Web design for the disadvantaged OR Universal Web Design

Simple, pro-active steps we can all take in order to make sure our content is accessible to all from the start.

Web design for the disadvantaged.
–for the disabled, poor, rural, elderly, and illiterate.

Precise figures are difficult to find and the ways they are measured vary, but in the United States about 10% are disabled in some way and something like 80% are either poor, rural, elderly or illiterate. How many fit in more than one of these groups is hard to tell, but somewhere between 35% and 75% of Americans qualify as disadvantaged. World wide it is much higher, as much as 90%.

Free Webinars in May 2012

The two (2) following FREE webinars can be filed under “universal design”:
  • May 3: the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII)
  • May 22 Better Communication With Plain English

Registration for both is online at: http://easi.cc/clinic.htm/#may

Free Webinar: the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII)

Thursday May 3: 11 AM Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central and 2 PM Eastern
(all US daylight)
Presenter: Jim Tobias, Inclusive Technologies

Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) is about building  accessibility features into the infrastructure of the Internet itself. GPII  will combine cloud computing, web, and platform services to make access simpler, more inclusive, available everywhere, and more affordable. When completed it will provide the infrastructure needed to make it possible for companies, organizations, and society to put the web within reach of all – by making it easier and less expensive for consumers with disabilities, ICT and AT companies, Public Access Points, employers, educators, government agencies and others to create, disseminate, and support accessibility across technologies.

Free EASI Webinar: Better Communication With Plain English

Tuesday May 22 at 11 AM Pacific, Noon Mountain, 1 PM Central and 2 PM
Eastern (all US daylight times)

Presenter: Angela Hooker

One of the hazards of academia is that people often believe they must provide lectures, papers and even Web pages using pedantic language with long compound, complex sentences and with, not 4-letter words, but 4-5 syllable words and sound like a doctor or lawyer trying to impress the client with their learning. We sometimes try to dazzle the audience rather than communicating. Government and some businesses have joined the ‘plain English’ movement.
The first goal of a Web page should be to communicate rather than to dazzle or entertain. Angela is an avid proponent of this cause.

Register for either or both of these webinars at: http://easi.cc/clinic.htm/#may

MyStudyBar Benefits All Students AT=UD

Easy, free tech tool that benefits all learners… AT=UD

MyStudyBar is a tool which helps overcome problems that students commonly experience with studying, reading and writing. The tool consists of a set of portable open source and freeware applications, assembled into one convenient package. Easy to install, simple to use, handy and effective, MyStudyBar provides comprehensive learning support at the desktop, where it is needed. And if this is not already attractive enough, a further eye-catching feature of  MyStudyBar is that it is completely FREE to download and free to use.

MyStudyBar puts a whole range of individual and essential tools at your fingertips. Together, these have been designed to support the complete study cycle from research, planning and structuring to getting across a written or spoken message. MyStudyBar has 6 sections; each has a drop down menu offering personal choice, flexibility and independent learning, particularly for those learners who require additional strategies to support their learning. With over 15 apps to choose from, MyStudyBar is the perfect study aid.

You can use MyStudyBar straight from a USB stick (if, for example, you are using a machine that is not your own) or you can install it directly to the desktop. (Technical staff in colleges or universities also have the choice of installing it on the network for everyone to use).

Using Assistive Technologies to Support All College Students

Using technologies in the classroom is the only way to engage today’s students. Assistive Technologies (AT) that were previously used only to aid students with disabilities should be used as tools for all students. These technologies can aid all students, improve retention, and boost graduation rates.

Instructor Student Graffiti Board = Wiffiti

Using assistive technologies in your classroom is a step towards universal design! AT=UD

    Wiffiti 4

  • Wiffiti is free
  • Encourages collaboration
  • Creates engaging, interactive discussions
  • Export results to post on your website for later review

Read more about Assistive Technologies for Universal Design

Georgia Tech to host disabled STEM students in Second Life

Ga. Tech to host disabled STEM students in Second Life University will target students with disabilities who are sometimes excluded from S.T.E.M. fields, school researchers say

The Virtual Worlds Re-Imagine Learning Project is growing in popularity. Follow this link to listen to the interview with Senior Research Scientist Robert Todd

Universal Design & Section 508

Section 508 of the Rehab Act of 1973—the “ADA of cyberspace”—currently only applies to government entities, however many state governments are voluntarily conforming to 508 standards, as are many colleges and universities.

“In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals.” -http://www.section508.gov

I assume the colleges and universities I see already meeting 508 guidelines are doing so to reach the most prospective students, and to avoid lawsuits from current students.

The Twenty-First Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act, signed into law by President Obama 8 October 2010, mandates accessible online content.

Are there any other laws I’m missing that would mandate web accessibility in post-secondary institutions? If colleges were mandated to follow 508, like we are 504 and ADA, I believe UD in virtual settings would be an unintended outcome.

Free Online Course: How to Accommodate College Students with Disabilities

Wonderful resource for post-secondary instructors.

The ASD Project: Accommodating Students with Disabilities

This online course covers fundamentals of:

* disability law
* the accommodation process
* working with students who have disabilities
* universal design

These materials have been developed in collaboration with Disability Service Offices throughout the country. Supported by federal grants #P333A990006 and #P333A020016.

Free Online Universal Design Training Program

Great resource here for K-12 teachers, as well as post-secondary training schools, colleges, universities.

Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manona’s Teaching All Students Reaching All Learners Professional Development Training Program
Increasing understanding of 1) Universal Design for Learning (UDL); 2) Assistive Technology (AT); 3) Knowledge about students with hidden, or invisible disabilities; and 4) Rights and responsibilities related to students in postsecondary education, will enhance education for all students. The four training curricula are intended both to facilitate acquiring this knowledge and to evaluate an understanding of it.