• Opera House more accessible – on and off the stage

    The Sydney Opera House has launched its biggest ever Access Program for 2017. The line-up of events features more than 70 accessible shows, workshops and experiences that are sure to delight children and adults of all abilities, with more mobility access options, and an expanded array of accessible performances.Main theatre of Sydney Opera House
    Underpinned by the Sydney Opera House’s Access Strategic Plan of 2016-18, the 2017 Opera House access program is their biggest yet, increasing the
  • New muppet with autism joins Sesame Street

    Over the decades, iconic children’s TV show, Sesame Street, has always been good at raising awareness around a wide variety of sections of the community. The latest character to join the muppet family is Julia, who has autism, and makes her debut in April 2017.New muppet Julia
    Julia actually made her debut in late 2015 in print and digital artworks as the focus of a Sesame Street workshop titled ‘Autism: See Amazing in All Children’ which also led to a series of videos, an app,
  • Registrations now open for 2017 Round Table Conference in May

    Registrations are now being taken for the 2017 Round Table Annual Conference, to be co-sponsored again by Media Access Australia. This year’s theme is ‘Information Access – new modes, technologies and opportunities’. It is being staged at the Mercure Perth hotel in the city from Saturday 6 May to Tuesday 9 May.Round-Table-on-Information-Access-for-People-with-Print-Disabilities-Inc.
    The 2017 Round Table Conference provides three full days of presentations, panel sessions,
  • Don’t miss The Future of Accessible Work

    The 14th International Web for All Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A 2017), run in conjunction with the 26th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2017), is taking place in Perth from 2-4 April – with the overall theme being ‘The Future of Accessible Work’.W4A 2017 logo plus Perth skyline
    The featured keynote address at the end of the first day of the conference will be from Alastair McEwin, the Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner, who
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  • 2017 Sydney Access and Inclusion Campaign launched

    Accessible Arts in partnership with the City of Sydney launched the new Accessing Sydney Collectively (ASYD.CO) knowledge exchange partnership program on 8 March 2017, as part of the Sydney Access and Inclusion Campaign.Sydney Access and Inclusion logo
     
    Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Mr Alastair McEwin, officially launched this world-first initiative at the Sydney Theatre Company on International Women’s Day. Media Access Australia CEO, Dr Manisha Amin, attended the launch a
  • New report on the trial of A.D. on ABC iview

    Media Access Australia was one of seven leading advocacy organisations that have just tabled a report, including consumer feedback, perspectives and analysis, of the Government-funded trial of Audio Description (AD) on the ABC's iview service, from April 2015 to July 2016.Image of Audio Description
    The new report was submitted in late February 2017 to Senator Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications, and also provided to Sophie Kowald (Advisor to the Shadow minister for Communications) and Sen
  • New Australian app for A.T. users to better equip themselves

    A new consumer app is helping Australians with disabilities to identify the range of Assistive Technology (AT) equipment and technology options available, with the aim of improving their independence and wellbeing.Image of Equip Myself
    The newly released Equip Myself app, that was developed by the Independent Living Centre (ILC) WA, links to anational online AT database which contains impartial information on more than 11,000 assistive technology products available right around the country.
    Thro
  • Design-a-thon event showcased innovative thinking

    The recent Enabled Design-a-thon event was held in Sydney on 25-26 February 2017 with two Media Access Australia accessibility specialists taking part – Heidi Laidler and Monica Regalado. It attracted 16 teams of from 4-10 members who worked over the two days to design and develop prototypes of solutions to assist people with disability.Image of four members of ‘team Post-It’
    This hands-on event was organised by Remarkable, a division of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. The first d
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  • Check out the world’s least accessible website

    Mehmet Duran, a developer in the accessibility team at the UK Government’s Digital Service group, created a website with two colleagues that is the most inaccessible on the planet. He did so in order to check the accuracy and efficacy of automated testing tools, and the results were surprising.A screenshot of 'the world's least accessible website'
    The British team built a stand-alone webpage full of accessibility fails so that they could conduct an audit of 10 popular automated testing too
  • Don't miss Meeting Place 2017 on 2 March in Perth

