Category Archives: Accessibility

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

News from the U.S. Access Board – March/ April 2019

access-board.gov  •  contact us

Access Board logoAccess Currents 
News from the U.S. Access Board  •  March/ April 2019

 

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Access Board to Hold Town Hall Meeting and Training in Indianapolis on May 21

Indianpolis skylineThe Access Board will hold a town hall meeting in Indianapolis on the afternoon of May 21 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The event will provide an open forum where members of the public can pose questions to the Board or share comments or concerns about accessibility for people with disabilities. There also will be panel discussions with area speakers on accessible recreation and outdoor environments, the Indiana AgrAbility Project, and local compliance initiatives under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The event will take place in the Pacers Square Room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Registration is not required. An assistive listening system, computer assisted real-time transcription (CART), and sign language interpreters will be available. Attendees are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of all participants. The meeting will not be streamed online, but there will be a call-in option and streaming CART.

Earlier in the day, the Board will also offer free training sessions on the ADA Accessibility Standards at the town hall site. There will be a program on how to apply the standards and common sources of confusion (9:00 am – 10:30 am). This will be followed by a session on recreation facilities and outdoor sites (10:45 am – 12:15 pm). Advance registration is not required, and participants can attend either or both sessions. Qualified attendees can earn continuing education credits (1.5 per session) from the American Institute of Architects.

For further information, contact Dave Yanchulis at yanchulis@access-board.gov, (202) 272–0026 (v), or (202) 272–0027 (TTY).

Bankers Life Fieldhouse logoU.S. Access Board Training and Town Hall Meeting, May 21
Pacers Square at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
125 S. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN

Training Session on the ADA Accessibility Standards (free)
• 8:00 – 9:00 Registration & Welcome
• 9:00 – 10:30 Application of the Standards & Common Sources of Confusion
• 10:30 – 10:45 Break
• 10:45 – 12:15 Recreation Facilities & Outdoor Sites

Town Hall Meeting
• 2:00 – 2:15 Opening Remarks
• 2:15 – 3:30 Panel Discussions
• 3:30 – 4:30 Overview of the Access Board & Open Forum

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Karen Tamley Elected Access Board Chair

Board Chair Karen Tamley and Vice Chair Lance RobertsonAt its March meeting, the Board unanimously elected Board Member Karen Tamley as its new Chair. Tamley just completed a term as Vice Chair of the Board and has served as the Commissioner of the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities since 2005.

“I am honored to serve as the Chair of such a dedicated agency that is a true force for change and that has done so much to advance accessibility both in the U.S. and abroad,” she stated after the vote. “I look forward to working with Board members and staff in the year ahead.”

Tamley joined the Board in 2015 as a public member. As head of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, she leads numerous disability policy and compliance initiatives in transportation, city infrastructure, emergency preparedness, housing, schools and technology, and other areas. She also oversees the delivery of independent living services to city residents.

She succeeds Lance Robertson who represents the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Board and who was named Vice Chair by acclamation. He serves as Assistant Secretary for Aging at HHS and heads its Administration for Community Living and previously was Director of Aging Services at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Board officers serve for a term of one year. The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Half of its members are representatives from most of the Federal departments. The other half is comprised of members of the public appointed by the President.

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Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board seadEnsuring that public streets and sidewalks are accessible to people with disabilities can be a challenge, especially since accessibility guidelines for public rights-of-way have yet to be finalized. The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place June 6 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will be devoted to answering the various questions that come up in addressing access to sidewalks and street crossings, pedestrian signals, on-street parking, roundabouts, transit stops and other components of public rights-of-way as well as shared use paths. Board Accessibility Specialists will answer questions submitted in advance or during the live webinar and offer guidance, solutions, and best practices based on guidelines the Board proposed for public rights-of-way. Attendees are encouraged to submit their questions in advance.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register for the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar
The Board also offers a free webinar series on its Section 508 Standards for ICT in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series will be held May 28 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will review the Trusted Tester for Web and highlight significant updates. Developed by Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Accessible Systems and Technology in coordination with other agencies, the Trusted Tester Process provides a scalable, repeatable, accurate process for evaluating web and software products for conformance with the 508 Standards.

