Smartphone Accessibility Is Not So Smart. . . Yet!

Cell Phone on Map

Israeli nonprofit Beit Issie Shapiro and hands-free tech developer Sesame Enable are working to change that, developing smartphones that motor-impaired users can operate with head movements rather than voice or touch commands.

The technology is being developed to meet the needs of people with impairments that limit their ability to move, such as spinal cord injuries, severe arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

The organizations received a $1 million grant from Google.org, the charitable arm of Google — an Internet search engine company. The grant is part of Google’s Impact Challenge program, a pledged initiative by the company to issue $20 million in funds to 29 nonprofits developing accessible technology for people with disabilities.

Accessibility was a featured topic during the Google I/O conference May 18-20. Sesame Enable demonstrated its technology during the event. Google’s Android N operating system for Android devices will be equipped with the Sesame Enable app that will allow users with motor impairments to interact with the screen using body-movement features such as face and eye tracking.

Google recently announced several other initiatives aimed at accessibility. These include Accessibility Scanner, a tool for Android that allows developers to test their own apps and receive suggestions for ways to enhance accessibility as well as changes to Google Docs that empower users to edit documents using voice commands.

Onix is also committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities and helping organizations create accessible web content. Its automated software Equidox makes PDF to HTML conversions and PDF Accessibility easy. Onix also recently launched PDF Conversion Services, empowering your organization to outsource the cumbersome task of converting inaccessible PDFs into WCAG 2.0 AA-compliant HTML and accessible PDF and EPUB 2 content to the Onix team of experts.

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Onix Accessibility Pulse

Whether you work for a government agency, educational institution or for-profit business, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of accessibility. Onix helps you monitor what’s going on in the industry through its news series — Accessibility Pulse. Coverage is written by independent reporters and includes how peers are creating accessible content, regulation and legislation updates, technology trends and more.