Practical Web Accessibility news

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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Windows 8 introduces accessibility features for touchscreens

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Microsoft Windows 8 is set to be released on 26 October and has a number of enhanced assistive features to increase accessibility for blind and vision impaired users. Most significantly, these features have been adapted for touchscreen devices such as tablets.

As noted in our test of the developer preview,the Narrator screen reader has been significantly updated in its ability to read elements in Windows and in Internet Explorer. While people who are blind may still prefer a more advanced screen reader such as NVDA, one advantage of the updated Narrator is that it can be easily used on a touchscreen. 


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October accessibility course for web professionals open for registrations

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Registrations are filling up fast for our last intake for 2012 of The Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility, running 8 October – 16 November. With the first deadline of the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy (NTS) at the end of the year, this six-week online course offers web professionals working for Government the chance to build their accessibility expertise in time to meet compliance.

“In implementing the NTS, we are often required to play many roles and this course really helps put it all in perspective,” said an Australian Government Accessibility Policy Officer and past student.

The Certificate, a joint initiative with the University of South Australia, is designed to equip web developers, designers, testers and web auditors a practical knowledge of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 in time for the new year.  

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YouTube now lets you correct automatic captions

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An intern has developed a way of editing captions within YouTube, drastically increasing the quality of auto-generated captions across the video sharing service.

To provide captions on their YouTube videos, users can either upload their own caption files or use the 'machine transcript' function to generate automatic captions through Google’s voice recognition technology.  These are automatically generated with time codes and appear as captions on the videos once they are turned on. However, the auto-generated captions are renowned for their inaccuracy.

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