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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

I wonder if Intel feels sheepish right now. Here they are, thinking they’ve just launched a great new product for the blind, a mobile device that reads text aloud. Intel partnered with assistive tech pioneer HumanWare and reached out to the blind community to get their input, too. But the Intel Reader, announced yesterday, has pretty much bombed in the marketplace. At $1,500, the Reader is overpriced and doesn’t have any more bells and whistles than other devices already out there. Intel should have known this would happen — or perhaps they don’t really care. After all, if they can get schools to pay for it under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, then they’ll make money. But making products that don’t represent the needs and wants of consumers — blind or not — is anathema to what technology companies should be doing. They should be innovating along a universal design ... keep reading »
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is managing a new video-enabled Web site that is designed to be accessible to people with disabilities. The site, HealthReform.gov, features video messages from President Barack Obama and others on the healthcare reforms being proposed by the Obama administration. The video are streamed with a FeedRoom Access online video player, a new service by The Feedroom, a provider of online video and live streaming video. With the addition of FeedRoom Access, the site is fully compliant with Section 508, which requires federal agencies to make their electronic communications and information technology accessible to Americans with disabilities. For example, audio files have captions or transcripts for those with hearing disabilities. The site is compatible with screen readers, which are used by some people with vision impairments. Additionally the site supports alternative input devices and speech recognition technology. HealthReform.gov is serving as a model to other federal ... keep reading »
Facebook is working with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to make its social-networking service more accessible to users who are blind or visually impaired. The non-profit organization’s president and CEO, Carl Augusto, made this initiative a priority after finding that he and others with sight impairments had difficulties updating their profiles and using the site. Augusto, a self-described music fan who played in two garage bands when he was younger, uses Facebook to connect with former band members and fans. People who are blind or visually impaired can use computers with a screen magnification program that enlarges fonts, or they use a screen-reading program that reads the text aloud. These are quick, efficient and helpful solutions — that is, if the websites and computer programs are properly designed. Facebook presents some unique challenges because images and photos are are rarely described with a text caption, and the myriad of ... keep reading »

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