New access features coming to YouTube

Audio DescriptionCool Blind Tech, a Canadian company who sources news about new assistive technology for blind and low vision users reported this week that YouTube is coming out with several access improvements that will make the service my accessible to people with disabilities.

Quoting from their blog

YouTube is improving video accessibility for both viewers with vision loss and other languages. The company is testing the option of adding multiple audio tracks to videos. This will help with international viewers, of course, but it should also enable descriptive audio for people with some vision to no vision. This arrives sometime in the “coming quarters,” YouTube said.

The announcement of the inclusion of the additional audio track will allow users to add Audio/Video Description to their YouTube videos. The terms Audio Description and Video Description are sometimes used interchangeably although the FCC has recently stated Audio Description to be the preferred term. The term, used in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, is the agreed upon international terminology for audibly describing the visual elements of videos, on-stage performances, and subjects at museum and art galleries.

Although Audio Description has been around for many years, it only recently became part of Section 508 requirements. Content creators have struggled to meet the requirement as an open source video playback solution that allows for multiple audio tracks has not be available. While not open source, the announcement from YouTube will give video content developers a new – and free – tool to meet the requirement. Currently, the only solution on YouTube was to create two videos, one with Audio Description, and one without.

 

Closed Captioning from Space

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the national association for Amateur (Ham) Radio in the US. Founded in 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim as The American Radio Relay League, ARRL is a noncommercial organization of radio amateurs. Little know Maine fact: Hiram Percy Maxim was the son of Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim a Sangerville, Maine born inventor best known as the creator of the first automatic machine gun, the Maxim gun. Maxim, the father, held patents on numerous mechanical devices such as hair-curling irons, a mousetrap, and steam pumps. 

The following article was published in the ARRL newsletter…

Students at UK School for Deaf Youngsters Enjoy Space Chat

Students in UK talk with astronauts at the ISS
Mary Hare School student Jacob asks his question during the Mary Hare School contact with astronaut Mark Vande Hei, KG5GNP, on the ISS

Ten students at the Mary Hare School for deaf children in the UK took part in what appears to have been a world-first event for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). Facilitating the late-morning direct contact with astronaut Mark Vande Hei (Ham Call Sign: KG5GNP) at NA1SS (the Call Sign for the radio station on the International Space Station – ISS) were Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) volunteers and members of the Newbury and District Amateur Radio Society (NADARS).

The ground station used the call sign GB4MHN. ARISS volunteers handled the technical aspects, while NADARS members provided students with the “amateur radio experience” through events and activities.

Students asked their questions orally, and the astronaut’s replies — as well as questions and answers posed by the audience before the contact began — were displayed in closed caption format beneath a huge video screen.

Students wanted to know if the astronauts used sign language in space in case something goes wrong, how the ISS would be evacuated in the event of a fire, and whether mobile devices such as cell phones work in space.

Read more about this on the Mary Hare School website…

Architectural Trends and Social Justice

U.S. Access Board to Host Virtual Event on Designing for Inclusion: Architectural Trends and Social Justice

US Access Board logoThe U.S. Access Board will host a virtual public event on architectural trends and social justice on November 10, 2021 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm (ET).

The event will feature presentations by Board Members Karen Braitmayer and Deborah Ryan who will provide an accessibility review of current trends in architectural design, including those that have emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will highlight aspects of those trends that advance equity and inclusion and discuss design alternatives to trends that are not fully accessible to all.

Members of the public will be able to pose questions during the event.

Use this link to learn more about this event…

 

Accessible Means of Egress – webinar

From the U.S. Access Board..

U.S. Access Board Webinar: Accessible Means of Egress

November 4, 2021 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET)

US Access Board logoBuilding and life safety codes require that facilities provide accessible means of egress so that all people, including those with disabilities, can relocate and evacuate in a timely and safe manner. The 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards reference the International Building Code (IBC) for accessible means of egress. The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place November 4 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will review the minimum technical requirements for accessible means of egress in the IBC, including criteria for emergency evacuation for people with disabilities, evacuation planning, alarms, evacuation routes inside and outside of the building, and signage. An International Code Council representative and Access Board staff will also address frequently asked questions and common sources of confusion about accessible means of egress.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register.

