Happy Friday! This week has been packed with lots of interesting accessibility news, and lots of it is very encouraging. You’ll learn about a few high profile tech companies are working hard to create more accessible technology for everyone. We’ll also show you which U.S. state is working to make their site more accessible. Enjoy this week’s news!

Accessibility Innovations by AT&T

Did you know that AT&T has a Corporate Accessibility Technology Office? They work to help make tech easy for anyone to use. The government technology site interviewed the group’s lead accessibility technology architect who explained their goals by stating, “The goal, Bangor said, is ‘to not build barriers in the first place.’”[1]

The article describes how tech currently makes it difficult for users with disabilities to do everything from contacting 911 in an emergency to enjoying television shows. While these are things that many people take for granted, a lot of people need assistance or modifications. It’s great to know that such a big company has a dedicated accessibility division, and that they are working on solving these problems. I also think the Bangor quote says a lot about the group’s direction. We need to build accessibility into our technology in the first place, and the group really seems to understand that.

Read the full AT&T’s Accessibility Lab Works to Make Tech Accessible to Everyone article here.

What Does Tim Cook Think About Accessibility?

May 18, 2017 was the world’s sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day,[2] and Apple’s CEO didn’t let it pass without talking publicly digital accessibility. Apple insider shares Cook’s thoughts on digital accessibility, “’For us, we believe very deeply that accessibility is a human right,’ Cook said. ‘And we try very hard to make all of our products accessible for everyone because of that. It’s a basic value.’”[3] He goes on to share what accessibility features he uses every day, and talks a bit about Apple’s other accessible products and features. If you’re a fan of Apple and interested in what they do in terms of accessibility, then this is a great article to check out.

Read the full Apple’s Tim Cook talks tech with accessibility advocates for Global Accessibility Awareness Day article here.

Accessibility in Georgia

The need for accessible websites is great, and the state of Georgia recognizes that fact. According to the Marketplace website, “One out of 12 people ages 18 to 64 in the United States identifies themselves as having a disability.”[4] The state is working to make the Georgia website accessible to everyone.

The article also discusses the issue of accessibility and web design with a blind accessibility expert at the University of Washington who explains the roots of the problem, “Hadi Rangin…said most developers and designers are not being taught how to code for people with disabilities.”[5] Getting up-to-speed on accessibility issues on websites is important for everyone. It can lead designers to make better websites that work for more people, and help website owners to accommodate all of their visitors. As the state of Georgia begins the process, we can hope that other state websites follow suit.

Read the full Georgia aims to make its websites accessible for all article here.

A Positive Trend

It’s great to see such big companies championing the accessibility movement. It’s even better to see them understand that it’s not just a quick fix issue. Instead, accessibility needs to be understood and built in from the outset. Technology that incorporates accessibility as part of the initial design is important to create. The more common we make accessible technology, the better. Kudos to these and all companies who are helping to change the way we think about accessible tech!

What stories caught your interest this week? Did you do anything for Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

[1] http://www.govtech.com/health/ATTs-Acessibilty-Lab-Works-To-Make-Tech-Accessible-to-Everyone.html

[2] http://globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org/

[3] http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/05/17/apples-tim-cook-talks-tech-with-accessibility-advocates-for-global-accessibility-awareness-day

[4] https://www.marketplace.org/2017/05/17/tech/georgia-aims-make-its-websites-accessible-all

[5] https://www.marketplace.org/2017/05/17/tech/georgia-aims-make-its-websites-accessible-all