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Netflix improves accessibility for the blind

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In a court settlement with the American Council of the Blind (ACB), Netflix has agreed to include more audio description on its streamed content and DVD rental services, as well as making its website and mobile applications accessible for blind people who use screen readers.

Little boy watching TV with his back towards us


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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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New York Times touts accessibility upgrades

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The New York Times has announced that it has made accessibility improvements to its new site following the introduction of inaccessible features in a major updating of NYTimes.com earlier this year.

In a blog post on the update, the Times stated that the January overhaul of the site had inadvertently removed an accessibility workaround on the site.

“Before the article redesign, most of our assistive technology users went to our print preview version, which contained only the article text, to avoid having their screen readers interrupted by content outside of the flow of the article,” the post reads.

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Qantas improves in-flight accessibility

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Australia’s national airline has drastically improved the experience of flying for blind and vision impaired passengers by making the devices used on domestic flights to view in-flight entertainment accessible.

Qantas uses Apple iPads for its Q-Streaming system on 17 domestic routes. Until recently, the iPad’s extensive accessibility features were unable to be turned on. This meant that although iPads include screen readers and other assistive technologies, passengers with disabilities were unable to use them.

Following feedback from customers and potential customers, Qantas has now unlocked the iPad’s VoiceOver screen reader.


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Forum to discuss accessible communications for councils

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A Melbourne forum about accessible communications for local councils will be held on Thursday 14 November. Called the White Horse City Council Accessible Communication Forum, the aim of the event is to discuss how surrounding councils can provide accessible communications for the community. The forum is part of the White Horse City Council’s Accessible Communication Project.

Presenting at the forum will be Media Access Australia’s CEO Alex Varley. His presentation will look at council services and how online communications and social media can be used to service members of the community who have a disability and require access to essential council information.


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Audio described movie in Mudgee NSW

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A community event is being held in Mudgee, NSW to raise awareness of audio description. A screening of the Baz Luhrmann film Australia will be screened at Mudgee Town Hall with open audio description – an additional audio track providing narration of visual elements for the benefit of viewers who are blind or vision impaired.

The event has been organised by local resident Mary Lovett, who in April received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to blind and vision impaired people. She is the founder and past president of Mudgee Vision Impaired Persons Friendship Group and the chairman of the Central West NSW branch of Blind Citizens Australia.


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