Digital technology

Mozilla and PCF announce the 'Collaborative Subtitling Design Challenge'

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Mozilla Labs, creator of the popular Firefox web browser, and the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) have announced the ‘Collaborative Subtitling Design Challenge’, an initiative to help make video on the web more accessible.

The challenge is looking for creative solutions to the question: “Collaborative subtitling – How can users quickly create a timed transcript of any video on the web?” It asks for people to design a subtitle interface which is simple and easy to use for multiple collaborators. The PCF has already created a prototype interface which allows the user to create subtitles quickly. Participants in the challenge are asked to test this prototype, and suggest design improvements in the form of mock-ups and videos. PCF will then incorporate these into the interface.


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Microsoft implements Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 for upcoming SharePoint 2010 release

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In a recent blog post on the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog, Tim McConnell, Program Manager on the SharePoint Foundation team, reaffirmed Microsoft’s commitment to implement WCAG 2.0 in the upcoming release of Microsoft SharePoint 2010, giving concrete examples of accessibility investments in the new release.

Although the previous version of SharePoint contained some access features, it was limited to a WCAG 1.0 focus, and required additional support from Microsoft partner organisations. The new SharePoint server aims to simplify the process by incorporating the features directly into the contact management system, should the administrators wish to use them.


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FCC Chair outlines disability approaches

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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hosted an event in Washington DC on 10 March 2010 covering the issue of broadband access for people with disabilities. In his prepared remarks, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined the FCC’s approach to its Broadband Plan, which it will deliver to Congress and the President next week.

Genachowski outlined four principles for improving access for people with disabilities. They are: 1. Enhancing coordination; 2. Improving enforcementand implementation; 3. Using data wisely; and 4. Updating policies for the 21st Century.


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IBM supports research to make mobile devices more accessible

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IBM, in collaboration with India's National Institute of Design and the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, is commencing a research project to make mainstream gadgets and mobile devices more accessible to people with disabilities.

The aim of the project is to provide a freely available interface which can be adapted by manufacturers to a variety of consumer gadgets and mobile devices, resulting in better access to mainstream products and lower product cost for people with disabilities. It also has the potential to make people with disabilities less dependent on the purchase of alternative specialist devices for popular mainstream products.


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