IT support for disabled workers is growing rapidly

In today's accessible technology roundup: Gartner reports on the trend of supporting assistive technologies at work, a review of Windows browsers’ support for HTML5 accessibility and PayPal unveils its Accessibility Showcase

Picture of a convention floor, with a sign reading Assistive Technology PavilionImage credit: flickr/Karin Dalziel
IT departments are increasingly supporting assistive technologies

A new report just released by Gartner predicts that, by 2015, 50 percent of companies will have IT projects underway to support disabled employees. This trend is being driven by government regulations, as well as the need to support older workers with diminishing mobility, vision and hearing and users of mobile devices, which can cause situational disabilities (h/t IBM Accessibility).

Here are some other recent news items and information about the development of accessible technology:

  • The BBC's accessibility team recently wrote about how accessibility was considered part of overall development of their new iPlayer rather than simply an-add on.

  • The W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has published updates to their Techniques for WCAG 2.0 and Understanding WCAG 2.0 documents, including many new ARIA techniques.

  • PayPal is sharing a preview of its Accessibility Showcase, which is an immersive lab for PayPal employees to see what it's like for people with disabilities to use their products.

  • Steve Faulkner, Senior Web Accessibility Consultant and Technical Director at The Paciello Group Europe, has reviewed support for HTML5 accessibility in major Windows browsers and found that Firefox performs much better than Chrome or IE.

  • Electronics hobbyist and modder Ben Heckendorn shows how he modified a PS4 controller for one-handed use by disabled gamers on the latest episode of The Ben Heck Show.

  • You've heard of smart phones, smart watches and smart glasses, now how about a smart shoe? That's what the SMART Consortium in the U.K. has developed for stroke patients to use to provide feedback and information to be used in their recovery.

  • Tech writer Steven Aquino, who is visually impaired, wrote recently about why the iPhone 5s is such a great accessibility tool.

  • Idean has produced a fun (and catchy) rap video about how life's too short for crappy UX.

Was there other big news from the world of accessible technology that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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