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December

2018

Year in Review 2018

2018 has began where we started using videos as a medium of video to send greetings. We have started with a video message on the occasion of new year and birth anniversary of Louis Braille

Judges panel at I-STEM Hackathon consist of George, Srinivasu and Prof. Srikanth
Srinivasu one among the judges at Inclusive STEM Hack-a-than 

During January, 2018 – Inclusive STEM in partnership with International Association of Information Technology has hosted Inclusive STEM Hack-a-than. It has been a privilege to have been part of this event both as a mentor and judge. January has also witnessed grand win of Indian team won against Pakistan at World Cricket Cup for the Blind. Ola has stepped up their efforts to make their mobile app accessible to people with disabilities. It was also heartening to see recognition for Rajani Gopalakrishnan, who happens to be first women with blindness to become a chartered accountant. We have posted about all of these great things in January 2018

January 2018 also recorded great milestone that Web Accessibility Initiative group of W3C has released Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 as a recommended standard. 

Srinivasu speaking at 5P conference

In February, 2018 got an opportunity to present at 50p conference on Accessible Digital Payments. It was for the first time, got an opportunityto talk in the mainstream fin tech industry. opportunity to present about accessibility in mainstream events in the FinTech industry. The room was full for this talk and great to see fabulous pre-planning by HasGeek Team. The conference was well organized. 

In February, I have started using Android and wrote two blog posts one is about Day 1 experience of switching to android and then about one week of life with Android. Interestingly, I did not feel regret though I have been an iOS user for about 8 years. There is a great improvement in android both as a platform and for accessibility as well. 

Shri. Javed Abidi (1965-2018)

On March 4, 2018 The Pioneer in the disability sector and well known disability activist Shri. Javed Abidi has passed away. It was a huge loss for community of people with disabilities in India and many around the world. He has been instrumental for many disability related issues in India. It has been a blessing to know him a bit closely though I have not worked much with him directly. Post I have published to his memory

Inspired by Steve Faulkner, started writing short notes and in the month of March, we wrote a short note on importance of making email promotions accessible

Then to get ready for Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), we have started writing about different things and started with missing alternate text. As part of #GAADSeries, in the month of April, we wrote about Using WAVE – Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool by WebAIM and posted some ideas to mark GAAD beyond digital accessibility

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

May was huge, a lot of events took place around the world and great set of events took place in Bangalore. In fact, in Bangalore, GAAD was marked as a month long events. There was a competition for college students, an event for organizations working in the area of disability, a meet up was organized for developers and there was also a gala event. It was great to have Facebook accessibility team has joined us in Bangalore. 

DAISY forum of India has released Simply reading app – an android app that enable users to connect directly with a few digital libraries for people with print impairment. Read our post on simply reading app to learn more. In the month of May, during Google I/O, accessibility team at Google has announced many new accessibility features on android. 

On June 5, 2018 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has become official. In June, IRCTC has released next generation ticketing system and we have published an accessibility review of IRCTC new portal. 

We have removed Twitter for WordPress plugin and replaced with Accessible Twitter plugin by Joe Dolson and wrote a post that talks about how accessibility has been improved.  

It has been a privilege to present “Accessibility – a game changer” talk to design team at IBM. 

Towards end of June, Mozilla has released Accessibility inspector for firefox

In July, we wrote a tip on inserting widgets into a wordpress post and reviewed Eye-D app. This is a great app – intended to help people with blindness but helpful to all. 

In August, we wrote about prioritizing accessibility issues and app review of 6 by 6 that has currency identifier, magnifier and light detector. 

In September, we wrote about WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.5.1 Pointer gestures (Level A), events that are happening in October and we have also written about International Day of Sign Language.  

Srinivasu presenting his lecture with laptop
Speaking at Intuit office

In October, I have presented on Building Accessible websites using wordpress at Inclusive Design 24; this was a live event on YouTube and thanks to Intuit for hosting in-person talk at their office. It has been also a pleasure to join annual accessibility summit and dinner hosted by Intuit. I was also part of a great event at The National Association for the Blind, Karnataka Branch to mark International White Cane Safety Day. Towards end of October, attended Empower 2018 and it was great to meet Dr. TV Raman in person. Great conference and awesome products displayed at the exhibition.

In November, Government of India has published revised guidelines for Indian Government Websites and apps. It has been an honour to got an opportunity to work with a few other awesome people on Mobile Accessibility Practices document. 

In December, 2018 hosted Dr. Ramana Polavarapu, Data scientist and VP of Goldman Sachs at my work place (Informatica) on the event of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I also got an opportunity to witness Wheelchair Tennis Tournament; also addressed students at Sri Ramana Maharshi Academy for the Blind. 

The United Nations has declared 4th January as World Braille Day. Read the announcement.

Thank you for all the support in 2018 and looking forward for a great 2019.

NVDA 2018.4 is now available

Wow, NV Access is such a committed organization that I have never seen them missing a release nor compromising quality in a release. NV Access has just announced release of Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) 2018.4. NVDA is a free and open source screen reading software that enable people with vision impairment to have access to use of computer. 

