and iPad

November 8, 2022, 9 to 5 Mac: Apple on Tuesday released iOS 16.2 beta 2 to developers as the company gets ready to make the update available to the public in December. Officially, it adds the new Freeform collaboration app and improvements to the Home app. Under the hood, 9to5Mac found out that Apple has been working on a new “Custom Accessibility Mode” that will provide a “streamlined” experience for iPhone and iPad.

New window: Making digital technologies more accessible to Canadians with disabilities

November 8, 2022, Cision PR Newswire: All Canadians deserve the opportunity to find good jobs, contribute to their community and build a better life for themselves and their family. Yet even today, many Canadians with disabilities still face barriers to fully participating in the digital economy. That's why the Government of Canada continues to push the envelope to find new and innovative ways of helping remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion. Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the second phase of the Accessible Technology Program (ATP) and highlighted a $5.8 million federal investment in the program. The ATP is seeking applications for projects to develop new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies to make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to participate fully in the digital economy. Given the unique needs of Canadians with disabilities, the current level of support for the development of accessible technologies is insufficient. While mainstream technologies typically decrease in price and become more readily available, the opposite is true for assistive and adaptive devices, since they must be customized to the unique needs of their users.

New window: Hotels invited to showcase their offerings in accessibility, sustainability and more

November 8, 2022, Hospitality: Hotel search site is seeking hotel partners that wish to showcase their excellence in accessibility, sustainability, wellness, and family-friendliness to increase their visibility to niche market travelers and potential guests.

New window: How To Create A Successful Digital Equity Strategy

November 8, 2022, Next City: Local governments across the nation are adopting digital equity strategies and transforming digital accessibility for their communities. Our panel of FUSE Executive Fellows leading digital equity projects in Texas and Alabama will discuss four crucial components of a successful digital equity strategy: Building case support for a digital equity plan via public data Capacity building - components of effective coalition building Funding digital equity programs Formulating sustainability plans to meet current and future needs