Thursday, October 18, 2012

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Approved as ISO/IEC International Standard

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Joint Technical Committee JTC 1, Information Technology of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), announced approval of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as an ISO/IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012).

“This important accessibility standard, which is already widely deployed internationally, can now benefit from additional formal recognition from ISO/IEC national bodies,” noted Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. “Such recognition is expected to increase internationally harmonized uptake of WCAG 2.0 by governments, business, and the broader Web community.”

“ISO/IEC JTC 1 is very pleased to bring on board this most important of W3C accessibility standards, given the increased interest in accessibility among JTC 1 National Bodies in recent years,” said Karen Higginbottom, Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1. “We also expect that ISO/IEC recognition will encourage greater convergence around WCAG 2.0, further driving development of supporting tools and software.”

International Harmonization of Accessibility standards benefits all

WCAG 2.0 has been adopted or referenced by many governments and organizations. Following the passage of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an increasing number of countries have been seeking solutions to address their treaty commitments for information technology accessibility for people with disabilities.

“The ISO/IEC imprimatur increases the avenues for adoption of W3C technology and guidelines,” noted Judy Brewer, Director of the Web Accessibility Initiative at W3C. “In some countries, policies require that nationally adopted technical standards must be ISO/IEC. Formal approval by JTC 1 of WCAG 2.0 will increase deployment, reduce fragmentation, and provide all users with greater interoperability on the web.”

WCAG 2.0 was first submitted to the ISO/IEC JTC 1 process for Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) in October 2011. W3C has been an approved JTC 1 PAS Submitter since November 2010, and is one of nine organizations that are currently approved. To learn more about W3C and the ISO/IEC JTC1 PAS Submission process, see the W3C PAS FAQ and the JTC 1 website.

WCAG 2.0 is a stable standard with extensive supporting resources

As an ISO/IEC JTC 1 Standard, WCAG 2.0 is now also available from ISO/IEC, while it remains a stable international W3C standard with extensive supporting resources. JTC 1 recognition neither changes nor supercedes the existing standard, which remains freely available from the W3C website along with multiple W3C authorized translations of WCAG 2.0.

W3C provides a number of supporting resources for managers, developers and policy-makers, in addition to the WCAG 2.0 standard, including WCAG 2.0 Overview,WCAG 2.0 at a GlanceHow to Meet WCAG 2.0: A Customizable Quick ReferenceTechniques for WCAG 2.0, and Understanding WCAG 2.0.

For more information, visit, GAATES

Optelec Drives Low-Vision Innovation with the Compact 7 HD.

Optelec U.S. Inc., a world leader in innovative and life-changing assistive technology for people who are blind and low vision, on October 10 announced the launch of the much-anticipated Optelec Compact 7 HD electronic video magnifier.

Designed for users with low vision, the Compact 7 HD offers a truly portable, large seven-inch widescreen with high definition image quality, extreme simplicity and an attractive style. Watch the video below:

The Compact 7 HD makes the every day struggle of reading the newspaper or viewing photos easier for people with vision loss due to retinal eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

“We speak with thousands of users every month and we continuously hear that those who need a higher magnification enjoy portability but also require a larger screen for every day reading,” said Ivar Illing, Optelec International Product Manager. “The Compact 7 HD fills the gap for this solution with a larger field of view, continuous magnification from two up to 24 times and customizable settings. It’s unlike anything else on the market.”

Weighing less than 1.4 lbs, the Compact 7 HD is easy to take anywhere. For an effortless user experience, the Compact 7 HD features clearly visible and simple to operate controls with powerful functionality.
“Our customers are searching for ways to cope with their low vision and Optelec’s products can have a profound impact on their lives by optimizing the remaining vision,” said President of Optelec U.S. Inc., Stephan Terwolbeck. “The new Compact 7 HD provides high image quality and has a simple design that won’t leave our users frustrated and discouraged.”

