Tag Archives: accessibility

What accessibility looks like 30 years after the ADA passed

Posted on kma.global May 2019 from Denver Post

Excerpt from The Denver Post May 2019

It is also a reminder of why it’s important to keep the pressure on government and private entities to make public places accessible to all.

“The sort of run-of-the mill storefronts, restaurants, retail store, those really should be accessible now and a lot are but too many still are not,” said Kenneth Shiotani, senior staff attorney for the National Disability Right Network, which is based in Washington, D.C.

He said outdoor spaces, such as beaches and trails, pose more challenges than man-made structures when it comes to accessibility and for that reason, new guidelines were set for them in 2013. But Meridian Hill Park, which boasts of having the largest cascading fountain in the country, seems much more structured than other outdoor spaces, he said.

“I think the wedding party had reasonable expectations that 30 years later [after the ADA was passed] a federal park would be accessible,” Shiotani said. “It’s a public park, it’s paid for by public dollars, it should ultimately be accessible for everybody.”

How Companies Can Prevent ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits

Reprinted from KMA Global

Every day, websites and mobile apps prevent people from using them. Ignoring accessibility is no longer a viable option.

How do you prevent your company from being a target for a website accessibility ADA lawsuit?

Guidelines for websites wanting to be accessible to people with disabilities have existed for nearly two decades thanks to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative.

A close cousin to usability and user experience design, accessibility improves the overall ease of use for webpages and mobile applications by removing barriers and enabling more people to successfully complete tasks.

We know now that disabilities are only one area that accessibility addresses.

Most companies do not understand how people use their website or mobile app, or how they use their mobile or assistive tech devices to complete tasks.

Even riskier is not knowing about updates in accessibility guidelines and new accessibility laws around the world.

Investing in Website Accessibility Is a Wise Marketing Decision

Internet marketers found themselves taking accessibility seriously when their data indicated poor conversions. They discovered that basic accessibility practices implemented directly into content enhanced organic SEO.

Many marketing agencies include website usability and accessibility reviews as part of their online marketing strategy for clients because a working website performs better and generates more revenue.

Adding an accessibility review to marketing service offerings is a step towards avoiding an ADA lawsuit, which of course, is a financial setback that can destroy web traffic and brand loyalty.

Convincing website owners and companies of the business case for accessibility is difficult. One reason is the cost.  Will they see a return on their investment?

I would rather choose to design an accessible website over paying for defense lawyers and losing revenue during remediation work.

Another concern is the lack of skilled developers trained in accessibility. Do they hire someone or train their staff?

Regardless of whether an accessibility specialist is hired or in-house developers are trained in accessibility, the education never ends.

Specialists are always looking for solutions and researching options that meet guidelines. In other words, training never ends.

Many companies lack an understanding of what accessibility is and why it is important. They may not know how or where to find help.

Accessibility advocates are everywhere writing articles, presenting webinars, participating in podcasts, and writing newsletters packed with tips and advice.

ADA lawsuits make the news nearly every day in the U.S. because there are no enforceable regulations for website accessibility. This is not the case for government websites.

Federal websites must adhere to Section 508 by law. State and local websites in the U.S. are required to check with their own state to see what standards are required.

Most will simply follow Section 508 or WCAG2.1 AAA guidelines.

If your website targets customers from around the world, you may need to know the accessibility laws in other countries. The UK and Canada, for example, are starting to enforce accessibility.

In the U.S., there has been no change in the status of ADA website accessibility laws this year.

Some judges have ruled that the lack of regulation or legal standards for website accessibility does not mean that accessibility should be ignored.

Read complete article at Search Engine Journal May 2019

Remembering the ADA legacy of President Bush

With the passing of the 41st president, it’s worth remembering what may be his signature achievement.

Richard Slawsky is an Educator and freelance writer, specializing in the digital signage and kiosk industries.Louisville, Kentucky Area

The death of former president George H.W. Bush Nov. 30 at age 94 prompted a host of reminiscing in the media. Bush’s passing, many wrote, was the end of an era where politicians acted like ladies and gentlemen, treating friend and foe alike with dignity and respect.