Representatives from the Board and DHS will review the latest edition (Version 5) which supports the revised Section 508 Standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (2.0). Trusted Tester 5.0 improves the format, flow, and construction of the evaluation process and test conditions. Presenters will discuss the new testing tool, the Accessible Name and Description Inspector (ANDI), and how it aids testers with code inspection-based testing. They will also cover the availability of DHS online training and certification. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar.

Visit the webinar site for further information or to register. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board. Prior webinars can be accessed on the site.

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Poland Creates Entity Modeled after the U.S. Access Board

National Symbol of PolandThe Polish government has established an agency to promote accessibility that is modeled after the U.S. Access Board. Created in December, the Accessibility Council is responsible for reviewing laws and regulations and making recommendations to the government on implementing a sweeping new law to advance accessibility nationwide. The Council is comprised of 50 members representing ministries and government bodies, disability groups, and academia and meets quarterly. The Council will play a lead role in implementing the Accessibility Plus Program, an new measure that aims to make Poland a leader in accessibility by eliminating barriers in architecture, transportation, education, health care, digital and other services.

Poland’s Minister of Investment and Development Jerzy Kwieciński, who heads the Accessibility Council, credits the work of the U.S. Access Board and a speaking tour by Board Executive Director David Capozzi as the inspiration for the new entity. At the Council’s inaugural meeting in February, he recognized the Access Board’s influence and stated, “I believe that now Poland will become a model for other countries.” He supports a study tour of the U.S. for Council staff, including further consultations with the Board.

Capozzi travelled throughout Poland in 2017 as part of State Department’s speaker program to share the American experience in ensuring accessibility for people with various disabilities. During his weeklong stay in Warsaw, Gdynia, Gdańsk, and Kraków, he met with national and local authorities, advocacy groups, and other representatives, some of whom were instrumental in creating the Council. Capozzi discussed achievements and challenges of ensuring accessibility in the U.S. and shared lessons learned. He participated in dialogues on different aspects of accessibility, including the built environment, information and communication technology, employment, enforcement, and the important role standards play, among other topics.

“It was an honor to travel to Poland on behalf of the State Department and our embassy to meet with those leading the effort to make the country a model for accessibility,” states Capozzi. “The Board looks forward to learning more about their efforts and achievements and exploring how we can further advance accessibility in both our countries.”

In Warsaw, Board Executive Director David Capozzi (right) met with Senate Member Jan Filip Libicki and others.

David Capozzi with Senate Member Jan Filip Libicki

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Congressional Measures Address Airline Accessibility

airplaneLegislation was recently introduced in Congress to supplement the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which prohibits discrimination in air transportation. Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) submitted bills in the House (H. R. 1549) and Senate (S. 669) to amend the ACAA to further improve access at airports and on aircraft. The bills would create accessibility standards for new airplanes, require removal of barriers on existing airplanes where readily achievable, strengthen enforcement mechanisms, including establishment of a private right of action and enhance safety.

Under these measures, the Access Board would be responsible for issuing standards for aircraft and equipment for boarding and deplaning, including seating accommodations, lavatories, stowage of assistive devices, announcements, and in-flight entertainment and video displays. The standards also would address airports, including ticketing counters, gates, customer service desks, audible announcements, kiosks, and websites. The bills were referred to the appropriate House and Senate committees for consideration.

In addition, under a law passed last year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) began reporting data on the number of passenger wheelchairs and scooters that are damaged or mishandled by airlines on a monthly basis. A total of 701 (2.18%) wheelchairs and scooters were damaged last December, an average of more than 25 a day, as reported in DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report (February issue). The total for January was 681 (2.06%) and for February was 593 (1.7%).

In a statement, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who authored the law said, “Every airline passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, but too often they aren’t. Travelers should be able to find out if certain airlines have high rates of breaking wheelchairs and other equipment that people depend on, just like we can find out if certain airlines have high rates of flight delays or cancellations.”

Further information on this reporting is posted on DOT’s website.

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Guidelines for Voting Systems Available for Public Comment

Election Assistance Commission sealFederal guidelines for voting systems implemented under the Help America Vote Act are currently available for public comment. Issued by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) provide principles and criteria for assessing the basic functionality, accessibility, and security of voting equipment.

