Accessible Technology Bulletin
For more information, call 800-949-4232 (V/TTY)
Welcome to the Great Lakes ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin
Technology Trainings & Events
A New Resource for Accessible Technology in the Workplace
AccessilbeTech.org is a new website developed by the Great Lakes ADA Center and Pacific ADA Center. The purpose of AccessibleTech.org is to build a partnership between the disability and business communities to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through the promotion of technology that is accessible to all.
Advances in technology are changing the nature of business, from job performance and work productivity to commercial interactions such as buying, selling and advertising. Smart companies understand that many of their customers and employees have evident and hidden sensory, learning, and physical impairments. And these numbers will grow as our population ages.
Just as street curb-cuts, originally designed for people using wheelchairs, have been embraced by all pedestrians, information technology that is designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities also provides improved access and usability for all individuals. Accessible information technology is technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Accessible technology is either directly accessible -in other words, it is usable without assistive technology - or it is compatible with standard assistive technology. Each user is able to interact with the technology in ways that work best for him or her.
Accessible technology makes good business sense by removing barriers that prevent consumers from accessing products and services ensures higher sales and increased revenue and Providing employees with appropriate technology enhances productivity, improves morale and increases loyalty.
The site offers questions and answers in the categories of e-learning, legal issues, operating systems, policy issues, self contained-closed products, software applications, telecommunication products, video multimedia, and web-based information and applications.
The site also offers regional, federal and national resources, frequently asked questions on business need to know about the Americans with disabilities act, and the opportunity to submit your on questions about accessible technology.
Cognitive Disability and Accessibility
The concept of cognitive disabilities is extremely broad, and not always well-defined. In loose terms, a person with a cognitive disability has greater difficulty with one or more types of mental tasks than the average person. As such, addressing accessibility can be complicated and for certain profound cognitive disabilities accessibility is not achievable. However, there are still some things that web programmer can do to increase the accessibility of web content to people with some cognitive disabilities.
While empirical research is just starting to be done in this area, many experts offer suggestions that can make websites easier for users with cognitive disabilities to use. In fact, most of these suggestions make the web easier for everyone to use! Many of these experts' recommendations are basic usability principles. The following are some suggested strategies:
- Easy navigation of the site is critical, including menus that are short and simple, a clear way to backtrack or start over in navigation, and a limited number of options to avoid cognitive overload.
- The functionality of the site is also important. This includes, allowing user control of as many aspects as possible, optimize input options for tolerance of misspellings and typos, and provide definitions and explanations for unusual or technical terms.
- Content and text can create difficulties for users with cognitive impairments. Appropriate graphics can be used to help reduce cognitive load and enhance understanding and Use plain language in short, concise sentences - keep it simple.
- In dealing with the wide variety of multimedia options that can be included in the website, present materials in multiple modes including captions to audio and alternate formats for material so that users can choose the format that best suits their needs.
For more information review the article "Cognitive Disability and the Web: Where Accessibility and Usability Meet"http://www.ncdae.org/tools/cognitive/ by the National Center on Disability and Access to Education.
New Leadership Workshop on Accessibility for Business Leaders
Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) is sponsoring a new, one-day educational workshop for education and networking specifically designed to help the leaders of today's corporate, government, and higher educational organizations discuss successful strategies, solutions, and business cases for accessibility integration.
The Leadership Workshop on Accessibility provides the information needed to begin or enhance your accessibility integration. Attendees can:
- Discuss the business case for accessibility and its associated technologies with executives from some of the nation's top organizations such as Microsoft, IBM and AT&T
- Hear case studies of successful implementations across different work environments and lessons learned
- Gain insight to successful business strategies that enhance the employment of persons with disabilities
- Network with key industry executives and share insights into matters of customer outreach, employment and other accessibility issues
- Access the latest AT and IT products and services from the industry's leading vendors in the ATIA Exhibit Hall
The workshop is Thursday, October 29, 2009 at Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center For complete details on the Leadership Workshop on Accessibility, visit our Web site at www.atia.org/workshophttp://www.atia.org/workshop
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