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May 2019

Happy Friday, <<First Name>>!

Welcome to this month's newsletter! This month, you'll be hearing from Rebecca Filippone, one of our very talented Usability Analysts.
 

Deaf or deaf?


Disability awareness, access and inclusion is rapidly becoming part of a conversation that is at the forefront of people’s minds and as such we are more aware than ever of the different types of disabilities out there.  There are still however, many nuances that have not yet been explored.  Take for example, the subtle difference between being “Deaf” and being “deaf.”  To be Deaf is to belong to the Deaf community- a network of people who share a language and culture.  In Australia the Deaf Community use Australian Sign Language or Auslan as their primary language. While many speakers also understand English, it is their secondary language.  There is an important distinction between Deaf and “deaf” - which refers simply to a hearing loss. 

To be Deaf can be likened to living as a foreign language speaker residing in a country where no one speaks the way you do.  Services and opportunities that hearing people take for granted are limited or not available to the Deaf Community.  There are huge ramifications as a result of this, with reduced literacy, fewer employment opportunities for people, exclusion from public and online spaces and mental health impacts to name a few.  As a society, we have made strides in developing modifications to benefit deaf and hard of hearing people.  However, there has been little consideration as to whether these solutions are appropriate for all deaf people. 

The Deaf experience is vastly different to the experience of a deaf person, but we do not accommodate this.  In order to understand the needs of Deaf people, we must consider this from a cultural and linguistic perspective.  Auslan is a visual-spatial language, with its own separate grammar and syntax.  It relies heavily on facial expression to convey meaning and emphasis.  When you consider this, it is apparent current access measures such as closed and open captions are inadequate.  Captioning is the direct transcription of speech word for word and any important sound effects.  Considering English is often the second language of Deaf people, this effectively means they need to operate in their secondary language. 

There are some solutions.  They are not all perfect, and in some instances a combination of these is required.  As creators of digital space, some things to consider are multimedia options. These include:
  • having transcripts made available
  • providing sign language interpreting and subtitles (which is a written translation of dialogue- i.e. interpreting the meaning of text and producing a written equivalent of what would be said in Auslan) with captions for sound effects.
Considering the writing style is also important, such as
  • using headings and subheadings
  • writing in a journalistic style (making your point and then explaining it)
  • using short line lengths and making one point per paragraph
  • using plain language and writing with an active voice
  • avoiding unnecessary jargon and slang and
  • providing a glossary all allow for a much more inclusive and enjoyable user experience
These benefits are not limited to Deaf people.  Culturally and linguistically diverse people and those with less cognitive processing capabilities also benefit from digital accessibility.  Everyone has a right to be an active participating member of society, but we have a responsibility to ensure we create the space for this to occur.

Recent News icon of a newspaper

Expressions of Interest:
Training or Certificate Course

We have had such positive results from our 5 week Certificate in Digital Accessibility that we are just finishing up for May next week. Are you interested in our next certificate course? Let us know so we can pop you on our list!

This certificate level program covers all major aspects of Digital Accessibility over five one-day sessions on consecutive weeks at ATI Mirage on Hay Street in the Perth CBD. Plus, ACS members receive a discount of $50 from the course cost and will receive 12 PD hours for the CT or CP levels.

We can also do customised training for your organisational needs! More details are available on our Training Page or you can contact us at training@webkeyit.com for cost and the discount rate for multiple participants from your organisation.

New Website

Have you looked at our new website yet? Have a look! And tell us what you think! We'd love to hear your thoughts. Also, have a go of the English/Arabic language switch feature in the top right corner- we think it's pretty speccy.

From the Director's Chair director's chair icon

The financial year is drawing to a close, and it has been a very busy one for us here at Web Key IT. I know that for many of our customers, huge improvements have been made in the accessibility of your digital services.  Well done on the great work!  If this is you, we encourage you to apply for the Australian Accessibility Awards mentioned in the news section of this newsletter.  Web Key IT are very proud to be a sponsor for the inaugural awards event and look forward to the showcase of the ‘best of the best’ in digital accessibility.
 
Please note that I will be away from the office from Thursday May 23 until Monday June 10th. While I’m away, please contact Emma Murray at e.murray@webkeyit.com with any questions regarding administration, meetings, billing and accounts. Contact Amanda Mace at a.mace@webkeyit.com for all matters relating to our services, dates, training and booking audits. You're in safe hands!
 
I hope you are able to look back on this financial year and see the improvements in accessibility you’ve made, and that you are making plans to achieve even more in the coming year.

- Dr. Vivienne Conway

Upcoming Events Green Calendar Icon Graphic

Monthly Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup

Tuesday 18th of June at 7:30am

Dome Cafe

149 James Street, Northbridge WA

Read more about the Accessibility Meetup group


Disability at Work Conference

20th-21st of June, 2019

Adelaide, SA

More information about this event here
 

ACS WA State Conference

28th of June, 2019

Perth, WA

Register Here
 

AAATE 2019 Conference

27th-30th of August 2019

Bologna, Italy

More information here
 

OZeWAI 2019

Late November, 2019

Location TBC

More information here
 

Australian Access Awards

3rd of December 2019

Online

Nominations Close: Friday 30th August 2019

More information here
 

Australasian Conference on Information Systems

9th-11th of December, 2019

Fremantle, WA

Register Here

Are we friends yet? Friend Icon

If you haven't already, take a look at our Facebook page for daily updates and some excellent accessibility articles and resources, there really is a lot on there. We also have a Twitter feed, as well as LinkedIn. All these links are below for future reference, so have a click around, and share this with your friends.

Please do remember to take a moment to look at our website and as always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments and any feedback you may have!
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