Raising the Floor News
A new report from Google finds that people are using more than one device for information and communication functions. Sometimes we shift between devices, such as searching for a product on a smartphone while waiting for a bus, but buying it when we get home. Sometimes we're using 2 devices at once, such as watching TV and following a Twitter feed on the show. The report goes into fine detail on which devices are used to start a functin and how, exactly, we move from one to the other.
Bubbly is a new social media tool that lets users record and forward voice messages to their 'followers' -- it's like Twitter, but by voice instead of text (although you can share text messages with Bubbly as well). Since there's no reading or text entry involved, and no computer or smartphone is required, it may be a way for many new people to social network.
OwnFone is a new mobile phone with some interesting features. There's no keypad. You register from 2 to 12 people with the company, and they send you a phone whose control surface is pre-printed with those names; just press to dial. You've got a few color and style choices as well; the phones are simple, small, light, and flat. Your number is printed on the back. They plan to add decals for photos and braille. OwnFone is available only in the UK for now.
The Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge University has recently reported the results of its pilot of a large-scale population survey aimed at collecting information that will help designers understand the needs of users with disabilities. From the abstract:
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently formed a fund to support projects in accessible broadcasting. These projects will supplement what CRTC already requires in terms of captioning and description, and may include innovations in mobile and online media accessibility. BAF's Board will be composed of accessibility stakeholders representing different disability categories, and industry-based and independent experts. Initial project proposals will be received later this year.
Raising the Floor has another reason to be proud of our connection with Amara, the crowd-sourcing captioning solution: Netflix just announced an experiment with Amara to provide team-based captions for some popular classic cartoons and TV. Amara lets anyone set up teams to tackle videos that need translation or captions; each volunteer works as much as he/she wants, and there's a way to assure quality and accuracy.
Raising the Floor and the Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC) will be holding an innovative text-only focus group on captioning. Using Adobe Connect, participants will join 4 text chat conversations on a single screen, on 4 separate captioning topics. The goal is to learn how users want captioning to work in the future, so RtF can develop its Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) to reflect those needs and preferences.
September 6-7, 2012 will mark the US Federal Communication Commission's second accessibility hackathon, with developers from the DC area meeting up with online participants to build accessibility apps and websites in real time. Focused on training, collaboration, and professional networking, the event welcomes the participation of anyone interested in accessible technology, at any level of technical expertise. Raising the Floor will be there, showing off our own development progress and looking for partners.
Google+ Hangout is a collaboration service that lets as many as 10 participants see and hear each other, sharing screens or documents. Google recently added a captioning capability, allowing users to see instantaneous text versions of what is being said. Real-time transcriptioning can be provided by StreamText, a Google partner in the new service, or by the users themselves, with one text window per Hangout.
In a startling decision, the Massachusetts Federal District Court ruled that Netflix may be required to caption its streaming movies under the Americans with Disabilities Act.