Much of it was revisionism, of course. Bush’s Willie Horton campaign ad in his 1988 battle with Michael Dukakis is still discussed in political science classes because of its racial overtones. Many of the tactics used in his 1992 campaign against Bill Clinton, buoyed by the spread of the Internet, set the stage for the dysfunction currently plaguing both media and government. And one might argue that the effects of Bush’s handling of the invasion of Iraq are still being felt today.

Still, Bush guided the country through perilous waters as the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. And if there was something alive during Bush’s time that seems to be gone today, it’s the ability to compromise; for opposing sides to come together and accomplish something for the greater good.

On July 26, 1990, Bush signed what’s been called the most sweeping civil rights legislation enacted since the 1960s: The Americans with Disabilities Act. The signing came just weeks after the bill sailed through Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support.

And while the effectiveness of the ADA remains a subject for debate, there’s no doubt about its impact on the kiosk industry, the country at large and most importantly, the lives of people with disabilities.

Long in the making

Although the ADA was codified into law during Bush’s tenure, it has its roots in the three pieces of major civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. According to the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covered employers, those receiving federal funds and places of public accommodation such as restaurants and bus stations, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion and national origin.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 protects the voting rights of minorities, while the Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex in the sale and rental of housing.

None of that legislation, though, covered people with disabilities. It wasn’t until the next decade when the country saw significant movement on disability rights. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability in federal programs and by recipients of federal financial assistance. In 1975, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act mandated that public schools accepting federal funds provide equal access to education for children with physical and mental disabilities. The act was revised and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990.

Although the 70s-era legislation was a start, it was the ADA that addressed discrimination against people with disabilities in many employment situations and public accommodations in the private sector. The bill’s effect wasn’t confined to the United States. According to Patrisha Wright, co-founder of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the ADA served as the inspiration for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has prompted several other countries to pass similar legislation.

An unlikely champion

Although Bush championed the ADA’s passage, his support for disability rights legislation was something that few could have predicted. According to Lex Frieden, executive director of the National Council on the Handicapped, Bush had a major encounter with disability issues in the public sphere when then-President Ronald Reagan appointed him to oversee a task force that was working to weaken the Education for All Handicapped Children Act.

“Parents of kids with disabilities heard about that and began to call and write the White House and express their anger and angst to Vice President Bush,” Frieden told the Pacific Standard. “He was taken aback about that. He addressed his staff and told them back off [from gutting the EHCA].”

In addition, many in government were actively in favor of disability rights legislation, including then-Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas, who suffered wounds in World War II that left his right arm permanently disabled and his left arm minimally functional, and former White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was left partially paralyzed after being shot in March 1980 during John Hinckley’s assassination attempt on President Reagan. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, whose brother was deaf, was the chief sponsor of the ADA in the Senate.

“It’s been the work of a true coalition, a strong and inspiring coalition of people who have shared both a dream and a passionate determination to make that dream come true,” Bush said at the signing, according to the. “It’s been a coalition in the finest spirit—a joining of Democrats and Republicans, of the  legislative and the executive branches, of federal and state agencies, of public officials and private citizens, of people with disabilities and without.”

Much left to be done

The ADA has remained controversial since its passage, garnering criticism for the barrage of lawsuits it has prompted over the years.

At the same time, much of the technology we use in our daily lives wasn’t even in existence in 1990, so many technology providers are working to accommodate those with disabilities despite vague and often-changing government guidance. In many cases, the kiosk industry is at the forefront of those efforts.

Kiosk manufacturers have long adhered to dimension standards to ensure their devices can be accessed by those in wheelchairs, and have included assistive technologies such as audio headset connections and the ability to adjust text size on displays. Over the past few years, companies such as Storm Interface have developed touchpads, voice recognition capabilities and other tools to make it easier for those with limited hand motion and other disabilities to access kiosks, while companies such as GestureTek have developed video gesture technologies that enable sight-impaired people to interact with touchscreens.

