Screen readers

CareerOne: empowering blind and vision impaired job seekers

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CareerOne Australia has taken a step towards empowering job seekers who are blind by improving the accessibility of its website. This comes after its US parent, Monster, partnered with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to help improve workforce participation amongst Americans with vision loss.

The recommendations made to Monster by the NFB have been carried across to CareerOne, ensuring that it has been optimised for screen reader and braille device users.

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Accessibility added to Kindle Fire as blind group plans protest

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Amazon has announced it will add accessibility features to its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets, increasing access to content on the tablets for blind and vision impaired users. This comes after the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) in the US announced it would stage a protest against Amazon's plan to push the use of its Kindle devices and eBooks at schools.

Running on a version of Google's Android operating system, the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD (both 7 and 8.9) tablets will include text-to-speech technology, a voice guide, and the ability to change text size and colour. These accessibility features will be available on the tablets in early 2013.

The tablets allow users to access content on Amazon such as music, games, apps, magazines and eBooks, as well as browse the web through a WiFi connection. Kindle Fire uses standard definition while Kindle Fire HD uses high definition.


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Accessibility review: Microsoft Surface tablet

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Microsoft's Surface tablet has promised to deliver the best of both worlds: an easy-to-use tablet for games and entertainment but also a serious productivity device that has a detachable keyboard, trackpad and Office software. Our interest though lies in its accessibility – is it a worthy purchase for people with disabilities?  Dr Scott Hollier road tested the Surface tablet to find out how it fares for accessibility.

Cost

A 32GB Surface running Windows RT costs around $650 including the Touch cover.

Hardware

There are a number of features which make the tablet easy to use and versatile:


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NVDA screen reader now recognises long description

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Free screen reader for Windows, NVDA, has been updated to recognise 'longdesc', an attribute used by web developers to describe the data that is visually presented in images such as graphs and diagrams.

To access the long description, press 'NVDA'+'d' once the screen reader announces it is there. For example, if users have their screen reader focused on an image of a graph, NVDA will announce there is long description available. To activate the long description, users can press the NVDA button (usually Insert) and the 'd' to hear the long description. This update is compatible with the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers.

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