Saturday, April 14, 2007

More Press Bits From The Inbox

And then there is more from the never ending Inbox of press releases and newsletters.

Hi CSUN Graduates!

I hope that all of you had a safe and effortless journey home, and you’ve come back with many new ideas, tools, and friendly colleagues. I want to thank you very much for finding the Dolphin Computer Access booth amidst a packed exhibition hall. I appreciate you taking the time to view a product demo, grab software literature, or enter a Dolphin software prize draw. If you were not one of lucky winners, you can always get our products the old-fashioned way, via the internet.

I would like to encourage you to visit our website,, to find more information on the products you saw on Dolphin’s booth, as well as download demos to try the software for yourself. If you are interested in purchasing our products, please visit our dealer section to find a dealer near you. You can also contact Dolphin directly at or 1 866 797 5921.

As a final reminder, if you were interested in any of our access software, including Hal, Lunar, LunarPlus, and Supernova, Dolphin will be giving a free CD license to every customer who purchases a Dolphin Pen version of the same product. To learn more about this offer, visit

Thank you again for taking the time to talk with the Dolphin crew.

New Embosser Technology for the New Millennium

Tactile Display Corporation proudly announces Triple Impressions. This embosser and printer combination is based on well-established software and hardware technologies. Triple Impressions concurrently produces braille text, smooth continuous tactile graphics, and printed text! Braille dots, tactile graphics, and the visual lettering are all inked on the backside of translucent mylar sheets so the ink is protected from tactile reading but is visible for sighted readers. The transcriber can adjust the specific pressures for depth of embossing so other materials - braille paper and foils - are embossable. A free Grade 2 braille translator that meets NLS standards is an integral part of the software. You have to feel it to believe it!

More Details

Teamwork made Triple Impressions development possible. Ioline Corporation (Woodinville, WA), a leader in vector graphics plotters, modified its high resolution hardware so print, braille, and continuous tactile graphics could be drawn. Symbol Graphics (Corona, CA), a leader in computerized sign making programs, modified its ADA sign production software to allow intermixed tactile graphics, print and braille text. Simple drag and drop editing allows scaling of tactile graphics and on screen adjustment of print and braille placement. The Grade 1 and Grade 2 braille translation software from Braille Research & Literacy (Fayetteville, GA) lets users interactively enter, edit and spell check all text with automatic space adjustment. Enabling Technologies (Jensen Beach, FL), with 36 years of embosser technology experience, is the exclusive US reseller of Triple Impressions; they offer on-going support for this easy to use computerized print, braille, and tactile graphics production system.

Free samples are available upon request. Just e-mail us your postal address, and we will send you samples. Due to demand please allow 4 weeks for delivery.


Shipping Wt. 77 lbs

Shipping Size 25"D x 50"W x 15"H

Operating Space 42"D x 44"W x 12"H

Sheet Size 17" x 11" to 17" x 28"

Quieted for office environment operation.

For more information contact:

Peter Duran

Tactile Display Corporation

110 Commerce Drive, Suite 210

Fayetteville, GA 30214

Tel: 770-716-9222

Fax: 770-716-9599

Email: <>

Knowbility News: Spring 2007 Issue

In this issue:

* Welcome
* Cool design/coding marathon…jump in! <>
* Early Bird discount for Access-U extended to April 15th
* Derek Featherstone's Access-U preconference
* Charles Chen explores WAI-ARIA Live Region Markup
* AIR-Interactive winners: all of us!
* CSUN assistive tech conference - open source is big news.
* Online fundraising success
* More accessibility news…

This newsletter is also available on the knowbility website <> .

Welcome to the Spring 2007 Knowbility Newsletter

Sharron Rush Pretty exciting times in the world of web accessibility. From the sheer number and size of institutions interested in accessibility to the quality of work being done by individuals and organizations, accessibility is becoming a must-have skill. We at Knowbility feel fortunate to have access to so much good work and to be able to share it with our community - including you!

Read on to learn more about the open source accessibility work featured at the 2007 CSUN conference with contributions from Mozilla, IBM and others; also check out the results from AIR-Interactive at the SXSW Interactive Media Festival; updates about WCAG 2.0 status; details and plans for several of this year's Knowbility events: A Designathon/Codeathon in April, Access-U in May, keynotes in California and Mexico, and another California Web Accessibility Conference in January of 2008. As always, we hope to hear from you too and learn much more about how your accessibility work is going.

