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ATU338 – New Jordy with Marc Stenzyl, VP Enchanced Vision

Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. New Jordy with Marc Stenzyl VP of Sales – Enhanced Vision Show notes: Enhanced Vision | | 888-811-3161 Google is Threatening to Remove Apps […]

The post ATU338 – New Jordy with Marc Stenzyl, VP Enchanced Vision appeared first on Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads.

Setup and demo of the Google Home Mini

In this demo, I give you a physical description of the Google Home Mini, take you through setting it up, setting the accessibility option on, and go through a number of things you can ask the Google Assistant.

In some ways I prefer the Google Home mini as it uses a micro USB port for power, side switch for mic mute, and not deep base which is nicer for listening to spoken word audio such as radio, podcasts etc.

Price is great, in Australia Mini is $79 and the Home is $199.



Assam to provide free textbooks to students with vision disabilities

Assam Government would provide free textbooks to students with vision disabilities of the state, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Tuesday. The chief minister made the announcement while releasing a guidebook for students with vision disabilities for competitive examinations. Sonowal said his government has taken up various programmes aimed at uplifting the lives of the… Continue Reading »

Considerations for making an accessible kiosk

Special thanks to Matt Feldman for his contributions.

From airports and train stations to government offices, restaurants, grocery stores and retailers, the use of kiosk machines is widespread as a convenience for customers and an alternative to human service by the kiosk provider. Long gone are the days where an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was the only form of kiosk a person might need to use. It is now commonplace to find common service functions are now performed through kiosk solutions. As the use of kiosks grows, so does the need to ensure they are accessible and usable for all people, including those with disabilities.

The application of accessibility standards to kiosk machines

While there is no universal set of standards that provide specific guidance around making kiosks accessible, there are standards that may be useful. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standards provide direction in making web content accessible. These standards will be most applicable when the kiosk interface is presented in an HTML or web-based format. For example, a bank kiosk may allow customers to access account information from their online banking portal or a hotel might provide a kiosk to allow a customer to manage their stay or account information.

In addition, the U.S. government Section 508 standards may also be used to guide interface development. Specifically, these standards may apply to government related kiosk machines. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contains standards for physical design considerations that may be useful in determining the physical requirements of a kiosk machine.

In addition to the broadly applied standards such as WCAG 2.0 and the ADA, specific industries may adopt or create specific standards unique to their environment. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation created the Air Carrier Access Act (ACA) which provides requirements around the accessibility of airline industry technologies. The ACAA identifies specific standards on how and when their kiosks should be made accessible. Other industries may wish to use standards such as the ACAA as a starting place when developing their own regulations or standards.

Most Kiosks are considered stand alone or closed system, meaning users won’t have the flexibility to use personal assistive technology to access or interact with content or elements. This requires vendors to consider the needs of individual with varying abilities.

Unlike WCAG and Section 508, which provide precise guidelines and technical specifications related to accessibility, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) has taken a different approach with performance based objectives, more like the functional requirements in Section 508.

These objectives ensure a wide variety of user needs are built into these closed systems.

CVAA Performance Objectives

§ 14.21 Performance Objectives (read the full section at the Legal Information Institute)

  1. Generally – Manufacturers and service providers shall ensure that equipment and services covered by this part are accessible, usable, and compatible as those terms are defined in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section.
  2. Accessible – The term accessible shall mean that:
    1. Input, control, and mechanical functions shall be locatable, identifiable, and operable in accordance with each of the following, assessed independently:
      1. Operable without vision. Provide at least one mode that does not require user vision.
      2. Operable with low vision and limited or no hearing. Provide at least one mode that permits operation by users with visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200, without relying on audio output.
      3. Operable with little or no color perception. Provide at least one mode that does not require user color perception.
      4. Operable without hearing. Provide at least one mode that does not require user auditory perception.
      5. Operable with limited manual dexterity. Provide at least one mode that does not require user fine motor control or simultaneous actions.
      6. Operable with limited reach and strength. Provide at least one mode that is operable with user limited reach and strength.
      7. Operable with a Prosthetic Device. Controls shall be operable without requiring body contact or close body proximity.
      8. Operable without time dependent controls. Provide at least one mode that does not require a response time or allows response time to be by passed or adjusted by the user over a wide range.
      9. Operable without speech. Provide at least one mode that does not require user speech.
      10. Operable with limited cognitive skills. Provide at least one mode that minimizes the cognitive, memory, language, and learning skills required of the user.

Considerations when making kiosks accessible

The following considerations are broadly useful when incorporating accessibility into kiosk.

Physical design

  • Are all controls on the kiosk tactilely distinguishable? For example, is it possible to identify the audio headphone jack by touch or by a tactile symbol?
  • Do controls have braille or large print labels? While putting braille labels on all keys on a standard QWERTY keyboard may not be necessary, it may be important to label special function keys or controls that are not standard on a traditional keyboard.
  • Is the height and spacing of the screen and controls appropriate for different types of users? An individual in a wheel chair may be viewing the screen from a lower angle than someone who is standing up.
  • Is there sufficient physical clearance around the machine for users with assistive mobility devices? A person in a wheelchair, scooter, or other mobility device may need more room to maneuver when approaching or leaving the machine.

