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Do Not Require Unnecessary Form Data

One of the keys to creating highly accessible forms is to avoid as many errors as possible before the form is submitted. Ensure that forms are as simple and intuitive as possible, and don’t require that a field be filled out if the content is not necessary (e.g., a telephone number to subscribe to an email discussion list). Errors can also be prevented by allowing informatoin to be entered in a number of logical formats. For example, allow a telephone number to be formatted: (123)456-7890, 123-456-7890, 123.456.7890, or 1234567890, as long as ten numerals are present. This data can easily be reformatted using scripting or database languages for further usage.

Just a few days left to register, and you really don’t want to miss this!

The National Federation of the Blind and the Maryland Technology Assistance Program


Web Accessibility Training Day

September 9, 2014


National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
200 E. Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230


The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute is thrilled to announce that on September 9 we will be co-hosting another Web Accessibility Training Day with the Maryland Technology Assistance Program. We will have general sessions in the morning and technical and policy tracks in the afternoon. Here are some of the topics we’ll be covering:

Session schedule:

General sessions:

8 am: Introductory Remarks by the National Federation of the Blind and Maryland Technology Assistance Program Executives
8.30 – 9.25 A.M.: Accessibility: The Natural Outcome of Innovative and Inclusive Business, Eve Hill (Department of Justice)
9.40 – 10.35 A.M.: Panel on Enterprise Implementation of Accessibility, Tony Olivero (Humana), Peter Wallack (Oracle), Steve Sawczyn (Deque)
10.50 – 11.45 A.M.: Panel on Education Implementation of Accessibility, Kara Zirkle (George Mason University), Janna Cameron (Desire2Learn), Cheryl Pruitt (California State University)


11.45 A.M. – 1.15 P.M.: Lunch break and Exhibits

Afternoon sessions (policy):

1.15 – 2.10 P.M.: The Trusted Tester Program, Bill Peterson (Department of Homeland Security)
2.35 – 3.30 P.M.: Making an Accessible Online Ballot Marking System, Nikki Charlson (Maryland State Board of Elections)
3.45 – 4.40 P.M.: The Section 508 Refresh, Timothy Creagan (US Access Board)


Afternoon session (technical):

1.15 – 2.10 P.M.: PDF Accessibility in an Enterprise Setting, Steve Estabrook (Actuate)
2.35 – 3.30 P.M.: HTML5 Accessible Design, Paul Bohman, Preety Kumar (Deque Systems)

3.45 – 4.40 P.M.: Google MOOC Introduction to Web Accessibility, Louis Cheng (Google)

Closing remarks:

Anne Taylor, Director of Access Technology (National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute)


Registration: To register, please visit the registration page. The admission fee is $80.

- See more at: http://www.equipmentlink.org/blog/?p=2515#sthash.dinFudte.dpuf

Captions and YouTube and what you need to know…

It’s good practice to make sure that any video you post on YouTube be captioned. Here are some useful tips to make sure you’re making your video content as accessible as possible.

For Closed Captioning of Videos

All videos should have closed captioning. YouTube has a feature that will automatically caption videos less than 10 minutes. To increase accuracy of the YouTube machine translation, your video will need to have very clear-spoken words and little background noise.

Though YouTube has the ability to create captions based on your audio file, it’s best if you have a written transcript already (get someone to transcribe it (e.g., intern, student, etc.).

To create a transcript, you can also use a dictation tool like the following:

  • On a Mac (Mountain Lion): Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Dictation (On). Then open up any typing program (TextEdit, Word, Notes, Stickies, etc.) and:
  • Play the video, pause, speak what you hear, and repeat
  • Or, if the speaking parts of the video are very clear, play it loud enough for the Dictation to pick up the voice.

Other applications you can use: Dragon (for desktop or the smartphone app)

After you upload your video to YouTube, make your video “unlisted” at first and turn off the machine translation version that is automatically created. Then upload your text transcript. Let YouTube sync it up. Then you can review and edit the captioning to ensure caption timing matches the video. Once your YouTube video has captions, you may wish to download the captions and use an editor to tidy them up.