All webinars include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions may be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Virtual Assistive Technology and Community Living Summit

Assisitive Technology at exhibit spaceThe Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC), New Jersey’s designated Assistive Technology Act program, is a program of Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), with the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) as its lead agency, has served as the central clearing house for information about AT devices and services statewide since 1997.

ATAC announces their 5th Annual Assistive Technology Statewide Virtual Conference on September 23 – 24, 2021.

Join consumers and professionals for a day of learning and sharing about all areas of Assistive Technology. In order to increase the learning and sharing, we have super sized this year’s virtual event! Disability Rights New Jersey and ATAC have partnered to bring quality content focused on Assistive Technology and Community Living.

Last year’s virtual event was attended by over 350 individuals and featured over 25 concurrent sessions focused on all areas of Assistive Technology. This year’s virtual event will be even bigger and better – with speakers and participants from all across the country!

Day 1: Thursday, September 23, 2021; 8:30am-3:00pm Eastern Time

Day 2: Friday, September 24, 2021; 8:30am-1:00pm Eastern Time

Please visit the ATAC website for more information and to register to attend this free event.

ADA and COVID

The Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the Southwest ADA Center is pleased to announce the upcoming ADA Legal Webinar session titled:

ADA and COVID

featuring Barry Taylor and Rachel Weisberg.

Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET

Format: Zoom Webinar Platform (closed captioning will be provided via Zoom and Stream Text link option)

Cost: No Charge

For the last 18 months, COVID-19 has significantly impacted all of our lives, including people with disabilities. The COVID-pandemic has also caused the courts to apply traditional ADA principles to an entirely new context. This session will review court cases, settlements and federal agency guidance involving the interplay between COVID and the ADA. Topics will include COVID as an ADA-disability; employment rights; mask/vaccine mandates; voting rights; effective communication; corrections; access to healthcare; access to private businesses; and access to education. This is a constantly evolving area of the law so be sure to attend this session to make sure you have the latest information about COVID and the ADA. This session will use lots of examples to show what accessible design looks like to the end user as well as the user experience when web page elements are not accessible. The session will not go into technical details and will not require knowledge of coding or technical language.

Please use this link to register for this ADA Legal Webinar Series (An account is required to register)

Registration deadline: Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Certificate of Attendance available.

Questions should be directed to webinars@adaconferences.org

WCAG V2.1: Understanding the Basics

The Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the Great Plains and Southeast ADA Center is pleased to announce the upcoming Accessible Technology Series session titled

“WCAG V2.1: Understanding the Basics”

featuring Julie Brinkhoff, Director of the Great Plains ADA Center.

Rescheduled

New Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021
OLD Date: Thursday, September 16, 2021
Time: 2:00 –  3:30pm ET 
Format: Zoom Webinar Platform (closed captioning will be provided via Zoom and Stream Text link option)
Cost: No Charge

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are technical standards designed to make web content more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. This session will discuss:

  • How the standards were developed and organized based upon the principles of accessible design (POUR)
  • The relationship between Section 508 and WCAG V2.1 Level AA
  • Why the accessibility guidelines are organized into levels and how that is important in developing/assessing your webpages.
  • Most common level A accessibility errors.

This session will use lots of examples to show what accessible design looks like to the end user as well as the user experience when web page elements are not accessible. The session will not go into technical details and will not require knowledge of coding or technical language.

Please use this link to register for the Accessible Tech Webinar Series (An account is required to register)

 

Certificate of Attendance available.

Questions should be directed to webinars@adaconferences.org

rev:9/11/2021

Learning Strategies for Children with Vision Impairment and Deafness/Hard of Hearing

The New England Consortium for Deafblind Technical Assistance and Training (NEC)The New England Consortium on Deafblindness (NEC) announces the Fall 2021 on-line learning cohort is about to begin.

