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September 2002
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September Weblog

September 30, 2002

RedHat Linux version 8.0 was released today. This release added some valuable accessibility features. It now has "GUI support for Braille and mobility-limited language interfaces."

September 26, 2002

TechSoup Community Forums is featuring a Question and Answer session this week with the theme "Could Helen Keller Use Your Website?" Sharron Rush, co-author of the upcoming book, Maximum Accessibility, will answer questions you post.

September 25, 2002

The American Foundation of the Blind honored Sun Microsystems with the Helen Keller Achievement Award. I totally respect Sun for their efforts to build accessibility framework into technology. Sun's Accessibility Program is a great resource for developers. It provides links and information about the GNOME Accessibility project and Java's Accessibility API.

September 24, 2002

"Accessibility Breakthroughs Broaden Web Horizons" is a general article about Web accessibility. In case anyone out there still needs to be won over, it makes some good points to sell you on the idea that Web accessibility really is a good thing and worth it.

September 20, 2002

Adobe continues to improve the accessibility of PDF documents. Several articles discuss how the IRS worked with Adobe and a third party software vendor (Plexus Scientific) to create software that helps you convert a non-accessible PDF into a form that's accessible by assistive technology, such as a screenreader. The Washington Post's article is: "Talking Tax Forms For Blind Developed". The article on Federal Computer Week is: "IRS deploys talking tax forms". This conversion software, Adobe PDF Forms Access, is sold on Adobe's online store. If you frequently create PDF files, the software may be worth the investment. I definitely will investigate it further.

Lasting link for 09-20-02

September 19, 2002

The Internet Industry Association, Australia's organization that governs things relating to the Internet, launched a national initiative to make Web sites more accessible. Their Accessibility Web Action Plan draws heavily upon the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

The W3C recently upgraded their User Agent Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 to Candidate recommendation level. Their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 is also up for comments and review. I hope that once these standards are officially released, that other organizations which draw upon the W3C's expertise update their own guidelines accordingly.

September 18, 2002

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!
This accessibility Weblog turned one year old today. Much has happened in the past year. Check out the Weblog archives to catch up on what you may have missed.

The article, "GIS files elude efforts to meet 508 standards", discusses how dynamically generated maps are still inaccessible. I first looked into this issue approximately a year ago. The technology to translate the quantity and complexity of information displayed in a map into a format usable to blind users does not (yet) exist. Making GIS maps accessible to disabled users is one of the biggest technological hurdles left in our way. The other, of course is multimedia files, which companies are currently working on.

September 17, 2002

I found an article describing the upcoming Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR) in California. It should be an interesting event. I recommend you drop by it this Saturday if you're in the San Francisco area.

September 14, 2002

UsableNet collaborated with the Nielsen Norman Group and released a new edition of LIFT software for Dreamweaver. Its integrated design wizard also has usability guidelines. Since Jakob Nielsen had input on these usability guidelines, I wonder if he'll require all links to be blue and underlined?

September 6, 2002

Twelve years ago, president George Bush signed off on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Following on his Dad's coattails, George W. Bush issued a memorandum on the creation of a Web portal on disability concerns and government. As part of his New Freedom Initiative, he wants Federal agencies to coordinate their efforts with state and local government to develop a comprehensive Web site to "remove barriers for people with disabilities".