March Monthly Newsletter

Dear Valued Readers,
We are delighted to share the most recent news and updates from our organization and the industries we serve. This edition will showcase some of the most recent technological, business, and current events that are shaping our world today. We’re dedicated to bringing you informative and engaging content that will keep you up-to-date and informed on everything from innovations to industry trends and insights.
In this edition of our newsletter, we’ll be covering a range of topics that are sure to be of interest to our readers.
  • A few of the world's biggest tech companies, including Microsoft, Google, and WhatsApp, are making significant strides in the area of accessibility. We'll explore some of the latest innovations and updates from these companies that are helping to make technology more inclusive and accessible for all.
  • Our recent events included an educative webinar with Sarah Stricker and the AT Conclave, which brought together experts and thought leaders from across the field of assistive technology.
  • Finally, we are thrilled to share that our organization is increasingly being recognized as a key player in utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) in education, and we'll be sharing more about this exciting development and what it means for our work moving forward.
We hope you find this edition of the newsletter to be informative and relevant. As always, we welcome your feedback and questions that will help us make our newsletter more valuable.
Warm Regards,
Continual Engine

I. Latest in Accessibility

1. Microsoft 365 will soon have an accessibility assistant

First, Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Microsoft Office) brings an accessibility assistant. The goal is to help people produce more accessible content. The assistant will offer suggestions on how to prevent and fix accessibility issues, which Microsoft calls “better defaults” and “real-time optimization.” Assistant, in Visual Studio following an accessibility checker. On a similar note, Microsoft has released a guidebook to help people design products with cognitive diversity in mind.

2. Google improves Chrome's page zoom to make mobile web more accessible

Google Chrome is giving its page zoom feature a boost, which should make it more helpful for people who have difficulty reading the smaller screen on Android devices. With the improved feature, you can increase the size of text, images, videos, and interactive controls on mobile web pages by up to 300 percent while preserving their original formatting.

3. Web accessibility laws set to enter new era as DOJ gears up for spring rulemaking

This May, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will start a rulemaking procedure some 13 years in the making aimed at codifying technical standards to assist public entities in complying with obligations to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities.

4. WhatsApp becomes the only app to rank ‘highly accessible’ for persons with disabilities

WhatsApp has been ranked India’s most accessible app for persons with disabilities, according to a recent report titled ‘Making the Digital Ecosystem Disabled Friendly,’ which evaluated the most popular apps across categories like messaging, online payments, transport, e-commerce and food delivery. The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, along with I-Stem and Mission Accessibility, conducted a first of its kind evidence-based evaluation of the accessibility of ten of the most widely used apps in India.

5. Legacy automaker Ford embraces the car’s future with accessible, inclusive BlueCruise technology

Although autonomous driving technology has become synonymous with companies such as Tesla and Waymo, the truth is competition to drive this space is fast and furious. Count the captain of the auto industry, Ford, as one of those contestants. The venerable Michigan-based automobile maker recently won acclaim from Consumer Reports for its BlueCruise driver assist software, with Mike Monticello writing late last month it’s “equal parts eerie and amazing” to experience Ford’s driving tech, adding similar systems like Tesla’s Autopilot has “[fallen to the middle of the pack] as other high-tech systems improve.”

II. STAR NEWS OF THE MONTH

Continual Engine Has Been Recognized as a Key Player in Utilizing AI in Education

Continual Engine is thrilled to share that we have been recognized as a key player in utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) in education.
With the ability to provide personalised learning, enhance student results, increase accessibility, and automate administrative duties, we have begun to demonstrate the influence of AI in education. We may anticipate greater breakthroughs in virtual learning environments, enhanced personalisation, and increased accessibility as the use of AI in education continues to develop.
At Continual Engine, we take pride in helping educational institutions, publishers, and learning groups prioritise accessibility and create inclusive, engaging learning environments. Our accessibility services extend to document remediation, automated image alt text creation, video accessibility, and more. Our clients include well-known educational publishers, institutions, and organizations.

Continue reading here for more information.

III. PAST EVENTS

1. Expert Guest Sarah Stricker Presented on “All About WCAG Accessibility and What’s Next”

Continual Engine hosted an accessibility webinar with IAAP-certified Web Accessibility Specialist Sarah Stricker from ansrsource. This webinar was a virtual event held on February 16th, 2023.
In her position, Sarah works collaboratively with organisations and institutions of higher education to develop courses and course components with an accessibility focus. Sarah formerly held positions as an instructional designer and an educational technology specialist at UC Berkeley before joining ansrsource. She also served as a professor at Colorado State University, where she instructed students in rhetoric and public speaking. She is a Communication and Media Studies master’s degree holder. Sarah leads a group of web developers and manages the technical solutions of clients in the higher education sector. She holds a Web Accessibility Specialist certification from the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) (WAS).
This event was intended to provide attendees with a brief overview of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which go beyond a simple description. How are the guidelines relevant to content authors and designers? The webinar also provided information on WCAG’s present situation and potential future directions.
If you were unable to attend the event, click here to gain access to the webinar recording or, download an accessible version of the presentation here.

