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The force is even stronger with AD and CC

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The latest film in the Star Wars universe, The Force Awakens, is now available for sale in iTunes with audio description (AD) and closed captions, so that this blockbuster movie can be enjoyed by more people of all abilities. It’s one of the latest in a growing list of movies available in Australia with AD.

Image of Star Wars: The Force Awakens from the official movie site gallery


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Facebook introduces automatic alternative text feature to iOS app

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Facebook has launched a feature based on image recognition to provide Automatic Alternative Text (AAT) for photos uploaded to the social media service.

Hands holding an iPhone with Facebook app displayed. On screen is an image of trees in a forest. Image credit: Automatic Alternative Text by Facebook Accessibility

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Twitter supports alternative text for images sent via app

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Twitter has announced that images tweeted from its iOS and Android apps can now include alternative text, ensuring that users of assistive technologies such as screen readers can understand the nature of the visual content.

Two screen shots of the composer for Twitter on iOS. The first showing the new "Add description" button overlayed on an image thumbnail in the composer, and the second showing the composition of alt text for an image. Image credit: Twitter


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Social media for those with a disability gets 2016 update

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The ground-breaking 2012 ‘SociAbility’ review into social media for those with a disability has had a much anticipated update. The Media Access Australia website now includes important new information on the varying accessibility challenges and practical fixes across all popular social channels. Project leader Dr Scott Hollier believes that it is destined to be the go-to resource on social media for people with a disability and those who provide care, support and advice.

Social media icons with a magnifying glass on the words ‘social media’


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Ten years of accessibility on Twitter

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Popular social media short-blogging site Twitter is 10 years old and over its life it has gone from being accessible to less accessible and back again. This story reflects a common pattern in accessibility.

Twitter logo

In his blog, Robin Christopherson traces the accessibility of Twitter in ten tweets, showing the ebbs and flows as new features were developed.

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Accessible media preview from CSUN

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The annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (commonly known as CSUN) starts on 21 March in San Diego, California. This year there is significant coverage around accessible media. Media Access Australia’s CEO, Alex Varley, previews some personal highlights.

Seated audience attending a conference

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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.

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