LEGO Releases Audio and Braille Instructions Pilot Program

September 12, 2019 10:30:07 AM EDT

Back in 2010, thirteen-year-old Matthew Shifrin wanted to build a LEGO castle. Following the LEGO building instructions at the time, which consisted only of photographs, was just about impossible for someone blind, like Matthew. Fortunately, his babysitter Lilya Finkel stepped in and gave him a binder of Braille instructions she had written for him of the “Battle of Alamut” castle LEGO set. Due to the duo’s efforts since then, LEGO announced in August 2019 that it has created a pilot program for audio and Braille instructions.

Who Decides If a Website Is Accessible?

September 10, 2019 10:27:00 AM EDT

Web accessibility is a hot topic and it's here to stay — but with so many organizations learning and implementing the guiding principles and best practices, who actually gets to decide whether or not a website is accessible?

It's Okay to Feel Good About Accessibility

September 5, 2019 10:00:12 AM EDT

It's no secret web accessibility lawsuits are on the rise and that industries from education to retail to hospitality are increasingly adding compliance measures to help their websites and apps stay compliant with laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

With so much focus on the compliance aspect of accessibility, here's a reminder that you're doing the right thing for your customers and your business while improving everyone's experience.

8 Tips for Designing Websites with People with Disabilities in Mind

August 30, 2019 12:02:58 PM EDT

One of the biggest challenges web designers and content creators face when working to resolve accessibility issues is trying to squeeze accessible solutions back into an otherwise finished design. A much easier, and of course accessible, approach is to consider people with disabilities in the design from the beginning — but asking someone to do this and guiding them on how with actionable ideas are very different things, as it isn't always easy or intuitive.

Here are tips for a smoother, more accessible design approach.

7 Questions to Ask Your Website Host or Agency About Accessibility

August 28, 2019 10:11:00 AM EDT

Most businesses rely on third-parties for at least some of their website needs — the website may have been designed by a vendor, it may live on a vendor's platform or use their components and templates, or the content could even be managed entirely or partially by a vendor on an ongoing basis.

Here are 7 questions to ask your vendors about accessibility.

Give Yourself an Accessibility Test: Turn On High Contrast

August 26, 2019 10:17:24 AM EDT

For people who need or want to navigate the web with high contrast enabled, these settings offer a free and pretty reliable way to do so. High contrast also gives you a fast and easy way to identify some accessibility issues on your website you might not catch otherwise.

Use Caution with Automated Tools that Promise 100% Accessibility Compliance

August 23, 2019 12:01:07 PM EDT

Automated accessibility testing tools, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and code-scanning technology, can be an important part of an accessibility testing plan — but, they must remain just a part. Automated testing on its own should not replace manual testing by an accessibility expert and should not be used as the only way to show compliance.

Give Yourself an Accessibility Test: Use Your Site on a Phone

August 10, 2019 1:07:42 PM EDT

Did you know that how well websites work on a smartphone or tablet is a critical piece of web accessibility? While it's true that in-depth testing probably requires partnership with accessibility experts, you can start a preliminary assessment of your website's accessibility on your phone right now, for free.

Assistive Technology Market Estimates: Rapid Growth Ahead

August 8, 2019 10:33:00 AM EDT

According to projections by market research company Coherent Market Insights, the global assistive technology market will reach $26 billion by 2024, nearly doubling from $14 billion in 2015. Zion Market Research is even more optimistic about the industry’s trajectory, with an estimate of $31 billion in 2024 and an annual growth rate of 7.4 percent.

User Agents and Accessibility

July 23, 2019 11:00:00 AM EDT

User agents are software applications that interact with the internet on your behalf. They do things so you don't have to. For example, a web browser is a user agent, in that it displays web content in a way that people find easy to use.

Here's why user agents matter for accessibility.

Why You (Usually) Need Row and Column Headers for Accessible Tables

July 19, 2019 2:45:04 PM EDT

Tables are a great way to organize and share a lot of data and information. They help content creators and designers present facts and figures cleanly, when describing them in words and sentences may be difficult and tiresome.

While there are many other factors for whether a table can be considered accessible, one of the most common accessibility issues with data tables is the lack of properly-coded headers.

Why You Need to Test Custom Use Cases for Accessibility

July 17, 2019 9:55:51 AM EDT

There are a lot of website accessibility testing strategies, but if custom use cases aren't part of your testing strategy, you may be exposed to accessibility vulnerabilities as a result.

Accessibility Improves Bounce Rates

July 13, 2019 8:59:48 AM EDT

Implementing accessibility best practices on your website allows people with disabilities to consume your content and engage with you to the fullest extent. Many businesses are also realizing the many additional benefits of web accessibility.