The 8-megapixel high definition and auto-focus camera keeps the display text, photos and objects sharp and clear. With only “one-touch” to open, the Compact 7 HD tilts to a raised position for a comfortable and ergonomic viewing angle. The Compact 7 HD also incorporates dual-viewing modes. First, while opened it moves smoothly over reading materials. Secondly, the design allows for distance viewing up to three feet away—perfect for viewing a wall temperature display, daily calendar and more.

Key Features of the Optelec Compact 7 HD:
•Continuous magnification of 2X – 24X
•7-inch high definition full color TFT widescreen display
•Immediate reading with “one-touch” to open and power on
•4-hour continuous use rechargeable battery; large icon battery status
•Patented indirect LED lighting system for even, glare-free illumination
•8-megapixel high definition and auto-focus camera
•Large icon settings and information menu to save user settings
•Adjustable brightness with 19 high contrast and photo viewing modes
•Two reading positions
•Snapshot function with audio indication sounds
•Carrying case, wrist strap and a microfiber screen cleaning cloth
•Portable and lightweight at only 1.4lbs (22.6 oz.)
•Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
•2-year standard warranty
An estimated 21.5 million adult Americans have reported they either “have trouble” seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, or that they are blind or unable to see at all, according to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. With the right tools, assistive technology like the Compact 7 HD can improve their quality of life, independence and mobility.

The Optelec Compact 7 HD is now available through the Authorized Optelec Dealer Network. For more information about Optelec and our range of simple and effective low vision solutions, contact us at 800.826.4200 or visit or

Source: GAATES

New Version of Nokia Screenreader Now Available on the Nokia Store

The highly popular Nokia Screen Reader application, which was released late in 2011 for a limited range of devices and languages, has now been extended to include support for virtually all Nokia Symbian devices released in the last few years. In addition, it now supports a much wider range of languages. And the best part for users: it keeps being a free application!

Nokia Screen Reader
“We’ve received fantastic feedback since the launch of Nokia Screen Reader 10 months ago,” explains Eduard S├ínchez, CEO at Code Factory. “It’s been a great leap forward for affordable accessibility, and Nokia is to be credited for supporting the project. However, many users were disappointed that their phone or language was not supported. With the release of Nokia Screen Reader 1.3, we are delighted to be able to greatly extend the availability of Nokia Screen Reader both in terms of devices and supported languages, to once again break down the barriers of accessibility.”

Major features of v1.3:
• Support for a much wider range of languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Finnish, Swedish, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Hindi, Norwegian, Simplified Chinese, Turkish, Arabic, Croatian, Lithuanian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Hungarian, Malaysian, Serbian, Slovak, Tagalog, Ukrainian, Vietnamese and Icelandic. Note that some of these languages do not have a corresponding Nokia HQ voice, so it is recommended to use the Nokia standard quality voice for these languages.
• Added the “Voice” option to the UI, which allows users to choose between the Nokia HQ and the Nokia (standard quality) voices. Nokia HQ will still be loaded by default when Nokia Screen Reader is first installed.
• Support for a large number of new devices. The full set of supported devices is now: Nokia 500, 603, 700, 701, 808 PureView, 5320, 5530, 5630, 5730, 6120, 6121, 6210, 6220, 6700 Slide, 6710, 6720, 6790, C5-00, C5 5MP, C6-00, C6-01, C7, E5, E52, E55, E6-00, E63, E66, E7, E71, E71x, E72, E73, E75, N78, N79, N8, N85, N86, N96, N97, N97 Mini, X6 and X7.

• Support for devices running Symbian Belle Refresh and Symbian Belle Feature Pack 2 (FP2) firmware.
• Support for latest version of WhatsApp v2.8.14, the world’s most popular mobile messaging application.
 To find out more information about Nokia Screen Reader visit,
To access the Nokia Screen Reader user manual, visit, 

You can download Nokia Screen Reader v1.3 from the Nokia Store (either on your phone via the Store app or by connecting the phone to a computer with the Nokia Suite application installed). Search for “Nokia Screen Reader” to download and install this new version. The direct link to Nokia Screen Reader on the Store is Note that sighted assistance may be needed to download the application from the Nokia Store. The installation process however is completely accessible if you leave Nokia Screen Reader running to guide you through the process.

Source: GAATES