Accessible technology professionals will soon be able to get certified

In today's accessible technology roundup: A new group for accessible technology professionals is formed, Texas middle schoolers design an app for the blind to navigate indoor spaces and web developers are warned against relying too much on ARIA

Picture of a room with the sign at the entrance that says Certification LoungeImage credit: flickr/Cisco Networkers at Cisco live! (license)
Accessible technonog professionals will soon be able to be certified by the newly formed IAAP

A new organization for accessibility technology professionals has been formed, called the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, was announced at the recent International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference at California State University, Northridge. The new group will offer certifications for accessible-technology professionals and work with tech companies to help ensure that their products are accessible. 

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

  • Six girls from Resaca Middle School in Los Fresnos, Texas were one of eight teams to win the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, for designing an app to help the visually impaired navigate indoor spaces. Their app, called Hello Navi, will respond to questions via VoiceOver and use digital maps of a space and measurements of the user's stride to give verbal directions. Verizon will give the girls' school a $20,000 grant and the girls will now work on building out the app.

  • The W3C recently made ARIA a web standard. In response to this, Mozilla accessibility engineer Marco Zehe wrote a blog post for web developers on what ARIA is, when to use it and, most importantly, when not to use it.

  • Speaking of ARIA, Jared Smith cautioned people on WebAIM last week that applying accessibility techniques like ARIA to an unusable site is like putting lipstick on a pig.

  • Laurence Berry of FutureGov has created a guide for getting started designing and coding accessible products.

  • A number of scientists from MIT's AgeLab wrote in the latest issue of Public Policy and Aging Report about the need for government policy to support the development of technologies accessible to aging populations.

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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