Digital technology

Apple wins AFB award for its accessibility product features

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The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has announced that the Helen Keller Award for 2015 has been won by Apple due to its commitment to including accessibility features in its products to support people who are blind or vision impaired.

Apple products on display. From left to right: MacBook, iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus


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Affordable Access secures grant funding

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Media Access Australia has secured an Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) grant for its Affordable Access project, which will look at low-cost, mainstream accessible technology for people with disabilities with an aim to help people make more informed choices when it comes to devices.

Elderly person using a Samsung tablet device. Image credit: Wikipedia commons

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Android Wear 5.1.1 includes long-awaited accessibility features

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The latest version of the Android Wear operating system version 5.1.1 includes several new accessibility features which allows wearable devices to become accessible for many users.

Accessibility icon highlighted in Android Wear 5.1.1 (under Location and above Screen Lock)

The new features are largely vision-related, with support for magnification, colour inversion and large text. The magnification feature can be accessed via specific gestures.

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Chinese tech giant Baidu announces Blind Search device

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China’s leading search engine provider Baidu has announced the Blind Search device, a tool to assist blind and vision impaired people access “massive amounts of information online through touch” using a combination of tactile and voice-activated commands.

Blind Search facing upward with light emitting from the tactile display. Caption reads 'The device is called Blind Search'


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Q&A: Social media and accessibility

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Debra Ruh, CEO, Ruh Global Communications and Co-Founder, AXSChat, G3ict EmployAbility and Technology Chair, discusses accessibility and social media. Debra spoke to Media Access Australia ahead of chairing a session on Engaging with Others via Social Media at the M-Enabling conference, being held 1-2 June 2015 in Washington DC.

Media Access Australia: You’re chairing a session on the adoption of social media by seniors and persons with disabilities. What’s your view on the role social media can and is playing for these groups?

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Government sector must improve digital experience

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The government sector has been found to deliver the worst digital experiences of a range of Australian industries in a new report by consulting firm Ernst & Young, the EY State of the Nation Report 2014.

Man's left hand resting on a laptop keyboard, next to an iPhone and a pair of sunglasses


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Consumers encouraged to nominate accessible apps

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Users of mobile device apps have been encouraged to nominate their favourite accessible apps for the 2015 Apps For All Challenge.

App icons hovering above the screen of a tablet device. Image credit: ACCAN

The challenge, now in its second year, seeks to find Australia’s most accessible apps and encourage software developers to include digital accessibility when they create apps.


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Q&A with Robert Osztolykan, creator of the petition to make Steam accessible

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Media Access Australia spoke with Robert Osztolykan, blind gamer and creator of the petition to make Valve’s gaming platform Steam accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired. Robert shares his motivation to start the petition, his experiences playing mainstream titles, his thoughts on the current generation of gaming and why developers need to consider accessibility.

Steam controller. Image credit: Pierre Lecourt via Flickr

Steam is highly popular, featuring more than five million users. Part of this popularity is that it features more than 3,500 free and paid-for games that users of Windows, Mac and Linux computers can browse and download to play.


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Apple Watch accessibility features

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With Apple’s new watch becoming officially available, Media Access Australia has put together a round-up of all the accessibility features of the new wearable device and a comparison with some of the company’s other devices.

Apple Watch with sport band. App icons displayed on screen

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