Accessible Technology Bulletin
For more information, call 800-949-4232 (V/TTY)
Welcome to the DBTAC: Great Lakes ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin
Technology Trainings & Events
How State Government is Addressing Website Accessibility
Web site accessibility continues to grow in importance as more constituents with disabilities incorporate the Internet into their daily lives.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) estimates that 10 percent to 20 percent of the population in most countries has disabilities. The W3C said not all of those disabilities affect access to the Web, but problems with vision, hearing, dexterity and short-term memory can have a significant impact on a person's ability to use online information and services. Many state governments are finding that these technologies are not accessible to citizens with disabilities in their state.
The lack of accessible information technology can prevent individuals with disabilities from participating on equal terms in crucial areas of life, such as education and employment.
However, addressing access problems is a doable task; many states have taken steps to ensure their Web sites meet the minimum accessibility standards. Several have endorsed accessibility policy states or have passed specific laws addressing accessible and equal access to information technology.
Readspeak Extends Website’s Usability
Want a way to extend the usability and accessibility of your website? ReadSpeaker is a server-based product, developed in Europe, that speech-enables your website for the benefit of people who would like to have your website read out loud. It is especially useful for people with dyslexia or learning disabilities, low literacy level, people with English as a second language, elderly with impaired vision and others that like to listen as well as read.
Readspeaker is user friendly because there is no “plug in” or software to load, individuals just have the option of having the site read by clicking on the “Say It” icon and speech starts within no more than a few seconds of clicking It reads the website on both static and dynamic pages.
Other helpful features include custom dictionaries which can be edited to ensure correct pronunciations on the web site for industry specific vocabulary, documents posted on the webpage, including documents in PDF and Word, an option to download the spoken review as an mp3 or wav file, and can work well on slower Internet connections.
While ReadSpeaker can enhance the accessibility of a website, it does not automatically make a website compliant with current accessibility standards. The most important thing for making a website accessible is to make sure that it follows published guidelines and test the site with a variety of users including people with disabilities. ReadSpeaker reads pages that follow these standards very well, but does not itself increase the accessibility.
To learn more about Readspeaker visit their website at www.readspeaker.com.
The following are examples of websites that have implemented Readspeaker:
- British Dyslexia Association www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
- The Transverse Myelitis Association www.myelitis.org
- Service Canada www.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/home.shtml
- Ayrshire Housing www.ayrshirehousing.org.uk
- Dyslexia Institute www.dyslexia-inst.org.uk
- Toyko Stock Exchange News www.tse.or.jp
- Greater Manchester Police www.gmp.police.uk
- MenCap: Understanding Learning Disabilities www.mencap.org
- International Herald Tribune (all articles) www.iht.com
- Heather Nova Online Magazine www.heathernova.us
- Nettiet aTp Consultants www.nettietatpconsultants.com
- Inclusion Magazine inclusion.ngfl.gov.uk
Mark Your Calendar for the 2008 Accessible Technology On-line Seminars
The DBTAC: Great Lakes ADA Center is sponsoring a new on-line seminar series on accessible technology in 2008. The goal of the series is to increase awareness on technology accessibility for people with disabilities. All times are listed in Central Standard Time.
State Laws Addressing Accessibility - Monday February 11, 2008 1:00 - 2:00pm
Web Accessibility for Students with Disabilities - Monday March 3, 2008 1:00 - 2:00pm
Accessible Computer Applications - Monday May 19, 2008 1:00 - 2:00pm
ADA and Website Accessibility - Monday August 11, 2008 1:00 - 2:00pm
Learning and Accessibility - Monday September 29, 2008 1:00 - 2:00pm
It is expected that e-learning will become part of everyday life in many organizations in the next few years. As e-Learning expands, the gap will widen between people who can fully benefit from e-Learning and those who will be excluded because of inaccessible design. This seminar will address strategies for businesses to improve their knowledge and implementation of accessible e-Learning.
The Great Lakes ADA Center provides expert assistance via a national toll-free information line 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) or Online via Contact Us and presents customized trainings for employers, businesses, government, and individuals with disabilities regarding accessible technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 728)
1640 West Roosevelt Road, Room 405
Chicago, IL 60608-6904