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Dr Scott Hollier - Digital Access Specialist Posts

Centre For Accessibility wins Fremantle Business Award

On Friday 7June, The Centre For Accessibility won the award for Excellence in Professional Services at the 11th annual 2019 Fremantle Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

Dr Scott Hollier receiving Award on behalf of the Centre For Accessibility

The Awards were hosted at the Fremantle Esplanade Hotel by Rydges with the purpose of bringing together and rewarding the most unique, distinctive and inventive business leaders as one of the great celebrations for the Fremantle business community.

The Award was given to the Centre For Accessibility as a result of its work in promoting the importance of digital access through its training workshops and online resource. The Centre was founded in 2018 initially as a partnership between Fremantle-based organisations DADAA, Media On Mars and Digital Access Specialist Dr Scott Hollier.

The full list of winners from the 2019 Fremantle business Awards are as follows:

  • City Of Fremantle Leadership Award Sustainable Enterprise: The Raw Kitchen-Zero Store
  • City Of Fremantle Leadership Award Destination Marketing Campaign: Fremantle Ports Quay To Summer Campaign
  • Tams Excellence Award Marine, Engineering & Defence Industry: Ikad Engineering
  • Excellence Award Professional Service: Centre For Accessibility
  • Notre Dame Excellence Award Innovation: Wa Maritime Museum
  • Award For Outstanding Event: City Of Fremantle – Street Arts Festival 2019
  • Telstra Award For Best Retail: Glen Cowans Fine Art Photography Gallery
  • Afa Award For Best Attraction: Wa Maritime Museum-The Antarctica Vr Experience
  • Peoples Choice Award: Percy Flint
  • Business Of The Year: Wa Maritime Museum
  • Business Foundations Scholarship Winner: The Raw Kitchen – Zero Store

Dr Scott Hollier holding Award trophy

In a tweet on the night, Dr Scott Hollier stated that it was a privilege to represent the Centre For Accessibility in receiving the award. The Centre is continuing to explore new opportunities in promoting the importance of digital access with its recent launch of the Australian Access Awards, the first Australian national awards dedicated to the celebration of best practice in the use of accessible websites and apps.

Apple adds new accessibility features to iOS, iPadOS

As Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) draws to a close for 2019, it’s a good time to recap its announcements regarding accessibility improvements for its portable devices such as the iPhone running iOS and the iPad running iPadOS, a recently announced OS improvement for the tablet.

In an interview conducted by Tim Hardwick for TechCrunch with Apple’s Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives Sarah Herrlinger, several new accessibility features were revealed relating to voice control and display features.

Features include:

  • Voice control: a new feature that provides support to editing and menu navigation and advanced dictation capabilities. Apple has also indicated that the update provides better support in understanding different accents.
  • Mouse support: provided as an accessibility feature, a mouse can now be used for people with a mobility limitation that makes it difficult to use a touchscreen. Apple will provide additional information on which USB and Bluetooth models will work n the near future.
  • Dark theme: this will allow the interface to feature a darker background with light colour text which will significantly improve the ability to see the screen for some vision impairments

In addition the updates have included some minor improvements to established assistive technologies such as the VoiceOver screen reader.

The iOS13 and iPadOS updates are currently only available to developers but will roll out to compatible iPhone and iPad devices in the coming months.

W3C WAI CAPTCHA Note third draft now online

The formalising of advice by W3C WAI regarding the the inaccessibility of CAPTCHA has now published its third draft as it draws closer to becoming a formal advisory note.

The update, which I’ve been involved in, follows on from the original CAPTCHA draft at which point it was announced that:  

“The Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group has published a Working Draft of a revision to Inaccessibility of CAPTCHA at: Inaccessibility of CAPTCHA has been a Working Group Note since 2005. It describes problems with common approaches to distinguish human users of web sites from robots, and examines a number of potential solutions. Since the last publication, the abilities of robots to defeat CAPTCHAs has increased, and new technologies to authenticate human users have come available. This update brings the document up to date with these new realities. It is published as Working Draft to gather public review, after which it is expected to be republished as a Working Group Note.”

