MEETING JAN 17 2021: Digital Accessibility Awareness in times of Covid-19

banner

On Sunday 17 January 2021 at 14:30-16:00 UTC the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (Accessibility SIG) will convene a meeting with the theme ‘Digital Accessibility Awareness in times of Covid-19‘. All are invited!

AGENDA
1. Mr. Praveen Misra (India) – Overview of Digital Accessibility and Prominence & Challenges in times of Covid19
2. Ms. Judith Hellerstein (US) – Secretary A11YSIG – Overview of A11ySIG and outreach activities that can be undertaken
3. Ms. Kelly Colman (US) – Accessibility in Home Health Care and the impacts of SDOH” (social determinants of health)
4. Dr. Emmanuelle Gutierrez (Spain) Artificial Intelligence and the importance of accessibility training
5. Mr. Kindy Vereus MONTREUIL (Haïti) – Digital Accessibility between Necessity and Opportunity
6. Discussion & Question Answer

PARTICIPATE VIA ZOOM http://bit.ly/a11ysigcovid (Closed Captions, ASL)

 

LIVESTREAM http://livestream.com/internetsociety/a11ysigcovid (Open Captions, ASL)

REAL TIME TEXT https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=CFI-A11YSIG

TWITTER #accessibility #Covid19  @a11ySIG @InternetSociety #a11y

SIMULCASTS
https://www.pscp.tv/ISOC_Live/
https://www.twitch.tv/isoclive

ARCHIVE
https://archive.org/details/a11ysigcovid

 

WEBINAR DEC 3: Commemorating the International Day of Persons With Disabilities: Building an Accessible Internet for Everyone

Register on Zoom

On Thursday 3rd December 2020 at 2pm-3pm EST (19:00-20:00 UTC) the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (Accessibility SIG) will host a webinar ‘Commemorating the International Day of Persons With Disabilities: Building an Accessible Internet for Everyone‘. This event will bring ISOC leadership and community together to observe the International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD).

The United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3 proclaimed the annual observance of the IDPD in 1992. The observance of IDPD aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. The theme for IDPD 2020 is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”.

SPEAKERS
Andrew Sullivan,Internet Society CEO and President, will be the keynote speaker at the webinar.
Gunela Astbrink, VP Accessibility SIG, will also introduce and present the 2nd edition of the Accessibility Toolkit.

PARTICIPATE VIA ZOOM https://bit.ly/3pzszVX (Captions, ASL)

REAL TIME TEXT https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=CFI-A11YSIG

TWITTER #IDPD2020 @a11ySIG @InternetSociety @SullivanISOC

LIVESTREAM http://livestream.com/internetsociety/idpd2020 (Captions, ASL*)

SIMULCASTS
https://www.pscp.tv/ISOC_Live/
https://www.twitch.tv/isoclive
https://www.facebook.com/InternetSociety/live

ARCHIVE
https://archive.org/details/idpd2020

 

WEBINAR NOVEMBER 19: The Impact of Covid 19 and the switch to virtual meetings on the Deaf and hard of hearing community

NOV 19 BANNER

In the third webinar of this series on Accessible Meetings, we bring experts to discuss the challenges of hard of hearing and deaf communities in online world and also to talk about how to turn these challenges into opportunities.

As a reminder the series on Accessible Meetings focused on the need to raise awareness and spread the message of digital accessibility for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). The current pandemic has highlighted the importance of increasing the awareness of how to make digital spaces accessible, and to have an accessible online meetings. When everything is virtual, many conferences are just not accessible to people with disabilities.

Through this series of six webinars, we hope to increase the awareness so that the digital spaces can be made more accessible and inclusive to all irrespective of the disability. Our goal is to make sure that the Internet is really for everyone, just as the ISOC tagline states.