And not long ago, the Kiosk Manufacturers Association created a working group of kiosk manufacturers and other experts to help address usability and compliance issues.

So while every issue with ADA compliance when it comes to kiosks can’t be foreseen, and many are left to the courts to decide, the industry continues to work towards making self-service technology accessible by all.

Nearly 40 years ago, George H.W. Bush laid down a challenge to make the United States a place where people with disabilities wouldn’t be excluded from the conveniences of life we all enjoy. There’s still much to be done, but the kiosk industry is working every day to meet that challenge.

Rest in peace, Mr. President.

More Information

U.S. Access Board 2018 Meeting KMA ADA Board

US Access BoardWe had our yearly meeting in Washington, DC on October 16th, 2018 and it was a productive meeting.  We thank the U.S. Access Board for having us and meeting with us. Thank you.

In attendance:
Devices for Show and Tell Included:
  • Audio NavPad we guess that is being tested by companies like Amazon and others [Storm Technology]
  • Haptic touchscreen with programmable friction  [Mimo Monitors]
Agenda

It was a full agenda and there were several takeways. Also KMA provided sample Smart City RFPs from actual requests to help the Access Board gain a better understanding of the role of ADA and Accessibility in those types of projects.

One of the agenda items was to introduce to the Access Board our new ADA and Accessibility Co-Chairs Laura Miller and Randy Amundson.

Thanks from all of us at KMA.

Click on any of the pictures for full size image.

 

For reference here is the FINAL DRAFT Whitepaper. The Use of Voice Recognition and Speech Command Technology as an Assistive Interface for ICT in Public Spaces for Audio. If you have comments please send them to Craig@catareno.com or contact Peter at Storm Interface.

Other related articles:

 

ADA Kiosk Tech Brief – Gesture Technology

ADA Kiosk Tech Brief – Gesture TechnologyGesture Technology for Kiosk

Last week we went thru a demonstration of gesture technology for kiosk for use by handicapped users. People unable to move their arms.  People unable to speak.

People with ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injury, Parkinsons, Cerebral Palsy and even some cases of Arthritis.

Furthermore, some people may not be able to use voice either, or even if they could, there may be noise or privacy concerns preventing use of voice.

We had a YouTube video created for us which demonstrates 3 different ways in which a user can choose buttons on a kiosk screen in a totally hands-free and voice-free fashion via use of head motion and/or smiling.

  1. Head pointing and dwell clicking.
  2. Head pointing and smile clicking.
  3. Smiling only (with scanning)

Gesture Technology for Kiosk

Gesture Kiosk Software additional info:

For more information email Uday at Percept-D here.

ADA Accessibility Tip – Integrating Storm NavPad

ADA Accessibility Tip – Integrating Storm NavPad

We get asked about configuring the Storm NavPad and it comes with API/SDK which lets programmers configure it. In Windows you can even light the lights so to speak.  There are firms that specialize in assisting with that exact sort of thing (listed on our ADA page).

Another less software intensive is to use a lockdown such as KioWare.  See the screenshots below.

See below —  the Accessibility screen for turning on Nav-Pad support.  Also, where you turn on JAWS and ZoomText.  Turning Nav-Pad on automatically creates Hotkeys for all the NavPad keys.

navpad hotkeys

Here are all the hotkeys

navpad hotkeys

And here we show all the different ways to configure a Hotkey.  The ‘Perform this action:’ list box has ~20 predefined actions: Begin/Renew Session, Copy, Paste, Toggle Virt Kbd, Volume Up/Down, etc…

navpad hotkey details

 

ADA Accessibility – Storm Interface – Software and Configuration of NavBar

How To Configure Storm Interface Accessibility NavBar NavPad

Here are some quick notes on configuring Storm Interface products.


audio nav ada device
Audio navigation device. Click for full size. Courtesy Storm Interface

The functionality of the Nav-Bar is the same as that for all of Storm’s ATP products.

