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Month: September 2019

Lego to develop Braille and audio building instructions

Lego has recently announced plans to create Braille and Audio Instructions to give people who are blind or vision impaired a chance to create Lego sets.

The idea began when Matthew Shifrin, a blind Lego fan since childhood, was given a Lego set from a family friend that came with a binder of Braille instructions, hand-written using a Braille typewriter. He realised that this wasn’t something he could keep to himself, and so he started up the Legofortheblind website. The website was where he and his family friend, made Braille and audio instructions for people who were blind or vision impaired.

The website was a success and almost immediately Matthew and his family friend Lilya were flooded with requests for different sets to be made accessible with their Braille system. Unfortunately, Matthew had to turn down many of these requests as he didn’t have the capabilities to be filling out hundreds of orders with just him and his friend. He turned to The Lego Foundation, who embraced the idea of Braille and Audio Based Lego Instructions with open arms.

Sharlini, a 13-year-old Lego Fanatic , shares her enthusiasm about the news:

“It’s a great chance for everyone, no matter your capabilities, to be able to enjoy a personal favourite pastime of mine. Building Lego is meant to bring people together, and this news is proof that nothing, not even being a person that’s blind or vision impaired, can stop that.”

The Pilot project has commenced with The Lego Foundation dubbing it as ‘Lego Braille & Audio Building Instructions: A pilot experience’. The timeline on the website shows they are planning to review feedback from September – November before announcing any future plans in January 2020.

While Lego may not be seen as a traditional access story, its growing relevance in teaching children how to interact with robotics and the Internet of Things makes this an exciting new development.

Special thanks to Sharlini for contributing to this article.

W3C WAI releases draft cognitive guidance for web content

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has released a draft document titled  Making Content Usable for People with Cognitive and  Learning Disabilities – Working Draft to help provide guidance for cognitive disabilities not generally addressed in other W3C work.

In a formal announcement by the Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Task Force (COGA TF), it was stated that:

“WAI has been working on additional accessibility guidance beyond Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), particularly for people with cognitive and learning disabilities, people with low vision, and people using mobile devices. This guidance will likely be available from a single main page and integrated in the WAI website.”

“In the meantime, the Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Task Force (COGA TF) has been working on additional guidance in the Working Draft

Document Making Content Usable for People with Cognitive and Learning Disabilities

We welcome your comments on this document. For example,

  • Is the presentation and organization of information clear?
  • Is it easy to find specific information you are looking for? What if “you” are a web page designer, or an app developer?
  • How does this approach for providing the information work?

To comment this document, please open a new issue in the W3C COGA GitHub repository:”

One of the main criticisms of the WCAG standard is that it lacks guidance for people with cognitive disability, and the little that is presented tends to be weighted towards the rarely implemented Level AAA compliance. As such it’s great to see formalised work in this area evolving.