Research & policy

Consultation on communications access

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The inclusion of accessibility features in many mainstream smartphones and tablets is a potential game changer in the delivery of special services for Deaf and hearing impaired people, according to the Department of Communications.

Woman using a smartphone

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Accessibility in the cloud – benefits, issues and trends

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As a new survey shows an increase in the use of the cloud in 2016, the impact of this on people with disabilities and impairments becomes ever more important. Media Access Australia has produced a white paper, Accessibility of Cloud Computing – current and future trends, which provides valuable insights into cloud accessibility.

Left hand holds a smartphone with floating squares emerging from the screen


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Service Providers Accessibility Guide now available via direct download

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Media Access Australia’s Service Providers Accessibility Guide, which received a significant update in October 2015, is now available to download directly in accessible PDF and Word formats via our Digital Accessibility Services website. The guide caters to service providers using practical, hands-on, step-by-step ways to effectively prepare and deliver content and communications for people with disabilities via computing and mobile devices.

Finger resting on an accessibility button on a computer keyboard

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The most popular accessibility stories of 2015

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As the year comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the most popular articles and events regarding consumer accessibility across the web, digital technology, education, TV, video, cinema, arts, policy and research in 2015.


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European Commission proposes making products and services more accessible

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The European Commission has proposed a European Accessibility Act which will set accessibility requirements for key products across the European Union (EU), making them more accessible for people with disabilities. The products include ATMs and banking services, telephones, TV equipment, transport, e-books and e-commerce.

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Feedback on captioning regulation wanted

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The lead-up to the end of the year has seen a little burst of consultation around captioning issues. The Federal Department of Communications and the Arts has released a policy consultation paper on the Captioning Regulatory Framework.

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Better audio description through consultation

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A basic rule of research is that if you want to know what somebody thinks about your product, the best thing to do is ask them. It is surprising how little that approach is taken with access services, including audio description for blind people, which makes recent initiatives by Pixar in the US and Ericsson in Australia all the more welcome.

Left hand adjusting the volume control on a home theatre system


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ACCAN launches campaign for online caption quality

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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has formed an alliance of organisations which is calling for online videos to be provided with accurate, readable captions.

YouTube auto-caption for Tony Abbott reads "things like the big butts well we want to carefully look". Image credit: ACCAN via Facebook


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Accessible Canada by law

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Canadian province Manitoba has introduced a customer service standard as part of its accessibility legislation. This recognises that disabled customers may not be able to access communications and may be using assistive devices. The standard also applies to public events.

Canadian flag

Many countries have moved towards disability inclusion through strategies, equity and diversity plans. Generally the only area that has been enshrined in law has been around building codes, but Manitoba’s new standard is an example of it reaching into digital accessibility and customer service.


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British conference celebrates audio description

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The RNIB Audio Description Conference: Celebrating Progress and Looking Ahead, which was held in London on 23 September, brought together a host of audio describers, broadcasters, film distributors, academics and other professionals who were keen to discuss ways of improving and expanding this essential service for people who are blind or vision impaired.

RNIB: supporting blind and partially sighted people

The conference included sessions on the last decade of audio description on television and in cinemas in the UK, and the challenges facing the service over the next ten years. It was coordinated by RNIB (the Royal National Institute of Blind People), and sponsored by BTI Studios, Deluxe and ITV.

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