The EAC released the document, referred to as VVSG 2.0, on February 28 for a 90-day comment period, as indicated in a notice published in the Federal Register. The VVSG 2.0 updates guidelines first issued in 2005 and revised in 2015 and features a new streamlined structure comprised of high-level system design goals with broad descriptions of the functions that make up voting systems. The proposal also includes moving technical requirements and test assertions to separate documents that detail how voting systems can meet the new Principles and Guidelines in order to obtain certification. Those requirements and test assertions will be made available for public comment at a later date. The EAC seeks comments on all sections of the Principles and Guidelines including the proposed restructuring. Comments are due May 29.

For further information, visit the EAC’s website or contact Ryan Macias at (301) 563-3931 or votingsystemguidelines@eac.gov.

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Updated VPAT Now Available from the IT Industry Council

Information Technology Industry Council logoThe Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) maintains a free reporting tool known as the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to help determine whether information and communication technology products and services satisfy accessibility requirements, including the Section 508 Standards. ITI recently released revised editions of the VPAT (2.3) based on the Board’s revised 508 Standards (VPAT 2.3 508), including the referenced Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). It also offers VPATs for WCAG 2.1 (VPAT 2.3 WCAG), the European Union’s ICT requirements (VPAT 2.3 EU), and another based on all three (VPAT 2.3 INT).

Visit the ITI’s website for further information or send a message to info@itic.org.

AudioEye – New Sponsor specializing in Accessibility

AudioEye Now KMA Sponsor & Joins ADA Accessibility Committee

audioeye ADAWe want to thank AudioEye for becoming a sponsor of the Kiosk Manufacturer Association. AudioEye is also now a member of the KMA Accessibility Committee.

About AudioEye

AudioEye works with companies to ensure their digital content is accessible to users of all abilities.

Approximately 15-percent of the world’s population has some form of disability, whether visual, hearing, cognitive or motor. And if not coded correctly, digital content is simply inaccessible to this population.

 Committed to equal access for all, AudioEye has revolutionized the way in which businesses and organizations achieve and sustain digital inclusion … any time on any device. Its patented solution identifies and remediates accessibility issues with both automated and manual testing and engineering, and provides continuous monitoring to ensure digital content meets – or exceeds – legal compliance with ADA-related laws.

 To learn more about AudioEye, visit www.audioeye.com.

To read the AudioEye blog, visit www.audioeye.com/blog/

Click here to get started with the AudioEye solution.

To learn more about AudioEye solutions:

To learn more about digital accessibility:

Contact AudioEye

Participate in Retail Advisory Council for ADA & Accessibility for Self-Service and Kiosks

We are inviting any and all Retail companies to become a member of our Retail Advisory Council.  There is no cost and you are partitioned in a “safe harbor”. A distinct group segment from the actual kiosk manufacturers, or the installation and logistics companies, the financing companies or the companies providing components.

We here at the Kiosk Manufacturers Association work and talk ADA and Accessibility.  Once a year we meet with the U.S. Access Board. To make it easier for our suggestions and inputs to be accepted we have a wide interest Working Group.  Help us meet the standards by participating with us. It’s no cost.

If interested in more send us a note.

Here are first 10 stipulations for ANSI Requirements along with a full copy at the end.

ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards

1.0 Essential requirements for due process
These requirements apply to activities related to the development of consensus for approval, revision,
reaffirmation, and withdrawal of American National Standards (ANS).

Due process means that any person (organization, company, government agency, individual, etc.) with a direct and material interest has a right to participate by: a) expressing a position and its basis, b) having that position considered, and c) having the right to appeal. Due process allows for equity and fair play. The following constitute the minimum acceptable due process requirements for the development of  consensus.

1.1 Openness
Participation shall be open to all persons who are directly and materially affected by the activity in question. There shall be no undue financial barriers to participation. Voting membership on the consensus body shall not be conditional upon membership in any organization, nor unreasonably restricted on the basis of technical qualifications or other such requirements.

1.2 Lack of dominance
The standards development process shall not be dominated by any single interest category, individual or organization. Dominance means a position or exercise of dominant authority, leadership, or influence by reason of superior leverage, strength, or representation to the exclusion of fair and equitable consideration of other viewpoints.

1.3 Balance
The standards development process should have a balance of interests. Participants from diverse interest
categories shall be sought with the objective of achieving balance. If a consensus body lacks balance in
accordance with the historical criteria for balance, and no specific alternative formulation of balance was
approved by the ANSI Executive Standards Council, outreach to achieve balance shall be undertaken.

