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YOUR MONTHLY WEB ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE

April 2020

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Good morning <<First Name>>,

From all of us at Web Key IT, we hope you are keeping safe during this pandemic. I'm hoping we are reaching the end, and can get back to normal life as soon as possible- I miss hugs so much! Please keep safe, stay calm and keep an eye out for one another.

We hope to bring you a little normality today by bringing you our regular monthly e-newsletter, that you can read from wherever you are- in isolation, at work, working from home, or just having some time off. Today you'll be hearing from one of our Senior Website Analysts- Christie Woods, who has been working with Web Key IT for two and half years.

- Emma Murray
 

A Sign of the Times

14th April 2020 by Christie Woods
Photo of Christie, in a floral top with short brown hair, smiling
2020 has only really just begun and what a year it has been. Fires, floods and a global pandemic. I’ve never been so up to date with the news in my life, a sad indictment in itself, I know. But as I have been keeping up to date with all of the news and all of the press conferences I have noticed something very important, the use of sign language in all of the government announcements.

This is not unique to COVID-19, sign language is present on all important or emergency government announcements where it is vital that everyone receives the information. According to the Australian Network on Disability (AND) there are approximately 30,000 deaf AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) users in Australia. In a country with a population of nearly 25 million people, this number is not overwhelming, it is actually only about 0.12%. Such a small percentage is easy to ignore but the governments are making sure that they are included, their lives matter too as in times of emergency like this, communication is key. Communication is always key though, with everything.

I’m going deaf. I’m not there yet but I will be. I have an autoimmune disease which meant that the bones in my middle ear are overgrowing and spreading to the cochlear as well. While I have a temporary fix in one ear, I have lost a significant portion of hearing in my “good” ear as well. This is not unexpected, going deaf for me is not a case of “if” but rather, “when”. So I started to plan, I thought to myself that I really need to get onto learning AUSLAN, so that I can continue to communicate and be social, to tell my kids to clean their rooms or to hear about their day at school. But then the thought occurred to me, while I may know AUSLAN, no one I know does. It would end up being a very one-sided conversation. I cannot help but think about how isolating that would feel for me and I’m not even there yet. 30,000 deaf AUSLAN users in Australia, and very few of us know a single “word” of it. I recently watched a video of a young deaf man trying to order fast food at a drive thru, it was an ordeal for him and the treatment he received was appalling by anyone’s standards, what struck me the most was when he stated that this was nothing out of the ordinary. That because of his disability, he was often put in the “too hard basket” by others.

What is the answer to this then? Why not education? Most children at school learn a language other than English, whether it be French, German, Indonesian or Japanese. But why are our children not taught AUSLAN or just the basic A to Z? It is an official language of Australia after all and with hearing loss predicted to be on the rise (25% of Australians to suffer from hearing loss by 2050) should we not be ensuring that the lines of communication are open to as many as possible?

Talk to us today about how you can include everyone in your website

From the Director 

Never before in our digital environment has accessibility been more important, and for some, more difficult to implement. Customers can no longer visit premises in person if the digital material is not accessible for them. Our government and corporate clients are facing enormous difficulty ensuring that their systems work for customers/clients, but also setting up remote working arrangements for staff, many of whom will have disabilities.

In order to assist our clients, we are offering on-line live training in digital accessibility beginning in early May. We hope that you are able to join us and take this opportunity for up-skilling both yourself and staff. This will ensure that when things return to normal, you are able to return with further skills and knowledge in how to make your digital materials more accessible for your users. Please contact Emma Murray, our Administration at training@webkeyit.com and she will provide you the course outline, price and dates as soon as they are available.

Many of our customers are using this time planning for the next financial year. A number of our customers already take advantage of our Accessibility Partnership Plan which allows you to spread your costs and workload throughout the year, having our team always on hand to assist with accessibility and usability testing and accreditation, training, consulting and document remediation. Some of our customers use this plan to have regular testing at a discounted rate, while others like the idea of Mystery Shopping where we choose pages to select each month and let you know the results with suggestions on how to prioritise any remediation work. This is a great way to get the website tested regularly, and also keeps the need for accessibility in everyone’s mind. For other clients, having us on hand for all accessibility consulting needs is a great way to have our resources available when you need them. If you are interested in the details of this plan, also contact Emma at info@webkeyit.com and she will ensure that you receive the information on the different plans available.

Regards,

Dr Vivienne Conway, F ACS (CP)
Director

Recent News Newspaper icon

 

Keynote Speaker Web4All 2020

We are very proud to announce that our own Director, Dr. Vivienne Conway, will be one of the Keynote speakers at this year's W4A 2020 Conference. Her topic is "A Return to Community: Flintstones or Jetsons?" which you can read more about here.

Registration for the Web4All conference is available at WebConference 2020. Please note, choose the 1-for-5 online registration, as this gives you access to Web4All and ALL presentations at The Web Conference 2020, Taipei from April 20-24.
 

Certificate in Digital Accessibility


Due to COVID-19, we are sad to announce that we have had to postpone our next certificate course that was to be run in May. Stay tuned for when we are able to run this again. 

More information on this course is on this page on our website.
If you are interested, please email us at Web Key IT.

Upcoming Events  Calendar icon

 

Web4All (W4A) 2020 Conference

20th-21st April 2020

Taipei, Taiwan (and online)

COVID-19 response here

More information here
 

The Web Conference (WWW)

20th-24th April 2020

Taipei, Taiwan (and online)

COVID-19 response here

More information here
 

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

21st May 2020

Worldwide

COVID-19 response here

More information here
 

UXR Conference

3rd-5th June 2020

Toronto, Canada

COVID-19 response here

More information here
 

UX Australia

25th-26th August 2020

Melbourne, Australia

More information here

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