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Q&A with award winning accessible game developer and author Quentin Christensen

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Media Access Australia spoke with Quentin Christensen, accessibility advocate, indie developer, winner of the ACCAN Apps for All Challenge in accessible gaming and author of the ‘Making Windows 10 Easy’ series of books.

RapiTap! game with a 3x3 grid displayed. Four yellow circles are present, with one in each corner square. One red cross is in the middle square.


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Apple TV, iPhone and iPad lineup offers both accessibility benefits and challenges

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The new range of Apple products has been announced with upgrades of many of them including new iPhones, an iPad with a larger screen, and a significant update to the Apple TV. While many of the products include helpful accessibility improvements, users should also be aware of some potential challenges the new features may create.

Apple iPad Pro and iPhone 6S with iOS9 home screen displayed

Digital media and technology: 

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US cable company launches talking TV guide

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The cable television company Comcast has added a ‘talking guide’ to its new X1 set-top box, allowing blind and vision impaired viewers to easily find content.

"A" hot button highlighted on X1 remote. Image credit: Comcast

The ‘talking guide’, which features a female voice, reads out program titles and other information, network names, time slots and settings. It will be made available to all Comcast customers in the next few weeks.


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Transport for NSW releases app to help the blind navigate

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Transport for NSW (TfNSW) has announced the release of an app, Stop Announcer, which will help blind or vision impaired people to find their way around the public transport system across NSW.

Stop Announcer (NSW) app icon


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Ofcom consults on accessibility of on-screen TV guides

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The UK communications regulator Ofcom has issued a consultation paper outlining changes it is proposing to make electronic program guides (EPGs) more accessible for blind and vision impaired TV viewers.

TV remote resting on a flat wooden surface next to an open magazine


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Developer discusses the creation of handheld audio description device

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In a recent interview, Bryan Gould, Accessible Learning and Assessment Technologies Director at the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) in the USA, talked about the development of the Durateq, a handheld audio description device which is now in use in Disney theme parks.

Spaceship Earth structure at Walt Disney World's EPCOT theme park, illuminated at night


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AD 2020 – what will happen to audio description in the next 5 years?

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Predicting the future beyond the next year or two is a risky business, even more so if you are looking at media and digital services. Media Access Australia CEO, Alex Varley, will be putting his access expertise and reputation on the line at the annual Print Disability Round Table in Adelaide where he will speculate on what audio description (AD) will look like in the year 2020.

Elderly farmer wearing headphones whilst using a stylus on a tablet device, over an aluminum tray of peas resting on his lap


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Virtual reality (VR): Accessing its potential

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Virtual reality (VR) is coming closer to realisation and mainstream adoption, opening up both potential and pitfalls for people with disabilities.

Young boy using an Oculus Rift HD Prototype headset and headphones. Image credit: Skydeas, Wikipedia Commons

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Facebook introduces VoiceOver gestures for iOS Messenger app

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Facebook has recently announced the addition of gesture-based accessibility features in the latest version of its Messenger app for iOS8.

Facebook Messenger app logo

As outlined in a recent Facebook Accessibility post, the new VoiceOver gestures are available for the Delete, Mute and More actions in the latest version of Facebook’s Messenger app (version 13) for iOS8 only.

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Assistive technology: choice never greater

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Despite an often slow and mixed development history, the choice and availability of assistive technology to help people with disabilities access PCs and other computing devices has never been greater.

That’s the message delivered today to attendees of the VisAbility Technology Outlook conference in Perth, Western Australia by Media Access Australia’s resident accessibility expert, Dr Scott Hollier.

Dr Hollier said that assistive technology had had a long history with hardware-based text-to-speech technology being showcased in 1981, and SAM (Software Automatic Mouth) being released in 1982 for early personal computers from Atari, Apple and the Commodore 64.


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