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Web Accessibility is more Important than Ever

The American Disabilities Act, signed 30 years ago, was intended to end discrimination against the disabled and make all public facilities and services accessible for the disabled community. We still have not reached that goal, even here in Boulder. For example, whereas most Americans switched to carrying out routine tasks (shopping, paying bills, filling prescriptions, or getting the latest news) on the internet during the Coronavirus shutdowns, many disabled residents have been left out.

Research shows that a majority of vital government websites fail to meet basic standards for accessibility. It’s not surprising that disabled adults are less likely than those without a disability to go online or feel confident they can use the internet and other communication devices, according to a Pew Research Center report.

For disabled people living in poverty, internet access can also be a challenge due to the monthly cost of broadband itself, the equipment needed, training to use access devices or a combination of all of these challenges.

Audio Information Network (AINC) is addressing each of these barriers for those who can’t read print (those who are blind, losing vision, or can’t read due to some other physical or learning disability). AINC recently began a pilot project to help listeners sign up for discount internet, including paying for the initial setup fees.

Amazon Echo sitting on a wooden table indoors.

Free “smart” speakers are now the top choice of listening devices for AINC’s 24/7 audio programs. With a simple voice command, listeners can access AINC programming and enjoy the full power of the internet. We also train listeners in the basics of using these new devices. Custom “skills” that make contacting friends, scheduling an appointment, or setting reminders by voice command are being expanded as well. Access to the virtual world is increasingly critical for disabled individuals, especially as we continue to face the Coronavirus in our community.

 

Already have an Alexa?

For podcasts, say, “Alexa, activate the Audio Information Network skill”

For streams, say, “Alexa, activate the A.I.N. Live Skill

 

If you or someone you know is interested in AINC services, sign up today or call 303-786-7777.


Originally Published on 50 Plus Marketplace

Dr. Dorie Glover, Director of Development

Audio Information Network of Colorado. Providing blind & visually impaired individuals with audio access to reading materials. 303-786-7777 or email dorie@aincolorado.org.

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