Posts Tagged ‘screen readers’

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2013

Global Accessibility Awareness Day logoToday is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD), and there are programs taking place all around the world from Bangalore, India to Washington, DC. The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and users with different disabilities.

GAAD is the brainchild of Joe Devon, a Los Angeles based technologist and entrepreneur. Devon says, “The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.”

Last year, I wrote a piece about the inaugural Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD), and the strong connections between Semantic Web and Assistive Technology. Or rather, I posited that there were connections that were inherent, but not being maximized, or even explored.

One year later, I’m very pleased to report that things are progressing! There are now formal efforts to connect Semantic and Assistive Technologies.

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day is Today – but where’s the Sem Tech?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day LogoToday, May 9, 2012 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD). What started with a simple blog-post by Los Angeles Web Developer, Joe Devon, has grown to include events around the world designed to increase awareness about web accessibility issues. To read more about the day and these various activities, see the official GAAD Website and Facebook page.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Today, about 50 million Americans, or 1 in 5 people, are living with at least one disability, and most Americans will experience a disability some time during the course of their lives.” In other parts of the world, this number may be significantly higher.

In the interest of full disclosure, Joe Devon is a personal friend of mine, and I must admit that if he were not, I likely wouldn’t have seen his blog post or explored the issues of accessibility as deeply as I have in recent weeks. But I have been exploring, and I’ve been surprised at what I’ve found. In my opinion, Semantic Technology and Assistive Technology are a natural fit for one another, but there seems to be very little discussion or work around the intersection of the two. I have looked, but have not found much collaboration between the two communities. I have also found few individuals who possess much knowledge about both Semantic Tech and Assistive Tech. Of course, if I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comments!

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Extra, Extra: rNews Seeks To Be Semantic Standard For Online News Publishers

News publishing outlets stand to benefit from adopting Semantic Web technologies, and now there’s a lightweight way for them to begin moving in that direction, too.

The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) recently introduced rNews 0.1, a set of specifications and best practices for using RDFa to embed news-specific metadata (headlines, bylines, publication dates and so on) into HTML documents. It hopes rNews will become a standard in the industry for conveying through to browsers and into HTML documents the deep structure and explicitly modeled content that exists in publishers’ back-end data layers. The wider its adoption across news channels, the greater the chance of innovative apps cropping up that can help publishers increase engagement with their audiences, according to rNews’ developers.

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