Practical web accessibility

Wikispeech project aims to make Wikipedia accessible for vision impaired people

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Swedish researchers are developing an open source speech synthesis platform to make Wikimedia-based websites more accessible to blind and vision impaired people. The platform will be optimised for Wikipedia and aims to provide access in 283 languages, starting with three initial languages next year.

Wikipedia button on a computer keyboard in shape of the Enter key


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Crossing the digital divide

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A recent discussion paper states that 1 million Australians with a disability don’t have internet access at home, because of cost, complexity and/or connectivity issues. This is well below the national average, yet an expert in web accessibility, Dr Scott Hollier, maintains that with the right technology, those with an impairment or disability can access information on the net, quickly and easily.

No access sign


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Transcript of The Wire's interview with Dr Scott Hollier on 'Crossing the digital divide'

The Wire

Access to the internet is something most of us now take for granted and couldn’t imagine living without, but for one million Aussies with a disability that’s exactly what they have to do.  For many, they think it will cost too much, especially to buy the kind of software they need to help them use it, for others, it’s just all too hard.  Laura Corrigan reports.

Laura: Dr Scott Hollier is director of Digital Accessibility for advocacy group Media Access Australia.


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More work needed for digital inclusion at home

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A newly-released report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) lists the number of households with access to the internet at home as 7.7 million in the last financial year, representing 86% of all households, up 3% from 2012–13. However, a recent discussion paper shows that there are one million people with a reported disability who do not have internet access at home.

Left hand pressing a holographic play button

The ABS Household use of IT study, released on 18 February 2016, shows that the number of Australians accessing the net is continuing to rise, albeit at a slightly slower rate than in past years.

Digital media and technology: 

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First NVDA screen reader update for 2016 now available

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NV Access has launched the 2016.1 update of its NVDA screen reader for Microsoft Windows, adding a new option to lower the volume of external sounds, additional support for braille displays, significant fixes for using Microsoft Office and improvements to browsing the iTunes Store.

Woman using a laptop with headphones outdoors


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Accessibility in the cloud – benefits, issues and trends

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As a new survey shows an increase in the use of the cloud in 2016, the impact of this on people with disabilities and impairments becomes ever more important. Media Access Australia has produced a white paper, Accessibility of Cloud Computing – current and future trends, which provides valuable insights into cloud accessibility.

Left hand holds a smartphone with floating squares emerging from the screen


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Video advertisements on Facebook to be auto-captioned

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Facebook will begin to roll out a new feature that will make auto-playing advertisements more accessible to people with a disability.

Man giving thumbs up whilst holding card with Facebook 'like' icon

Following the launch of auto-playing video advertisements, new captioning features are being introduced to increase user engagement. These new features by default make advertisements more accessible to users that have a disability.

Digital media and technology: 

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Service Providers Accessibility Guide now available via direct download

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Media Access Australia’s Service Providers Accessibility Guide, which received a significant update in October 2015, is now available to download directly in accessible PDF and Word formats via our Digital Accessibility Services website. The guide caters to service providers using practical, hands-on, step-by-step ways to effectively prepare and deliver content and communications for people with disabilities via computing and mobile devices.

Finger resting on an accessibility button on a computer keyboard

Digital media and technology: 

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Organisations receive Emmy awards for internet caption standards

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The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were honoured at the 67th Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards held in Las Vegas on 8 January for developing standards that allow closed captions to be provided for online videos.

Members of the W3C Timed Text Working Group holding an Emmy. Image credit: Cashman Photo, Las Vegas, NV & The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences


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Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility promotional video out now

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A new video produced by Media Access Australia has been created to promote the upcoming Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility (PCWA). It’s designed to underline the main points and key benefits of enrolling in Australia’s only university-accredited web accessibility certificate for digital professionals.

Five students accessing technology via a laptop and a tablet computer.

The PCWA course highlights video runs for one minute and thirty seconds. In addition to the standard video, an audio described version of this video is also available.


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