Issue 10 December 21 2020

Access Ready Reporter
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CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IS CRUCIAL FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS

Businesses and organizations that don’t make their websites, applications, communication channels, physical locations, and online working environments accessible, risk alienating large populations of customers and potential employees. According to the CDC’s U.S. disability figures, 5.9% of Americans (about 19.5 million people) are “deaf or have serious difficulty hearing” and 4.6% of Americans (about 15.2 million people) have a “vision disability with blindness or serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses.” Companies have made progress making their offerings more accessible to the 61 million Americans and estimated 1 billion people around the world with disabilities…

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Government Spotlight

SENATE PASSES ALS DISABILITY INSURANCE ACCESS ACT

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is voicing her approval after the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act cleared the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support.. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it. According to the ALS Association, the average survival time after diagnosis is about three years…

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Accessible Elections

THE ELECTION OF A WAR VETERAN IN COLORADO PUTS WHEELCHAIR ACCESS FRONT AND CENTER AT THE CAPITOL

Soon Colorado will get its first state lawmaker known to use a wheelchair. Democrat David Ortiz was elected by voters in south Metro Denver and will be sworn into office in January. But the Capitol building, where he’ll work and where he’s supposed to interact with his colleagues and the people he serves, is not fully accessible to him. His election has jumpstarted some changes to the 130-year-old building that some say are long overdue. “Obviously the most urgent thing was to make sure I could at least do my job,” Ortiz said…

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8 WAYS TO MAKE ELECTIONS BETTER FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

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HOW (NOT) TO MAKE ACCESSIBLE DATA VISUALIZATIONS, ILLUSTRATED BY THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

The U.S. election is essentially over, and the Presidential transition is more or less underway. Despite dire but entirely reasonable predictions about Covid-19 and voter suppression, it looks like people with disabilities and chronic illnesses were not disenfranchised wholesale — at least no more and maybe even less than usual. It will take awhile to get a clear picture of what happened with disabled voters. But it’s probably not too early to brainstorm a bit about what would make the whole election experience better for disabled people next time around and going forward…

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BLIND HOOSIERS FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE INDIANA ELECTION COMMISSION AND THE SECRETARY OF STATE

The ability to vote privately and independently is a fundamental right and an essential component of democracy in the United States. However, in Indiana, these rights are not guaranteed to all voters. In fact, Indiana has one of the most restrictive absentee voting systems in the country for blind voters because it only permits them to vote at home by appointment with a “traveling board” of elections officials.  Hoosier voters who are blind or have low vision could easily vote privately and independently at home using electronic tools.  Instead, they are being forced to choose between giving up their right to vote privately and independently, risk exposing themselves to COVID-19 at the polls, or not voting at all…

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Current Legal Actions

BLIND PATIENT RECEIVES SETTLEMENT FROM NASH HOSPITALS, INC.

Nash Hospitals, Inc. will pay $150,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees to settle legal claims by a blind Rocky Mount, NC man whom Nash General Hospital refused to provide written materials in Braille. The National Federation of the Blind, America’s civil rights organization of the blind, and Disability Rights North Carolina also agreed to not pursue further litigation against Nash Hospitals, Inc. for its past failures to provide written materials in formats accessible to the blind…

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THIRTY YEARS LATER, STILL FIGHTING OVER THE ADA

A federal judge for the Southern District of New York recently ruled that the city of New York violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to install audible devices at crosswalks. These devices tell blind and visually impaired people when it is safe to cross the streets, but the city had installed them in only 3.4 percent of intersections. The federal district court concluded that the city’s conduct amounted to an illegal denial of services and benefits by a public entity in violation of Title II of the ADA. The decision comes 30 years after the U.S. Congress enacted the ADA…

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Business Accessibility

LOST IN TRANSLATION: WHY AUDIO DESCRIPTION MUST GO ONTO THE ACCESSIBILITY AGENDA

Imagine you’re in a room with a group of colleagues, or a group of friends or family, and everyone is laughing, but you don’t get the joke. Sound familiar? That experience is something that blind and visually impaired people are faced with every single day. That’s because when they watch regular TV, the visual context is omitted, resulting in content being lost in translation. For me, the power of audio description in advertising came to light when I found myself in that very situation…

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NAB TO FCC: AUDIBLE ACCESSIBILITY WAIVER STILL NEEDED

The National Association of Broadcasters said there is still essentially no practical way to provide audio descriptions of “dynamic” visual emergency information, like weather radar maps, for the blind and visually impaired. Currently broadcasters do not have to do that under a five-year waiver of the requirement that “emergency information provided visually during non-newscast video programming be made audibly accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” Actually, the requirement was supposed to kick in in 2015, but broadcasters are on their second waiver…

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HOW TO PUT ACCESSIBILITY AT THE FOREFRONT OF MARKETING

While your marketing department may be meeting the creative standards of your brand, have you asked them lately if the content they’re developing can be consumed by all people living with a disability? There are over 60 million U.S. adults — our neighbors, family members and colleagues — who have some form of disability. That is one in four Americans. Globally, 15% of the world’s population — 1 billion people — experience some form of disability. This number is expected to double by 2050…

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Non-Profit Accessibility

HOW BLIND ENGINEERS ARE FIXING THE ONLINE JOB HUNT

Searching for a job during a pandemic is a difficult task, especially as joblessness claims rise to over 740,000 in the US and many people have found themselves unemployed in recent months. If you’re living with a disability such as blindness or visual impairment, it can be even more difficult. But a team at the American Foundation for the Blind is making the online job hunt more accessible for everyone, from the initial search to interviewing, getting hired and starting work…

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Accessible Technology

A SNEAK PEEK INTO OUR BEST WHITE PAPERS

The leaders in PDF Accessibility and Innovation for Over 20 Years. As we enter the holiday season of this unprecedented year, we would like to extend our best wishes to our clients and partners. This month we bring you a collection of the best white papers of CommonLook in 2020. These white papers were downloaded the most from our audience and garnered positive feedback from social media followers.

Check out our latest article for more details.

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