After almost four years at our original office in Uptown Minneapolis, we have recently moved to a new space in Edina, MN, a first-ring suburb to the south of Minneapolis. We loved the vibe of Uptown being around a lot of great restaurants, stores, and city lakes. However, with more of our staff working from home for the foreseeable future, we decided it was time to make a change.
The A360 Blog
A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to present on behalf of Accessible360 at “The Dignity of Work: Challenges and Opportunities Facing People with Disabilities Around the World,” a virtual forum hosted by the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota. The forum included presenters from many countries, who spoke about disability and employment.
Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, digital accessibility lawsuits continued to increase throughout 2020, making ADA compliance an even bigger necessity as the pandemic has caused many services to move online. Digital accessibility lawsuits are civil cases filed against operators of websites, mobile apps, or any digital properties that claim inaccessibility to users with disabilities, such as those that use screen readers or keyboard-only navigation. Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act is cited, often with the California Unruh Civil Rights Act. The start of the pandemic did cause a decrease in the number of cases filed in March 2020, but things got back to normal within a month.
The lack of access to accessible math is a true impediment to individuals, such as myself, who are blind. Yes, there are many examples of people who are blind moving on to become mathematicians, software engineers, and other types of professions which require and use high-level math skills. But for each of these success stories, there are many others who may have been denied access to these fields due to the barriers caused by inaccessible math content. I would like to tell my story of dealing with inaccessible math in college, and how it affected my course of study.
In recent years, Google has released popular voice-activated technologies such as Google Home and Assistant to help people make phone calls, adjust lighting, etc. However, these useful tools may be difficult for people with speech impairments. That’s why Google has launched Project Euphonia, an ongoing research project designed to improve speech recognition among Google products.
As part of A360’s ongoing initiative to support non-profit organizations, we perform digital accessibility assessments every few months for various non-profits. We recently completed a digital accessibility assessment of the Jungle Theater’s website. The Jungle Theater creates courageous, resonant theater that challenges, entertains, and sparks expansive conversation. We enjoyed working with them on this assessment process, and applaud them for their continuing commitment to digital accessibility!
Here at Accessible360, we see a lot of carousels and sliders, and we’ve learned a thing or two about making them accessible. Our team of expert Accessibility Engineers finds them on most websites across all industries and company sizes, from small nonprofits to large e-commerce platforms, and practically all of them have one thing in common: they are largely inaccessible to screen reader and keyboard users!
When organizations review the digital accessibility of their products and/or services, HTML emails can be overlooked. Although most email systems allow users to view HTML and text-only versions of messages, making most messages fairly accessible, the text-only version may not contain all of the information that is in the original message. So how do we solve this issue? Below are a few suggestions:
Due to the fact that I have cerebral palsy, it is often difficult for me to make very quick keystrokes. A good example of this is using VoiceOver, Apple’s built-in screen reader. VoiceOver is an invaluable tool for people with visual impairments. Turning it on, when I am testing apps for Accessible360, can be very difficult. The default double-tap timeout setting for VoiceOver is 0.25 seconds, meaning users have to tap twice on the screen in 0.25 seconds to turn it on. Because I am unable to do this, I needed assistance to increase the double-tap timeout setting to 0.5 seconds, the maximum amount of time for this setting. This works for me but is still quite fast.