1.4 Coordination and harmonization
Good faith efforts shall be made to resolve potential conflicts between and among existing American National Standards and candidate American National Standards.

1.5 Notification of standards development
Notification of standards activity shall be announced in suitable media as appropriate to demonstrate an
opportunity for participation by all directly and materially affected persons.

1.6 Consideration of views and objections
Prompt consideration shall be given to the written views and objections of all participants, including those commenting on the PINS announcement or public comment listing in Standards Action.

1.7 Consensus vote
Evidence of consensus in accordance with these requirements and the accredited procedures of the standards developer shall be documented.

1.8 Appeals
Written procedures of an ANSI-Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) shall contain an identifiable, realistic, and readily available appeals mechanism for the impartial handling of procedural appeals regarding any action or inaction. Procedural appeals include whether a technical issue was afforded due process.

1.9 Written procedures
Written procedures shall govern the methods used for standards development and shall be available to any
interested person.

1.10 Compliance with normative American National Standards policies and administrative procedures
All ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers (ASDs) are required to comply with the normative policies and
administrative procedures established by the ANSI Executive Standards Council or its designee.

ANSI-Essential-Requirements-2018

 

Craig is a  senior staff writer for Kiosk Industry Group Association. He has 25 years of experience in the industry. He contributed to this article.

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:

 

Kroger Launches Voice Assistant Ordering for Grocery Ecommerce

Kroger Speech

Mega-grocer teams with Google Assistant for contextual commerce

The Kroger Co. is furthering its efforts in contextual commerce by adopting voice-assistant technology for ordering groceries online.

Customers can interact with their Kroger Grocery Pickup cart via an action in the Google Assistant voice app – which can be accessed through iOS, Android and Google Assistant devices, Kroger Technology announced on its LinkedIn page. Activating the service is as simple as saying “Hey, Google” into the device.

The service has launched so far in six Kroger-owned banners: Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food and Drug, QFC, King Soopers, City Market, and Ralphs. It will arrive at additional banners later this year and throughout 2019.

Source: progressivegrocer.com

ALSO WORTH READING

TARGET EXPANDING GOOGLE EXPRESS VOICE ORDERING

Nationwide expansion follows pilots in NYC, CA

WALMART DEBUTS VOICE-ENABLED SHOPPING

Will offer hundreds of thousands of items via Google Assistant

BOXED ADDS AR, CHATBOT, GROUP ORDERING

Innovations geared toward Millennials

‘ASK PEAPOD’ ENABLES VOICE ORDERING

Feature available to shoppers with Alexa-enabled device

VOICE-ORDERING PRODUCTS, INCLUDING GROCERIES, TO SURGE THROUGH 2022

Currently 20% of users voice-order groceries via devices

Airport Kiosk – FTE Trade Show In Vegas

Storm Interface KioskStorm Interface & Future Travel Experience (FTE)

By Craig Keefner — See Storm’s entire range of Assistive Technology Products (ATP) and find out more about exciting new product launches scheduled for later this year. These ATP devices are ADA compliant and RNIB Accredited, designed to offer menu navigation by means of audible content description. They allow users with impaired vision, reading difficulties or impaired fine motor skills to navigate through menus or directories that would typically be presented on a visual display or touch screen. Designed for use as the tactile/audio interface for any accessible self-service application such as kiosks, ticketing machines etc.

Storm Interface ADA

 

For more information contact:

Nicky Shaw
Storm Interface
USA Tel. 480-584-3518
Email: nickys@storm-keypads.com
Web: www.storm-interface.com
Web link to these products: Storm Products

Editors Note:  Other members at the show include Daniel from Olea, Custom Printers, and Practical Automation.

Craig is a longtime writer of technical stories and documentation for many companies. He has 25 years of experience in the industry

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

 

Voice assistants set to revolutionize commerce and become a dominant mode of consumer interaction in the next three years – Capgemini Worldwide

Voice Assistants

Source: www.capgemini.com

voice assistantsThe research found that today around a quarter (24%) of respondents would rather use voice assistants than a website. However, in the next three years, this figure will rise to 40%. Close to a third – 31% – said they will prefer a voice assistant interaction to visiting a shop or a bank branch, compared to 20% today.

More on Voice Assistants

Here are some of the more interesting gadgets adding voice-assistant capabilities.

