Digital Accessibility and Technology

This page features disability news on Digital Accessibility and Technology from the Debrief Library. See also news on other subjects.

Overview

International

How Indie Studios Are Pioneering Accessible Game Design. (Dec, Wired)

The Greatest beautiful music video showing people using assistive technology. (Nov, Apple)

Global report highlights failings in accessibility processes and procurement. “Despite widespread senior endorsement of accessibility and inclusion, most organisations still need to adapt their project processes to embed accessibility.” (Nov, AbilityNet)

‘Hey, GitHub!’ will let programmers code with just their voice, together with AI-assisted code suggestions. (Nov, The Verge)

Discussion of Human-Computer Interaction Accessibility Practice with chronically ill people. (Oct, HCI & Design at UW)

How inclusion drives innovation in Windows 11: “he culture of inclusion within the Windows engineering team has helped to foster the development of more inclusive and delightful Windows experiences for everyone.” (Sep, Windows)

Accessibility and QR codes: considerations and guidance for creating accessible experiences with QR codes. (Aug, Tetralogical)

What’s new in Microsoft 365 accessibility for Summer 2022 (Aug, Microsoft)

Tech journalism’s accessibility problem:

“Tech newsrooms (The Verge’s very much included) need informed accessibility coverage. They need articles drawing from firsthand experience. They need to do that without heaping the burden on a small group of disabled writers.” (Jul, The Verge)

A new report, A Digital Cage is Still a Cage “At their most extreme, the use of new and emerging technologies could replicate the worst features of institutional care rather than facilitate independent living and inclusion within the community.” (Jun, University of Essex)

Celebrate Disability Pride, Uplift Gaming and Disability Communities and Creators with Team Xbox (Jul, Xbox)

By the Blind, For the Blind reflecting in particular on open source software where tools can be full integrated with the operating system. (Jun, Devin Prater)

The Performative A11yship of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May, Adrian Roselli)

May 19th was Global Accessibility Awareness Day focusing on digital accessibility. (May, GAAD)

The Mobile Disability Gap Report 2021. A report on 7 low- and middle-income countries finds that persons with disabilities are significantly less likely to own a smartphone or use mobile internet. “The disability gap typically widens at each stage of the mobile internet journey” (Dec, GSMA)

Let's Discuss: Mobile World Congress and the mobile disability gap reflections on mobile and digital inclusion (Feb, Valuable 500)

Bangladesh

The Accessible Revolution: Vashkar Bhattacharjee and the Birth of an Inclusive Digital Bangladesh (Dec, The Datekeepers)

Europe

The Digital Services Act will create second-class internet users. (Jun, EDF)

The European Accessibility Act's June 2022 Deadline "the member states of the European Union must create their own digital accessibility law per the European Accessibility Act" (Feb, BOIA)

Kenya

Report Highlights Increased Usage of Mobiles (May, Global Accessibility News)

Norway

Inaccessible Possibilities: experiences of using ICT to engage with services among young persons with disabilities: even though they're seen as digitally native doesn't mean they can use health and social services online. (Dec, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology)

Ukraine

New standard to make government websites and applications more user-friendly for everyone. (Oct, Yahoo! News)

United Kingdom

It's not all doom and gloom: What the pandemic has taught us about digitally inclusive practices that support people with learning disabilities to access and use technologies. (Aug, British Journal of Learning Disabilities)

United States

Unlocking the Virtual Front Door An Examination of Federal Technology’s Accessibility for People with Disabilities, Older Adults and Veterans (Link to pdf, Dec, Senate Special Committee on Aging)

Anticipate and Adjust: Cultivating Access in Human-Centered Methods. (Summary of a research paper on approaches to accessibility in human-computer interaction research communities., Apr, Kelly Mack)

Fulfilling our commitment to accessibility and inclusion reports from a recent "digital forum" (Feb, Microsoft Industry Blogs)

Artificial Intelligence

International

Common AI language models show bias against people with disabilities: ‘when a disability-related term followed “good” in a sentence, the AI generated “bad.”’ (Oct, The Hill)

Artificial Intelligence Is Dangerous For Disabled People At Work: 4 Takeaways For Developers And Buyers. (Oct, Forbes)

Humanity should get the best from AI, not the worst Statement from Gerard Quinn, whose report we explored previously. (May, OHCHR)

A new alliance for Disability Ethical? AI led by Scott Parker International, IBM, Oxford Brookes and others. "AI powered recruitment technology threatens the life chances of hundreds of millions of people with disabilities worldwide, as well as those of us who will become disabled in time." (March, Includes a collection of resources)

Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities study on artificial intelligence and the rights of persons with disabilities. (link to pdf, Feb, UN) See also at EDF.