Interface design

  • What types of controls are needed to use the interface? For example, is a physical keyboard needed along with a touch screen in order for someone to enter text? Should a mouse, track ball, or touch pad device be present if a pointer is needed to use the interface? A person with a motor skills challenge may find it difficult to move their hand around a touch screen but may have no trouble using a track ball or touch pad pointer.
  • Can the visual presentation of the interface be customized? For example, can someone with a visual impairment zoom in or out to change the size of the onscreen font? Can someone who is color blind determine the functionality of controls by a method other than color alone?
  • Does the interface provide speech output? For someone who is blind or low vision, speech output (text-to-speech) may be the only way they can interact with the device. Does the text-to-speech function activate when headphones are inserted into the jack? If not, is there a clearly communicated way such as a braille sign for the user to know how to activate the text-to-speech function?
  • Does the interface reset to a standard configuration after each person uses it? The interface should always return to a default state after each user completes their tasks.


In addition to the considerations listed above, it is important to ensure that the kiosk design is tested by people with various types of disabilities. This may include testing at various stages during the design and development process but at a minimum, user testing should be done once the design is complete. In addition, it will also be important to ensure that staff who may assist people using the kiosk understand what accessibility features are present and how to help someone use them. An accessibility feature is only as good as a person’s ability to use it and their knowledge that it exists in the first place. Staff may also wish to periodically test the accessibility features to verify they are always working as expected.

An accessible and well-designed kiosk machine can provide an efficient and independent experience for all users. As with all things related to accessibility, it is important to consider an accessible design from the very beginning. It is generally much more costly and inefficient to add accessibility after a product has been developed or is already in use.

Learn more about the state of kiosk accessibility requirements and what can be done to address by registering for our 60 minute webinar scheduled for November 28th at noon ET.

Harry Approves

Today I got to a wet and windy yard. I unrugged and tacked up Mr Harry who was extremely reluctant to come out of his warm cosy stable. I can’t say I blamed him but give a sharp tug on his reins and a firm “walk on” when he backed up a step. He came and I mounted and walked into the school.

This morning was the use of my brand new pink schooling whip. Purposefully, I set off with it in the left hand as that would be my inside hand.

It takes, as I discovered, a few laps of the school to wake Harry up and once I had him going, my RI commented on how good the walk was. He was tracking up well, which for you none horsey people means his hind hoof will fall into or in front of the hoof print of the fore hoof. It felt slow to me but my RI said that was a good walk for Harry, it’s how his walk should be.

Then to trot and I was feeling messy and all over the place. My RI let me find my way but after commented that she can always tell when I’m riding with a not so positive attitude, it reflects so much in my riding. Once I ditched the negative attitude, it all starts coming together.

And soon, I was trotting happily and doing trot to halt transitions and felt my flick becoming more effective.

Just over halfway through the lesson, I got a lightbulb moment where I could feel the contact. I’m not sure if I’m correct in saying this, but until you feel good contact, you can’t really describe how it feels. But boy did I feel it today. It was elastic! Who knew leather reins attached to a metal bar could feel elastic in my hands. And Harry agreed and at the encouragement of my RI, went into canter. It was a lovely forward canter. I just need to remember to ride the canter walk transitions now.

Once I had the elasticity of the contact, things felt so much better. No longer do I believe you need to have your hands up on your horse’s neck to have a good solid contact, my hands were nearer to my body and it felt great.

A messy change of rein where I totally got the wrong end of the whip moving but changed it by standing still, [really need to work on that], and off we went in the other direction.

More trotting, and my RI kept shouting, “another canter” And we did a few good ones, a slightly messy one but mostly they were good. Even managed a canter from M–C corner right to A-F corner. Almost a whole lap. I was impressed!

Considering a month ago, I didn’t ever see me cantering for a long time in the school, cannot believe what I’ve achieved so far. My ambitions were only to do a dressage test in walk and trot. My belief didn’t stretch to ever canter in the school. Taking it up to a faster pace, I truly felt uncertainty but it was Harry the last time I rode him that proved to me there was nothing to worry about. I can imagine a few canters will appear in many more lessons with that pretty fun pony.

Some long rein and plenty of pats for Mr Harry. My RI wasn’t wrong when she said he’d be my cantering horse. I’ve cantered more today in the school than ever before and my rI was pleased with the majority of my canters. She said if she was to be picky, she’d like longer legs and more weight in the heels but considering only my second time cantering in the school, not bad feedback.

I’m really enjoying this pony and only ever thought we’d have this fun out on hacks. How wrong was I?

Excited for my lesson again next week and promise i won’t take any negative uncertainty into the school with me. Harry knows what I’m thinking.

