Learn about EN 301 549 from Funka

Last updated: July 16, 2016

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With sponsorship from Microsoft, the Swedish accessibility company, Funka, recently produced a series of instructional videos explaining EN 301 549. EN 301 549 is a European standard for accessibility requirements in the public procurement of ICT products and services. ICT stands for accessible information and communication technology.

  1. Video 1: What is accessibility in an ICT context. What is the EN 301 549. How does procurement help accessibility. Who should watch this video series.
  2. Video 2: Integration of accessibility and the EN 301 549 into the procurement process. How does it fit into an ICT project value chain. What to expect from ICT suppliers in terms of conformance claim. How to control the deliverable is actually meeting the requirements.
  3. Video 3: Explaining the structure of the EN 301 549. Explaining functional performance statements (chapter 4). Technical requirements (chapter 5-13). The relationship between the two (Annex B) and testing criteria (Annex C).
  4. Video 4: Functional performance
  5. Video 5: Generic requirements

These videos are published under the creative commons license CC BY-NC 4.0. All videos have transcripts.

Learn more about Funka on their website. If you know Swedish, you can visit the Swedish version of Funka. They are on Twitter as @FunkaNu. You might consider signing up for the Funka monthly newsletter called Updated.

Follow the Microsoft accessibility team on Twitter as @MSFTEnable. They were the source and inspiration for this article.

Now, get your popcorn and get ready for video 1. When you watch them on YouTube, you will find links to the subsequent videos in the video navigation section.

Cute puppies and mental health

Last updated: June 4, 2016

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Aww. A topic about cute puppies on campus can draw the attention of many people. However, these puppies are on the MIT campus for a serious reason: mental health.

What are puppies and mental health doing on our site? Well, whether or not you have a soft spot for puppies, mental health is an issue that deserves our attention. Our Accessible Techcomm site looks at topics on technical communication with a special focus on accessibility and usability. Technical communication is a career, and as with any career, stress can rear its head along the way. That is one aspect of mental health and wellbeing. Job seekers can also have mental health issues in their portfolio that should cause no concern for future employers and colleagues. Therefore, mental health topics are perfectly legitimate topics to discuss in our community. We like talking about topics such as alt text, but thinking holistically, as I think we should, our well-being and mental health is also just as important to consider in the daily life of a technical communicator. Discussing these sensitive topics raises awareness and understanding about the issues and prejudices.

Think Beyond the Label works to educate businesses and job seekers with disabilities about making a more inclusive workforce and to create opportunities for taking action to do so. One of the faces of disability is mental health.

  • If you are an employer, are you educating yourself about being inclusive and welcoming employees with mental health issues?
  • If you are a job seeker, are you educating yourself about how to present your mental health issues to future employers?
  • If you are in a workplace, are you welcoming and inclusive toward colleagues with mental health issues?

True, there are many types of mental health issues, but anecdotally, I have had techcomm colleagues who were bipolar and I’ve heard tales of stress and depression caused by the job or by life, which was impacting the job. These are things that are happening in our techcomm world right now. We should not be afraid to talk about these issues so that we can provide support where possible and work together to eliminate those stress-causing work situations. The fact that both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have sites dedicated to mental health ought to make us stop with the shaming and the stigmas and start with the healing and supporting.

No, I didn’t forget the puppies. What I really like about the puppies is that a high-profile place that is full of stress – an institution of higher education – acknowledges the need to do something to raise awareness and educate the community about mental health.

For the full story about the MIT Puppy Lab, read the article, MIT Puppy Lab to open during National Mental Health Awareness Month.

You can always expect tweets from @accesstechcomm on mental health now and then. The topic is not going away any time soon!

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

Last updated: May 28, 2016

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Learn 3 things to ask if you think someone might be having a stroke

Graphic poster (small) to be a stroke super hero.

"The Stroke Song" helps you remember to tell someone to

  1. Smile [check to see if it is straight or crooked]
  2. Speak: “It’s a sunny day outside.” [check to see if it is clear or slurred]
  3. Raise your hands [check to see if the hands are raised to an even level]

To help you remember, listen to "The Stroke Song" at http://www.thestrokesong.com/

Will these 3 tests accurately diagnose ALL strokes?

A: Nothing is perfect, not even sophisticated medical tests. These are the five symptoms The American Stroke Association says are the warning signs of a stroke:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If a person exhibits any of the above symptoms OR can’t pass the 3 tests then get emergency medical treatment immediately.

More Resources

See the following links in addition to our lists of resources at

Poster for Five things to know about stroke