Highlights of this release include performance improvements in recent Mozilla Firefox versions, announcement of emojis with all synthesizers, reporting of replied/forwarded status in Outlook, reporting the distance of the cursor to the edge of a Microsoft Word page, and many bug fixes.

Source: NV Access News

Visit What’s new page of NVDA website to learn about what are the new features and what has been changed. And visit Download NVDA page to download NVDA 2018.4 and update your screen reader. 

Smart House for People with Disabilities

This is a guest post by Melisa Merzitt

Smart house for people with disabilities

Many new Internet of things applications are comfort and safety oriented. They make it to where a user is able to regulate temperature and lightening in a room, manage door locks, activate signalization system, etc. With the assumption that, these applications promise its users comfort and manoeuvrability with household appliance, for people with disabilities and older people they mean essentially new level of possibilities in support of independent lifestyle.  


Improvement of accessibility functions made smartphones applicable for far more broad range of people with disabilities. A lot of producers developed smartphones with a simpler and intuitively understandable interface. Such devices are far more suitable for older people who faced with difficulties at using smartphones due to impaired vision or hearing, problems with movement and insufficient mobility. Smartphones of the kind are already used as remotes for equipment of smart houses, smart vehicles and smart cities. They offer people with disabilities a simple in using tool, which would make it easier for them to move  giving an opportunity to take part in economic and social life in a more full measure.  

Industry experts agree upon Internet of things has a great potential in order to make it useful for people with disabilities. Shivpriya Sridhar, product marketing manager of Smart+Communities+IoT company Cisco, says, that her company is already taking well-directed efforts in order to make a fortune out of advantages of Internet of things for people with disabilities. «We believe that the most useful for them are going to be those applications, which are servicing connections of household appliances  to home network and allowing users to automatically switch in and switch off such devices on the basis of day part and other fixed preferences, she says. – an ability to manage, for example, temperature and lightness can also be  in demand among people with a mobility impairment. Besides that, Internet of things is able to significantly improve employment possibilities for them, make an independent life easier and improve social integration of people with disabilities». 

Internet of things may greatly improve access to medicine assistance for older people and people with disabilities. Influence of Internet of things is going to be just enormous and, as a result, a patient will no longer go to a doctor, on the contrary, a doctor will come to a patient. Special sensors will follow a patient`s movements, medication taking, content of carbon dioxide in the building, creating a full image for specialists of medical institution, which will make it to where individual service will be possible and allow a patient to lead an independent way of life. In further perspective, it will have a favorable image of medical service cost. Ultimately, processes of standardization and normalization on the market will lead to medical equipment and infrastructure cost decreasing.


Home automation technologies out of all Internet of things applications, which are able to improve life of people with disabilities, home automation means or differently, smart house technologies are the most promising. Home automation technologies are used cameras and sensors of different kinds for data transfer into a smartphone, allowing it to manage lightness and temperature in the building at the distance, control household appliances operating, security systems and many other devices. In combination with an accessible smartphone interface, smart house technologies embrace a huge potential of possibilities for disabled people, improving quality and providing independency of their way of life. There are many examples: 
• Home automation applications will allow blind people and those who barely see to manage household items operating, regulate temperature in the building with one click on the smartphone. It is very important, however, so these applications to be combined with a screen-reader program using by a smartphone or other special functions. 

• Smart home technologies will help people with disordered motor function to manage everyday objects, access to which for disabled people will be difficult due to their disease such as light regulators, door locks and security system.
• For deaf people and those who can barely hear home automations means will be useful in order to increase safety. A deaf person cannot hear sounds signalizing about strangers in their homes however intellectual system of safety is able to compensate this problem: it will direct an alarm signal onto a phone of a user as soon as sensors fix a suspicious activity beyond their houses.

• Besides that, smart home technologies allow children and elderlies trustees to control everyday activity, operatively reminding about necessity of accomplishment of this or that prescribed actions or tasks.

Several companies have already mastered production of smart home platforms. Digital Life AT&T company is one of such platforms including classical options such as video cameras inside the house, remote control and temperature regulation, home light remote control, remote water leak detention, entry door code locks and so on. 

Digital life AT&T company: from conception to active applications


Taking into account special needs of elderly people and disabled ones, Digital life was developed in order to help with leading an independent life emergency security. For example: 

• Sensors placed at the foot of the bed sets the signal about an elderly person or a disabled one to get up.; 

• Sensors inside the medicine box or a fridge fix time and number of them being opened; 

• Water leak detection sensors automatically cover water supply in case water flood from a bath or a sink.

All these functional capabilities are getting realized due to the net of connected sensors, which during a certain period of time gather information in order to define a typical user every day behavior scheme. After such a scheme to be installed, there will be little difficulty to personalize the system, so it automatically inform relatives, curators, neighbors  and other people in case of routine behavior manners changes.

Digital life  if one of a few smart home platforms available at present time on the market, but it clearly demonstrates an Internet of things potential for improving quality of life and ease of independent living for elderly and disabled people.

About the author: Melisa Marzett whose current activity is writing for <a href=”http://resumeperk.com/”>resumeperk.com</a> simply enjoys the process of writing. She loves cats, French movies and classic literature along with her writing career and hopes to write a book some day.