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Local Government: Practical accessibility steps

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Local councils have been urged to consider taking practical steps to improve the accessibility of their websites so that they can better meet their policy and legal compliance requirements.

Speaking ahead of his presentation on web accessibility at the Disability Inclusion and Liveable Communities Forum in Sydney on 12 September, Media Access Australia accessibility expert Dr Scott Hollier said meeting accessibility compliance was easier than many councils thought.


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Australian accessible apps developers to be honoured

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

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

For the category of 'Most accessible mainstream app', the finalists are: Energy Rating, ACCC Shopper and My Bus (Canberra Transport).


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Facebook introduces video captions

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Facebook has launched a major update to its accessibility features, now allowing users to add captions on videos.

The announcement comes from Facebook Accessibility’s August 2014 update, providing a complete guide to adding and viewing captions on user-uploaded video files.

Facebook’s steps to provide captions on videos are outlined below:

How do I add captions to my video?

You can add captions to a video by uploading a SubRip (.srt) file that is saved using the following format:

filename.en_US.srt

To add captions to a video as you upload it:

Digital media and technology: 

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Aussie boy Huey inspires internet accessibility for all

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At age four, Huey Springer became ill with a life-threatening condition which doctors identified as a result of head fluid build-up, requiring numerous trips to the hospital and major surgery.

Hueyify logo


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Leading Australian arts and disability conference is fully accessible

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The fourth national Arts Activated: Creative Connections conference will be presented in Sydney in late October. The conference is the leading arts and disability conference in Australia and is hosted by Accessible Arts (NSW).

The two-day conference features streams covering access through technology, creative practice, audience development, international collaborations, disability-led practice and community connections. The extensive program features 85 speakers from across Australia and the world.


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Finding your way around our updated education website content

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The education section of our website has a new menu structure, with an increased level of content and information to assist teachers and parents.

There are three main categories that provide focused points of reference: accessible media for diverse learners, hearing impairment and deafness and low vision and blindness.


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NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarships awarded

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On Saturday 30 August, 22 teachers were awarded NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarships across a range of subject areas and disciplines at Parliament House, Sydney. Media Access Australia’s Education Manager was among them.

Our Education Manager, Anne McGrath also works as an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf with the Catholic Education Office, Sydney. McGrath was awarded the 2014 Premier's IOOF Centre for Educational and Medical Research Itinerant Support Teacher (Hearing) Scholarship by the Premier, Mike Baird, and the NSW Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli.


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Trial of audio description on ABC iview to start in 2015

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The Minister of Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, has advised Media Access Australia that a trial of audio description will commence on the ABC’s catch-up TV service, iview, in April 2015.

The service will initially be available on iPhones, then expand to other platforms including Android, via PCs and Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) by August 2015. (HbbTV is the platform that will host the Freeview Plus service, due to be launched on 2 September.)

The trial will last for 15 months, and provide at least 14 hours of audio described content per week, with a mix of drama/entertainment, documentary/current affairs and children’s programming. Currently, the only catch-up TV service in the world to provide audio description is the BBC’s iPlayer.


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ACMA finds Nine cricket coverage breached caption quality rules

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found that segments of Channel Nine Cricket broadcast in January 2014 breached its caption quality standard.

The ACMA’s standard, which came into effect in July 2013, states that captions must be readable, accurate and comprehensible. The breaches related to the pre-game segments of programs which went to air on 12 and 17 January.


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Did you know: One Deaf lawyer helped increase access for all Deaf Canadians?

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In 2000, Vancouver lawyer Henry Vlug lodged a complaint against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) for not including closed captions on all of its television programs.

Vlug stated he could not enjoy programs such as major league baseball playoff games without the inclusion of captions, arguing that Deaf Canadians are equal to those who can hear since their taxes funded the broadcaster, entitling them to the full experience of CBC programming.

The case was won and the lawyer granted CAD$10,000 by the CHRT for pain and suffering. CBC appealed the tribunal’s settlement but later dropped the bid when it settled with Vlug out of court for a lower amount.


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