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May 2018

Hello <<First Name>>!

We hope you've had a wonderful week, if you're in Perth and feeling this strange "Is it summer or winter?" vibe, know you're not alone! We're confused too! If you're elsewhere, hope the weather is treating you well! Also hope everyone enjoyed Global Accessibility Awareness Day yesterday- have a look under "Recent News" at what we got up to!

As we previously mentioned, we will be continuing this year to circulate our newsletter topics through our team here at Web Key IT, so you will be hearing from someone different every month. We've had some very positive feedback on this newsletter style so look forward to continuing it on. 

This month you'll be hearing from Cameron Toomey.


photo of Cam in a blue shirt smiling at the camera

Cameron Toomey became a quadriplegic at the age of 26 and has been confined to a wheelchair paralysed from the chest down with limited hand function for the past 22 years.  He currently lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, with his wife Nicci and twin daughters.  Five years ago, after relocating from Melbourne, Cameron began working as a technology manager for a small IT consultancy business specialising in digital design, project management, business systems and accessibility.  He loves to travel, watch his beloved “Blues” Carlton Football Club (AFL), spend time with his family and keeps active and stays independent while using his handcycle.
 

Voice Recognition – does it work as well as it sounds?


Since inception, the web has revolutionised our ability to access information.  Website designers all over the world start with a concept design that considers the visual experience, functionality and more recently the customer’s experience.  A visually pleasing website can be created out of the box more easily now than ever with basic website builders from Wix through to more complex sites using WordPress.  Anyone with a flair for design can create and publish a site within a short time that is accepted by the majority of consumers.  When it comes to functionality, there are add-ons, widgets and all sorts of ways to satisfy the needs of the general user with much complexity and not much thought. 
 
After living as a quadriplegic for 22 years with limited hand function, I have more recently become reliant on using voice recognition to not only dictate, yet also navigate within applications and browsers.  Dictate and navigate are very different applications of voice recognition and I want to look at how this technology is changing the way we do things.  Dictation with voice recognition has become affordable, accessible and available to everyone who uses a smart phone, tablet or PC - so why aren't we using this technology?  I see business people at offices, café's, co-working spaces, airports and libraries banging away at their keyboards with two fingers, wishing they spent more time concentrating in their touch typing class in Year 10, imagining the day when they could talk to the computer and it would listen.  Good news - that time is here.
 
When it comes to navigating an operating system, complex applications and the web, this is a different story.  There are dictation boxes that allow us to input information into all sorts of applications and digital assistants like Cortana, Siri, Alexa and Google assistant that will tell us what time it is, what we are doing today and how hot it is in Dubai.  When we get into a browser, navigate to our favourite website using voice and start to interact with a website, this is when voice recognition technology becomes challenging.  Only few browsers support voice add-ins and recognise basic commands, and I found the more visually pleasing a website is, the harder it is to find anything.  There are hero banners flying across the screen, ads and animations jumping out at me and all I want to do is find a contact form.  I finally tab through the links and end up stuck on a hidden link taking me out to a blank page and I then spend the next two minutes trying to get back to the home page to restart my journey.
 
We live in an ageing population, where physically-challenged people have more access than ever to technology.  More awareness given to digital accessibility will ultimately lead to application architects and developers thinking more about the consumers using their applications, as opposed to how visually pleasing and integrated with other applications they can be.  I'm looking forward to the day when using voice commands become an everyday practice, and interacting with an operating system, business applications and the web can be accessed as easily accomplished with voice as it is with a mouse.

Please contact us so we can help you to attract new customers, of all abilities, to your company website.

Recent News icon of a newspaper

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2018

Yesterday we celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day by attending the A11y Bytes event at the Microsoft Office in Perth!

We took live videos on Facebook that you are more than welcome to visit- please note we haven't captioned them yet but will do soon. There were some fabulous lightening talks on CAPTCHA, field error messages and Three-dimensional sound which are definitely worth a view! (I do apologise for the shaky camera work- it's not easy holding a phone still for that long!!)

How did you celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day? Let us know!

Redesigned W3C WAI Website

The beta is now live! Check out: https://www.w3.org/WAI/
(you might need to refresh your browser)
 
The redesigned W3C WAI website makes it easier to get information to help you improve web accessibility. The visual design, information architecture, navigation, and overall user experience is all new.
 
The redesign makes it easier to skim pages, read content, find specific information, and discover new resources. It's also easier for the community to be involved in improving resources.
 
Much of the content is revised and they plan to revise more content in the coming months as well as enhance the visual design of the home page and throughout.
 
See this github link for:

  • Planned Changes and Known Issues
  • Acknowledgements
  • How to Comment

Upcoming Events Green Calendar Icon Graphic

ACS WA State Conference
1st of June 2018
Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth
Register for the ACS Conference here

ACS WA Gala Dinner 2018
1st of June 2018
Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth
(Keynote is Physicist and Comedian, Josh Richards - Becoming Martian)
Register for the Gala Dinner Here

Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup
19th of June 2018
Dome Cafe, 149 James Street, Northbridge.
Read more about the Accessibility Meetup group
Or see the new A11y website here!

ACS WA Dennis Moore Oration Dinner 2018
10th of October, 2018
UWA, Crawley, WA
Registrations will be opening here soon, details about the 1962 Award are also on this page.

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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