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Print Disability Round Table: staff picks

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The Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disability is on in May. Held in Brisbane, the four day conference will cover almost everything relating to how people with blindness, vision impairment or perceptual disabilities access information. This year, presenters will focus on how the needs of the user can be put at the centre of technology design, policy and implementation. Here, some of our staff members have picked out their favourite sessions.

Alex Varley, CEO

Keynote address: University access and equity for students with a disability

Presented by Mary Kelly, Equity Director, Queensland University of Technology, Equity Section, Administration Services, Sunday 9.30 am

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US regulator introduces new caption quality rules

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA voted unanimously on 20 February to approve new, comprehensive rules to ensure that closed captioning on TV is of the highest possible quality.

The new rules follow years of lobbying by Deaf and hearing impaired TV viewers and their advocates, including a July 2004 petition filed by several groups including Telecommunications for the Deaf “to establish additional enforcement mechanisms to better implement the captioning rules, and to establish captioning quality standards to ensure high quality and reliable closed captioning”. The petition resulted in 1,600 submissions to the FCC.


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Assistive apps in the spotlight

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Stop Announcer, the app that helps people who are blind or vision impaired navigate public transport, was profiled on the ABC’s 7.30 WA on Friday. The report showed white cane user Trevor Dawson using the app to catch the bus and find out where to get off with complete independence.

As we first reported in January, Stop Announcer (Perth) for Android phones was developed by Perth local Voon-Li Chung after he heard about Graeme Innes’s case against RailCorp in NSW. His aim was to create an app which allows people who are blind or vision impaired to get around on public transport without assistance from others.

“Stop Announcer costs just a few dollars but for the visually impaired, the freedom it affords is priceless,” said presenter Andrew O’Connor.


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Ticketing websites inaccessible, report finds

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Music fans with disability face constant obstacles when buying tickets for performances and festivals, according to a report released by UK charity Attitude is Everything (AiE).

While three quarters of disabled people prefer to buy tickets online, only 20 per cent of venue websites cater for their access needs. Instead, people must rely on using premium rate phone lines, prove their disability and discuss their accessibility needs each time they buy tickets.


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ACMA makes no finding regarding Foxtel captioning complaint

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has made no finding in relation to a complaint made by a member of the public that an episode of Grand Designs Australia shown on Foxtel in June 2013 was only partially captioned.

Foxtel supplied the ACMA with a copy of the master recording of the program which showed that it was prepared with captions for broadcast, but did not have an “as transmitted” recording (which would have shown what the viewers saw). It had checked its records and there were no errors logged on the night of transmission, while no-one else complained about the lack of captions. Foxtel admitted that the lack of captions could have been caused by a technical fault that had remedied itself, but it was impossible to check this.


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Access conference comes to Brisbane

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Registrations for the 2014 Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities are now open. The annual conference focuses on how the changing technology landscape affects and benefits those with vision and perception related disabilities.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘putting the person at the centre’. The program states that “Person-centred approaches empower people with a print disability by positioning them at the centre of policy, decision-making and service planning and delivery.” The four-day event covers topics such as Braille, web access, entertainment and education.


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