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Covid Reminds Us That Web Accessibility Helps All Users, Not Just The Disabled

Back in the early days of the internet, when having a computer at home usually meant a single room with a bulky desktop tower, web accessibility was barely a thought for those in the IT industry, let alone an afterthought. As the early 2000s wore on, third party software manufacturers began to develop bespoke desktop access solutions, often at a hefty mark-up. The “Mobile First” digital landscape, which was to emerge a decade or so later, changed the game forever. Suddenly, using their smartphones out and about, “ordinary” able-bodied folks found themselves plunged into situations that temporarily mirrored those routinely experienced by disabled people…

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Before the A.D.A., There Was Section 504

When the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was passed to prohibit employment discrimination based on disability, it was supposed to protect disabled people and ensure their rights in the United States. “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States,” Section 504 of that law reads, “shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”…

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How Harvard’s Star Computer-Science Professor Built a Distance-Learning Empire

Gabriel Guimaraes grew up in Vitória, Brazil, in a yellow house surrounded by star-fruit trees and chicken coops. His father, who wrote software for a local bank, instilled in him an interest in computers. On weekends, when Guimaraes got bored with Nintendo video games, he programmed his own. In grade school, he built a humanoid robot and wrote enough assembly code to make it zip around his home. In Vitória, an island city, his most ambitious peers dreamed of attending university in São Paulo, an hour away by plane…

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Top U.S. companies making strides in disability inclusion, index shows

The number of companies that scored an 80% and above on The Disability Equality Index (DEI) more than quadrupled to 205 from 43 in 2015, according to a report released July 15. The DEI, facilitated by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), is an annual benchmarking tool for the Fortune 1000 companies and the top 200 revenue grossing law firms in the U.S. to measure their inclusion against competitors. In 2020, 247 companies participated in the DEI, representing a U.S. workforce of 11 million people, according to Disability:IN and AAPD…

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How COVID-19 improved accessibility for job seekers with disabilities

As businesses scrambled to create remote work infrastructure following pandemic-driven shutdowns, they may have also unintentionally advanced accessibility for workers with disabilities. Before the pandemic, many individuals with disabilities faced difficulties attending interviews and finding consistent travel options for work. Kirk Adams, CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind, pointed out in an opinion piece for HR Dive that nearly 40% of people with blindness or low vision report having turned down a job offer just because of transportation concerns…

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Gimlet Media Sued for Not Making Podcasts Accessible to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The podcasting company Gimlet Media now faces a class-action lawsuit for failing to make its podcasts accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. In the complaint, filed today in New York, plaintiff Kahlimah Jones argues that Gimlet violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide closed captioning on various podcasts. As the suit points out, about 36 million people in the U.S. are deaf or hard of hearing. As the suit points out, about 36 million people in the U.S. are deaf or hard of hearing; as we know, precisely 99 percent of Americans are making podcasts…

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Key COVID-19 Accessibility Issues As ADA Turns 30

As summer kicks into high gear, and the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 30th anniversary looms large at the end of this month, businesses in many jurisdictions are in the process of gradually reopening to the public. And if the long and difficult spring wasn’t trying enough, businesses now face yet another challenge — balancing maintaining the safety of employees and patrons against complying with Title III of the ADA, and applicable state and local laws, which can significantly vary depending on the jurisdiction…

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