Mastercard introducing a new accessible card standard for blind and partially sighted people, called the Touch Card. With the new Touch Card, Mastercard has improved upon a current design standard by introducing a system of notches on the side of the card to help consumers use the right card, the right way, by touch alone. The new Touch Card credit cards have a round notch; debit cards have a broad squarish notch; and prepaid cards have a triangular notch. The standard has been designed to work with point-of-sale terminals and ATMs, ensuring it can be deployed at scale.
YouTube is rolling out a designated “New to you” tab on its platform. The new tab is now available on the YouTube homepage across mobile, desktop and TV devices. The feature will help users discover new creators and content beyond the recommended videos they usually see. The new tab surfaces content that aligns with your viewing preferences from channels that you haven’t previously encountered. It’s meant to go a step further than YouTube’s Explore listings, which help users find content in specific topics, such as gaming or beauty, but doesn’t take users’ specific interests into account. YouTube notes that “New to you” is personalized to the viewer, as it’s trying to strike a balance between content it thinks users might be interested in, along with content that is a bit different than what they’d typically watch. On mobile, you’ll see the tab when you refresh the YouTube homepage. You may also see the tab as you scroll through your feed. It’s worth noting that since the feature is personalized, it may not always be available. Additionally, you’ll need to be signed in to YouTube to see the tab. The new feature could help creators reach new audiences by targeting those who would be most interested in their content but would not have discovered it otherwise. It could also help viewers find new content and discover new interests.
- The digital accessibility team plays a vital role in the creation of digital experiences at U.S. Bank by advising product teams, advocating for inclusive design, and testing for defects. That means ensuring accessibility principles are incorporated throughout the whole project lifecycle, and critically important, that it happens from the very beginning of the design process – not as an afterthought or add-on. That includes collaboration with customers who have disabilities themselves. It created a dedicated function within User Experience that allowed teams to fully consider accessibility as part of the design process. Teams flourished and the benefits of inclusive design became apparent.
- So the bank expanded it even further across the company, and the size of the accessibility team has grown accordingly, from several people to now dozens – a sign of the importance and scope of the work. The team has become a destination for top talent, with the National Organization on Disability (NOD) honoring U.S. Bank as a 2021 Leading Disability Employer and Disability:IN naming U.S. Bank a 2021 Best Place to Work for People with Disabilities, scoring 100% on the Disability Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year.
Banks are increasingly relying on digital tools like smartphone apps and virtual conferences to connect with customers. But such tools are far more limited when it comes to people with disabilities — a segment that U.S. Bancorp estimates accounts for as many as one-quarter of its total customer base. U.S. bank make sure that everything on its mobile app and website can be used by customers and employees regardless of any disability they might have. U.S. bank team serves as advisers during the design process for new features, making sure accessibility principles are incorporated through the whole product lifecycle. U.S. bank involve people who have disabilities themselves, and test for any issues in coding or otherwise. U.S. bank is making significant investment in voice assistance abilities. It allows people to use it hands free. The bank also worked on the smartphone app, so whatever setting you have on your phone for zoom text, the app will load and show correctly. If your setting is to have words and images zoomed in at 200%, the app will still load correctly. Now the U.S. bank continue to improve voice-command abilities so that people with a stutter or someone who had a stroke can use voice-command tools.
Google Assistant will respond to certain phrases without requiring that you say the wake phrase “Hey, Google”. Quick Phrases needs to be activated from the Google Assistant settings. Once enabled, Google Assistant will listen for certain phrases depending on the context. For example, if an alarm is going off, Assistant will listen for whether the user says “Stop” or “Snooze” without requiring the user to say “Hey Google”. An incoming call can be answered by just saying “Answer” or rejected by saying “Decline”.
