Mobile operating systems

Disability employment: three easy steps

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Getting ready to either help or directly employ people with disabilities is easier than you think. Here are three reasons why.

Workplace systems and technology

A major misconception is that there is an expense in setting up computers, office equipment and other systems so that they can be used by people with disabilities.

While this may once have been the case, it’s simply not true anymore. ‘Disabled employment’ no longer means ‘expensive’ or ‘too hard to set up’ and should not be viewed as a barrier.

That’s because the mainstream office technology that we all use—Windows, iOS, OS X and Android-based systems—is now packed with built-in accessibility features.


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Accessibility & the Cloud: Current & Future Trends - WA Accessibility Camp 2014

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Dr Scott Hollier's presentation at the WA Accessibility Camp 2014 is now available to download via SlideShare.

Presented at the WA Accessibility Camp 2014, Dr Scott Hollier provides an analysis of the features, benefits & issues regarding accessibility of cloud services, including outcomes and risks of implementing cloud technology in business vs. consumer settings. Access recommendations are provided for government, industry and consumers with disabilities.


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The NDIS: a role-based ICT approach - Disability Employment Conference 2014

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Dr Scott Hollier's presentation at the Disability Employment Conference 2014 is now available to download via SlideShare.

Speaking at the Disability Employment Conference 2014, Dr Scott Hollier discusses the necessity of ICT accessibility, providing an in-depth outline of Media Access Australia's 'Service Providers Accessibility Guide'. The presentation below covers the topics of policy & legislation, web accessibility, document creation, email & social media, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more.


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Making cloud computing accessible

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With cloud computing becoming increasingly central to daily life, cloud providers have been urged to consider the access requirements of consumers with disabilities.

According to Media Access Australia’s resident web accessibility expert, Dr Scott Hollier, cloud—the process of delivering computing resources, data, services and media over an internet connection rather than directly from a personal computer or a mobile device—now enables everything from internet banking and shopping, to purchasing insurance and superannuation, to paying bills, taxes and registering cars.

However, while businesses still had a choice of whether to adopt cloud services or not, consumers often had little choice, he said.

Taxonomy: 

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Telstra backs ACCAN’s Apps For All challenge

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Australian app developers have been encouraged to enter the Apps For All challenge following the news that significant cash and career development prizes have been added to the inaugural competition.

Apps For All, a partnership between the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the Australian Human Rights Commission, now offers the winners in all four categories a $1500 cash prize, thanks to Telstra’s signing on as sponsor of the competition.


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Winners of US Awards for Advancement in Accessibility announced

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America’s communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the winners of the 2014 FCC Chairman Awards for Advancement in Accessibility.

The awards, presented at the M-Enabling Summit, seek to recognise innovators who develop communications technology for people with disabilities.

This year, seven award categories were available, including Advanced Communication Services (ACS), Employment Opportunities, Closed Captions, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Mobile Web Browsers, Social Media and Video Description.

The winners were:


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Apple Yosemite and iOS8 accessibility roundup

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Apple this week announced the launch of its new Mac operating system, Yosemite, and its new mobile operating system, iOS 8, at its annual developer conference.

The new operating systems have a range of accessibility features, such as Spotlight which makes web searches and launching applications and documents easier for people with motor-related disabilities, and a ‘dark mode’ which switches black text on a white background to white text on a black background, aiding people with vision-related disabilities.


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Mozilla's $25 accessible smartphone

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Soon there will be more choice in the accessible smartphone market, with not-for-profit technology organisation Mozilla launching its own mobile operating system and smartphone. With accessibility and affordability key considerations, it is hoped that these products will help bring down the cost of smartphones for people with disability.

Like all Mozilla products, the operating system Firefox OS is open source, meaning that members of the development community can contribute to its improvement. As we reported in July, this will allow for Firefox OS’s accessibility features to be introduced and enhanced more quickly than in closed source systems such as Apple iOS.

Digital media and technology: 

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Test of Android 4.4 KitKat on the Moto G smartphone

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We’re entering an era where cost doesn’t mean we have to compromise on accessibility. Last year, Motorola announced its $US179 Moto G smartphone. Here, Dr Scott Hollier, who is legally blind, road tests the device and Android’s latest operating system, KitKat.

As we reported in November, the Moto G is arguably the world’s cheapest accessible phone. And while the operating system that runs on it, Google Android, is not quite as good as Apple iOS, there are simple tricks you can use to ensure lower-cost Android phones and tablets suit your needs.


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