Raising the Floor News
There's an interesting project on Kickstarter that uses typographic design to portray how text appears to people with dyslexia, like its designer himself, Sam Barclay. Barclay recommends the book (already almost triple its Kickstarter target with a November 28 deadline) for increasing awareness of what dyslexia is, and how it can affect the inclusion of citizens, business customers, and fellow students or employees.
The Economist released a worldwide study based on interviews with experts on the digital divide, and the findings included some brand new conclusions.
Motorola has announced Project Ara, an exploration of open hardware for mobile devices. Through Ara, consumers will be able to construct personalized phones by combining the hardware modules they prefer into an 'endoskeleton'. In accessibility scenarios, a user could select a compatible braille output instead of a visual display module, or pick a large keypad to help with dexterity limitations.
Mozilla Webmaker has released a collaboratively-created Web Literacy Standard, outlining the skills a user should have in order to use the web effectively. Accessibility is explicitly mentioned in one item: "Improving the accessibility of a web page by modifying its color scheme and markup", which some may view as inaccurate or insufficient. Some of the items, such as "Recognizing the visual cues in everyday web services" are obviously problematic. Many of the skills require a lot of cognitive ability.
A report from the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and Disabled People’s International (DPI) indicates that countries are rapidly adding accessibility to their policy agendas: now half the countries of the world have such a policy, up from 31% only a year ago. However, many of these countries do not define accessibility in practical terms, fund accessibility services, or work to improve awareness and professional development.
The Pew Resarch Center has released a new report on who's not online and why. Many non-users cite a constellation of factors that include usability, accessibility, and digital skills. The number of people in this category, 32% of all non-users, is almost twice what it was 3 years ago. Also interesting is that only 17% of non-users think they could get started on their own, while 63% think they would need some help getting started.
Amazon Kindle HD products now come with a free live support service called Mayday. Press the Mayday button and you will see and hear a tech support person within 15 seconds, who can help you with any problem you have with using the device or the content you're using.
The United Nations will meet in New York on September 23 to discuss how people with disabilities can move forward from the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. On the agenda is a discussion of the role of accessible technology in permitting people with disabilities to participate in their societies.
Some savvy grassroots consumers have begun a campaign to increase the number of audio-described videos available through Netflix. Aware that audio description is often available on DVDs but "falls through the cracks" when moved online, they are lobbying both the original studios and Netflix, to make sure that someone takes responsibility for following through.
Federal Employees with Disabilities (FEDs), a group representing disabled employees of federal agencies in the US, has sent a letter to the Senate that explains its view of the pervasive barriers to employment and advancement experienced by people with disabilities.