Accessibility June Meetup (Vancouver) Notes

Notes from the June Accessibility Meetup presentations.

AT-BC (Accessible Technology of BC)

Providing assistive technology resources to make learning and working environments usable for people with disabilities.

Examples of technology:
* “handshake” mouse
* microphone with direct to headphones setup
* microphone with sound amplification/speaker behind audience. Tend to be more relaxed by decreasing stress of listening

* clients: all disability groups; all regions of BC
* provide assessments of abilities and environment
* most work done remotely
* training on demand for individually and in groups
* tech support for clients
* students using tech to collaborate, read course materials, alternate formats
* have loan bank for students to borrow
* work with grant programs for students to purchase technology
* provide limited private institutions for students eligible for student aid services

Accessibility Discussion
* talked about what people used in their work
* assistive technology, it’s very much an individual thing; much of the time it’s the same thing as what everyone uses but it’s about minimizing impact of barriers
* how easy it is for user to access our product?
* access and using products in all sorts of ways
* zoomtext: software to change contrast and text size
* police officer who had difficulty to read and write. How to take quick notes to do reports? Used speech-to-text, dictation software; text-to-speech (TTS) to read back

* screen reader: uses TTS but also reads what type of information or content it is for the user to control what they’re doing
* examples: JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver
* have to remember all the shortcuts and commands; very high cognitive load
* can jump headings
* PDF similar issues as websites
* problem can also be from software (e.g. browser)
* one of the biggest parts of accessibility is actually usability
* refreshable braille: need it in combination with screen reader for deaf-blind user
* will work as long as it’s text (ASCII, Unicode) based
* mobile apps tend to be cleaner, sometimes easier to use than desktop version
* KAFB reader: mobile app that will read out loud a picture taken with the camera
* when you go towards mobility, but give up accuracy

Take Away
* those who need high intervention are typically low in numbers, but many use fairly common technologies (such as TTS) for various reasons
* need to consider accessibility so as to not lose your users

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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