Digital marketers, for example, are discovering that accessibility improves SEO. There's a related aspect that hasn't received much attention: accessibility improves bounce rates.

Understanding WCAG 2.1 Success Criterion 4.1.3: Status Messages

July 12, 2019 10:05:00 AM EDT

Among other additions, WCAG 2.1 introduced a new Level AA success criterion 4.1.3, also known as “Status Messages.” Here's what you need to know about this new checkpoint, including what it is and how to successfully implement it on your website.

Web Accessibility and the Fourth of July: Celebrating Independence in More Ways Than One

July 4, 2019 10:00:00 AM EDT

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate our independence as a nation that collectively values freedom and liberty. It also feels like an appropriate time to celebrate and reflect on what independence means for the individual and how prioritizing accessibility can enable some individuals with disabilities to live more independently in the digital age.

8 Facts About Hearing Disabilities and Web Accessibility

July 3, 2019 12:11:43 PM EDT

Deafness, hearing loss, and being hard of hearing are some of the most common disabilities in the U.S. and worldwide, yet there are still many misconceptions surrounding hearing disabilities — including that there are many different levels of hearing. Here are 8 facts about hearing impairment and how they relate to web accessibility.

Accessibility Is Privacy and Security

July 2, 2019 10:41:48 AM EDT

Advocates for digital accessibility and those in compliance and governance roles sometimes say that accessibility should be prioritized at the same level as privacy and security. Absolutely, it should be, but it's time to take the argument one step further — not only should accessibility be prioritized in the same way as privacy and security, it needs to be recognized that accessibility is privacy and security.

Microsoft Releases New Eyes First Games

June 25, 2019 11:19:25 AM EDT

Microsoft has released four new computer games that people can play using only their eyes. These games, branded Eyes First, use eye-tracking technology to enable people with speech and mobility disabilities to do things on the computer like solve puzzles and negotiate mazes.

The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do to Improve Website Accessibility

June 22, 2019 1:25:54 PM EDT

This article will not contain any accessibility best practices. It will not tell you any quick fixes you can make to your websites and apps to make them more usable for people with disabilities. It will not be technical at all. But yet, it will tell you the single most important thing you can do to improve web accessibility.

Tips to Create an Accessible PowerPoint Presentation

June 21, 2019 10:20:00 AM EDT

PowerPoint is many people's go-to program for creating presentations. It also tends to be highly visual with graphs, images, and infographics. Fortunately, just like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint has many built-in features to help make documents accessible — but this doesn't mean your presentations are automatically accessible.

IKEA and Partners Unveil 3D-Printed Gaming Accessories That Will Improve Accessibility for Gamers

June 14, 2019 10:00:00 AM EDT

Earlier this month, IKEA and partners announced a new line of gaming prototypes, UPPKOPPLA, that is meant to improve the gaming experience for people with a wide range of abilities and preferences.

The new line of accessories will use 3D-printing to target the physical needs of gamers. To accomplish this, IKEA is teaming up with UNYQ, a design company specializing in 3D-printed medical products and devices, and Area Academy, an e-sport company known for their educational focus.

Tips to Create an Accessible Microsoft Word Document

June 11, 2019 11:11:16 AM EDT

Microsoft Word is one of the most common ways to create text documents. Thankfully, Word has many built-in features to help make documents accessible. However, this doesn't mean a Word document is automatically accessible — to make a document fully accessible, you need to follow a few key principles.

Here are seven guidelines to make Microsoft Word documents accessible to people with disabilities.

Are you taking advantage of our free accessibility resources?

June 8, 2019 11:28:05 AM EDT

One of the great things about digital accessibility is how many free resources, guides, checkers, and other tools you can start using today. Here are some of the free offerings we have — available to everyone, right now.

How to Utilize and Create Accessible Pinterest Content

June 3, 2019 10:04:00 AM EDT

Pinterest, one of the most visual social media platforms, is also considered pretty accessible by many. Pinterest features elements such as alt text, a balanced color palette, and advanced screen reader capabilities, making the platform accessible by people who are blind or have visual or other disabilities.

Here is how to take advantage of the accessibility features in place and how to create more accessible Pinterest content yourself.

World MS Day Highlights Need for Digital Accessibility

May 30, 2019 9:00:00 AM EDT

May 30 is World MS Day, created to increase awareness, solidarity, and hope for those affected by multiple sclerosis. The campaign for 2019 is “My Invisible MS” and the theme is Visibility, according to the World MS Day website.

The special goal of this year’s theme is to challenge common misconceptions and bring awareness to the invisible symptoms of MS and the impacts of those unseen symptoms on people’s everyday lives.

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