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Virgin America found in breach of access regulations

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The Virgin America airline has been fined for failing to make its safety videos accessible for passengers who are Deaf or hearing impaired.

Under the Air Carrier Access Act, which was introduced in 1986,airlines are required to offer either open captioning or sign language interpretation on all video safety briefings. Since beginning its service in 2007, Virgin America has failed to offer either. The US Department of Transportation has fined the airline $150,000 and ordered it to cease and desist from further violations of the Act.Virgin America has agreed to add captioning by 30 September 2013.


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Captioning Awards 2013: get your nominations in

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Nominations are now open for the 2013 Deafness Forum of Australia Captioning Awards. The Awards are held annually to recognise and encourage excellence in captioning across all forms of Australian media.

The categories for this year are:

  • TV captioning: recognises a significant achievement in the captioning of a TV program, series or event.
  • Entertainment, cinema and the arts: for an organisation that has made consistent efforts to provide and/or promote captioned performances, screenings or events.
  • Online captioning and digital innovation: for an organisation which has taken the initiative to consistently provide captions on a website or mobile app or which has used technology in an innovative way to enhance use or awareness of captions.

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US cinema sued for not providing closed captions

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A Deaf group in Connecticut is taking action against east coast American cinema chain, Bow Tie Cinemas, for failing to provide access for hearing impaired patrons, even though closed captioning devices are available at most of their complexes.

The Connecticut Association for the Deaf and some of its members are filing under the Americans with Disabilities Act after repeated attempts to attend accessible sessions at Bow Tie cinemas were abandoned, due to captioning devices being unavailable or not working.


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Facebook accessibility: a year of progress

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It has been one year since Facebook, the most widely used social media network in the world, introduced a dedicated Accessibility Team as part of its User Interface Engineering group. During this time, a number of accessibility updates were made to its mobile website, desktop website and its apps for Apple and Android devices. These accessibility updates were designed to improve how people with disabilities, particularly screen reader users, access the social network.

While there have been many accessibility updates introduced by the Accessibility Team, there are three main areas that have been improved. These include the structure of information for photos, navigation and colour contrast.

To mark one year since the team was announced, Media Access Australia looks at how some accessibility updates have improved these areas. Screen reader testing was performed using the Facebook app for iPhone and mobile website with VoiceOver, and the standard Facebook website using NVDA.

Digital media and technology: 

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