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Recap of Bangalore Accessibility Meetup – August, 2016

After a long time, Bangalore Accessibility Meetup got resumed and held on 27th August, 2016 at the office of Prakat Solutions. Thank you Team Prakat for hosting.

It was attended by nearly about 20 accessibility enthusiasts, who works at different companies like IBM, Wipro, Cognizant, Dell etc., Here is a quick summary.

This session was meant to know each other, share what’s happening in the accessibility field and a few ideas as to what we collectively can do. Event kicked off with round of introductions followed by welcome note from Anu Biswas, Founder of Prakat. It’s fantastic to see the passion in Team Prakat towards accessibility.

Then a quick presentation was made to share update in the area of digital accessibility by Srinivasu Chakravarthula, Lead Accessibility at Informatica. Click below to view slides. I wish, I could post the full text, unfortunately due to sad demise of my grand father on the same day evening, I am unable to write full text.

That was an interactive discussion and lead to a tea break!

After the break, floor was open for discussion on what are the challenges that each one of us face or if we had a solution for a specific problem and what we can do in next few months to keep the momentum grow. It was agreed that in one of the sessions, we should invite a few product companies and showcase how their products are doing from accessibility prospective. More details to follow.

Again, thanks everyone for joining; let’s keep this momentum going.


Launch of Sugamya Pusthakalaya (Accessible Online Library) in India

24th September, 2016 marks a historic milestone for people with print disabilities in India. DAISY India, in partnership with Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and powered by TCS Access Infinity has launched Sugamya Pustakalaya (Accessible Digital Library) which provides opportunity to blind and print disabled people to have access to wide range of publications including study material, fiction, non-fiction etc.,

About Sugamya Pustakalaya

If you are looking for books accessible to the blind, people with low vision or to persons with any other print disability, this library of libraries is your one-stop shop.

Sugamya Pustakalaya is a collaborative effort of several organizations to end the book famine faced by people with print disabilities.

Here, you can access books in diverse languages from various libraries across India. We have also partnered with international agencies like Bookshare and Accessible Books Consortium to provide you with accessible books from all over the world.

Users can access a collection of over 2, 30,000 books, maintain their individual reading shelves online and also download books in chosen formats.

Sugamya Pustakalaya is a facilitating platform for producers of accessible content to jointly work in producing and providing accessible books to people with print disabilities.

Publishers can also collaborate with us to publish their content in accessible format

As we speak, there are about 2,33,095 accessible books are availabel for download; these books are contributed by DFI member organizations and Bookshare.

A Press release is available on PIB Website.

Thank you both digital and print media for wide range of publicity on this. Below are links to some media coverage:

Below is a video that explains features of Sugamya Pustakalaya:

Deep sense of appreciation to Mr. Dipendra Manocha, Mr. Prashant Verma, Prof. Sam Taraporewalla and each individual and organizations who have put in tireless efforts to make accessible digital library a reality. Long way to go!

Resuming Bangalore Accessibility Meetups

Greetings on the eve of India’s 70th Independence Day.

It’s almost 2 years that we, accessibility enthusiasts in Bangalore, could not meet each other. It was due to that I was relocated to Hyderabad in 2014 (recently moved back), then busy with family as we were blessed with a baby boy about two weeks ago! but I wish momentum could have continued. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to announce that we are resuming accessibility meetups in Bangalore and Thanks to Mrs. Anu Biswas and her team at Prakat Solutions, who are willing to host meet up for the month of August.

About Bangalore Accessibility Meetup
This will be a platform to discuss about state of digital accessibility, learn and share things about digital accessibility including WCAG, ARIA, Mobile accessibility, assistive technology bugs, etc., We intend to meet once a month. Going forward, objective would be to agree on a task and make it happen before the next meet up.

Since we are meeting after a long time, let’s make this session as an (Re) Introductory and Planning Meetup. Agenda for this meet up will be:

  • Knowing each other
  • What’s new in the area of accessibility
  • What we can do in next three months

When? 27th August, 2016
Where? Prakat Solutions (Address will be on the registration ticket).

Who should attend?
Anyone who has interest in the area of digital accessibility, Technology startups, web developers, Application and Software testers, decision makers.

So looking forward to meeting many of you; if you can’t make it to attend, please be sure to spread the word.

Please use below form to sign-up. Last date for registration is 25th August, 2016.

Some challenges faced by people with low vision

I happened to be a person with low vision and see some situations challenging if not impossible. Feel free to comment if you have observed any other challenges or have solutions for some of these. I’m also writing solutions that I usually practice or something I think of. Be informed that my solutions my not work for you.

Challenge Solution
Unable to identify status of elevator This happens mostly in the corporate buildings where functional buttons up/down are provided at side of doors but display would be at the top somewhere; instead display should be at the right above the functional buttons
It’s easy to identify inside the elevator when flash light gets turned off on selected button but when elevator is crowded, it may not be easy hence having auditory announcements would be highly helpful
Identifying counters in bank / hospitals Though auditory announcements are made about our token number and counter to be where one should report, often counter numbers are not clearly visible. clear signage would be helpful
Identifying Conference rooms / name boards I just ask people around as name boards are kept at height on the door; instead they should be at 5.5 feet of height as that works for most. Another option is use of phone camera to view the board. But in most offices, photography is prohibited.
Identifying bus number and names It’s easy at the bus stations especially with bussess of Andhra Pradesh Transport department where name board are displayed at lower height on the left side of bus; but it’s difficult to identify a bus when you need to catch on mid way. I usually call driver in advance
Knowing new openings around you Often we see new business open around us but unless they have clear boards, it’s not easy to identify them. Mostly I get to know about new businesses when I go with my wife

One possible solution for many is to carry a telescope but it looks odd to see something with telescope on road side. There could be many more challenges. feel free to comment.