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What We Are Reading

2015 March 31

Here are a few items that caught our attention since our last newsletter:

  • Accessible SVG Data Visualization – Video demo (16 mins) by Doug Schepers of the W3C (2/17/15). A demonstration of the experimental screenreader Describler, which allows blind users to explore charts and other data visualizations.
  • The stars come out in accessible ebook. Perkins (March 25, 2015). An article about SAS’s astronomy book, “Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, and Learn.” Ed Summers of SAS tells us, “We used every trick in the book (so to speak) to make the images in the book accessible to all students. The strategies include read aloud, sonification, audio-embossing, tactile overlays, and 3D models. These strategies were employed on a scatter plot, line chart, bar chart, images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and many other conceptual illustrations.”
  • Accessibility is usability in context of disability. Chemnitzer 14 blog (February 14, 2015). Excerpt: “…accessibility should be so “baked in” to every process that you shouldn’t be able to avoid it, extract it, or remove it.  If you’re a developer and someone says “cut the accessibility features” you should be able to say “that’s not possible. They’re not separate features.” If you’re a designer and someone says “skip the accessibility testing”, you should be able to say, “That’s not possible. It’s part of our testing suite.” If you’re a UX designer and someone says “We’re not designing for accessibility, skip it,” you should *already* be able to say “That’s not possible, they’re built into your audience.”
  • New Research Study Shows 57 Percent of Adult Computer Users Can Benefit From Accessible Technology. Microsoft, 2004. This is an old article, not a new one, but worth a re-run.
  • Introducing the B.C. Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit. Provides accessible learning and teaching materials to students and instructors who cannot use conventional print because of disabilities. Information on how to make content accessible, with specifics on images, charts, graphs, maps and more.
  • 3D Printing Heats Up on Campus. Campus Technology. (February 26, 2015). “More than just a toy for engineers, 3D printing is beginning to move from experimental tech to multi-disciplinary learning tool.”
  • ‘Accessible cards’, a tactile way to make banking so much easier for the blind. The Guardian (February 21, 2015). “The cards, which feature tactile markings and a notch to show what direction to insert them in to an ATM, are the first banking products accredited by the Royal National Institute of Blind People.”

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