US Government Seal Design

The US Government Needs to Invest in Digital Design

IMAGINE IF, WHEN the president addressed the nation in those early, frightening days of March 2020, he had announced the launch of a user-friendly digital hub for citizens to access critical government services related to Covid-19. The site and corresponding iOS and Android apps would seamlessly integrate the latest COVID-19 data and content from multiple federal agencies, hospitals nationwide, and private sector companies. It would be accessible to all Americans—supporting 62 languages, and those with visual disabilities or limited internet access would have a phone number they could call to speak to a knowledgeable representative with no wait time…

photo of seated woman using credit card to pay online

It’s harder than ever for the visually impaired to shop online — here’s how retailers can make their digital presence more accessible

If anything has increased in recent months, besides the amount of people working and learning from home, it’s online shopping. Research released in March by retailer ecommerce platform Mercatus indicated that new accounts opened in online stores increased by 1,200% from the previous year. Global ecommerce sales increased by 31% in June, up from 23% in April and May, while Walmart, among other retailers, reported impressive ecommerce earnings in Q2, emphasizing the long-term growth of online retail as shoppers remain wary of in-store purchasing…

photo of woman in wheelchair facing difficulty going up stairs

How Can We Talk About Accessibility If I Can’t Even Use Food Delivery Apps?

Many people think of ramps and braille labels whenever they think of accessibility. But is that it? Before getting into this question, let’s deal with what accessibility means. Accessibility is when you can access certain things, for economic, social, technological feasibility. The meaning of accessibility is wide and deep and goes beyond popular understanding. There are different hurdles in exercising our right to access resources and opportunities. I am going to deal with accessibility in terms of physical/visual/other body-related disabilities…

illustration of various art

How digitalization during COVID-19 has made Canadian art more accessible

Disability is a prevalent experience among Canadians. The most recent Canadian Survey on Disability found that one in five Canadians aged 15 or above had one or more disabilities. The University of Toronto alone has more than 2,000 students registered with accessibility services. Whether physical, sensory, cognitive, or mental, all disabilities have the potential to pose significant barriers for individuals to fully enjoy the arts. Theatres may be wheelchair-accessible, but the bus ride to get there may not be museums may display educational artifacts, but the stressful long lines may stop a visitor with autism from comfortably learning…

a photo of a powerstrap

This startup wants to replace the white cane for blind people

Lots of companies are pouring resources into teaching cars to see the world around them. Now a startup called Strap Technologies is developing a wearable pod that uses some of the same kinds of sensors used by autonomous vehicles—radar, lidar, ultrasonic—to give blind people a clearer sense of their surroundings. “Each sensor has a different resolution, has a different threshold,” said founder and CEO Diego Roel in a Zoom conversation last week in which he showed off a preproduction Strap. “We use the best of each sensor and we combine them.”…

photo of people marching in a rally

For Disabled People, Access To Assistive Tech Is A Human Right Not An Employment Perk

Assistive Technology in relation to computer and IT systems can be life-changing for disabled people. Access to assistive technology can, in many cases, define the difference between full and equal access to the internet and computer operating systems and significant exclusion from any type of digital participation. Specialized technologies such as screen readers and magnification for blind and visually impaired people and text-to-speech software for individuals with dyslexia and other neurodivergent conditions go well beyond the standard accessibility features built into Microsoft and Apple computers.

illustration of two people in each others arms

ProPublica experiments with ultra-accessible plain language in stories about people with disabilities

For an investigation into denied disability benefits in Arizona and an accompanying editor’s note, ProPublica is experimenting with plain language — a type of text that uses common words, short sentences, and clear structure to make information more accessible to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. ProPublica sponsored Amy Silverman‘s “State of Denial” series with The Arizona Daily Star through their Local Reporting Network. The plain language translation appears alongside versions you’ve likely seen before: a Spanish translation and audio…

photo man with sight disability walking in a voting facility

Blind and nearly disenfranchised: My experience at the polls

I was fully prepared to perform my civic duty and vote on Election Day, but unfortunately the facility I was assigned to vote at was not prepared for me to cast my vote like everyone else. And why not, might you ask? Because I am blind. Yes, I am blind, but I am also an independent, competent adult who can compensate for my lack of vision when provided with reasonable accessibility options. I am 42 years old. I have completed extensive schooling on the graduate and post-graduate level including degrees in mathematics, special education, and administration…

photo of woman's hands typing on a laptop

Virtual fundraising events: 3 questions charities need to be asking about accessibility

Compared with the fundraising landscape of the first national lockdown, the danger of ’compassion fatigue’ or ’empathy overload’ means that persuading audiences to part with their hard-earned income is even more of a challenge for charities. And with the pandemic stretching on with no end in sight, and so many causes asking for help, who can blame people for becoming apathetic and wanting to switch off from all the caring and giving? Charities have shown great resilience and flexibility by pivoting their fundraising events to the digital world in ways that are both engaging and compelling…

photo collage of persons with disabilites working and in daily life

How to Avoid Just ‘Checking the Box’ on Disability Inclusivity in the Workplace

In last month’s Disability Inclusion Summit, part of Adweek’s ongoing DEI event series, eight leaders in the marketing and advertising industry brought their unique experiences and perspectives forward to discuss the biggest opportunities for advancement for the disability community. We teamed back up with our amazing panelists to cover some outstanding but crucial questions from the audience. Ranging from questions in hiring and recruiting best practices to creating a more inclusive workplace, read on to see what these experts had to say about how to best address the gaps within the disability community in the advertising world…

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