2. Continual Engine Participated in Samarthanam’s Awareness Conclave on Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities

The Awareness Conclave on Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities took place on February 23, 2023, at Bangalore’s Chancery Pavilion, and Continual Engine was happy to be a part of it.
Our team of Continual Engine employees joined at this event including, Rajat Prakash (Product Owner), Pavan Deepak (Product Owner) and Dr. K. Sriram (Content & Product Development Advisor). Dr. Sriram was the key note speaker at the event inauguration. Some of the key notes include:
  • 1,800 users of assistive technology had given their needs and wish list of assistive technology to the event organizers. The event places the user of assistive technology at the heart of all discussions.
  • Governments have an opportunity to form laws, policies, schemes and develop infrastructure for assistive technology.
  • Corporates have the opportunity to employ persons with disability empowered by assistive technology, market products and services which are accessible and promote assistive technology through the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
  • Academic institutions have the opportunity to do cutting edge research and development and formulate curriculum for assistive technology.
  • Social Venture Capitalists have the opportunity to invest in assistive technology and earn sustainable returns
  • Civil Society has the opportunity to advocate for assistive technology and skill the differently abled in the same.
  • Special schools also have the opportunity to skill the differently abled with assistive technology competence.
  • The Media has the opportunity to spread awareness on assistive technology among the differently abled, stakeholders of the assistive technology ecosystem and the general public.
  • Continual Engine’s Artificial Intelligence solutions assist in document accessibility and making Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Accounting digital content accessible for the visually challenged. We are hoping the current generation of the differently abled will break the barrier of education & employment in the Science & Technology field.
  • Together let us create a network for all technology, content and infrastructure to be accessible to all.
Samarthanam is an organization that promotes low-cost technological solutions for people with disabilities. It has organized the national conclave in collaboration with DXC Technology, IIITB and Government of Karnataka to discuss and understand the needs and requirements of people with disabilities.

If you want to access the event’s proceedings, click here.

IV. NEWS ARTICLES

1. Getty is trying to bring disability inclusion to stock photos

Nearly one in five people have a disability, but just 2% of publicly available imagery depicts their lives. The photo company, alongside Oath and the National Disability Leadership Alliance, is working to change that.

2. AI-assisted computer vision research aims to improve accessibility for deaf, hard of hearing

Digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa aren’t currently useful for, say, the hard of hearing and deaf community. George Mason University researchers led by Jana Košecká are making the Internet of Things more inclusive and accessible to those for whom it has not been designed. For the next year, her work to improve “seeing” computer systems to translate continuous American Sign Language into English will be funded by Amazon’s Fairness in AI Research Program.

3. California Bill would help define digital accessibility and limit damages

A proposed amendment to California’s Civil and Government Codes would limit the recovery of statutory damages in connection with certain digital accessibility claims, while also requiring certain government agencies to educate covered entities on their obligations to make their websites and mobile apps accessible under California law.

4. Disability Rights : Supreme Court invites suggestions from persons with disability & rights activists on improving accessibility

On 3rd December, 2022, the Chief Justice of India, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud constituted a Committee on Accessibility with the aim to conduct a comprehensive accessibility audit of the Supreme Court premises. The aim of the audit is to ensure accessibility in the justice system and understand the hardships faced by the persons with disability in their interface with the Supreme Court of India.

5. WHO distributes assistive technology tools to older people and people living with disabilities in cooperation with local NGO

In its continuous efforts to extend health services to those most in need, the World Health Organization (WHO) has just begun distributing assistive technology and adaptive tools procured within a project co-funded by WHO, the European Union, and the Government of Canada, in line with the goal to achieve Health for All by All.

6. How the Oscars embraced accessibility and inclusion with ASL interpreters and more

One year after the landmark success for Best Picture winner “CODA” at the Academy Awards, the 2023 Oscars presented the latest opportunity for Hollywood to show the world where it stands on inclusion and diversity.

Editors:

Debangku Sarma

Digital Marketing Associate
Continual Engine

Vijayshree Vethantham

Senior Vice-President, Growth & Strategy
Continual Engine US LLC

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