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Virtual events open up the world

Technology plays catch up as events head online, making them more accessible to people with disabilities. By Suzanne Rent
Halifax Examiner, APRIL 6, 2021

Jewelles Smith is a human rights expert, scholar, and academic researcher who’s completing her PhD. This winter Smith attended a conference in Ireland and didn’t even have to leave home.

“It was really amazing for me academically and it wouldn’t have been possible for me otherwise,” Smith says.

AbleDocs Inc. Announces the Acquisition of Diversa Docs ApS to Further the Reach of the Worldwide Leader in Document Accessibility Products and Services Throughout Scandinavia

April 06, 2021

TORONTO & K√ėBENHAVN, Danmark–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AbleDocs Inc. the leading PDF accessibility product and service provider, and Diversa Docs ApS, a recognized leader in PDF and Web Accessibility services announce their coming together to become the Scandinavian leader in PDF accessibility products and services.

Diversa Docs has consistently been recognized as a leader in excellence in delivering PDF/UA compliant and accessible PDFs, and this acquisition will allow our combined client base to benefit from the experience, and scale of our products and services throughout Scandinavia

With a long-standing record of collaboration, both companies founders and leadership teams couldnt be more excited to leverage each others capabilities to offer their existing and new clients the best in PDF/UA products and services.

HBO Max Rolls Out Audio Described Content

Customers Who are Blind Will Notice Many New Features, With More on the Horizon March 26, 2021

Boston, MA Advocates for people who are blind applaud WarnerMedia’s first delivery date of significant upgrades in the landmark agreement signed last October by WarnerMedia; the American Council of the Blind (ACB); the Massachusetts-based Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB); and individual claimants Kim and Brian Charlson.

These blind individuals and advocacy organizations were represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit legal center, and Disability Law Center, the Protection & Advocacy agency for Massachusetts.

Government of Canada Increases Funding for Alternate Format Materials for Persons With Print Disabilities

News provided by Employment and Social Development Canada

GATINEAU, QC, March 16, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada continues to take important and decisive action to ensure that all Canadians are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know Canadians living with disabilities are facing significant challenges during this difficult time and that long-standing barriers to inclusion have been heightened. As we work together to restart the economy, we must continue to protect health and safety, and ensure the right supports are in place for all Canadians.

People With Disabilities Say This AI Tool Is Making the Web Worse for Them

AccessiBe aims to make the internet fully accessible to the visually impaired by 2025-but activists say the company’s AI is making things worse. by Todd Feathers
17.3.21

In October, disability rights activist Holly Scott-Gardner was conducting a study examining how many tweets promoting blind awareness month were actually accessible to blind users when she came across a post from AccessiBe.

The company makes artificial intelligence-powered web overlays-pieces of code that are supposed to run over websites and automatically reformat how browsers display the pages so that people who use screen readers and other assistive technologies can access them. But AccessiBe’s blind awareness tweet contained an image with no alternative text, meaning that people like Scott-Gardner, who is blind, could have no idea what it said. It was her first, unpleasant interaction with the company, and wouldn’t be her last.

You Can’t Solve Accessibility with 1 Line of Code

March 14, 2021 – Joseph C. Dolson

Accessibility overlays are third-party web scripts that alter the user experience. Providers, which include AccessiBe, Userway, AudioEye, and EqualWeb, sometimes claim that installing their script will prevent lawsuits in the U.S. under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Let me be blunt: These products will not protect you from lawsuits. They may not even help visitors with accessibility needs.

Overlays attempt to address accessibility issues in two ways. First, they analyze the content of the page for accessibility and make automated changes to fix problems. Second, they allow users to make manual changes, such as increased font sizes, higher color contrasts, or removing animations.

Advocates Urge Liberals to Cancel ‘Devastating’ Cut to Services for Canadians With Print Reading Disabilities

$4 million cut comes as shock to those who rely on services to curb isolation during pandemic Richard Raycraft, CBC News
Posted: Mar 07, 2021

Advocates for Canadians with disabilities related to reading printed text have launched a protest campaign after the federal government abruptly announced it would cut their funding – a surprise move they say will be “devastating” in the middle of a pandemic.

Print disabilities include any condition which negatively affects someone’s ability to read traditional print materials. Such conditions include blindness, dyslexia, Parkinson’s and cerebral palsy.

Restoring Funding for Accessible Books: We Need Your Help!

Sustained funding that we can rely on is crucial to our ability to plan and maintain the services we provide to our users. In its Fall Economic Statement, the federal government has indicated that its funding for CELA and NNELS will be reduced by 25% per year in the coming 4 years, down to no federal funding by the year 2024-25.

Poq Partners With eSSENTIAL Accessibility To Help Retailers Deliver Inclusive Mobile App Shopping Experiences

News provided by Poq
28 Jan, 2021

Leading mobile software platform integrates with best-in-class accessibility technology provider to ensure apps comply with digital accessibility laws

LONDON, Jan. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Cloud-based mobile appcommerce platform provider, Poq, today announces an exciting new partnership with eSSENTIAL Accessibility, the pioneering provider of Accessibility as a Service (AaaS).

The eSSENTIAL Accessibility platform helps organizations enhance the customer experience for people with disabilities, maintain conformance with the Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) guidelines and follow best practices for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. The partnership will offer retailers and brands integrated accessibility on-demand to comprehensively test and remediate mobile apps built on the Poq appcommerce platform.

COVID-19 Pandemic Boosts Visibility of Sign Language, Increases Accessibility for Deaf Community

Sign language interpreters said that they hope increased use of interpreters during major events helps increase accessibility for the deaf community. Author: WBIR Staff
Published: January 23, 2021

Updated: 4:44 PM EST January 23, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic changed daily life for people across the world. With new safety guidelines requiring people to wear masks and practice social distancing and companies changing how they do business, people are having to adapt.

However, some of those changes could increase accessibility for the deaf community in Tennessee. As a result of more events being held virtually, officials said that sign language’s visibility has increased.