This latest version of the draft includes a general restructure of the Note, new guidance relating to Google reCAPTCHA and new guidance on CAPTCHA as it relates to security authentication and biometrics.

As an invited expert for the W3C WAI APA Research Questions Task Force (RQTF), it’s been a privilege to work with Janina, Michael and Jason on updating the note alongside the hard work of all the RQTF members.  As the Note continues to be refined ready for publication it remains a great experience to be involved in the process.

Retrogaming arrives for the Xbox Adaptive Controller with Recalbox 6.0

Travel back in time to the 1980s ind you’ll be almost certain to find a Galaga arcade machine in a local café, a Commodore 64 in an office or an Atari 2600 games console connected to the family room TV. However one thing you wouldn’t be able to find back then was a game controller that supported people with a mobility impairment. Fortunately, access to classic gaming has just changed with the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) receiving support in a version of the Recalbox retrogaming software platform.

While it may seem that the computers and games of yesteryear aren’t quite as popular these days, there is a strong retrogaming community with modern-day computers being able to emulate the hardware, and in turn the games, of the 1980s and 1990s with ease. One such platform that can turn a modern computer into a retrogaming powerhouse is Recalbox which can run on PC, Android and even the credit-card sized Raspberry PI line of computers. It provides support for 80 systems including names like Atari, Nintendo , Sega and Commodore.

In its most recent release, Recalbox 6.0 plug-and-play support was added for the XAC. As a result, people with a mobility impairment that use the XAC can now play games that had been inaccessible for decades.

In a statement, the Recalbox devevelopment team explained that:

 “We have always steered Recalbox towards accessibility: financial accessibility (it’s a free, open-source solution for cheap hardware), technical accessibility (it’s a beginner-friendly, plug-and-play solution) and historical accessibility (it’s a wayback machine to forgotten software legacy).

A few months ago, we added human accessibility to our mission and we wanted to make Recalbox available to everyone.Everyone is indeed quite a wide scope, but there’s something we knew we could do that would allow disabled people to play more than 40k games on more than 80 gaming systems from the last decades.

So we did it, and we are so proud of it. In Recalbox 6.0 DragonBlaze, we added official, plug-and-play support for the recently released Xbox Adaptive Controller by Microsoft. We strongly believe it’s a huge leap towards disabled people integration and we really hope that, as we expect, it will bring people together.”

Recalbox 6.0 is available for free from the Recalbox website.

Centre For Accessibility launches the Australian Access Awards

On Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2019, Co-founder of the Centre For Accessibility initiative Dr Scott Hollier launched Australia’s first dedicated Access Awards at an event hosted by VisAbility.

A core reason for the Awards is due to the fact that accessibility of websites and apps is not always easy to identify visually, but has a significant impact on the independence of people with disability. The Australian Access Awards is about celebrating the organisations, service providers and designers/developers that make the effort to support people with disability, but to date have received little recognition for that work.

Australian Access Awards homepage screenshot

This Centre for Accessibility initiative is a chance for everyone in Australia to acknowledge best practice, celebrate a job well done and encourage organisations that may not have a good understanding of digital access to step forward and have a go at making their content accessible.

Entries are now open!

Anyone can nominate a website or app for an Award in the appropriate category. Nomination is free and we invite any organisations to submit themselves for an Award. We also encourage anyone within the disability community to make a nomination based on their own personal experiences.

Centre For Accessibility founders, DADAA, Media On Mars and Dr Scott Hollier, would like to thank sponsors VisAbility, Web Key IT, OZeWAI, ACCAN, the Centre for Inclusive Design and the Attitude Foundation for their support of the Awards.

To learn more about the Awards and the associated website and app nomination categories, please visit the Australian Access Awards section of the Centre For Accessibility website. Nominations close 30 August 2019.