Jaws For Windows Software Update

April 16th, 2010

This week Freedom Scientific released Build 1430 of Jaws 11.0. Current users of Jaws 11 can download and install from the Check For Updates item (Jaws Help Menu).

This release adds support for the upcoming Microsoft Office 2010, improves Jaws handling of MS Word’s Track Changes features, and simplifies the Jaws Research It feature.

A detailed list of changes and direct downloads of 32 and 64-bit Jaws executables can be found at:

What’s New in JAWS 11

Update: Freedom Scientific has been releasing a series of minor patches over the summer. The August 2010 update is Version 11, Build 1467. Download is available from the page linked above.

New Web Accessibility Quick Guide

April 13th, 2010

The DCP staff presented a “Web Accessibility Quick Guide” at the UCLA Campus Web Publishers meeting on April 13, 2010.  If you missed the meeting, you can download the handout below:

Web Accessibility Quick Guide (PDF)

Patrick Burke gave an update on the new UC-wide Electronic Accessibility Leadership Team (E-ALT), and Heather Wozniak demonstrated WebAIM’s WAVE Toolbar, a free tool for evaluating the accessibility of your websites.  You can use WAVE online or download the Firefox toolbar from wave.webaim.org.

USA.gov Guidance On Access To Multimedia

September 18th, 2009

USA.gov has published a resource guide on multimedia online materials and accessibility:

Make Your Multimedia Section 508 Compliant and Accessible (WebContent.gov)

This is a thorough survey of the topic, with many links to examples, legal references, and further resources.

On a few points it seems to me to set a high standard for federal agencies.:

  • Captioning must be provided for live video (such as live speeches);
  • Audiodescription as well as captioning must be included where necessary;
  • The accessibility rules apply to agencies posting material to public websites (Youtube etc.) “Many agencies have found that a practical approach to providing accessible content is to post videos and presentations
    on these sites and also post the same content, in an accessible manner, on their own agency sites.”

These points have been “gray areas” in the past. For example, captioning of live video gets a lower priority rating in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. However, the USA.gov document stresses the affirmative need for access on all three of the above issues.

DCP Presentation on Web Content Authoring Guidelines 2.0

May 4th, 2009

On April 28 the DCP presented a look at the Web Content Authoring Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which became an official W3C Recommendation in December, 2008. We presented a brief review of the history of adaptive technology and how it fits in or clashes with web technology. This was followed by a discussion of the Web accessibility Guidelines and the basic things that authors can do to be part of a universally accessible Web experience.

Here are the Outline notes for the talk.

Blind Engineer at Google Profiled in New York Times

January 14th, 2009

For many years T.V. Raman has been a force to be reckoned with in the accessibility world. He has written his own screen reading programs and worked for several major companies. The NY Times story describes some of his current work at Google:

For the Blind, Technology Does What a Guide Dog Can’t

Google’s many web interfaces have varying levels of accessibility. The basic search screen that we all know has been functional from the beginning, and added more structure (heading tags) about two years ago. The Gmail interface is much more difficult, but many accessibility improvements have been made as the service has evolved. However, the Chrome browser is reaching its completed “1.0″ status without any screen reader accessibility.

You may follow selected projects of interest from the myriad of Google activities on our Google Development(s) page.