Europe

Civil society and EDF reacts to European Parliament’s Artificial Intelligence Act draft Report urging safeguarding people's rights in AI legislation. (May, EDF)

United States

How School Tech Treats Students With Disabilities Like Criminals. “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) needs an update to protect vulnerable kids’ rights in the age of artificial intelligence (AI) and nonstop surveillance.” (Aug, The Daily Beast)

Ableism And Disability Discrimination In New Surveillance Technologies. How new surveillance technologies in education, policing, health care, and the workplace disproportionately harm disabled people (May, CDT)

The Biden Administration warns that Hiring algorithms, and artificial intelligence risk violating Americans with Disabilities Act (May, NBC News) See the detailed guidance, from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a summary from ADA.gov. Also on Forbes and Bloomberg Law.

Online Accessibility

International

WordPress 6.1 Accessibility Improvements. (Oct, Make Wordpress Core)

New Brutalism and web accessibility: brutalist style and its interactions with accessibility. (Oct, UX Collective)

Yes, accessibility is also a backend concern. “Backend developers wield a tremendous amount of power, as they help shape the underlying structure of what is and is not possible when creating a digital experience.” (Sep, Eric W Bailey)

Verifying the Disability Equality Index by measuring how their website conforms with web-access standards: “the DEI score is not a good predictor of the accessibility score.” (Sep, jpdev.pro)

A how-to on using Firefox for accessibility testing “Firefox has become one of the best tools for accessibility audits.” (Jul, The A11Y Project)

Q&A: Patrick Garvin The creator of two web accessibility bots talks alt text and accountability. “If accessibility is only pitched as something that’s related to code or only related to computers, it’s going to be real easy for people in newsrooms to distance themselves from that.” (Jul, Objective Journalism)

Web3 must learn from the past: People with disabilities are the largest untapped demographic (Jul, Venture Beat)

Exploration of alt-text including detailed advice (Jun, Accessible Social)

Digital Accessibility: The Next Frontier of Disability Rights Includes a discussion on justifying digital accessibility because of legal compliance or as an opportunity for growth, preferring the latter, quoting this reasoning: “[Focusing on lawsuits] capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult …. It furthers this really horrible view of disabled people that we’re literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that.” (Jun, Women Enabled International)

Why Are iFrame Titles Important for Accessibility? (May, Bureau of Internet Accessibility)

An accessibility review of public and private sector websites shows private sector websites significantly worse. Even big companies that have made commitments on disability inclusion through membership of Valuable 500 still only offer a median accessibility score of 52.6, a fraction lower than the median score of Fortune 500 websites. (May, Silktide)

Microsoft Edge site ALT text adds more “making the web a more inclusive and accessible place, starting with the blind and low vision community.” (Microsoft)

5 Ways Delivery Apps Don't Deliver On Accessibility (May, UsableNet)

Rich Screen Reader Experiences for Accessible Data Visualization

“Although our design dimensions highlight a diverse landscape of screen reader experiences for data visualizations, our study participants attested to the value of following existing best practices. Namely, alt text and data tables provide a good baseline for making visualizations accessible. Thus, visualization authors should consider adopting our design dimensions to enable more granular information access patterns only after these initial pieces are in place.” (MIT Visualization Group)

WordPress 6.0 Features Numerous Accessibility Improvements (Apr)

Does Your Website Have Have Any of These 10 Most-Cited Accessibility Issues? (Apr, Equal Entry)

Takeaways from The Internet is Unusable: The Disabled View (Apr, Lireo Designs)

New Department of Justice ADA Web Accessibility Statement reiterating that accessibility online is covered by disability discrimination. (Mar, BOIA)

Zoom Continues to Miss the Boat on True Accessibility. (Mar, Living with Hearing Loss)

The Hidden Image Descriptions Making the Internet Accessible a feature on alternative text for images (Feb, NYT)

How creating an accessible product helped Stark build an inclusive team "You can’t build an accessible product without breaking down internal silos first" (Feb, The Drum)

Disabled And Here "a disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive images from our own perspective" (Affect the Verb)

6 Tips to make your Tweets more accessible and inclusive (Twitter)

A chrome plug-in Wordle for Screen Readers. Great game, and good to see some accessibility retrofitted: see also a site that gives you descriptive text to allow sharing the results in an accessible way. Another disappointing example of how things can go viral without accessibility being baked in.

