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Accessibility in a Digital Age 1.4

Welcome to the latest installment of “Accessibility in a Digital Age,” a roundup of links to information about creating and using digital resources that are accessible to all people.

In a thought-provoking essay, Lennard Davis asks “Why Is Disability Missing From the Discourse on Diversity?,” a question we would do well to consider as we remain mindful of the various ways the digital divide can affect various people.

We Connect Now is a relatively new grassroots organization “dedicated to uniting college students with disabilities in access to higher education and employment issues.”

The United States National Council on Disability has produced a substantial report entitled The Power of Digital Inclusion: Technology’s Impact on Employment and Opportunities for People with Disabilities, available for download.

Kelli Shaver, of Mashable, tells us about “7 Tech Breakthroughs That Empower People With Disabilities.” (h/t to Erin Templeton for that link.)

The University of Athens Accessibility Unit provides a nice list of “open source / freeware assistive technology software.”

Eric Stoller, of Inside Higher Ed’s “BlogU,” shares an “Online Accessibility Resources Roundup.”

Noting that 20% of gamers have a disability, Media Access Australia introduces us to “accessible gaming.”

Derek Featherstone, of Simply Accessible, offers a few “user scenarios that we need to take into account when we’re testing web sites and applications.”

From Yahoo! Accessibility we get advice by Todd Kloots regarding “Easy Fixes to Common Accessibility Problems.”

Google

Last month, as Read Write Web’s Jon Mitchell reported, Google announced an effort to enhance the accessibility of a few of their products. Jarrett Cummings speculated that this could mean “A Light at the End of the Tunnel.” Just a few days ago, Google provided “A Progress Report” on making their products more accessible. (There’s also a 48-minute video from GoogleApps, if you’d like a demonstration of some of these new features.)

Apple

Last week, Apple announced the new iPhone, and Austin Seraphin has some interesting thoughts on what this new device means to the blind, while Media Access Australia provides “a summary of accessibility improvements.” (And from YahooAccessibility, we get this YouTube demonstration of “navigating a web page with VoiceOver [Apple's screenreader for blind and low vision users] with the iPhone.”)

Of course, the other big Apple news last week was the death of Steve Jobs. The National Federation of the Blind’s President, Marc Maurer, reflects on how Apple’s products have affected the lives of people with disabilities: “Virtually no other manufacturer of mainstream consumer technology has done more to build accessibility into its products than Apple has under Mr. Jobs’s leadership.” And friend-of-ProfHacker Tim Carmody, writing for Wired, offers similar praise in a touching and personal essay, noting that before Apple put iPhones and iPods in so many people’s pockets, “Assistive and augmentive communications devices with cutting-edge technology like touchscreens used to cost thousands of dollars.”

How about you? Do you have any accessibility links to share? Please let us know in the comments!

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