Blind/vision impaired Digital Technology & Online Media news

Highlights of 2013: Australian made apps

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Australia has made a huge contribution to the world of assistive apps this year. As part of our Highlights series, we look back at just a few.

Glassbrick

In January, Media Access Australia reported that a new screen magnifier for Microsoft Windows had been released. Glassbrick is a free magnifier made by Brisbane-based mobile game studio Halfbrick.  The software is lightweight so that it works with heavier programs such as games without slowing the computer down.


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Highlights of 2013: Talking TVs released in Australia

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Over the past few years, the increasing availability of text-to-speech technology in PCs, tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices has made them much more accessible for blind and vision impaired consumers. In April this year, the technology reached the Australian television market with the release of several models in Panasonic’s Viera smart TV range which have a text-to-speech function called Voice Guidance.

Voice Guidance was originally developed by Panasonic’s UK division, in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of the Blind, and the first TVs with it went on sale there in 2012. When activated by the user, it reads out onscreen text including channel names and program information. Prior to the release of these models, the only TV receivers available in Australia with a text-to-speech function were two set top boxes manufactured by Hills and Bush.


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Highlights of 2013: Accessibility in mainstream devices

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In 2013 people with disability have been offered more choice in smartphones and tablet computers. While Apple still dominates this market, this year saw its competitors offer affordable and accessible alternatives. Here, Media Access Australia looks at a selection of mainstream electronic devices and how they have been improved for accessibility.

Samsung Galaxy S4

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Telstra bans CAPTCHA tests

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Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra has won the day by announcing it will no longer use CAPTCHA tests on its apps and websites.

The announcement was made as part of its Disability Action Plan, released to mark International Day of People with Disability. CAPCTHAS notoriously present a barrier to many users with disabilities, including those with vision impairment or dyslexia.

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