Title: The Impact of Covid 19 and the switch to virtual meetings on the Deaf and hard of hearing community
Date: 19 November 2020
Time: 09:00-10:30 EST | 1400-15:30 UTC
Participate via Zoomhttps://bit.ly/34NuspP
Language: English

Speakers:
Christian Vogler, Director Technology Access Programs, Gallaudet University
Lidia Best, Chair of National Association of Deafened People ( NADP)
Mark Wheatley, Executive Director, European Union of the Deaf (15 mins)

Moderator: Judith Hellerstein, General Secretary, ISOC Accessibility SIG

Real Time Text: https://www.streamtext.net/text.aspx?event=CFI-A11YSIG
ASL sign language Interpretation shall be available courtesy of Gallaudet University.
Re-transmission on Livestream, Youtube, Facebook Live, Twitch is planned via ISOC.LIVE

This webinar is organized in collaboration with Gallaudet University.

OCTOBER 30: Accessible Social Media and Videos Webinar

Greg ShatanOn Friday 30 October 2020, at 12:00 UTC the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) presents a webinar ‘Accessible Social Media and Videos‘.

Social Media and Video content can be a vibrant and engaging way to share information with your audience. Using image descriptions, audio descriptions and captioning you can make your content more inclusive of the disability community.

During this presentation, Greg Shatan, ISOC NY’s President and ISOC Accessibility SIG’s Treasurer will explore how to create accessible social media posts as well as how to write, record and post videos with captioning and audio description.

Accommodations: This meeting will have ASL and Captioning. Users can join via Zoom, Livestream or Phone. Live Remote Participation by Zoom only.

REGISTER: https://bit.ly/2HpOTzZ

Are Your Virtual Meetings Accessible for People with Disabilities? Start with This Checklist

Disabled person smiling

By Judith Hellerstein

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way humans interact with one another. With an emphasis on less physical interaction and more social distancing, institutions and organizations are moving their work and meetings online.

People with disabilities form about 15 percent of world population, so it is all the more important these online meetings are made accessible.

The Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (Accessibility SIG) aims to make the Internet and its attendant technologies accessible to the largest audience possible, regardless of disabilities. The digital divide is not just about having the access to digital technology, it could also be about having the access to technology and not being able to use it. Our digital products must be usable by all. Many laws and the Internet Society’s vision – the Internet is for everyone – demand that we provide everyone with an equal experience.

The Accessibility SIG is planning a series of seven webinars discussing this very topic. Our first one was titled When Rhetoric Meets Reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19 and was held on May 28.

The way we design and build can make it hard – and sometimes impossible – for people with disabilities to access services and information delivered by our digital products. Accessibility is the practice of designing so that all people, regardless of physical or cognitive ability, can use products successfully.

There are many different kinds of disabilities, but for the purposes of web accessibility, the most relevant types are those that affect the eyes, ears, hands, and brain. (Some examples include visual disabilities, deafness, visual disabilities and deafness, physical disabilities, and cognitive disabilities.)

All of these disabilities affect interactions with digital products and services in different ways. People need to consider accessibility any time they communicate information digitally. Accessibility is not just a concern for websites, apps, and social media. It needs to be front and center for all digital products, whether they are PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, or even virtual events. For virtual meetings and webcasts, it is important to choose a platform that supports accessibility for people that have mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities.

Before you host your meeting, you should think about the following:

Is the platform accessible? Some remote participation tools present accessibility barriers that make them unusable by people with disabilities and incompatible with assistive technologies.

Do you have text captioning or sign language interpretations available?

Is the material being shown accessible to all? People with vision impairments use a screen reader and cannot see a shared screen or a video. Make all materials available beforehand or provide a link to them in the chat.

Have you asked invited participants which type of accessibility they need? You can include this question on the registration form.

Will speakers have their cameras on? This enables people who are lip readers follow along.

Is their adequate lighting on the person speaking? People who read lips need to be able to see the person’s lips.

Are presenters using virtual backgrounds? When people use pictures as a virtual background, it can wash away their face.

Are presenters wearing dark colors? Suggest that speakers wear dark-colored clothes so the contrast will be high. Otherwise the lighting on light colors washes out people’s faces.