It enumerates as a combined HID/audio device, so no special drivers or software is required. Connection to the host system is via a single USB cable. When a headset is inserted into the audio jack or a button is pressed, the keypad transmits a unique keycode to the host system. Upon receipt of the keycode, the host system must de designed such that it will act appropriately. For example, upon receipt of the keycode for ‘Jack In’ then the audio should start playing.

The products dispatched from the factory are configured to use the default key code tables (as shown in the attached, which is a page from the product’s technical manual). If required, these keycodes can be changed by the customer by using a free software utility provided by Storm. This software utility is available to download from Storm’s website here:

http://www.storm-interface.com/downloads/?dlcat=Software

(Nav-Bar™ with Audio Module Utility version 6.0)

How to use the software utility is explained in the technical manual which I’ve attached, please see page 17 & 18.

=============================================

The USB key-press codes can also be changed to whatever is required. Up/Down keys can be multi-media volume control or HID keyboard up/down

We also supply an API so that the host machine can interact directly with our product.

Instructions for the Utility and the API are included in the Technical Manual for each product.

See links to these below

Link to Nav-Pad product page showing available downloads for Software Utilities and Technical Manual

http://www.storm-interface.com/assistive-technology-products/nav-padtm/nav-pad-8-keys-usb-interface-audio-processor.html

Link to Nav-Bar product page showing available downloads for Software Utilities and Technical Manual

http://www.storm-interface.com/assistive-technology-products/nav-bar/navbartm-silver-white-keys-under-panel-mount.html

Storm Interface

ADA News – RNIB Testing Confirms Compliance with ADA Requirements

RNIB Testing Confirms Compliance with ADA Requirements

With so much conflicting information about what manufacturers should do to ensure compliance with ADA, Storm Interface approached the RNIB for guidance and confirmation of conformance.

The Royal National Institute for Blind People provide laboratory testing and accreditation services to the World Blind Union and are one of the world’s (if not the most)  recognized authorities in the accessibility sector. Storm had previously been commended by the RNIB for their work in achieving accessibility, but thought it best to specifically confirm compliance with ADA.

The following is a copy of their conclusions. These were drawn after completion of a comprehensive test program and assessment of Storm’s assistive technology product range.  Storm is proud to have been recognized by the Royal National Institute for Blind People under their “RNIB Tried and Tested” program.

rnib storm interface

January 2018

Dear Peter,

RNIB have assessed the various Storm keypads for compliance with the ADA standard for input devices (707.6) and our findings are summarised below. The Storm keyboards included are:

1. NavBar
a. Black with coloured keys EZB6-63000
b. Black with white keys EZB6-53000
c. Silver-grey with coloured keys EZB6-73002
d. Silver-grey with white keys EZB6-43000

2. NavPad
a. 5 Button EZ05-23001
b. 6 Button EZ06-23001
c. 8 Button EZ08-23001

3. AudioNav 1406-33001

707.6.1 Input Controls.
The ADA states: “At least one tactilely discernible input control shall be provided for each function. Where provided, key surfaces not on active areas of display screens, shall be raised above surrounding surfaces. Where membrane keys are the only method of input, each shall be tactilely discernible from surrounding surfaces and adjacent keys.”

RNIB assessment:
1. NavBar (all models specified above)
The Nav-Bar has 6 raised buttons in different shapes. The buttons are easy to feel and press and have tactile markings on them as well to help with identification.
Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

2. NavPad (5, 6 or 8 keys)
The Nav-Pad comes in three different designs and had 5, 6 or 8 buttons in different shapes. The buttons are easy to feel and press and have tactile markings on them as well to help with identification.
Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

3. AudioNav
The silver Audio-Nav has 5 buttons around a centre button. There are tactile markings on each of the 4 arrow buttons and a tactile circle on the centre OK button. The buttons are easy to feel.
Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

707.6.2: Numeric keys.
This is not applicable as there are no numeric keypads on the keyboards tested.

707.6.3.1 Contrast.
The ADA states: “Function keys shall contrast visually from background surfaces. Characters and symbols on key surfaces shall contrast visually from key surfaces. Visual contrast shall be either light-on-dark or dark-on-light.”