Until then,
Sharron Rush
Executive Director

Cool Design/Coding Marathon…Jump In!
Designathon Join the fun, put your open source skills to work, and help your community! On April 14th and 15th, Knowbility will join the League of Technical Voters (LoTV) to produce the Designathon/Codeathon 2.0. It is a coding effort aimed at building usable, accessible, open source web tools for use by the non-profit community. Things kick-off with Designathon on April 14-15 with a goal of laying the foundation, in terms of usability, accessibility, functionality and graphical interface design, for the software that will be created at the Codeathon the following week. The Codeathon is a 24-hour lockin at which programmers will implement designs created at the Designathon - or their own.

There are just 3 criteria for Designathon/Codeathon projects:

* Non-Profit relevance: Software should be useful to Non-Profit organizations.
* General relevance: Software should have a wide variety of applications to different organizations and situations, rather than tailor-made for one specific organization.
* Open Source: All software developed will be open source…benefits are meant for the npo world!

Sign up and view further details <> at <>

Early Bird Discount for Access-U extended to April 15th

AccessU Due to popular demand (and the time lag in getting purchase orders processed), we are pleased to extend the Early Bird discount for Access U until April 15th. Sign on today for two days of accessibility classes - many of them hands-on - that can be found no here else.; From basic to just-emerging standards and techniques across all platforms, Access-U delivers. Registration, class descriptions and instructor bios <> online <> .

Derek Featherstone offers AJAX accessibility workshop in conjunction with Access-U.

Derek Featherstone Derek is one of the world's most respected advocates and practitioners of accessible Ajax and other scripted applications. He will offer a full day workshop on May 7th as a pre-conference session. Held at the legendary Alamo Drafthouse and including lunch, snacks and a post session cocktail party, it is a full-day look at accessible scripting - what works, what doesn't, and where we are going. Access-U attendees receive a $100 discount, group rates are also available and you can register for Derek's session <> on his website.

WAI-ARIA Live Region Markup - Making AJAX Truly Accessible

By Charles L. Chen

Charles Chen Imagine a world where AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) is accessible to people with visual impairments. I don't mean simply swapping in a non-AJAX page to make it work for screen readers; I mean real accessibility that enables real time updates to be spoken to the end users and lets them use the AJAX page itself.

That utopia is much closer to real life than you may realize. The W3C WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications) live region markup will make it possible for screen readers to understand the updates coming from AJAX and present them in a sensible manner to the user. This markup works by allowing web developers to create accessible containers adding WAI-ARIA properties to the dynamically changing parts of their website. These properties tell the assistive technology how the changes should be handled.

The most important concept that the WAI-ARIA live region markup introduces is "politeness". Live regions can have live="off", live="polite", live="assertive", or live="rude". "Off" will indicate that the changes to the live region should not be announced; this is useful for AJAX web pages that have a ticking clock that changes every second – announcing the time every second will not make the page any more accessible and is likely to annoy the user. "Polite" is the setting that should be used for most live regions; it tells the screen reader to announce the update when the user is idle – the announcement should not interrupt users who are busy reading through the page or typing in a blank. "Assertive" is stronger than polite; it tells the screen reader to announce the update at the first possible moment – in other words, if the user is reading a sentence, then as soon as that sentence is done, the update should be announced. "Rude" is exactly what it sounds like; it will interrupt the user immediately.

The WAI-ARIA live region markup also introduces the concepts of "atomic" and "relevant". Atomic="true" tells the screen reader that if any change is made to any part of the region, the entire region must be presented to the user. For example, if a cell contained stock price change information which included "up"/"down", the number of points, and the percentage, then that cell should be "atomic" since when there is a change, all three pieces of information should be presented to the user. "Relevant" tells the screen reader whether it should announce additions, removals, changes, or some combination of the three.

Best of all, despite being quite new, the WAI-ARIA live region markup has already begun to pick up momentum. Although WAI-ARIA has not been implemented in some of the larger screen readers such as JAWS and Windows-Eyes yet, Fire Vox (a free screen reading extension for Firefox) already has support for WAI-ARIA. This means that if you were to create an AJAX web page with WAI-ARIA right now, you will be able to check its accessibility by trying it in Fire Vox, and users on Fire Vox will be able to experience the benefits.

Since WAI-ARIA is still very young, it is not finalized yet and the WAI-ARIA working group <> is happy to receive feedback. This is a great opportunity for web developers who understand the value of accessibility to learn about the upcoming standard for accessible AJAX, practice using it, and even help shape it.

Note: AJAX is a way of using JavaScript to maintain a connection between the user and the server. As things change, the updates are sent from server directly to the user, without refreshing the page. Google Apps, Yahoo! Finance, and CBS Sportsline are all examples of web pages that use AJAX. AJAX has traditionally had an accessibility problem because the updates were either not recognized by screen readers, or they were not spoken in a sensible manner.

