Every day there are new advancements in the realm of digital accessibility. New products are created, studies are conducted, and companies are catching on to how important inclusive technology can be to the world. Read on for some of the most note-worthy stories from the week of January 2nd, 2017.

Finalized rules are in the works…

The United States Access Board is a federal agency that focuses on disability and accessibility issues. On Tuesday, January 10th from 9:30am – 12:00pm Eastern time, the Board will hold a public briefing that covers the following issues listed on their site:

  • Updated ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buses and Vans (published December 14)
  • Accessibility Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment (to be published January 9)
  • Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines (to be published soon)[1]

If you can’t be there in person, then the Access Board has also set up a live-streaming link so that you can listen over the phone. Check out their site for more details, and let’s hope the details on the information and communication tech standards are published soon!

University of Michigan students are changing the world…

David Chesney, a computer science and engineering instructor at the University of Michigan, has led the charge for advancement for many years through his Gaming for the Greater Good initiative. After widening the scope of the initiative to explore the world beyond what video games can do, Chesney’s classes now work directly with the disabled community to make measurable and meaningful advancements. Read the full article to find how the current group of students has used Amazon’s popular Alexa intelligent personal assistant to create an awesome new feature that every low-vision person could use at home.

The Windows 10 upgrade includes accessibility features…

If you’re wondering what accessibility features your Windows machine has, then you’re in luck. The latest update to the software has more accessibility features than ever. While the upgrade to Windows 10 was only available for free until July 29th, if you use assistive tech you might still be eligible to get the upgrade for free. The Tech Times article below explains now. If you’ve already upgraded and just want to know more about Microsoft’s accessibility features, here’s their site explaining what Windows 10 includes.

The College Board is finally allowing assistive tech…

When students walk into an SAT testing room, they are pretty much on lockdown. While the point of taking away everything but a few key items is to reduce the chance of cheating, this method can also put disabled students at a huge disadvantage. Without the assistive technology they need, students might be fighting an uphill battle to take their college entrance exams.

Thankfully, the College Board is now catching on to this issue and is making changes. Starting January 1st, 2017, “…most students who use testing accommodations at their schools through an individualized education program or a 504 plan will have those same accommodations automatically approved for taking the SAT, PSAT, SAT Subject Tests, Advanced Placement and other exams.”[2] Read the full announcement to find out more about the new changes and how you or your child might be able to use assistive technology when taking their tests.

Are there any news stories you found especially interesting this week? Let us know which stories intrigued you and please remember to share the links to your favorite stories in the comments below!