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Category: Technology

This report (Study report: Web accessibility in European countries: level of compliance with latest international accessibility specifications, notably WCAG 2.0, and approaches or plans to implement those specifications) presents the results of a study to provide data and analysis to support the European Commission in the identification of EU-level measures that can help to progress the achievement of greater levels of web accessibility across the Member States. The aim was to provide evidence and analysis to help understand and compare the approaches followed by the European countries, with a view to identifying issues and challenges, good practices and future priorities in the web accessibility field.
A core focus of the report is on the issue of transitioning to WCAG 2.0 guidelines against the current background where Member States have, in the main, being targeting their efforts towards the earlier WCAG 1.0 guidelines.
Download the report and its annexes

A relevant project in this area is ACCESSIBLE which will soon provide access to free accessibility assessment and simulation tools, applicable for websites, webservices and mobile services.

Below demo of Google Goggles shows how this Android supported applications allows users to take photos of things and get pertinent search results back. With Google Goggles, a user snaps a photo, images are sent to Google servers, vision algorithms analyze the image and look for detectable objects which create signatures for those objects. Those signatures are matched with an index of a billion images, ranked, and sent to a user’s mobile device in a fraction of a second. The company hopes to someday be able to visually identify any image. Goggles is available now in Android Market.
Potential applications for people with disabilities are:

  • People with cognitive impairments who can easily find where they are situated/locates, simply by taking a picture.
  • Youth with learning difficulties who will be able to easier perform searches on subjects that are of interest to them.
  • And one may think of many more if this is cross-linked with location and points of interest, together with accessibility information…
  • YouTube is introducing machine-generated automatic captioning to YouTube. The captions can also be translated. This potentially might have considerable implications for the hearing-impaired and language translation, albeit it will need further work in terms of reliability. Automatic captions will be generated using Google’s automated speech recognition (ASR) technology and the same voice recognition algorithms used in Google Voice. Additionally, auto-timing is being introduced. If you provide all the words in the video, Google will automatically time the captioning for you.
    Google put together a video on how to access the automatic captioning and auto-timing features:

    Source: Blog.searchenginewatch.com

    Raising the Floor (RtF) is an international coalition of individuals and organizations working to ensure that the Internet is accessible to people experiencing accessibility or literacy problems, even if they have very limited or no financial resources. The goal is to ensure that individuals who need special interfaces are as free and able as everyone else to use the new and emerging Internet tools and resources to live more independently and productively, and to achieve their life’s goals.
    More information is available on the Raising the Floor website.

    Google engineers work to make technology accessible to all. TV Raman is developing cell phone software on Google’s Android operating system and Ken Harrenstien is developing closed captioning for online videos. Below segment appeared in Tech Closeup program April 2009.

    Having several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data is at the core of the work by Pranav Mistry, the inventor of SixthSense, a wearable device that enables new interactions between the real world and the world of data. Below video includes a deep look at his SixthSense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper “laptop”. In the onstage Q&A, Mistry says he’ll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all.
    Looking at what Pranav Mistry demoed at TEDIndia, there is serious potential for affordable advanced technology, that can potentially be very helpful for usage by both people with disabilities and older people.