Blind/vision impaired Digital Technology & Online Media news

New app brings enhanced accessibility to Perth bus network

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A new app for Android smartphones has been released to help Perth residents who are blind or vision impaired get around on buses.

Stop Announcer (Perth) provides audio information for buses and other public transport around Perth, Western Australia. Users select their route number and stop, and the app counts down the number of stops and alerts the user when their stop is approaching. The app is designed specifically for people who are blind or have low vision, so it is completely screen reader accessible with a high contrast visual design.

Developer Voon-Li Chung explained the inspiration for Stop Announcer.

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Government changes web accessibility plan

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The Australian Government has released its progress report on the National Transition Strategy (NTS) – its schedule to make its websites conform to international accessibility standards. The report signals a change in the Government’s approach that could affect the timeframe for when people with disability are given equal access to government information and services.

First put in place in 2010, the NTS stated that all government websites must comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 level A by the end of 2012 and level AA by the end of 2014. Now, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has said that this timeframe was unrealistic.

Chief Information Officer Glenn Archer said that “It is clear that some websites and some web applications will not meet the ambitious 2014 timeframe for WCAG 2.0 level AA conformance”, and that a framework will be put in place for continuous accessibility improvement next year.


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Top five podcast episodes of 2013

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Each week, we help produce a segment for Vision Australia Radio. Presented by community broadcasting legend Roberta Ashby, these offer a special opportunity to share developments in technology with people who don’t necessarily spend a lot of time online. Here, we share some of the favourites broadcast in the past year.

All episodes come with transcripts.


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Highlights of 2013 – a Christmas card from Western Australia

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Western Australia, with its strong community groups and thriving accessibility scene, contributes a huge amount to Australia’s progress towards access. Here, Media Access Australia’s Western Australia manager Dr Scott Hollier provides an update on the key accessibility events that have taken place over 2013.

In March the largest web accessibility-specific event ever held in Western Australia took place with with the Perth Web Accessibility BarCamp. Run as a more casual ‘unconference’ with approximately 100 people in attendance, there were great presentations across all areas of accessibility, including a humorous debate on whether web accessibility is being taken seriously. The event was very well organised with Gary Barber at the helm and it demonstrated just how much work is being done across all local sectors.

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