Assistive Technology and Accessibility

Cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities are often overlooked when addressing accessibility because most designers and developers are focused on other forms of disabilities, such as visual and hearing impairments. Those who have cognitive and intellectual disabilities often find it difficult to complete certain mental tasks that may come easier to other users.  We’ve seen rapid progress in the field of digital accessibility in recent years, but more effort is needed to create and design better solutions for people with cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities.

Accessibility trainings, whether in-person, virtual, or a hybrid learning model, are a great way to introduce folks to what accessible information and communications technology (ICT) is, why it’s important, and how to remediate inaccessible content and create accessible content moving forward. Here are six quick tips on how to deliver a successful accessibility training.

Automated Section 508 compliance web scanning software has become a popular tool for accessible code testing over the last decade. This blog will discuss some of the software’s pros and cons to determine if it’s the right tool for your organization.

Learning accessibility standards, techniques, and testing methodologies can seem overwhelming. You may not know where to start; you may need to refresh your skills; or you may want to find resources to share with colleagues to build accessibility expertise. Below are some of the many resources available to help you on your accessibility journey.

“Making accessible technology is a lot like making blueberry muffins. You can’t put the blueberries in the muffin after the muffin is baked.” - Cordelia McGee-Tubb, web accessibility engineer at Salesforce

Too often, accessibility has been an afterthought and accessibility teams have been viewed as “enforcers,” rather than collaborators with shared goals – until the development of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Section 508 Playbook!

Virtual meetings have become so prevalent that “Zoom fatigue” is now part of our vocabulary. As we move to more virtual presentations, an often overlooked aspect is presenting content accessibly and inclusively. Captioned videos, labeled graphics, content structure, and correctly color-contrasted font are some of the major components that make the content of any virtual or in-person presentation more accessible. Accessible content, however, comprises only a half of the presentation.

In 2020, the onset of the COVID-19 virus accelerated a move to a remote and digitally dependent workforce. Many companies were able to accommodate employees working from home by providing a few technological changes and additional equipment to enable workers to maintain communication with their colleagues, supervisors, and clients. Some even found that productivity increased for employees working from home. The success of this remote workforce revealed a side benefit for people with disabilities.

On May 20th, we celebrate the 10th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

New Editions is pleased to be a Silver sponsor of the 5th annual ICT TESTING SYMPOSIUM 2020. The testing symposium provides support to those tackling the issue of ensuring equal access to digital information for all members of our society, and is especially important in this time of rapid transition towards the use of online tools as a primary means of communication. This year’s conference will be online, as many conferences have converted to this year.

WebAim performed a survey on a million home pages and found a substantial number of issues centered around what testers would call “easy-picking” tests; those that take little effort to test and where - as a tester - you are sure to find a failure. The top failures were low contrast, images without alternative text, empty links, missing form input buttons, empty buttons, and lack of document language.