RNIB assessment:
RNIB assesses the colour contrast using simulation glasses developed by Cambridge University (http://www.inclusivedesigntoolkit.com/csg/csg.html). These glasses simulate a general loss of ability to see fine detail including cloudy vision. RNIB uses the benchmark given by the developers which indicates that the product excludes less than 1% of the population.

1. NavBar (all models specified above)
The text and icons on the buttons have been tested with sim specs to simulate reduced contrast. The contrast passes in the sense that it ‘excludes less than 1% of the population’. For ADA we believe this will be sufficient.

The buttons on the black and the silver/grey Nav-Bar have been tested with the sim specs and it passes in the sense that it ‘excludes less than 1% of the population’. For ADA we believe this will be sufficient.

Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

2. NavPad
The text and icons on the buttons have been tested with sim specs to simulate reduced contrast. The contrast passes in the sense that it ‘excludes less than 1% of the population’. For ADA we believe this will be sufficient.

The buttons on the brushed silver background have been tested with the sim specs and the contrast passes in the sense that they ‘exclude less than 1% of the population’. For ADA we believe this will be sufficient.

Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

3. AudioNav
On the silver Audio-Nav the buttons have been tested with the sim specs and the contrast passes in the sense that they ‘exclude less than 1% of the population’. For ADA we believe this will be sufficient.

Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

707.6.3.2 Tactile Symbols.
The standard states: “Function key surfaces shall have tactile symbols as follows: Enter or Proceed key: raised circle; Clear or Correct key: raised left arrow; Cancel key: raised letter ex; Add Value key: raised plus sign; Decrease Value key: raised minus sign.”

RNIB assessment:
1. NavBar
The only button that this applies to is the round OK/Enter button. This button is round and has a tactile circle on the top. The tactile circle is very easy to feel.
Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

2. NavPad
The only button that this applies to is the round OK/Enter button. This button is round and has a tactile circle on the top. The tactile circle is very easy to feel.
Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

3. AudioNav
The OK button in the centre of the Audio-Nav has a tactile circle on it that is easy to feel.
Conclusion: RNIB believes this passes the ADA requirements

Disclaimer
RNIB has used its best endeavours to provide this opinion basing our results on the testing as specified above. RNIB cannot accept any responsibility or liability for claims made against this opinion.

Yours sincerely,

Scott Lynch
Managing Director – RNIB Solutions

Storm Interface and Tech for All Announce Collaboration

Storm InterfaceMEDIA RELEASE
Contact: Peter Jarvis
Storm Interface
Phone: +44 (0)1895 456200
Email: sales@storm-interface.com
London, England. January 2018
Web: www.storm-interface.com

Storm Interface and Tech for All build on a shared vision

As the ICT sector in the U.S. is challenged to conform with the ADA and other accessibility regulations, two leading experts are collaborating to offer compliant and effective solutions.

Storm InterfaceAggressive and high profile class actions against well-known retailers, restaurant chains, vending machine operators, healthcare providers and major airlines have sent a cold shiver through businesses deploying touch-screen, self-service terminals. It is becoming clear that anything less than full compliance with both domestic and international mandates creates significant litigation risks. Inevitably this harms reputations and may lead to costly court-supervised settlements.

Many businesses are striving to make their products, services and infrastructure as accessible as they can possibly be and not just to achieve compliance. This forward thinking universal design approach improves usability for all users including those with sensory impairment or limited mobility. It improves efficiency, productivity, and enhances their relationship with the consumer.

Storm Interface and Tech for All, Inc. have announced a formal collaboration to help clients deliver accessible experiences for people with disabilities. Storm Interface is the UK manufacturer of audible system interfaces and content navigation devices. Tech for All is a leading US-based international consulting firm focused on the accessibility and universal design of electronic, information, and communication technologies.

“The inter-dependence of accessible hardware and effectively designed application software is obvious”, said Storm’s Peter Jarvis. “However, too often ICT designers and specifiers consider the two factors of accessibility separately, as if they were unrelated”. Storm works with specialist kiosk software developers to ensure that Storm’s USB-connected devices are universally supported throughout the ICT sector. By collaborating with established expert developers such as Tech for All, Storm is able to provide clients with a complete accessibility solution.

