Monday, June 23, 2008

The bleeding edge of accessability

I haven't had the time to blog about the new changes being suggested for ADA, or to properly research them for that matter. But, one area that does start to bug me is the lack of public accessability when it comes to technology. This article in the Austin Statesman makes some great points. Check it out! In my mind if we're going to make changes to ADA, these are some of the things that should be on the table.

As personal technology explodes, deaf and blind people feel left behind
By Kim Hart

Monday, June 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — Olivia Norman's fingers fly across her laptop keyboard, dexterously tapping out instant messages to friends and entering search-engine queries without committing a single typo. A minute later, she's listening intently to the voice cues that help her read e-mail and send text messages on her smartphone.

Norman is blind, so the cues help her navigate the tiny keypad and understand the words on the screen.

She can't order an on-demand movie because she can't read the on-screen menus. She had trouble setting up an online music account because the speech-synthesizing software she relies on couldn't find the right link on the Web site.

"It's a curse and a blessing at the same time," said Norman, 27, of Washington. "The Internet has revolutionized my life, but there are basic things that are still completely inaccessible."

Web technologies and mobile devices have created many new ways for blind and deaf consumers to find information and connect with friends. But as entertainment and communications tools increasingly take digital form, some people with disabilities feel left behind. Online videos are not required to have captions, for example, and ticker-style emergency messages are not narrated.

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