Email Accessibility 4 Best Practices for Marketers (Jan, BOIA)

Bangladesh

Web Accessibility is now a reality in Bangladesh, not a dream anymore (a bold description of the important initiatives taken.) (Dec, Digital Journal)

Brazil

The Brazilians advocating for digital accessibility. (Sep, Fair Planet)

Canada

The internet doesn't have to be impossible to navigate for Canadians with disabilities. (Dec, National Post)

India

Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities orders a online healthcare service provider to make its application and website accessible. (Aug, The Hindu)

Usability and accessibility-based quality evaluation of Indian airline websites. (Jul, Universal Access in the Information Society)

United States

How Accessible are Dating Apps? “these services offer little to no recourse for individuals who may have visual impairments.” (Jul, Accessibility.com)

For people with disabilities, AI can only go so far to make the web more accessible (May, Protocol)

LGBTQ+ artists and those with disabilities see Etsy as a lifeline “Many sellers who live at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities were already struggling before the e-commerce site’s latest fee increase.” (Apr, 19th News)

Technology

International

Virtual Reality Accessibility: 11 Things We Learned from Blind Users (Nov, Equal Entry)

Disability Inclusion Is Coming Soon to the Metaverse (Jun, PC Mag)

For people with disabilities Consumer Electronics Aren't There Yet (Jul, PCMag)

The Hidden History of Screen Readers: For decades, blind programmers have been creating the tools their community needs. (Jul, The Verge)

Apple previews innovative accessibility features (May, Apple)

Accessibility Virtual Reality Meetup: What Is It Like in Spatial? See also an interview on how a blind person can use virtual reality. (May, Equal Entry)

Microsoft’s Adaptive Accessories: Buttons and mice that you can adapt for your body and needs (May, The Verge) See also a short introductory video.

Virtual Reality Is Here to Stay. It's Time to Make It Accessible. VR "needs to be more open-minded when it comes to what its ideal gamer looks like.":

"VR’s reliance on physical movements can be a deterrent for many players with motor disabilities. Beyond that, the headsets and screen resolution can lead to numerous barriers for low-vision users, so much so that games without appropriate features or accessible design are completely unplayable. And as accessibility evolves, the presence of VR is indicative of an industry that still has much to learn." (Mar, Wired)

Virtual Reality Accessibility: The Importance of Comfort Ratings and Reducing Motion (Feb, Equal Entry)

United States

Who’s in Charge? Information Technology and Disability Justice in the United States. 'Can disabled people be called “users” or said to “have access” to technology if they are regularly denied agency over how they use technology?'

"Disabled people in the United States are surrounded, defined, and, to some degree, controlled by data, technology, and information—from medical technology and therapies to educational systems to social and government services and policies that shape their lives. The extent to which they can access and use technologies to accomplish their own goals is less clear. This review discusses access to data and technology for people with disabilities, focusing on agency and digital transinstitutionalization—the extension of institutional frameworks, such as surveillance and control, from state hospitals into community settings via data-driven technologies." (March, Just Tech)

Social Media

International

Twitter’s Layoffs Are a Blow to Accessibility among the many layoffs were the team working on accessibility. (Nov, Wired)

Twitter Was a Lifeline for People With Disabilities. Musk’s Reign Is Changing All of That (Nov, Time)

Accessibility in the Fediverse (and Mastodon) (Oct, Eric Eggert)

More than Just a Hashtag: Disability and TikTok (Nov, PBS)

Disability takes center stage on TikTok “Disabled people's accounts are visible in a way that they are not on other platforms, as they are favored by TikTok's For You page and its discovery-oriented algorithm.” (Aug, Le Monde)

Slack Commits To Making The Digital Workplace ‘More Accessible And Equitable’ (Aug, Forbes)

LinkedIn Top Voices in Disability Advocacy: The 12 creators to follow (Jul, Linkedin)

Twitter reports that only .06% of images on Twitter are accessible. This too often includes tweets from organizations working on disability. (May, Twitter)

12 Disabled LGBTQIA+ Activists and Advocates Who You Need to Know (Jun, World Institute on Disability)

Older people using TikTok to defy ageist stereotypes, research finds (May, the Guardian)

A new TikTok feature changed the game for deaf users. Now, 'DeafTok' is a thriving, inclusive community. (Apr, Business Insider)

Twitter begins rollout of alt text badges for greater accessibility (Mar, Engadget)

How Captions In TikTok Videos And Dictionary.com Are Remaking Internet Culture And How We Literally Talk About Disability In Tech (Mar, Forbes)

Australia

Young people living with disability share experiences and create communities through social media. (Aug, ABC News)

Canada

Canadian goes viral for honest restaurant accessibility reviews on TikTok (Jun, DH News)

Middle East and North Africa

Youtube conversations with Mostafa Attia. (In Arabic, Dec, Youtube)

United Kingdom

As a disabled person, social media has been a lifeline "The internet bypasses what keeps us apart: inaccessible transport, a lack of appropriate care, pain and fatigue. [...] The real power of the disability community, [comes] in the slow accumulation of knowledge that accrues from bearing witness to each other’s lives." (Jan, Financial Times)

United States

Content creation can be a lifeline for disabled creators —but it can also put their mental and physical health at risk. (Oct, Passionfruit)

Vietnam

‘I get yelled at a lot’: can TikTok help wheelchair users reclaim the streets of Hanoi? “As her videos went viral, VinBus responded by putting more information on their website, including photos of wheelchair users on buses, and has promised to include people with disabilities in their marketing videos.” (Oct, the Guardian)