On August 20, the Great Lakes ADA Center and the ADA National Network are hosting “Insights on Traveling with a Mobility Disability,” an ADA Audio Conference Series session about the challenges associated with traveling with a mobility impairment. The session will be from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Central Time and is free to register. The session will be available via webinar and/or phone.
The A360 Blog
Accessibility is usually seen as something for companies to worry about. After all, companies can face legal action under accessibility legislation, such as the ADA and Section 508, if their websites are not accessible to people with disabilities. Accessibility isn’t something only companies need to consider, though. If you are communicating with a person with a disability, there are things you can do to make the communication “accessible.”
Accessibility is a mindset. If you think about only the 80%, you will not create something that is usable by all. You must think of 100% of people in order to create something that is truly accessible.
This is illustrated best by an encounter that I had recently. Being unable to drive, Uber is essential to my lifestyle, providing inexpensive, instantaneous, and easy-to-access transportation. In today’s fast-paced society, this is an invaluable tool when most people have their own car. I had about 30 minutes between work and the start of a party, and I needed to get going right away. I promise, this is not the start of a joke: “a blind man got into the Uber of a deaf woman…” I was that blind man.
Google Docs, Google’s free word processor, has become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to Microsoft Word and other text editing programs. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that Google Docs is free (you need to buy a Microsoft Office subscription to use Word), and multiple people can easily work together on a Google Doc. Google Docs is also considered to be pretty accessible, so it allows for easy collaboration among people with disabilities. Here are some tips for using Google Docs with a screen reader.
Representatives from A360 went to the MN State Capitol on Tuesday for the MN Digital Accessibility Law Celebration, an event put on by MN IT Services’ Office of Accessibility. The Celebration recognized the 10th anniversary of the Digital Accessibility and Usability Law, as well as digital accessibility advocates who worked to pass the law. The event also demonstrated how people with disabilities use and benefit from technology in their everyday lives. For example, eight State of MN employees shared what they learned from the 2019 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, including digital accessibility learning opportunities.
A360 believes that every effort should be made to create fully accessible sites and apps. But even in the best cases, and certainly as stop-gap measures, there is always the need for alternative means to complete any task and find information. Even the most accessible sites may not support every user, so options like telephone help or web chat are critical anytime we rely on technology. Let me give you a real-life example of what I mean:
When digital accessibility became a thing, most of the focus was on people living only with blindness. At the time, hardware speech synthesizers and software speech synthesizers existed, and there were also Braille displays. However, Braille displays were so expensive that very few people could afford them.
Many companies are now understanding that accessible web content is important so that all of their users can experience their site, buy their products and other important tasks. At the same time, busy content management groups are regularly churning out fresh batches of blogs, web pages, and social media posts. With so much new content being created every day, companies fear they need specialized knowledge to prevent complicated workflows from inadvertently creating accessibility issues on their digital properties. But the good news is, following some simple steps, much of your content can be made accessible.