Blind or vision impaired

National Curriculum Review and inclusiveness

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Commentary by Anne McGrath, Education Manager, Media Access Australia

The education community has been anticipating the Australian Government’s newly released Review of the Australian Curriculum. The Review is well considered, comprehensive in nature and holds interest all for teachers, including those who work with students with disability and diverse learning needs.

Teacher pointing at mathematics questions on a projector screen in a classroom


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Find accessible movie sessions online

The major cinema chains have closed captions (CC) and audio description (AD) available at 115 locations across Australia. Finding movie sessions which have these features can be difficult. Here is our step-by-step guide to finding movie sessions with CC and AD on each major cinema website.

But before we start, we need to mention a few things:


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Print disability conference calls for papers for 2015

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The Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities is calling for papers for its next conference, to be held in Adelaide on 2 - 5 May 2015.

Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities Inc. with logo of Australia and New Zealand inside a circle

Digital media and technology: 

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Texpo to showcase new assistive technology for the blind

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Vision Australia’s Texpo 14, which starts in Melbourne on Friday, will showcase the latest assistive technology which has been developed to improve the lives of blind and vision impaired people.

Texpo 2014: Experience the latest technology and services for people who are blind or have low vision.

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Accessible consumer technologies and the cloud: VisAbility Tech Outlook 2014

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Dr Scott Hollier's keynote presentation at the VisAbility Tech Outlook 2014 is now available to download via SlideShare.

Presented at the VisAbility Tech Outlook 2014, Dr Scott Hollier covers the journey of Assistive Technologies (AT) from the hardware-based solutions of the 1980s, to the wide range of affordable AT options available today (including accessibility developments of Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android). The importance of the cloud in relation to the future AT is discussed, including its benefits and issues for consumer accessibility.


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Assistive technology: choice never greater

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Despite an often slow and mixed development history, the choice and availability of assistive technology to help people with disabilities access PCs and other computing devices has never been greater.

That’s the message delivered today to attendees of the VisAbility Technology Outlook conference in Perth, Western Australia by Media Access Australia’s resident accessibility expert, Dr Scott Hollier.

Dr Hollier said that assistive technology had had a long history with hardware-based text-to-speech technology being showcased in 1981, and SAM (Software Automatic Mouth) being released in 1982 for early personal computers from Atari, Apple and the Commodore 64.


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Telstra introduces captions on BigPond Movies

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Telstra has released an initial batch of 14 BigPond movies with open captions, with a promise to expand the service in the future.

To find the captioned titles on BigPond Movies, click on ‘Movies’ on the home page, then ‘Open Captions’, which will bring up a list of them. The initial titles include The Lego Movie, Transcendence, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Veronica Mars. Because the captions are ‘open’, they will be visible when played on all devices.


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Californian DVD kiosks to be accessible after court settlement

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The DVD supplier Redbox has agreed to makes its kiosks in California accessible for blind and vision impaired consumers after several advocates for the blind launched a class action against the company in 2012.

In settling the class action, Redbox has agreed to incorporate audio guidance, tactile keyboards and other accessibility features into its kiosks. One kiosk at each location will have the features within 18 months, and they will be extended to all of its kiosks within 30 months. There will also be 24-hour phone assistance available at each kiosk.

In addition to this, Redbox will pay US$1.2 million to the class of aggrieved persons in California, and US$10,000 to each of the individuals who made the complaint. It will also pay court costs.


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Telstra announces accessibility initiatives

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Telstra has announced several new initiatives aimed at improving access for people with disabilities to telecommunications services.

The company has launched a portal on Telstra.com that lets users search for features that may assist specific disabilities such as speech, vision, cognitive and dexterity impairment.

For vision, features include: screen reader, adjustable font-size, high contrast mode and voice output of caller ID.

For cognition, features include: simplify display, photo associated phone book, supports third party apps and supports gesture navigation.


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ACCAN announces Apps For All Challenge winners

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The winners of the inaugural competition to recognise the work of Australian accessible app developers, the Apps For All Challenge 2014, have been announced.

The challenge, announced earlier this year, was run by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), and sponsored by Telstra.

Prizes for the winners included the Telstra Prize of $1500 in cash, promotion through Telstra’s social media and a one-off opportunity to participate in a mini-incubator experience with Telstra’s own in-house app developers and technology specialists.


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