    Hosted in partnership with the Perth International Arts Festival and DADAA WA, Arts Access Australia’s Meeting Place 2017 will be held next week in Perth and promises to be a memorable and thought-provoking event.Arts Access Australia
    Arts Access Australia is dedicated to broadening understanding and improving skills and access in the field of disability and the arts. The annual Meeting Place gathering supports cultural exchange between outstanding national and international artists with d
  • Windows 10 free upgrade offer still on for AT users

    Microsoft continues to support a free upgrade to Windows 10 for people who are using Assistive Technologies (AT) in Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, despite officially ending their promotional offer on 29 July 2016.A laptop running Windows 10
    For the general public, the free upgrade offer to Windows 10 ended many months ago, yet Microsoft continues to improve their Windows 10 experience for people who use AT. Before upgrading however, the company urges users of AT to check with your assistiv
  • Latest on iOS 10, 7 & Plus 7 phones and new Apple Support app

    A lot of new things are happening in the Apple universe. There's an iOS 10 Home ‘button‘ and Voice Control update, along with a wonderful new Apple Support app that is ideal for people with a hearing impairment as well as those suffering from anxiety.Apple logo
    Exciting news from the 10.2.1 iOS update is that users can now turn off Voice Control. It’s great for people who accidentally have their finger on the Home button for too long to open and don’t want Siri or Voice C
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  • 2017 Consumer Electronics Show showcases digital assistants

    The world’s largest technology tradeshow, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was staged in Las Vegas in January and is now 50 years young. In addition to the weird and the wonderful, there was plenty of innovation on display, including a whole lot of love at the event for digital assistants including Amazon Echo’s ‘Alexa’, as Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor - Digital Accessibility, Dr Scott Hollier reports.Amazon Echo with ears drawn on each side
    There
  • Magnifier feature in Apple iOS 10 – a hidden gem

    Towards the end of 2016, Apple's iOS10 mobile operating system was released. One of its ‘box of tricks’ that didn’t receive much publicity is a helpful new accessibility feature called Magnifier. This hidden helper has been a hit with the people who have discovered it, and is designed for the visually impaired plus seniors who have trouble reading small print.Image of Magnifier enlarging an image and words on an iPhone
    The Magnifier feature uses a device's built-in camera to en
  • The accessibility of self publishing

    Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility, self-published an inspiring book Outrunning the Night late last year. He shares some very helpful practical advice on his journey of ensuring that the finished product was accessible across multiple formats, with MAA’s Philip Jenkinson in a fascinating podcast article.Image of a book within a computer screen
    Listen to the complete interview where Dr Scott Hollier shares some great tips with Philip J
  • Transcript of Dr Scott Hollier interview on the accessibility of self publishing

    Introduction
    You're listening to a podcast from Media Access Australia. Inclusion through technology.
    Philip:
    I’m speaking with Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s specialist advisor, digital accessibility. And today’s focus is on the accessibility of self-publishing. As mainstream publishers cut back on their author rosters and globalised sales models limit the amount of new authors a publishing house can take on, more and more people are turning to self-publishing to s
  • Major review of NDIS costs now underway

    In late January 2017 the Federal Government announced that the Productivity Commission is to conduct a study to review the costs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which is due to be operational and available to around 500,000 people by 2019.Image of National Disability Insurance Scheme
    The NDIS study will examine issues including the sustainability of scheme costs; jurisdictional capacity (including the complementary disability services provided by the States and Territories);
  • Registrations open for 8 February Web Accessibility Camp in Perth

    Got something to share or learn about web accessibility? Then the Perth Web Accessibility Camp is where you need to be. It’s being staged on 8 February at Bankwest House in the city, in the lead up to the Web for All (W4A) 2017 conference in April, co-located with the International World Wide Web 2017 (WWW2017) conference.People raising their hands at the 2016 Perth Access Camp
    The Camp, in its fourth year, is sponsored by Bankwest and being held at their office in 306 Murray Street Perth.
  • Website inaccessibility court cases on the rise