Tell your mirror to start your shower

Kohler’s Vendera mirror is the only one of its connected-bathroom products with microphones to hear Alexa commands. It has waterproof speakers, so you can ask it to play music or the news. You can also ask it to control the PerfectFill bathtub or start the DTV shower. And, of course, you can ask it to flush the $5,625 Numi toilet for you. The products are all due out later this year.

Soothe your baby

Project Nursery Smart Baby Monitor System is a $229 setup that lets you tend to you baby with voice controls. You can ask Alexa to play white noise in the baby’s room while you’re reading in another. Similarly, the Nanit baby monitor, $299, will track your child’s sleep in detail. You can ask Alexa how long the baby slept last night or when she woke up.

Feed the cat without seeing the cat

Your pet is hungry. You don’t want to stand up. Ask Alexa or Google Assistant to release some chow on the $149 Petnet SmartFeeder 2.0. The voice assistants can also share updates about a pet’s eating habits and, if you have a connected camera, take photos of them while they’re eating.

Tell your cleaning robot it missed a spot

The Aeolus robot will be able mop or vacuum, pick up your messes, and detect human movements — such as a senior citizen falling. The robot, which is currently a prototype, will have Alexa and Google Voice integrated so you can tell it what to clean while you do lazy human things.

Turn your surveillance robot into a radio

Lynx is a smaller, cuter robot that can double as an $800 Amazon Echo. It can hear all the regular Alexa commands, and tell you the weather, news, or trivia. The robot is primarily meant for security, and uses facial recognition to spot and record intruders. Lynx can also act as a rolling video-conference robot if you want a far-away family member to feel like they’re in the room.

Ask your fridge to buy milk

The LG InstaView ThinkQ refrigerator has a giant 29-inch screen on the door, so you already know it’s dying to be the fridge of the future. LG actually added Alexa powers to a fridge last year. Now it’s making the various devices (fridge, stove, dishwasher) communicate with each other as well.

Pre-heat the oven

Also in the kitchen, Google Assistant and Alexa can control a Jenn-Air connected oven. You can switch the temperature while something is cooking or turn it off altogether.

Feel less lonely in your augmented reality glasses

The $1,000 Vuzix augmented reality smart-glasses will have a microphone built in so you can ask Alexa any of the usual questions. It will whisper replies in your ear, but also show some visual answers, such as weather, on the glasses’ heads-up display.

See http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/17/technology/ces-voice-alexa-google/index.html for more

ADA – U.S. Access Board Issues Correction to ICT Refresh Final Rule

U.S. Access Board Issues Correction to ICT Refresh Final Rule

Kiosk ADAThe U.S. Access Board has issued a correction to its updated accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) to restore provisions on TTY access that were inadvertently omitted. The action applies to the final rule the Board published last January to jointly refresh its Rehabilitation Act (Section 508) standards for ICT in the federal sector and its Communications Act (Section 255) guidelines for telecommunications equipment.

The original Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines required that devices with two-way voice communication support use of TTY devices which provide text communication across phone connections for persons with hearing or speech impairments. In its ICT refresh, the Board had proposed replacing this provision with a requirement for real-time text (RTT) functionality, a new technology with significant advantages over TTYs. RTT transmits text in virtual real-time as each character is typed, whereas TTY messages can only be sent individually in sequence. Also, RRT technology is directly compatible with wireless and Internet protocol (IP) based networks.

In finalizing its rule, however, the Board chose to reserve the RTT requirement because the Federal Communications Commission had initiated its own rulemaking to address RTT functionality over TTY compatibility in IP-based telecommunication environments. In doing so, the Board intended to add the original TTY provision back into the rule, but the necessary language was unintentionally left out. The recent correction restores the TTY requirement with minor editorial changes for consistency with the new format and terminology of the updated requirements (Section 412.8). It also corrects a couple typographical errors in other sections of the rule. The corrections become effective March 23, 2018 without further action unless adverse comments are received within 30 days.

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

Ava’s faces lawsuit over ADA access

ADA Access Lawsuit AvaADA Access Lawsuit Ava

A linchpin of Castro Street, Ava’s Downtown Market & Deli has weathered fierce competition, rising costs and parking troubles. Now the grocery store’s latest threat has to do with the dimensions of its displays and chairs.

Source: www.mv-voice.com

More

ADA Accessibility and Self-Service For All

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.