Hope you are all ready for another Friday news roundup! It’s Friday, March 24th and we are going to take a look at what happened this week in accessibility. We are going to talk about why businesses need to fix their accessibility issues for the good of the economy, how Singapore is creating a higher standard of web accessibility for its elderly residents, and a new and exciting accessibility app that was developed in Qatar.

Yet Another Reason Workplace Accessibility Needs to Happen

There are just so many reasons why workplace accessibility needs to start becoming standard. I know that a lot of people with disabilities have trouble finding jobs that meet their needs, and it keeps some of them out of the workforce. Still others are afraid to disclose their disability even though they should not face employment discrimination. That little checkbox asking you to self-identify as disabled is a gamble for many who wonder if it will impact their chances of getting hired.

We all know that ethically, this should never be the case. Keeping highly qualified people out of the workforce is just wrong. stuff online gives us yet another reason to help make the workplaces of the world accessible, “A report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research in February 2017 showed if 14,000 of those people were employed within the next 10 years, $270 million could be saved in benefits and $1.5 billion added to our economy.”[1] That’s huge for any economy, and an economic incentive to create more inclusive workspaces.

I’m sure you are probably thinking that is great for the economy, but the cost to each workplace to bring it up to code is going to be insurmountable. Surprisingly this really isn’t true according to the article, “…hiring disabled people would come at little cost to organisations, estimating an average of C$500 per disabled person’s career in Canada.”[1]  Yes, that number will vary depending on where the business is and what modifications need to be made. However, it is a small price to pay to ensure that businesses are not excluding great workers just because of accessibility issues.

Learn more about the push for inclusive workplaces in New Zealand by reading the full stuff article.

Singapore is Making Tech Accessible for the Aging Population

At UserWay, we talk a fair amount about how to make sure that technology grows with us. That includes making sure that the features we know and love are still accessible even when we begin to experience age-related issues such as vision or mobility loss. Singapore is aware of these issues as well, and has developed a standard set of over 600 guidelines to help make digital content more accessible to the elderly in the area.[2] It’s nice to know that the consideration for web accessibility is being considered and evaluated at such a high level, and hopefully website owners will heed the recommendations.

You can read more about the new age-related guidelines that Singapore released here.

Accessible Qatar

This new and useful app won in the Inclusion & Empowerment category the at the World Summit Awards.[3] According to the app’s official website, “Accessible Qatar, an initiative by Sasol, is a smart phone application and website, where the disabled community is able to view the public and touristic locations and outlets in Qatar and see whether they are accessible and in what way.”[4]

#I am starting to see a pretty significant influx in people tracking and sharing accessibility information about cities, tourist spots, restaurants, and more. The more this information is shared and considered the better in my opinion. For one thing, it will remove the mystery of whether or not a place will be accessible when you get there. That feeling of going somewhere you were looking forward to experiencing only to find it’s inaccessible should never happen to anyone.

Apps and websites that keep everyone aware of any accessibility considerations can help to reduce how often those situations occur. Another potential outcome is that places will start to upgrade their accessibility to ensure they get better ratings. The Accessible Qatar website notes that this is a potential benefit, so let’s hope the more accessibility information we all share, the more improvements are made!

Read more about the Accessible Qatar app on their website!

Were there any news stories or articles that you found interesting this week? What types of accessibility stories have you been following? Any new technology that you’ve come across to boost accessibility? Share your thoughts in the comments below!