The online modules are an exciting opportunity to learn more about Deafblindness and engage with a consortium of service providers in CT, ME, MA, NH and VT. Upon completion of each group of modules, you will receive a certificate of completion and Professional Development Points (6 PDPs per module)

Description of the Modules

Each module is designed to increase knowledge related to intervention for students who have combined vision and hearing loss or at risk (ages 3 through 21). The module content was created by a diverse group of experts in the field of Deafblindness including state and national deafblind project staff, parents of children who are deaf-blind, higher education faculty, teachers, educational
interpreters, and interveners. Also each module takes about 6 hours to complete and includes accessible videos, photographs, slide presentations, and learning activities.

Target Audience

Paraprofessionals, Teachers, Related Service Providers, Parents, Agency Personnel

  • NEC will also host NCDB On-Line Modules to support continuing groups of service providers
    working with child(ren) who have combined vision and hearing loss or who are at-risk.
  • NEC will host NCDB On-Line Modules to support a new group of service providers working
    with child(ren) who have combined hearing loss or who are at-risk.
  • We encourage teams to participate (i.e., one classroom teacher and one paraprofessional/aide)
    but parents and individual service providers are also welcome!
  • Modules are hosted by a Facilitator and participants will be provided support and feedback in
    completion of each module. The modules can be completed at a time most convenient for you
    and at your own pace.

NOTE: Each Individual module takes 6-8 hours to complete so there is a time commitment. Many
participants report that it’s a fun and convenient opportunity to share ideas and expertise!

For More Information, visit: www.nec4db.org, email: nec@perkins.org  or call: 617-972-7515.

 

 

The Civil Rights Complaint Portal: An Accessibility Journey

From the U.S. Access Board

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar
The Civil Rights Complaint Portal: An Accessibility Journey

September 28, 2021
1:00 to 2:30 PM ET

US Access Board logoA new design to the Civil Rights Reporting Portal has integrated accessibility to improve the usability for the public to report concerns and discrimination. The next webinar in the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series will take place September 28 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will feature members from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and 18-F at the General Services Administration (GSA) who will present on their collaborative efforts to improve the functionality of the external user interface and the data collected as well as increase analysis and response efficiency.

This project began with DOJ staff asking how it could overhaul the Civil Rights Reporting Portal and integrate accessibility as foundational to the new design to improve the usability and accessibility of the existing online portal. The project team consolidated a complex process involving dozens of unique reporting pathways into a single stream lined accessible user experience. The enhanced site models accessibility for persons with disabilities, and the team continues to ensure that new features are vetted for accessibility.

Registration

Use this link for more details or to register – www.accessibilityonline.org.

Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can receive a participation certificate for attending the 90-minute session.

Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the session. Instructions for accessing the webinar on the day of the session will be sent via email to registered individuals in advance of the session. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and Video Sign Language Interpreters are available for the session and will be broadcast via the webinar platform. A telephone option (not toll-free) for receiving audio is also available.

The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series provides helpful information and best practices for federal agencies in meeting their obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which ensures access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This webinar series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the U.S. Access Board. All webinars are archived and available on the archives webpage.

 

DCMP Helps Bring Audio Described Content to YouTube

From the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP)

Audio DescriptionDCMP is involved with a new YouTube pilot program designed to give participating content creators the ability to add audio description to their videos through a secondary audio track. We’ve been partnering with science communicator Emily Graslie to help bring Art Lab to YouTube as the very first educational series with native audio description! DCMP was a pioneer in bringing audio description to streaming media, and we’re thrilled to be working with Emily and YouTube in expanding accessibility to people with disabilities on a global scale.

You may know Emily Graslie as the host of The Field Museum’s Brain Scoop series, which is available with audio description at DCMP, or from her recent broadcast television debut on PBS in Prehistoric Road Trip. Her new series, Art Lab, celebrates art and science, how they come together, and how the skills used by artists help teach scientific concepts to a general audience. Art Lab will also be available to families and educators at dcmp.org.

Not only does Art Lab have audio description, but DCMP serves as technical advisor and accessibility provider to help make the series accessible from concept to completion.

We hope you take the time to be involved in this project yourself by viewing Art Lab with the audio description turned on! To activate the description, look for the Settings icon (a gear shape) at the bottom of the YouTube player, click “Audio Track,” and then choose “English Descriptive” to turn on audio description. Keep in mind that only a small number of content creators currently have access to this feature—but you can always find thousands of videos with audio description at DCMP!

ArtLab on YouTube