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The Oscars Are Expanding Accessibility To The Red Carpet This Year

For the first time in its 94-year history, the Academy Awards show is expanding its accessibility, both on and off screen, to the Oscars’ red carpet on Sunday.

The Oscars’ red carpet will include audio transcriptions — provided by a team that includes a blind audio describer — and live captions to ensure access for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences. Additionally, American Sign Language interpreters will be brought to the red carpet at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood this year, with an ASL livestream available for those watching at home.

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Microsoft 365’s newest assistant will point out when you make stuff less accessible

Imagine if Clippy didn’t suck and instead made genuinely helpful suggestions to ensure the content you create is accessible to as wide an audience as possible. That’s the idea behind a new tool Microsoft announced today at its annual Microsoft Ability Summit. The new “Accessibility Assistant” for Microsoft 365 office software is like a spelling or grammar checking tool that will instruct users on how to prevent and correct accessibility issues in real time when creating content.

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California Cannabis Retailer Faces Costly ADA and UCRA Claims

A recent lawsuit filed in California federal court serves as a good reminder to all our readers that it’s so important to be mindful of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). For the past several years, we’ve seen a steady flow of cases filed against cannabis companies for their alleged failures to run websites and point-of-sale terminals that interfere with a disabled person’s ability to access their products or services online. Under the ADA, “a business may have discriminated against handicapped individuals when they construct and maintain quote on quote architectural barriers which prevent disabled people from enjoying the business as any other person.”

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Sam Ash class action claims website not fully accessible to visually impaired, blind visitors

Sam Ash Music Corp. has failed to make its website fully accessible and independently usable for people who are blind or visually impaired, a new class action lawsuit alleges.

Plaintiff Jahron Black, who is legally blind, claims Sam Ash is denying individuals who are blind or visually impaired equal access to the goods and services offered on its website by not making it fully accessible to them.

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Times (New Roman) are changing: How fonts can boost accessibility

Fonts, or typefaces, are just about everywhere, but they’re not something the average person thinks about every day, although they have a surprising importance to nearly every aspect of life.

It’s a choice that underpins how well a person can understand any message and even conveys a message itself depending on how it’s set up. They’re everywhere from emails to street signs to advertisements and play a crucial role in both design and accessibility — and even national security.

Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department announced it would be switching its standard typeface from Times New Roman to Calibri — a switch that ruffled some feathers.

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How Inclusive Design Can Further Our Accessibility Understandings

When it comes to accessibility in games, the first aspect people always look for is an options menu. From customizing controls, adjusting subtitle size, or even activating varying colorblind filters, these settings help to dismantle any inaccessible barriers that could appear. And this constant search for features has become the primary topic when examining a title’s overall accessibility. Disabled players praise or criticize developers on social media platforms, and even content creators and publications will release videos or articles exploring menus to help disabled players make informed purchases. Yet, options alone do not make for an accessible game.

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After 10 years, limited maturity of agencies’ Section 508 programs ‘largely unchanged’

After a decade, the Justice Department finally offered some more clarity on how well federal agencies are meeting website accessibility requirements.

Several agencies are still missing the mark when it comes to compliance with Section 508, according to a DOJ report published in February. Section 508, a provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, requires agencies to make electronic information and data accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Although some agencies are meeting the accessibility web standards, the departments of Agriculture, Labor, State and Veterans Affairs reported that 50% or less of their public-facing websites comply with the requirements.

photo of Nick Scaperdas, a third-year bioengineering student at Northeastern, solders electrical wires together on a keypad for a doorbell

The DeafBlind community is an underserved community.’ Northeastern engineering students are designing more accessible doorbells

Hunched over a soldering table with safety glasses and deep intent on his face, Nick Scaperdas, a third-year bioengineering student at Northeastern University, focuses on the task at hand. Electrical wires stick out of an electric keypad in front of him, like the grasping tentacles of an octopus, as he connects yellow wires to what will eventually be a functioning doorbell.

But this isn’t an ordinary doorbell. Paired via Bluetooth with a bracelet, this doorbell literally helps open the door for people with concurrent hearing and vision loss, known as deafblindness.

“The way it’s going to work is we’re going to use Bluetooth to send a signal from the doorbell to the bracelet,” Scaperdas says. “The bracelet will receive the signal, and there’s a motor inside it that will vibrate and tell the person that someone’s there.”

photo of person walking with white cane

Colorado Launches Tool to Improve Government Accessibility

Colorado will now be offering a digital tool, Aira, to help Coloradans who are blind or have low vision navigate the world around them more easily.

In a video introducing the new tool, a user is connected with a representative who is able to give detailed directions through the state Capitol building.

As government services become increasingly digital, there is a related push to ensure these services are as inclusive as possible. From user experience to accessibility testing, government agencies are looking to simplify the digital government experience for all. A similarly themed initiative in Tampa, Fla., offers mapping support to people with vision impairments.

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