The Accessibility SIG advocates for an accessibility-first approach to design and development. This means accessibility is not something that should be tacked on just before you launch. It should be a key consideration from the very start.

The first step is adopting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, also known as WCAG. These guidelines, put together by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), outline the development, design, and content standards products must satisfy in order to be fully accessible. The WCAG guidelines have three levels: A, AA, and AAA. A has the fewest requirements to satisfy, while AAA has the most. The Internet Society is looking to meet the level AA standards, which means that it must also meet the level A standards.

The following guides and checklists were created by NYC Government as an aid to other NYC agencies in creating accessible content. We thought they were extremely helpful and recommend using them:

Web Accessibility Checklist
Accessible Social Media Guide
Accessible Slidedecks Guide
Accessible Documents Guide
Accessible Virtual Meetings Guide
Audio Description and Captioning Guide

Among other factors in the domain of Internet and digital accessibility, a lot depends upon the technical community and developers. So, if you are a developer, and developing a device or a website, you need to ensure that your digital product doesn’t prevent over one billion of world’s population to access or use it. We encourage everyone to adopt accessibility practices when creating any digital content. This includes websites, electronic documents, presentations, videos, social media posts, or online meetings!

Making physical meetings accessible for everyone has always been a challenge due to budgetary and other constraints. Nonetheless, we never shy away from the challenge.

Making an online meeting accessible for people with disabilities costs a lot less than making a physical meeting accessible. It just requires a little will and consideration!

Visit the Accessibility Toolkit page to learn how you can contribute to a more accessible Internet.


Image ©Thiago Barletta via Unsplash

REPORT: Accessibility SIG Global Accessibility Awareness Day Webinar

Register on Zoom

On Thursday May 28 2020, the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) hosted a webinar “When rhetoric meets reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19”. This webinar brought together digital accessibility experts and people with disabilities to discuss the digital accessibility outlook beyond COVID-19.


( VIEW LIVESTREAM | TRANSCRIPT )

It was our hope that this webinar would share and offer a variety of ideas from different disabilities and different parts of the world. Below are a couple of perspectives that relate to North America and elsewhere.

David Berman gave the keynote focusing on how governments can integrate accessibility into their web presence. He talked about the efforts that Canada and others are doing on accessibility issues. People in health care designed special masks for deaf people. They have a clear shield so people can read others lips to communicate. However, everyone benefits when we can see each other’s mouths when we’re wearing masks, whether we’re hard of hearing or whether we’re deaf and using sign language which of course the faces a key part of the communication, everyone finds it easier to understand each other when we can see the emotions and the movements that make up more of the face. It is an example of the overall goal that all should have. We need to design for the extremes and in this way benefit everyone. This principle is a core of the experience in design that we need to focus on. If we can make sure that all websites are accessible and follow WCAG guidelines than Governments will save money as they would not have to hire special firms to answer phone lines and have special lines that read people texts and walk people through the forms. People could self-serve. If we make sure everyone can self-serve, we’re actually able to save millions of dollars. This type of thinking, what we like to call the accessibility dividend when we do things to include everyone, we get benefits for everyone.

The webinar included seven panelists representing different disabilities and countries. The panelists highlighted a number of issues related to digital accessibility including: If an approach can work in one small community, it can be replicated in many other local, regional, and national governments. The right ingredients need to be in place. That’s policy, practice, and people. Formulating right policies with inclusion of people with disabilities and then practicing those with people centric approach could be a winning strategy. This is where rhetoric meets policy. Once people understand why digital accessibility is important through direct contact with persons with disabilities there’s a greater incentive to make a change. We need more disability awareness training.

Another speaker, Peter Crosbie, focused on cognitive disabilities and how they are often overlooked by companies who instead just focus on visual or hearing disabilities; there is often no mention anywhere of what specific cognitive access measures they have incorporated to help out people with cognitive disabilities. He mentioned that Zoom calls with many speakers and participants are in actuality very inaccessible for many people with cognitive disabilities. There’s just very little understanding of what cognitive access is or how it works.