    In March 2016 ‘Colorado Bags n’ Baggage’ became the first retailer in the US to lose a litigation case because their website was inaccessible. Today, there are dozens of court cases that are either scheduled to be heard or that have already settled out of court, as a surge of legal cases bring web accessibility into the mainstream, with broader implications for Australia and around the world.'Sorry it's the law' within a red circle
    The California State Court became the first in
  • Section 508 gets ICT upgrade to match WCAG Level A & AA standards

    In a move welcomed by disability groups and advocates, the U.S. Access Board has updated their accessibility requirements for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within Section-508 of the Rehabilitation Act,to bring it into line with European and WCAG (Level A, AA) standards.Access stamp
    The new rule was announced 9 January 2017 and is in response to market trends and innovations, such as the convergence of technologies. The refresh also harmonises these requirements with other guidel
  • High compliance in TV captioning during FY 2015–16… but more needs to be done.

    At last, some good news on the captioning front. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reported in late December 2016 of a high level of compliance with captioning targets during the 2015-2016 financial year. However, their reporting period did not cover the back end of last year which saw multiple captioning issues emerge on the ABC and other networks, which proves that more work needs to be done.Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
    ACMA advised on 21 December
  • Accessibility a priority at Sydney Festival

    The Sydney Festival runs in January 2017 with many accessible events featured along with a program of activities that will be accessible to people with a disability.Image of Sydney Festival 2017
    Next year’s Sydney Festival is set to be the biggest ever. There’ll be a total of 150 events, 73 of which are free, with 454 performances taking place across 46 venues, featuring 1021 artists from 15 countries. Music, theatre, dance, opera, visual arts, ideas, free and family events are all i
  • Be part of the Diverse-CITY of Melbourne

    Now in its 12th year, the ‘Diverse-CITY’ exhibition is running up until the evening of 21 December. It showcases a diverse range of artworks from artists of all ages who are living with a disability, or an experience of mental ill health, and who come from culturally diverse backgrounds across Victoria.Image of Diverse-CITY
    This annual event is free to attend and put on by ADEC ArtAbility. It’s a featured exhibition at Federation Square, on the corner of Swanston Street and Fli
  • Riverside Theatres present accessible movies

    Riverside Theatres in Parramatta are staging a large number of accessible screenings of a variety of popular films including the latest releases, over the Summer season.Riverside Cinema
    All of the upcoming special event screenings at Riverside Theatres offer a great level of disability access, with their line-up of movies allowing specific access points covering Open Captions, Audio Description, AUSLAN interpretation, Tactile Tours, and/or Relaxed Performances. They also offer level access and s
  • Disability is a mainstream issue

    Media Access Australia (MAA) advocates for all people living with disability. New CEO, Dr Manisha Amin, believes that disability is a mainstream issue that needs to be managed in a mainstream way.Image of Dr Manisha Amin
    Media Access Australia is the nation’s only independent Not-For-Profit devoted to relieving disability through providing access to digital information, online services, information through technology and mainstream media. Making all of these elements accessible is essentia
  • Submissions wanted for Government inquiry into hearing health and wellbeing

    The Australian Parliament’s House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport is going to be considering the social and economic impacts of hearing impairment and ear or balance disorder, and seek submissions from the public. You can have your say by 23 December.Image of Parliament House, Canberra
    Following a referral on 2 November 2016 from the Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport, The Hon Sussan Ley MP, the Committee will inquire into and report on the Hearing Health and Wellbe
  • Dr Scott Hollier publishes a memoir with purpose

    Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility, has just published an autobiography which he describes as ‘a memoir with purpose’ entitled Outrunning the Night. Its aim is to provide support and encouragement to disadvantaged people and the people supporting them, and he talks about his inspiring new book in a very personal and entertaining podcast.Image of Dr Scott Hollier
    Listen to the complete interview where Dr Scott Hollier chats to Ph
  • Transcript of Dr Scott Hollier interview on a memoir with purpose

    Introduction:
    You're listening to a podcast from Media Access Australia. Inclusion through technology.
    Philip:
    I'm speaking with Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility and just published author of ‘Outrunning the Night’, a memoir with purpose. Scott has a degenerative eye condition and is legally blind and his stated aim for his autobiography is to provide encouragement and support to disadvantaged people and the people who care for them. S
  • Microsoft’s Sydney CBD store is staging free accessibility workshops this week

