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Updated no 2 - 2021

News from Funka
A hand holding a smartphone and a calender showing June of 23. Illustration

Whats ‘appening? On June 23rd, apps must be accessible!

Now is the time for Europe to focus is on accessibility in apps, as June 23 is the deadline for apps covered by the Web Accessibility Directive to meet the requirements. We get a lot of questions about this important topic and are happy to share tips and ideas. Book a free consultation with us!

Illustration of paper with Funka's logo

Funka training - PDF & Accessibility

Do you want to make sure that documents published on the web can be read by anyone? Learn how to create PDF files that meet the requirements of the Web Accessibility Directive. At Funka's courses on accessible PDF files and documents, you get all the tools you need to be successful.

A screen and icons for settings, email and audio. Illustration

The next generation of accessibility experts?

People with disabilities in Sweden can now apply to become “user experts” in web accessibility. In cooperation with the folk high school Furuboda, and with funding from the innovation agency Vinnova, Funka has developed a ground-breaking training course.

Three different screens, a large monitor, a laptop and a smartphone. Illustration

New Funka report on TV accessibility

In a new report, Funka looks at how TV broadcasts can be made accessible for viewers with disabilities. The report will be used by the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority to create new accessibility requirements for commercial television.

A person and around symbols for statistics, video, images, text and sign language. Illustration

Buddy, the new digital best friend of users with cognitive impairments

Together with Johannes Kepler University in Austria, Funka will develop an AI-based recommender for assistive technology focusing on cognitive impairments. The European Commission is funding the research.

Trollhättan city heart Funka logos. Illustration

Local government focuses on everyone's right to information

With a website that is accessible from the start, an ambitious training program and committed employees, the City of Trollhättan is striving for inclusive information.

Three questions
Radek Pavlíček. Photo

Three questions to Radek Pavlíček (CPWA), senior accessibility specialist, project coordinator, and event manager at the Teiresias Centre of Masaryk University (Brno, the Czech Republic)

What is the main issue for your students when it comes to accessibility in the digital learning environment?

Plenty of issues may arise when it comes to accessibility in the digital learning environment - starting with the inaccessibility of the tools for online communication or e-learning, low digital literacy, poor availability of assistive technologies, inaccessibility of study materials, and last but not least the occasional visually-oriented lecture for those who are blind or partially sighted, or the missing speech-to-text reporting for hard of hearing students.

A lot of these issues might be solved when you choose proper tools, have excelent support from the Support Centre for students with special needs at your university, are skilled enough in using technology, etc.

But despite this and because of the combination of all these factors, I would say that the main issue might be the number of demands students must face at the same time and the subsequent complexity of such a task (moreover if a student should do this at his or her home without being provided any support).

How do you think the rapid digitalization during the pandemic will affect higher education in the Czech Republic?

In a positive way :-) Or at least I do hope so :-) Although digitalization may bring many issues that can’t be easily solved remotely (including very common issues with assistive technologies), it also brings many improvements which we could hardly imagine a year ago.

We can already experience the difference when we compare how we communicated a year ago to how we do now - we can see that what was considered almost impossible (like an online lesson led by a blind tutor) is now a common reality.

Shift to the digital world usually makes information more available, online learning allows students to join lessons not only at their universities but literary anywhere, universities can easily share their resources and materials, courses and workshops may be more international since there are no borders for the online courses, etc.

But on the other hand, additional effort must be undertaken to make all of these accessible (or at least to remove the most significant barriers).

But seen from a global perspective, I do hope that the pros outweigh the cons and we are on the right track.

What do you hope the increased legislation will mean for people with disabilities?

Although the Czech Accessibility Law (the transposition of the Web Accessibility Directive) was not the first legislative measure related to accessibility in our country (the Czech Decree of Accessibility had come into force in 2008), it brings - like any other change - the new impetus for accessibility for all subjects affected. Since 2019, when the Czech Accessibility Law took effect, we could see the constantly growing interest regarding all kinds of accessibility services (workshops, assessments, consultations, etc.)

I do hope that those who are responsible for development and publishing will be influenced by this legislation in a positive way. They will start to consider accessibility as an integral part of their activities and something that’s normal and should be done without fear of lawsuits.

And as a follow-up to this, I do also hope that the joint effort of all stakeholders will bring people with disabilities a more inclusive environment in terms of web, mobile, and documents accessibility, making the daily work a lot easier for them.

Which all might result in a more independent life.

Other news
A sreenshot of a Zoom meeting. Photo

Zoom app adds accessibility features

The accessibility features let you pin and spotlight multiple videos during calls. Making it easier to keep a sign language interpreter on-screen.

A park seen from the air. Photo

New "universal design" guide wants to make public spaces pleasant for all

The American Society of Landscape Architects’s guide lays out best practices for designing neighborhoods, streets, parks, plazas, playgrounds, and gardens that are inclusive for people of all abilities.

The HaptiRead, 256 ultrasonic transducers. Photo

Haptic technology uses ultrasound waves to create Braille out of thin air

Researchers from Germany’s Bayreuth University have developed a device called HaptiRead that can produce Braille using ultrasound waves.

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