Freedom Scientific Posts JAWS 17 Update

Freedom Scientific posted the latest update to JAWS (17.0.1539) today. This release includes many improvements made since the previous update in January.

What’s New in JAWS 17 lists the enhancements and new features in JAWS 17. Recommended reading if you’re lucky enough to be a JAWS 17 user! 😉

To check for updates, minimise all (<WinKey+M>), move focus to the desktop (<WinKey+D>), press <Ins+J,h,p> (and <Alt+Y> if the UAC Prompt pops up). The check for updates may take a minute or two.

NVDA 2016.1 Now Available

NV Access released NVDA 2016.1 this morning. NVDA is a free and open source screen reader for Windows.

Highlights of this release include:

  • the ability to optionally lower the volume of other sounds (audio ducking)
  • improved Braille output and display support
  • significant Microsoft Office support bugfixes
  • better handling of browse mode in iTunes
  • reporting of emphasis is now disabled by default 😤

Visit What’s New in NVDA for full details.

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YouTube HTML5 Player Accessibility

2005 was a momentous year for YouTube:

  • The youtube.com domain name was created on February 14th.

  • On April 23rd, the first video was uploaded to the site where it remains to this day. It’s called Me at the Zoo and is 19secs long. 27.8m views and counting! :)

  • In September, a Nike ad featuring Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho went viral and was the first video to reach 1m views.

  • On November 7th, YouTube announced it had received $3.5m in funding from a venture capital firm.

  • And on December 15th, according to this Business Insider article, YouTube officially launched out of beta.

Accessibility wasn’t a priority in those early days, but YouTube has come a long way in 10 years. Below are my tips for using the HTML5 player with a screen reader.

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Document Accessibility Toolbar Now Available

It’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities and to celebrate, Vision Australia has announce the release of the long-awaited Document Accessibility Toolbar (DAT).

The DAT is a dedicated accessibility ribbon menu for Microsoft Word 2010 or later that makes it quicker and easier to create accessible documents. It features a range of functions to optimise and validate a document for accessibility. The DAT is available for Windows and is free to download.

Other free tools provided by Vision Australia include the Colour Contrast Analyser, and the Web Accessibility Toolbar (WAT) for Internet Explorer. 8-)

Mailhide Recommended Despite Accessibility Glitches

If you want to put a link to your email address on your blog or web page so people can contact you by email, but you’re too afraid of spam, then Google’s free reCAPTCHA Mailhide is for you! :)

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Getting Started Videos from Google Accessibility

Earlier today, Roger Benz of the Google Accessibility Team announced the release of five videos on YouTube to help blind and visually impaired people get started with Google Docs, Drives, Slides, and Sheets using the NVDA screen reader with the Firefox web browser on Windows:

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Stella Young: I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much

Earlier tonight, I attended a meeting of the Cork Centre for Independent Living Peer Forum in the Maldron Hotel on John Redmond Street.

Event organiser and Cork CIL Community Employment Supervisor Nicola Meacle was MC for the evening. She screened four short films on the theme of “A Visual Exploration of Disability and Independent Living” and gave a brief introduction to each one. Nicola prefaced I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much (a talk given by Stella Young at TEDxSydney in April, 2014) by breaking the sad news that Stella had recently passed away.

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Braille E-Books: Why Can’t You Buy a Budget E-Reader?

The BBC Technology News reporter asks why there isn’t an affordable Braille e-book reader available despite several attempts to make one. The depressing answer is that giants like Amazon aren’t interested in such a specialised niche market.

Small players have tried to fill this innovation gap, but these groups are invariably heavily reliant on government grants and charitable donations. All too often, the funds dry up at the prototype stage and the project stalls.

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Disabled People Should Be Killed Says Google

Jaw-dropping article from Accessibility NZ about Google’s autocomplete predictions for the search query disabled people should.

Predictions are derived from a number of factors including how often users search for a particular term. So if Google suggests something offensive, it’s a strong indicator that an awful lot of people are typing that particular phrase into the search box. :(

PS: It should be noted that Google no longer suggests the predictions mentioned in the article and it is now possible to report offensive predictions. I guess someone tipped them off!

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Disabled Sue Over Web Shopping

A routine article in the Wall Street Journal describing how the US-based National Federation of the Blind and the National Association of the Deaf sued Target and Netflix for failing to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.

What sets this piece apart, however, is the tone of the 169 comments submitted by readers. (Search for Archived Comments and click on Oldest with the mouse pointer/JAWS Cursor to get started.) Some of the ignorant attitudes expressed are truly breath-taking. Set your talking watch back 100 years. :(