    The Microsoft store at Westfield Sydney on Pitt Street Mall is putting on a series of very useful Accessibility Week workshops from 28 November to 2 December, that are free to attend with registration a must.A finger presses an Accessibility key on a laptop
    The Accessibility Week workshops are being staged in the lead up to the International Day for People with Disability. The week kicks off with Discover OneNote’s accessibility features which is being presented on Monday 28 November and T
  • International PDF Day comes to Australia for the first time

    In conjunction with scheduled meetings of ISO TC 171 SC 2 working groups that will occur later in November and early December, PDF Day Australia, organised by the PDF Association, is being held in Sydney on Friday 25 November.PDF Day Australia
    The event is designed to assist CIOs, document management experts and electronic content policymakers understand ISO-standardised PDF (Portable Document Format) technology. Annual PDF Day events usually occur in Europe and alternate with PDF Technical Conf
  • International PDF Day came to Australia for the first time

    In conjunction with scheduled meetings of ISO TC 171 SC 2 working groups that will run in late November and early December, PDF Day Australia, organised by the PDF Association, was held in Sydney on Friday 25 November.PDF Day Australia
    The event is designed to assist CIOs, document management experts and electronic content policymakers understand ISO-standardised PDF (Portable Document Format) technology. Annual PDF Day events usually occur in Europe and alternate with PDF Technical Conference e
  • Three upcoming free arts events in Sydney and Victoria

    Media Access Australia wants to let you know about a trio of free events scheduled around the International Day Of People With Disability on 3 December. 'Youth, Mental Health and Inclusion in the Arts' will be staged in Ballarat on 28/11; 'Red Dog True Blue' is being audio described at Event Cinema Parramatta on 4/12; and you're invited to attend the 2016 Arts Access Victoria AGM on 6/12 in South Melbourne.International day of people with disability
    A 'Youth, Mental Health and Inclusion in the A
  • Disability commissioner calls ABC transcription cuts a backward step

    The Disability Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, has blasted the decision last month from the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) to cut back transcription of some news and current affairs programs on TV and radio, as a “backward step” for accessibility.Australian Broadcasting Commission logo
    The national broadcaster made the move to reduce their level of transcription of programming in a bid to decrease operating costs as reported by the Guardian Australia. Yet the Disability Comm
  • Affordable digital access of real interest to seniors

    Media Access Australia (MAA) was a sponsor of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA) annual conference that kicked off in Sydney on 8 November. MAA was also exhibiting at the event, with a focus on the content-rich Affordable Access website and downloadable resources. Philip Jenkinson at the MAA stand at the Computer Seniors Conference
    The two-day event, which is the 18th annual conferenced staged by the (ASCCA), attracted almost 150 seniors on the first day, from compute
  • GoDigi National Year of Digital Inclusion Expo

    The GoDigi National Year of Digital Inclusion Expo, presented by Infoxchange, is being staged on 16 November at the Australian Technology Park in Redfern, Sydney. The event aims to help create a society where everyone can innovate, and Media Access Australia will be there, showcasing free Affordable Access resources.2016 National Year of Digital Inclusion Expo
    The all-day expo event on Wednesday 16 November will feature a number of leading speakers within the field of digital inclusion and the d
  • Calls for a Technology Bill of Rights for People with Disabilities in the US

    The National Council on Disability (NCD) in the United States has made a call to establish a ‘Technology Bill of Rights for People with Disabilities’ as part of a series of recommendations to the US Federal Government for making technology more accessible to people with a sensory, cognitive, or mobility disability.Image of original US Bill of Rights
    Other recommendations called for by the NCD, which advises the US Government on disability policy, are that action should be taken to cl
  • Access & Inclusion on centre stage for Sydney Festival 2017

    The Sydney Festival is gearing up for January 2017 and the organisers are committed to making every effort to ensure that their program of activities to be staged from 7 to 29 January will be accessible to people with a disability.Image of Sydney Festival 2017
    The 2017 Sydney Festival program is available in a number of alternative formats including mp3 audio, PDF, interactive PDF, Word document in large print format, Braille, and as an audio CD. All of the details along with the relevant downlo
  • What day-to-day challenge would you like solved by technology?

