Accessible technology development roundup: Apple’s dedication to OS X accessibility is questioned

One blind user explains why he’s switching from OS X to Windows, a Facebook engineer talks about their accessibility efforts and developers in Australia create an open source screen reader for Windows

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Here are some interesting news items and information about the development of accessible technology that I've read in the last week.

Marco Zehe, Mozilla's accessibility QA engineer who is blind, wrote this week about why, after 5+ years using OS X, he's switching back to Windows, calling into doubt whether Apple is still dedicated to improving OS X accessibility.

Google's Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf says accessibility needs to be baked into design

Image credit: flickr/Joi Ito

Google's chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf said at last month's AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition meeting in Washington DC that engineers need to be better trained in accessibility and that it should be integrated into tech design from the start.

The Web Accessibility Initiative has published a working draft of its Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM) and is looking for comments and feedback (due by February 28, 2014).

Lucy Greco, a web accessibility expert at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote a piece this week on G3ict describing how she reviews a website's accessibility

If you're looking for a good intro course on web accessibility, Google offers a free one online.

Facebook engineer Ramya Sethuraman gave us all a peek under the hood of their accessibility efforts, particularly on how they automatically construct alt text for images that users upload.

An Australian start-up made up entirely of blind people, is now offering Appcessible, a service to help iOS and Android developers create accessible apps through testing, feedback and suggestions provided by blind users. 

Speaking of Australia, here's a recent story about some developers down under who have created NVDA, a free, open source screen reader for Windows that could help change many lives around the world.

The New York Times wrote this week about D-Scriptive, a technology that allowing visually impaired people to enjoy Broadway plays and other theater productions.

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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