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Rishi Sunak Alt Text Tweet Criticised for Misusing Accessibility Feature

Published May 19, 2023

Rishi Sunak is in Japan at the G7 summit – but a tweet from his official account has caused a social media storm closer to home By Jordan Kenny
Newsbeat politics reporter

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been criticised for misusing alt text on social media – weeks after big brands were called out for doing it.

His official Twitter account posted a four-picture photo grid showing cabinet members having a meeting.

The alt text fields – which are supposed to describe what’s in the images for blind users – simply read: “We’re growing the economy”.

‘They’re Everywhere’: Why Touchscreens are Causing Huge Accessibility Problems for Blind People

By Emily McPherson, Senior Journalist
11:42am May 2, 2023

Nadia Mattiazzo remembers going to her regular cafe one day back in 2016 and trying to buy a cup of coffee. To her shock and dismay, she found there was no way she could pay for it.

Mattiazzo, who is blind, said the cafe had installed a new eftpos machine overnight which had a touchscreen.

With no fixed buttons to help her orientate the location of the digits, Mattiazzo could not enter her PIN.
“I went in to buy my coffee and suddenly there was this screen and I had no cash,” Mattiazzo, who is the CEO of Women with Disabilities Victoria, said.
Soon, Mattiazzo started noticing similar eftpos touchscreens appearing in other cafes and restaurants.

Voters With Disabilities Often Overlooked in Voting Battles

By Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press
Sun., April 2, 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) – Patti Chang walked into her polling place in Chicago earlier this year, anxious about how poll workers would treat her, especially as a voter who is blind. Even though she was accompanied by her husband, she said she was ignored until a poll worker grabbed her cane and pulled her toward a voting booth.

Like many voters with disabilities, Chang faces barriers at the polls most voters never even consider – missing ramps or door knobs, for example. The lack of help or empathy from some poll workers just adds to the burden for people with disabilities.

Blind Man Says He Was Stuck in Atlanta Hotel Elevator Without Braille Due to Digital Control panel

By Zac Summers, WANF, CNNWire
Friday, April 7, 2023

ATLANTA — A visually impaired man is calling for change after he claims he was stuck in an Atlanta hotel elevator without braille.

Mario Bonds was in town late last month for work and was staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Midtown Atlanta. He said he didn’t have a problem when he checked in because someone helped him to his room on the 17th floor. However, he said the hotel’s elevator became a “safety hazard” once he tried using it on his own, WANF reported.

“I don’t appreciate what I had to experience,” Bonds said. “I got scared. I felt vulnerable.”

People With Disabilities Face Greater Accessibility Challenges in Rural & Northern Communities

Performance of federally regulated transport should be consistent across Canada – MP Taylor Bachrach K-J MILLARMar. 31, 2023 4:30 p.m.LOCAL NEWS

People with disabilities living in rural areas of Canada, such as Northern B.C., face much greater barriers to accessibility and accessible transportation, Taylor Bachrach, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley and NDP Transportation Critic, said on March 29.

Hot off the heels of an Auditor General’s report, issued on March 27, about accessibility in transportation, Bachrach told The Northern View there are issues in the report that “really stand out” to him.

He said the beginning of the report indicates that nearly two-thirds of people with disabilities have faced challenges with train and airplane travel which is simply a huge number to start off with.

Collaboration Tools Help and Hinder Workplace Accessibility

Cloud-based collaboration tools have improved workplace accessibility for people with disabilities. But IT leaders must examine where collaboration tools still fall short. By Katherine Finnell, Senior Site Editor
Published: 29 Mar 2023

A key benefit to the adoption of remote work and cloud collaboration tools during the COVID-19 pandemic was overcoming employment barriers for people with disabilities.

Over the last three years, collaboration providers rapidly advanced their products and introduced features that opened doors to accessibility for employees with disabilities. But organizations and collaboration providers can’t get complacent, said Claudio Luis Vera, an accessibility analyst and community organizer.

Web Accessibility Laws Set To Enter New Era As DOJ Gears Up For Spring Rulemaking

Gus Alexiou
I write about accessibility, inclusion and social justice.
Mar 24, 2023

This May the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will kickstart a rulemaking procedure some 13 years in the making aimed at codifying technical standards to assist public entities in complying with obligations to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The original rulemaking process began under the Obama administration back in 2010 but was then abandoned before being withdrawn in 2017. Within this legal vacuum, akin to not having building codes for accessibility in the physical world – inaccessible online public services and inconsistent judicial rulings on how the Americans with Disabilities Act should be applied to the internet have led to confusion and exclusion alike.

How the Oscars Embraced Accessibility and Inclusion With ASL Interpreters and More

By Jay Ruderman

One year after the landmark success for Best Picture winner “CODA” at the Academy Awards, the 2023 Oscars presented the latest opportunity for Hollywood to show the world where it stands on inclusion and diversity.

On Oscars night, through a combination of memorable moments and inclusive components of the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences demonstrated its growing commitment to embracing inclusion and accessibility for all.

Disabilities and Edtech: How the Pandemic Sparked a Revolution

Students provided digital textbooks can use Kurzweil 3000, a disability solutions software, to download files and convert them to .mp3 audio files. Google and Microsoft provide similar services. By Alcino Donadel
March 2, 2023

When students and faculty were forced to migrate online during the pandemic, that included disabled students with learning impairments. Since then, students and faculty-and therefore, curricula-have changed the way they look at learning in higher education.

“I think the pandemic accelerated the trend that was there, and the trend that’s there is more and more training going online,” said Tim Springer from Level Access, an accessibility compliance service. “Even on-campus student experiences now are a mix of virtual learning and in-classroom experience.”

Senator Markey Calls on Elon Musk to Reinstate Twitter’s Accessibility Team

Amanda Silberling
Mon, 27 February 2023

After several rounds of layoffs, Twitter’s staff is down from about 7,500 employees to less than 2,000 — and one of the numerous cuts across the company eliminated the platform’s entire accessibility team last year.

In an open letter to Elon Musk, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) called on the new Twitter owner to bring the accessibility team back.

“Not surprisingly, since you shut down Twitter’s Accessibility Team, disabled users have reported increased difficulty and frustration using Twitter,” Markey wrote.