Tech for All’s Caesar Eghtesadi agrees, “Our collaborative development approach produces a synergistic accessible design that delivers a successful experience for all users, including those with disabilities. This coordinated development approach is more cost-effective and efficient than the current adapt-and-patch approach.”

Background Information:

About Storm Interface
For more than 30 years Storm Interface have designed and manufactured secure, rugged and reliable keypads,keyboards and interface devices. Storm products are built to withstand rough use and abuse in unattended public-use and industrial applications. Storm Assistive Technology Products are recognized by the Royal National Institute for Blind People under their ‘RNIB Tried and Tested’ program.www.storm-interface.com

About Tech for All, Inc.
Tech for All, Inc. has for over 16 years served small to Fortune 500 companies in several industries, educational institutions, NGOs, and government agencies. It provides a full range of accessibility consulting services including planning, evaluation, design, development support, testing, implementation/deployment,  and monitoring. www.TFAConsulting.com

Our contact details are as follows:
USA
Storm Interface
13835 N Tatum Blvd. Suite 9-510
Phoenix, AZ 85032
Tel: +1 480 584 3518
Email: sales.usa@storm-keypads.com

Tech for All, Inc.
P.O. Box 213473
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33421
Tel: +1 561 333 2835
Email: info@TFAConsulting.com

UK, Europe and Other Territories
Storm Interface
14 Bentinck Court
Bentinck Road
West Drayton
Middlesex
UB7 7RQ
United Kingdom
Tel +44 (0)1895 431421
Email: sales@storm-interface.com

Making Japan Accessible to All RISING NHK WORLD English

Making Japan Accessible

 

Universal design aims to create an environment accessible to all, regardless of age, or linguistic or physical limitations. As Tokyo prepares for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, one venture firm working to make Japan a world leader in this area is led by Toshiya Kakiuchi. Wheelchair bound since childhood due to brittle bone disease, this young entrepreneur provides consulting on facilities and services for the disabled, aiming to change preconceptions and facilitate true hospitality.

Source: www.youtube.com

Very good documentary on Toshiya Kakiuchi and Japan accessibility features. Includes Narita airport and restaurants.

At one point the employees of Narita don glasses, weights and other encumbrances to simulate disability and how the airport works and doesn’t work for them.

American Council of the Blind sues Eatsa over kiosk and app access

American Council of the Blind sues Eatsa over kiosk ADA and app accessADA Kiosk Actions Eatsa

The American Council of the Blind has sued Eatsa, a fast-food chain that uses automated self-service kiosks and ordering apps, over insufficient access, according to a press release. Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national nonprofit legal center, filed

Source: www.fastcasual.com

It’s pretty simple providing some access for the blind, doesn’t have to be every single machine. Somebody did not think this thru…


From Recode.Net

Eatsa, for example, uses iPads for its in-store kiosks, according to its website. And Apple has for years included screen-reading accessibility technology — which can dictate on-screen items to blind people — in its iOS devices, and has made those tools available to developers.

But “Eatsa has configured its systems so that the [screen reader capability] is not usable on the iPad,” said Rebecca Serbin, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, the nonprofit representing the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. “So the technology to make Eatsa accessible exists, but Eatsa just didn’t care enough to include that in their design.”

Adding things like a tactile keypad with braille, or making the iPad’s headphone jack accessible — currently obstructed by the frame it’s mounted on — would allow customers with vision impairment to still use Eatsa’s ordering system, according to the complaint.

Though it’s possible for customers at the restaurant to never interact with a human worker, each location does have a staff person or two in the front to assist customers if needed. But the suit further points out that the way customers can request help from one of these employees is also via a button on the iPad, which is not accessible to blind and low-vision customers.

Even the cubbyholes where food is served have no way to opt for audible cues. The whole process is silent, thus making it inaccessible, the lawsuit claims.