The goal of Accessibility SIG in this webinar was to discuss and raise awareness of these issues. We will have six other webinars in this series, so stay tuned.

GAAD 2020 WEBINAR: When Rhetoric Meets Reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities, and COVID-19

Register on Zoom

 

 

 

 

On Thursday May 28 2020, from 12:00-13:30 UTC, in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) will host a webinar “When rhetoric meets reality: Digital Accessibility, Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19

This webinar brings together digital accessibility experts and people with disabilities to discuss the digital accessibility outlook beyond COVID-19. The webinar aims to share and offer a variety of ideas from different disabilities and different parts of the world.

AGENDA

Introduction: Muhammad Shabbir Awan, President, ISOC Accessibility SIG

Keynote: How governments can integrate accessibility into their web presences
David Berman, David Berman communications, Canada

Experience Sharing:
Naveed Haq, Regional Director Infrastructure and Connectivity, Asia Pacific, Internet Society
Gunela Astbrink, Vice President Accessibility SIG, Australia
Fernando Botelho, F123 initiative, Brazil
Judy Okite, founder, Association for Accessibility and Equality(AAFE), Kenya
Peter Crosbie, advocate for the autistic community, France
Lidia Best, Vice President, European Federation of Hard of Hearing, UK
Manique Gunaratne, Manager, Specialized Training and Disability Resource Centre, Sri Lanka

Open Discussion

Closing Remarks: Muhammad Shabbir Awan

PARTICIPATE VIA ZOOM: https://bit.ly/3bX0BM5

VIEW ON LIVESTREAM: http://livestream.com/internetsociety/gaad2020

REAL TIME TEXT: https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=CFI-A11YSIG

TWITTER: @A11ySIG + #GAAD2020

Accessibility SIG General Meeting – Jan 23 2020 – 12:00 UTC @a11ySIG @InternetSociety

Accessibility SIGOn Thursday January 23 2020, at 12:00 UTC the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) will hold a General Meeting. All SIG members are urged to attend. Observers are welcome. The format will be a zoom call, which will be recorded, and which will have real time text captions.

AGENDA

  1. Welcome by President 5 Mins.
  2. Affirmation of Officers / Bylaws 5 mins
  3. Overview of SIG activities in 2019 10 Mins.
  4. Plans for 2020 10 Mins.
  5. General Discussion by the members 25 Mins.
  6. Closing remarks by the President 5 Mins.

CALL
Time: Jan 23, 2020 07:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Zoom:  https://zoom.us/j/989322556

Meeting ID: 989 322 556

One tap mobile
+16468769923,,989322556# US (New York)
+16699006833,,989322556# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 989 322 556
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adqeVTounu

REAL TIME TEXT
https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=a11ysig

Moving Beyond Rhetoric: Towards a Digitally Inclusive and Accessible Pakistan for PWDs

photo of banner

By Muhammad Shabbir Awan

The 2018 Pakistan IT Policy titled Digital Pakistan envisions “to become a strategic enabler for an accelerated digitization eco system to expand the knowledge based economy and spur socio economic growth”. We felt that with 10-15 percent of country’s population consisting of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and over 95 percent of inaccessible websites, this vision would remain just rhetoric unless we do something about it. The answer, “make websites accessible for PWDs” seems easier said than done. Nonetheless, I am pleased to report that we have taken another significant step towards making ‘Digital Pakistan’ inclusive and accessible for everyone including PWDs.

The Internet Society Asia Pacific Bureau, supported by the ISOC Accessibility Special Interest Group (Accessibility-SIG) and Islamabad Chapter organized a 3-days advanced training on web accessibility from 21st to 23rd October 2019. For this purpose, internationally reputed expert on web accessibility David Berman was invited to organize the training.

Photo of class

Government departments, particularly Ministry of IT, National IT Board and National Incubation Center, were incremental in organizing this event. About 50 webmasters a majority from the government, people with disabilities, and private sectors participated in the training.

