Media Access Australia (MAA), in conjunction with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), has launched a content-rich website with freely downloadable tip sheets, dedicated to showcasing a wide range of terrific accessible technology that won’t break your budget. Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility, was the project leader and speaks with Philip Jenkinson about this valuable new resource.
Listen to the complete interview as Media Access Australia’s Dr Scott Hollier talks with Philip Jenkinson about the the new Affordable Access website.
The new website was unveiled at ACCAN’s annual conference in Sydney on 14 September 2016. MAA’s Deputy CEO, Natalie Collins, told those present at the launch that “access to the internet and being able to interact with websites, social media and consume media is an integral part of being engaged in society. We want to provide consumers irrespective of age, ability or computer proficiency with practical real-world information to make informed choices, particularly on affordability.”
The thinking behind Affordable Access was to create an online resource where people with hearing, sight, or cognitive disabilities and impairments can find information on low-cost software and devices that support their everyday needs.
Research for the content featured on the site was led by Dr Scott Hollier, Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility for Media Access Australia, along with a research team from VisAbility. The people interviewed for the project had a variety of different needs and abilities, ensuring that the content can provide assistance based on type of product, type of disability, and common life scenarios.
“The website is divided into four different categories, being What’s Accessible, What’s Available, What’s Suitable and What’s Possible” explains Dr Hollier.
“The What’s Accessible section really looks at the operating systems, and what the accessibility features are that are built into. In What’s Affordable we look at things like what tablets you can buy for under $250, what smartphones will run software that is accessible, and what are some of the great little devices like the Google Chromecast that lets you connect to a TV and show videos in a really big print, or even just to mirror your small device on a big screen.”
“In What’s Suitable we break this down into what’s relevant for particular disabilities and particular roles. So we look at vision, hearing, mobility, and we also look at in terms of people, carers and families, people in the workforce, and students, and also seniors. What’s Possible is for people who are tech savvy and really want to maximise the absolute cheapest device or the best access, by manually updating your phone, or sourcing products from other countries, or using something like a Raspberry Pie, which is a US$35 computer that can be made accessible.”
For further information check out the Affordable Access website and you can email Media Access Australia. Businesses, charitable organisations and Government utilities seeking assistance with web accessibility projects can contact the Digital Accessibility Services team at Media Access Australia.