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

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)

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)

United States

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

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

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

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)

Europe

The Digital Services Act must ensure accessible digital services for persons with disabilities (Apr, Brussels Morning)

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

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

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)

Canada

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

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)