Amazon is adding a new feature to the Alexa app, available on iOS and Android, that forces Alexa to wait longer in order for a person to finish speaking. Smart assistants such as Alexa have huge benefits for accessibility, yet their voice-first nature can make them inaccessible and exclusionary to those with atypical speech. This functionality, which is opt-in, will be helpful to those who have a speech impairment. It will make Alexa feel more useful and, crucially, more inclusive. Since Amazon’s personal assistant is present on so many devices, it’s important for the company to add more accessibility features. Amazon’s new speech setting can be added to any Alexa-enabled device in the house by going to the Device Settings page in the Alexa app.
Google has been working to make Chrome easier to use with features like Tab Groups and copy link to highlight. Chrome is now experimenting with a “Journeys” feature and Search side panel. The goal of these two experiments is to “[make] it easier to navigate, explore and keep track of the things you find on the web.” Google wants to address how “your path through the internet likely isn’t a linear one” when looking for information. With Journeys, Chrome will automatically group information and sites you find over the course of “exploring a topic.” This is in contrast to manually looking through your browsing history for previously viewed pages or managing bookmarks, with Google also offering related search suggestions.
Boardable the online board management portal announced a suite of accessibility tools that will make meetings using the platform more inclusive and user-friendly for participants with disabilities. Boardable enables non-profits and other organizations to address all aspects of online board meetings from initial planning to centralizing communication and document storage. Boardable’s Software as a Service (SaaS) package is specially designed to scale up to accommodate the logistical requirements of meetings involving several hundred participants at a time. The suite simply referred to as “Accessibility” incorporates several key features to meet the needs of users with a range of impairments including auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech and visual problems. There is a built-in screen reader with adjustable voice speed for those with vision loss, in addition to a contrast switch, link highlight option and the ability to increase the spacing of text to create a cleaner less visually “busy” interface. There is also a facility for adjusting the font size and pausing animations involving flashing or blinking images to assist individuals prone to seizures.
- Digital accessibility firm Evinced has announced a new suite of tools that will make mobile app accessibility testing faster, easier and more reliable than ever before. Evinced’s latest toolkit consists of a two-part solution comprising free and paid elements. The solution works across both iOS and Android apps and can be audited on actual devices, using emulators or a device cloud. Evinced’s free product know as Flow Analyser can be deployed by any tester, even those without specialized knowledge of accessibility and software development, and can quickly identify common accessibility fails simply by connecting a phone to a computer running Evinced’s desktop client, firing up the target app and running a scan. The paid solution for enterprise customers – Automation for Mobile is a tool for app developers that allows accessibility testing to be baked in alongside other mobile UI automation tests.
- This enables an accessibility scan to run automatically each time a developer modifies an existing feature or adds a new one. Should common fails be detected like missing Alt Text on images or incorrectly labeled buttons the tool will notify the developer of the issues at hand before they commit to the new code. Evinced plans to continue improving and refining the toolkit over time and in the next stage is hoping to go beyond standard accessibility checklist items to look more closely at interactive elements like how an app behaves if a user zooms in or alters the font size.
- Google’s latest features bring quick actions and navigation to people whose expressions are their primary means of interacting with the world. Project Activate and Camera Switches let users perform tasks like speaking a custom phrase, or navigating using a switch interface, through facial gestures alone. The new features rely on the smartphone’s front-facing camera, which can watch the user’s face in real time for one of six expressions: a smile, raised eyebrows, opened mouth and looking left, right or up.
- It relies entirely on local computing and no image data is saved, nor is it doing what is generally understood as “facial recognition” — this type of machine learning can focus specifically on, for example, identifying the eyebrows and sending a signal whenever they move past a certain, customizable threshold. Each expression can be assigned a different role. Camera Switches integrates with Android’s existing switch compatibility, by which people who use assistive tech like a joystick or blow tube can navigate the phone’s OS. Now that can be done without any peripheral device at all, and users can pick various facial gestures for iterating through selections, confirming a choice, backing out, and so on. GoogleUsing Project Activate, expressions can be tied to self-contained actions like speaking a phrase.