AIR-Interactive (AIR-Interactive) results and who was that masked man at SXSW?

Air Interactive March madness means SXSW in Austin and Knowbility dove right in. It started on Friday at the Bourbon Rocks on 6th Street, home to the Refresh World at <> SXSW <> , organized by Erica O'Grady, where the panel discussion of how UX (User Experience) and Accessibility tie into branding, marketing, & social media was, well…refreshing. The official interactive fest started on Saturday but Sunday and Monday were the big accessibility days…panels included: Accessibility Wars: A Report From the Trenches, which summarized the current WCAG 2.0 draft and reactions to it. Bob Regan of Adobe and Shawn Henry of the W3C joined Sharron for a lively discussion punctuated with video of some of the world's best know standardistas. And there was "Accessified! Practical Accessibility Fixes Any Web Developer Can Use" by Ian Lloyd, and another practical look at "Moving Large Corporations Towards Accessibility" by Chris Massey and Glenda Sims, aka the Goodwitch. Finally Derek Featherstone explored the rich terrain where "Ajax Kung Fu Meets Accessibility Feng Shui."

The Accessibility Internet Rally Interactive (AIR-Interactive) is Knowbility's annual accessible web contest held in conjunction with SXSW. In the weeks before the festival, AIR participants from Chevron, Convio, Frog Design, Segars, TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), as well as several teams of independent web folks, were working hard creating sites for local artists and musicians. Judges agreed that the 2007 sites <> were the best ever and proudly gave trophies to Frog Team One, Team Convio Alternators, and Team Elemental Blend.

Our thanks to the participants:

* Team Web Carpenter (Mickey Chapman, Lydia Harkey, Rahki Ahuja, Node McMillen, and Joe Ignemmo)
* Magnificent Seven (Keith Townsend, Doug Boyer, Weining Zhao, Carol Weeks, Shanna Howard, Marh Esther Garza, and Firew Mekonnen)
* Frog Design Team 1 (Carl Antone, Liz Hunt, Matt Howell, Kyle Crouse, Neil Epstein, Jonathan Cho, and Arik Avila)
* Frog Design Team 2 (Skip Baney, Bryan Walker, Erik Swedberg, Tim Paciolla, Paul DeVay, and Stephen Hall)
* Chevron IDC (Chris Massey, Melissa Simons, Joe O'Bryant, and Brandon Martin)
* Elemental Blend (Timothy Segars, Joshua Segars, and Brandon Burkett)
* Convio Alternators (Jennifer Hodges, Brandy Reppy, Jesse Hodges, Don Roach, and Shara Kilarski)
* The Eclectics (Rahul Vaduka, Shirley Crossland, Rajvi Shah, Amy Gelfand, Kanta Ahuja, Jeff Lin, and Susan Marks)

We were especially pleased this year to host the awards alongside the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award <> . The Dewey is given each year during SXSW for outstanding Community Service through Interactive Media. The nomination itself is a great honor - each year there are ten "Deweys" nominated. 2007 Dewey nominees were:

* Brenda Adrian (St. Edward's University)
* Shahed Amanullah (
* Donny Branam (Austin Student Digital Film Festival)
* Rodney Gibbs (Amaze Entertainment)
* Bobbie Guerra (Texas School for the Deaf)
* Kathy Keller (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)
* Joyce Lauck (
* Pat Pound (Governor's Committee for People with Disabilities)
* Harvey Smith (Midway Games)
* Stefan Wray (

Top honors went to Shahed Amanullah (


CSUN assistive tech conference - open source is big news.

California State University at Northridge The California State University at Northridge (CSUN) has hosted an annual conference on assistive technology (AT) <> every March for more than twenty years. It is always an astounding exhibition of new technologies and a place to identify trends in research and development. 2007 was no exception. Knowbility presented a well-received paper highlighting pilot results for our ATSTAR program <> , the online series of teacher training modules to help classroom teachers make preliminary assessment and implementation decisions for their students with disabilities. After four days of exhibits and presentations, we were most struck by the level of dedication and cooperation around ensuring that highly interactive Internet applications - those often referred to as Ajax, ARIA, or Web 2.0 - are accessible. Presentations by the W3C, Mozilla, IBM, Sun, and Adobe demonstrated emerging open source solutions for some of the currently most inaccessible problems on the web. These companies and others have embracing the open source/open standards model as a way to harmonize development tasks and meet global accessibility requirements. The level of commitment to accessibility is exciting and quite encouraging.

