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Accessibility Interest Group - April 2004


From: Gian Sampson-Wild (PurpleTop)
Date: Apr 22, 2004 6:33AM


I produce a monthly accessibility e-mail newsletter (available in text
and html format) I thought some members of Web-AIM may be interested in.

Please feel free to subscribe / comment and/or submit items of interest.


Accessibility Interest Group - April 2004

Welcome to another instalment of the Accessibility Interest Group. From
now on the newsletter has a new format to accommodate the increasing
number of accessibility items. If you have any feedback on the new look,
or items you would like to contribute, please email

If you know of anyone who would like a copy of this newsletter, please
feel free to forward it on.

In this Issue:
Guidelines & Policy: 3 items
Tools: 5 items
Resources: 5 items
Research: 5 items
Conferences & Workshops: 3 items

Guidelines & Policy
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Working Draft released
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group has
released a Working Draft for "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0."
Comments are welcome. For more information, see:

100% Accessible Auckland
Auckland City has put '100% accessible Auckland' into action with the
release of its strategy in a variety of document formats including
audio, braille, large print and standard print, making it the council's
first fully accessible policy document. See:

Developing and Publicising a Workable Accessibility Strategy
This article looks at the increasing need for developers of
institutional and educational Web sites to develop and follow a strategy
for ensuring optimal accessibility of online content. In particular the
need is stressed for careful thought about the aims of such a strategy,
and to ensure that the strategy meets a balance between ambition, legal
responsibility and equitable access to learning and teaching. See:

Browser Accessibility Extensions
The Illinois Centre for Instructional Technology Accessibility (iCITA)
has released accessibility extensions for the two most popular web
browsers, Internet ExplorerTM:
http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/software/ieaccessible/overview.html and
MozillaTM: <http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/software/mozilla/download.html>;
http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/software/mozilla/overview.html. These
extensions add features to the relevant browser to make it easier for
people to view and navigate web content based on the structural markup
used to create the web page.

New Browser and Screen Reader Package
Opera SoftwareTM has announced the upcoming release of a multimodal
desktop browser that incorporates IBM's Embedded ViaVoiceTM speech
technology. See: http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2004/03/23/

AppleTM MacintoshTM Screen Reader Release: Spoken InterfaceTM
AppleTM has announced a "preview release" of its new tool, Spoken
InterfaceTM. The full release will coincide with the release of the
next major version of OS X. See:
http://www.apple.com/accessibility/spokeninterface/. AppleTM is actively
looking for beta-testers. If you know of, or are yourself, a
visually-impaired MacintoshTM user, consider completing Apple's

JAWS for WindowsTM 5.0 Updates
JAWS for WindowsTM updates are available and include the ability to
properly render Adobe PDFTM documents and read table captions, headers
and summaries in the correct order. See:
For a full list of JAWSTM features and updates see:

Selecting Colour Schemes
Sufficient colour contrast is often difficult to qualify and sometimes
tools such as Vischeck are difficult to use. Pixy's Czechoslovakian web
site has an excellent tool for picking colour schemes, provided in
English: http://www.pixy.cz/apps/barvy/index-en.html.

Accessibility Distance Education resource
A new web distance education resource by the University of Maryland for
faculty in online teaching. See: http://www.umuc.edu/ade/

Evaluating Web Accessibility
Seven steps to evaluating the accessibility compliance of your web site.
See: http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2004/proceedings/203.htm

Creating Accessible Multimedia
Step-by-step instructions on how to caption various multimedia
technologies. See: http://cita.rehab.uiuc.edu/new/multimedia/index.html

Creating Accessible Forms
Step-by-step instructions on how to create accessible forms in
Macromedia DreamweaverTM MX 2004. See:

Creating Accessible FlashTM
Step-by-step instructions on how to create accessible FlashTM. See:

How Accessible are Australian universities?
A selection of key pages from all 45 Australian tertiary education Web
sites were analysed to assess their compliance with basic accessibility
standards, as required by Australian anti-discrimination legislation.
The results - 98% of sites failed to comply - suggest that Australian
university Web sites are likely to present significant barriers to
access for people with disabilities. For more details of the report,
see: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue38/alexander/.

Accessibility of AdobeTM PDFsTM
To assure the accessibility of AcrobatTM software for disabled users,
Adobe Systems Incorporated engaged AccessWorld Solutions (AWS), the
consulting arm of the American Foundation for the Blind. The purpose was
to evaluate the accessibility features of AcrobatTM 6.0 and Adobe
ReaderTM 6.0 software products and provide recommendations for making
PDF files more accessible to people with disabilities. In the weeks
following the evaluation, several accessibility enhancements were
incorporated into the release of AcrobatTM 6.01. For the full report
see: http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2004/proceedings/213.htm.

MicrosoftTM study: 57% of Adult Users Can Benefit from Accessibility
This study shows that 57% of current working-age computer users may
benefit from accessible technology because of mild to severe vision,
hearing, dexterity, speech and cognitive difficulties and impairments.
As the general population continues to age, the number of people who
experience these impairments will increase, and more people will likely
turn to accessible technology to mitigate the effects of their changing
physical abilities. See: http://www.microsoft.com/enable/research/.

Web Access Report from UK Disability Rights Commission
The UK Disability Rights Commission released a formal investigation
report into 'The Web: Access and Inclusion for Disabled People', stating
"It is clear that many disabled people are experiencing less favourable
treatment and it is unreasonably difficult for them to make use of the
services offered on the web." The Report also makes recommendations
regarding work done by W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). See:
http://www.drc-gb.org/publicationsandreports/report.asp. The W3C
promptly responded to the criticisms of the WAI, see:

UK Banks and Accessibility
AbilityNet conducted an accessibility review of the sites of the ten
major UK banks. The on-line banking service of NatWest has been praised
in the report however, the other nine are potentially breaking the
country's Disability Discrimination Act. See:
&area=news> &area=news.

Conferences & Workshops
AIMIA's National eLearning Symposium
Dates: 28 April - 13 May, 2004
Venue: Australia
The eLearning roadshow aims to raise awareness and increase
understanding of the economic and export potential of the Australian
eLearning industry. These events will incorporate case studies from
local developers and discussion forums incorporating colourful
moderators and diverse panel members. Key challenges associated with
producing excellent educational multimedia, such as interoperability,
will also be addressed. See:

Australian Computer Human Interaction (OzCHI)
Dates: 22 - 24 November, 2004
Venue: University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW
The conference theme is: Supporting Community Interaction: Possibilities
and Challenges. A Doctoral Consortium and a series of workshops and
tutorials will precede the conference on 20-21 November, 2004. See:

e-bility on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities
Dates: 15 - 18 May, 2004
Venue: Carlton Crest Hotel, Sydney, NSW
The theme of the Round Table's annual conference is "Information Access:
Global Trends and Local Innovations". The conference will explore the
current global trends in information access for people with a print
disability, and provide a unique opportunity to discuss strategies for
meeting the very real challenges that people with a print disability
still face as they try to build bridges over the digital divide and gain
full, equal, and independent access to the benefits and potential of our
information society. See:

The Accessibility Interest Group is distributed to people who are
interested in or may have an interest in Accessibility. No liability is
taken for information provided in or arising from this newsletter.

Produced by PurpleTop, Australia.

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Gian Sampson-Wild