You can use the YouTube captioning features even if you are not going to post your video to YouTube. Simply keep your video “unlisted” or “private” and just download the video file with the captioning. Depending on what you use on your own site for embedding video (e.g., JW Media Player), you may need to find an online converter to convert the YouTube SBT format to DXFP or other format that your video player supports.

For Creating or Editing Captions

If you wish to create captions for your video from scratch, or you would like to edit your existing YouTube captions, there are a number of free tools that can help:

  • Overstream: a popular web-based captioning tool, with a related YouTube tutorial.
  • CaptionTube: a web-based captioning tool designed specifically for YouTube.
  • Amara – A free captioning tool that links directly to your YouTube videos.
  • MAGpie: a free Windows application from the National Center for Accessible Media.

A tutorial for creating captions can be found on YouTube. Other tutorials on using Overstream and CaptionTube can be found at their respective websites. Resources for MAGpie are available at WebAIM.org.

For Uploading Captions

To upload a caption file to your video:

  • Sign into your YouTube account.
  • In the Captions and Subtitles pane, select the ‘Add captions’ option.
  • Select the ‘browse’ option and locate the captioned file.
  • Select ‘Upload File’.


Please note that captions should also capture important information and sounds in the video that may not typically be captioned, such as the sound of audience clapping, a phone app using voiceover, etc.

Here are the latest items listed on Equipment Link:

Wheel Chair – $150, Laurel, MD

Hospital Bed with Pad – $300, Laurel, MD

Acrobat LCD 19 – $800, Phoenix, MD

Quickie Iris Wheel Chair – $1,000, Frederick, MD

TSS300 Pride Mobility Wheelchair – $650, Baltimore, MD

For more information on these and other items please visit Equipment Link at www.equipmentlink.org.

I missed sending out highlights last week, so this Friday I’ve chosen some of the coolest news from these past two weeks. Smart contact lenses, a 3D printing store, seven-finger smart gloves, and way more! Check it all out right here -

AT in the news for the weeks of 7/21 thru 7/25 and 7/28 thru 8/1

New Age of Robotic Technology Designed to Help Disabled People Walk Again

Google’s “Smart Contact Lens” Measures Blood Glucose Levels for People with Diabetes


MIT program creating clothes for people with disabilities

Using Cardboard to Bring Disabled Children Out of the Exile of Wrong Furniture

Create a tactile color sheet to help students who are visually impaired learn to identify colors.

Carmaker innovates batteries for wheelchairs & creates a powerful impact

Vision-Correcting Display May Eliminate Need for Reading Glasses

SFO to Unveil Mobile App for Visually-Impaired Passengers

Using Technology To Mitigate Cognitive Disabilities

6-Year Old Gets 3D Printed Bionic Arm

Movie Theaters May Soon Be More Accessible

Lawsuit filed by NFB Voice against Scribd

Digital Reading System Assists Vision Impaired to Read Graphs

Amazon launches 3-D printing store

Industrial design students create an updated cane for a handicapped veteran

Lehigh students present 3-D prosthetics at Good Shepherd

New playground in MD may potentially help sharpen social skills of autistic children

In First, State Adopts Updated ‘Handicapped’ Symbol

Woman develops website for caregivers needing help finding help

Thank You, Senator Harkin, for your support of assistive technology!

Social media and tech sites must be accessible to everyone

Cherokee Language Now Available in Braille

New MIT Robot Hand Has Seven Fingers

Smart Glove Gives User Two Robotic Fingers

Smartphone App May Revolutionize Mental Health Treatment

Concussion-detecting football helmet sensor developed by Western Michigan University students


Safety Tips for Power Outages

Contributed by Provi Sharpe, Director of Emergency Management and Reuse, MDTAP

Maryland experiences severe winds during storms that have the potential to cause power outages. If a storm is coming that may bring power outages, fully charge your cell phone, laptop, and any other devices in advance. Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and make sure you have extra batteries in your Emergency Kit.

If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage. If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your health care provider about how you can prepare for its use during a power outage. Have extra batteries for medical equipment and assistive devices.

If the power goes out when it’s hot outside, stay in the lowest level of your home where it will be coolest. Put on light-weight, light-colored clothing. Drink lots of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.  Remember to give your pets and/or service animal fresh, cool water. If needed, go to a Maryland Cooling Center.

BGE offers a Special Needs Program for customers with life support devices that require electricity.

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