Abby’s Reflections #5 | Victorious

Insights on Beauty & Sight Loss “It is not a tragedy to learn how to use the white cane. It is a VICTORY to reclaim independence.” ~Abigale Sometimes I feel like many people aren’t concerned about the issue of sight loss because they aren’t personally affected. I think being part of such a small demographic […]

This Thanksgiving, the Actiview App Brings Video Description to Five New Theatrical Releases

This week, LightHouse partner Actiview is delighting blind and low vision movie fans across the United States with the announcement that the app will provide audio description tracks for Thanksgiving’s biggest theatrical releases. The app is now supporting five current theatrical releases, both for independent and major Hollywood films.

Actiview put out word this week that the platform will carry description, amplified audio and foreign language support for Disney•Pixar’s new musical adventure Coco and Bleecker Street films’ Dickensian origin story, The Man Who Saved Christmas, in addition to more late-2017 studio releases such as Dealt, Breathe and Wonderstruck.

Starting with this summer’s theatrical release of Cars 3, Actiview has been pushing theaters and consumers alike to think differently about what movie theater accessibility looks like. Calling it “a broader platform” for movie access, TechCrunch profiled the startup back in July, noting that it may be an uphill battle to convince a very established industry to accept a new, smartphone-based system, despite the obvious advantages for blind and hard of hearing moviegoers.

“The accessibility content already exists for all these movies,” says Paul Cichocki, who left Pixar last year and now works at Actiview, ”most people just don’t know how to deliver it to the audiences who need it. We’re the platform that simplifies access, so that everyone can pay for movies knowing they’ll get their money’s worth.”

In 2015 the LightHouse partnered with Actiview as they started their venture, incubating the company in our Market Street and Ed Roberts offices. The partnership continues, as we are dedicated to full video description for all. Here’s why LightHouse community member Aerial Gilbert uses Actiview:

See below for full details about this Thanksgiving’s new films, and stay tuned for more information about local December screenings of Dealt, co-presented by the Roxie Theater in San Francisco!

DOWNLOAD THE APP: Actiview (App Store)




New Films


Rated: PG (Trailer)

Release: November 22

Studio: Pixar Animation Studios

Actiview will provide:

  • Audio Description
  • Amplified Audio / Hard of Hearing track



Rated: PG (Trailer)

Release: November 22

Studio:  Bleecker Street

Actiview will provide:

  • Audio Description
  • Captions in English and Spanish
  • Amplified Audio / Hard of Hearing track



O6: Get the ‘Eyes-Free’ Portable Smart Remote in our Adaptations Store

New in our Adaptations Store, the O6 is here to keep you connected to your devices “eyes-free.” This small, circular remote can be by your side throughout your day so you can use your phone without looking at or touching the screen.

A close up of man's hand turning the dial on a blue O6 clipped to his backpack.The O6 features an all-metal, tactile, rotary bezel dial, with textured touchpad buttons and motion-sensors that allows you to remotely control your devices. The lightweight and rechargeable device is only an inch and a half wide and supports more than 30 international languages, and works with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch. It balances design with intuitive function to allow complete non-visual and one-handed control. The mechanical architecture enables the rotary dial to double as a tactile button that supports single-click, double-click, triple-click and press & hold operation.

Learn more about accessibility features here, and buy it now in our Adaptations Store for $99. We’re also selling the custom belt clip or mount for $19.

With the O6, you can:

  • Scroll & listen to text messages, notifications, news articles, and more. Rich vibration and audio alerts streamed through earbuds or Bluetooth speakers

  • Remotely control Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, or Podcasts.

  • Listen to texts, Facebook Messages, & notifications while listening to music or podcasts.

  • Use O6 with O6 Camera App to remotely zoom in/out, switch cameras, adjust exposure, take videos and more.

  • With O6, you can not only listen but also respond to messages, get directions, make calls on the go and more.

With new technology comes a learning curve and the LightHouse is here to help out. You can now schedule free weekday or weekend AT Training on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The beauty of these trainings it that they’re one-on-one, so if the tech talk intimidates you, you can start slow. We have staff that can meet you where you’re at. To sign up, contact Access Technology Coordinator Shen Kuan at or 415-694-7312.

Understanding Axe and Attest Extension compatibility with Firefox

If you're currently using our aXe Firefox extension, WorldSpace Attest extension for Firefox or FireEyes II, this message is for you. To ensure full functionality of these tools, this post intends to help you understand which extensions work best on specific versions of Firefox. To start, this shortcut guide maps the product version you might be using, with the compatible version of Firefox recommended for… Continue Reading Understanding Axe and Attest Extension compatibility with Firefox

Understanding WCAG 2.1: What to Expect

Here we are on a quest to answer the question "What is WCAG 2.1?" My intention is to address this in a few posts. You might find some added context in my first post about the history of WCAG.  As a contributor to W3C's Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, helping to craft the next version of WCAG 2.1. let's talk more here about what to expect… Continue Reading Understanding WCAG 2.1: What to Expect