The three-days extensive program covered a variety of topics related to digital accessibility that included but was not limited to: introduction to accessibility; why and how accessibility helps everyone and not just those with disabilities; how accessibility will help project budgets; what are the major disabilities and challenges, how most of us have some level of difficulty that can be assisted by accessible design, and assistive technologies we can typically use to mitigate these issues; national and international policy and legislation; overview of W3C WCAG 2 guidelines A and AA levels; PDF and accessible documents overview, including accessible tags; understanding of how enterprise-wide development processes can save money and time; Javascript accessibility; testing tools for Web pages and documents; accessibility checklists; auditing models for page frameworks and specific pages; case studies walkthrough, including existing government websites; and advanced issues that are beyond AA, application and beyond Web and documents.

group photo

The purpose of the training was three-fold: first, train the developers to make the websites accessible for PWDs and according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 standards. Second, to prepare local team of developers that is well versed in digital accessibility standards. Third, gather digital experts from Government, private sector and PWDs under one roof to start discussing to find practicable solutions to accessibility-related challenges in Pakistan.

trainees studying

To recall, over the past 4 years the Internet Society has been working on Digital Accessibility issues in Pakistan. This work has resulted in involvement, success and support from the government and local community, including People with Disabilities, to address the digital accessibility challenges in the country. One of the key successful outcomes of our efforts was the Ministry of IT taking PWDs on board as a stakeholder while formulating the aforementioned Digital Pakistan policy that was announced in 2018. With this training we wanted to build capacity of the government webmasters to develop accessible websites. In the concluding session of the training, Member IT of the Ministry of IT, Syed Junaid Imam, who was invited as keynote speaker reassured that all the government of Pakistan websites would be made accessible. He also informed the audience that MOIT is developing the strategy to implement the national IT policy and this time too, the input from people with disabilities will be incorporated in the document.

photo of banner

The cases of Digital Pakistan policy and the current training on one hand show that Pakistan is incrementally moving to make internet truly for everyone, and on the other, proves that solutions to the digital accessibility related issues for PWDs can only be found with their own involvement. Meaning, nothing about us without us! Moreover, now when with the help of civil society the government of Pakistan has formulated the guidelines, the training has been provided to the webmasters, the next step is to translate the rhetoric (policy guidelines) into action! The ISOC Accessibility-SIG is ready to support in whatever way it can. I am sure that together we can ensure the websites not only of the government but also of the private sector are accessible for PWDs. Accessible internet for PWDs would bring us another step closer to fulfilling the objective of leaving no one behind by 2030.

About the author: Muhammad Shabbir Awan is a researcher, a rights activist and the President of Internet Society Accessibility SIG. He tweets at @MshabirAwan

Observing International Day of Persons With Disabilities on Tuesday 3rd December 2019 #idpd

Accessibility SIG[A message from Accessibility SIG President Muhammad Shabbir Awan]

On Tuesday 3rd December 2019, the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) joins the rest of the world in observing International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD).

To recall, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been annually observed on 3 December worldwide since 1992. The theme for 2019 IDPD is: ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’. The theme focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ and recognizes disability as a cross-cutting issues, to be considered in the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The ISOC Accessibility SIG aims to make the Internet and its attendant technologies accessible to the largest audience possible regardless of disabilities. On Tuesday, while we are observing IDPD, I call upon the developers to remember that not everyone uses your product in the same way. Moreover, the digital divide is not just about having the access to digital technology, it could also be about having the access to technology and not being able to use it. Among other factors in the domain of Internet and digital accessibility, a lot depends upon the technical community and developers. So, if you are a developer, and developing a device or a website, you need to ensure that your digital product doesn’t prevent nearly one billion of world’s population to access or use it.

Thus, if you are not making your website accessible, you are contributing to the digital divide. If you want to make your website or mobile app accessible, follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. In ensuring that the Internet is for Everyone, the developer is either part of the solution or the problem. There is no middle way.

With Best Regards,
Muhammad Shabbir Awan
President,
Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group.
Email: mshabbirawan@gmail.com
Twitter: @mshabirawan
Website: http://www.a11ysig.org