    The Australian Network on Disability (AND) in conjunction with Microsoft Australia is staging ‘Hack 4 Good’ in November 2016, with the aim of bringing the best and brightest tech minds together to support the development of accessible technology (AT) to remove barriers for people with a disability. You can help frame the event by completing an online survey and submitting a day-to-day barrier that you’d like resolved through technology.Image of Hack 4 Good logo
    AT and Accessibl
  • The accessibility of augmented reality – Pokémon Go or no go

    Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor on Digital Accessibility, put 2016’s biggest hit in augmented reality – Pokémon Go – under the accessibility spotlight, to see just how accessible this very popular game really is. Find out how it fared in this fascinating podcast article.Image of Pokémon Go logo
     
    Listen to the complete interview where Dr Scott Hollier chats to Philip Jenkinson about the accessibility of augmented reality in
  • Transcript of Dr Scott Hollier interview on augmented reality

    Introduction
    You're listening to a podcast from Media Access Australia. Inclusion through technology.
    Phillip
    I’m speaking with Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility. And today’s focus is on the accessibility of augmented reality. That may sound like a bit of a mouthful, but think the hugely popular Pokemon Go, and you’ll be on the right track. Scott, this was the topic of your October 2016 WC3 column, and you drew on your ow
  • New access app Blappy is making people happy

    A new Bluetooth chat application for accessibility, called Blappy, aims to bring more people together. The app translates voice to text and text to voice, to enable people who are vision impaired to effectively communicate with those who are Deaf or hearing impaired.
     Blappy running on three smartphones. Image from UC3M.
    Blappy was created by CESyA, the Spanish Centre of Subtitling and Audio Description, with the support of UC3M's Audiovisual Accessibility Laboratory, which is part of the C
  • Some replacement Galaxy Note7’s still too hot to handle

    In September 2016 Samsung globally recalled more than 2.5 million of their flagship Galaxy Note7 smartphones due to safety concerns. Now there are growing reports of incidents of replacement models catching fire too, and production has been stalled as a result.Two Samsung Note7 phones
    The phones, which include a lot of useful accessibility features and have been a popular choice in Australia for those people with a disability, were recalled and a replacement program put in place due to multiple
  • Bionic Olympics for competitors using 'AT' staged in Switzerland

    In what is claimed as a world first, the Cybathlon Championship was held in Switzerland on 8 October, featuring six contests based around every day obstacles, with disabled athletes using and controlling Assistive Technology (AT) and/or robotic devices.Cybathlon Championships logo
    The challenges include cutting bread, climbing stairs, unwrapping a sugar cube, and fitting a light bulb all feature as competitions in an event which has been dubbed the world’s first ‘Bionic Olympics&rsqu
  • Bionic Olympics for competitors using AT staged in Switzerland

    In what is claimed as a world first, the Cybathlon Championship is being held in Switzerland on 8 October, featuring six contests based around every day obstacles, with disabled athletes using and controlling Assistive Technology (AT) and/or robotic devices.Cybathlon Championships logo
    The challenges include cutting bread, climbing stairs, unwrapping a sugar cube, and fitting a light bulb all feature as competitions in an event which has been dubbed the world’s first ‘Bionic Olympics
  • Voice your choice about the value of accessible product design

    From the Samsung Note7 recall to reviews of smart TVs and even toasters, Choice is known for their no-spin product and service ratings, reports and reviews. And now the consumer advocacy group is wanting to find out just how many people value accessible product design, with a new survey that's open to everyone to have their say.A megaphone inside a speech balloon
    If you have a disability or age-related health problem, have a close friend or family member who does, or you simply want to voice you
  • Half of people with a smartphone don’t download apps

    While Google and Apple continue to fight it out to see which one has the biggest app store, new US research shows that 49% of smartphone users never download any apps at all.APP buttons in a rainbow of colours
    Stand by... more on this story real soon!

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