For background and links to current work:

* Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications <> (WAI-ARIA Roadmap)
* Sun joins IBM for Ajax development <>
* IBM's Open Source Portal <>

Demonstrations of work in progress on from Becky Gibson, Charles Chen, Aaron Leventhal, and others will soon be available on the CSUN website as the papers are published. We will keep you posted.

Validation06 Fundraiser confirms the importance of Knowbility programs to our community - thank you!

Validation 06

Fundraising is an ongoing challenge for all nonprofit organizations and Knowbility is no exception. The last quarter of 2006 saw the first ever launch of an online fundraising effort called Validation06 <> . While we did not quite meet our goals, we were pleased by the response, particularly from board members, former board members, and our wonderful volunteers. We would like to thank the following people for their contributions to our online fundraiser:

Our fundraiser was boosted by 100% participation by the generous Knowbility Board members:

Knowbility Board Members
Brad Richardson, Chair Lloyd Campo
Jason Pariso, Chair Elect James Caldwell
Richard Fox, Treasurer Richard Hopkins
Sharron Rush, Executive Director Wendy Pursch
Greg Businelle Hazel Sanchez

Donating staff members include Jim Thatcher, Annie Hudson, Teenya Franklin, Mike Rush, Kim Leno, and Aimee Ronn.

Thanks as well to former Board member Jon Carmain and his wife Linda who showed great leadership in contacting former board members for the creation of a board fund to benefit Knowbility programs. Other previous members of the board responded generously - thank you!

On behalf of millions with disabilities who are served by this work, Knowbility recognizes the importance of each one of you who donated to the Dewey Winburne celebration at SXSW and online during the Validation06 effort:

A heartfelt thank you to all the Dewey Winburne Contributors for making the celebration of Dewey's vision for technology inclusion a joyous event:

Dewey Winburne Contributors
Gary Chapman Monica Roesch
Teresa Ferguson Roger Steele
Hugh Forrest Dale Thompson
Jim Butler Dr. John Slatin
Josefina A. Hughes

And thanks to Validation 06 Table Sponsors Mike Rush and Brad Richardson for leadership in our great online experiment and also to the following table sponsors and guests:

Dr. Jim Thatcher and Contributing Guests
Diana Seidel Tom and Cathy Laws
Andi Snow-Weaver Sara Lyford and Robert Pyeatt
Shannon Rapuano Caroline Hadley
Daesene Willmann Kristin and Michael Asthalter

Teenya Franklin and Contributing Guests
Jennifer Hodges Kayla Bigham
Brenda Adrian Cousett Ruelas
Kathy Keller Michael C. Sekora
Jon Wiley Charlie Musta

Becky Myers and Contributing Guests
Peg and George Nevers Greg and Susan Nevers John Harris

Annie Hudson and Contributing Guests
Teresa Ferguson Aimee Ronn
Jeff Heiberg Marjorie Matthews

Sharron Rush and Contributing Guests
Ronald L. Hicks Ana Sisnett
Melanie Rush Davis Candice Moore
Anita Harkey Grady Hillman
Carol Biedrzycki Tish Rush
Ken Case Mildred Maples
Charlotte McCann Tom Dunbar

Through these efforts, Knowbility received over $30,000 to help us continue to raise awareness of the need and methods for accessible technology. If you share our belief in the critical importance of technology access, please consider making a donation to Knowbility <> today. Thanks very much!

The California Web Accessibility Conference 2008 (CalWAC)

By Annie Hudson

Knowbility is once again pleased and privileged to bring the CalWAC <> conference to California State University in January 2008. This year's planning committee has begun meetings to determine the exact date and location, to be announced soon.

What is CalWAC?

The California Web Accessibility Conference is a project of California State University, and the High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community Colleges in partnership with Knowbility, Inc., to promote accessible Information Technology in higher education. The conference brings together world renowned accessibility experts and webmasters from university and community colleges throughout the state of California for an intensive two day series of learning sessions on accessible information technology tools and techniques.

What classes are offered at CalWAC?

The CalWAC conference offers hands-on accessibility workshop sessions, produced by Knowbility - the nation's leading trainer on IT accessibility policy, practice, and validation. Classes include practical instruction from basic accessibility awareness and resources to advanced assessment techniques, project management, and working with specific technologies such as Flash and PDF. As conference attendees learn more about accessibility requirements and techniques, there are also opportunities for conference sponsors to demonstrate their products in focused settings.

Last year's CalWAC in Long beach filled up fast, as testament to the enormous amount of interest and energy around the important need to make technology accessible to all. So, be sure and watch for CalWAC3 announcements for date and location, as well as registration info – all coming soon at!

1 comment:

Axistive said...

I'm glad that you guys keep this blog and give us these updates. There's a lot of really good information here.