Weekend Gazette – Link Collection for June 13

Last updated: May 30, 2016

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We present to you a menu of tidbits collected in recent days that are too short for blog posts and sometimes too long for a tweet (when we want to add clarifying comments). Headings provide a light grouping to help you skim the offerings. Bon appétit!

The Old Folks

Aging is a suitable topic in technical communications because it involves all of us at some point. Don't expect aging to go away! There are always articles about helping today's older generation with technology or preparing for a future with an older generation who grew up with technology. Whether you call them senior citizens, the elderly, the old folks, or gray panthers, they are your audience at some level and at some point. Don't ignore them. Grandma might get nasty!

Academia, Education, and Online Learning

The IMS Global Learning Consortium is an excellent resource for those of you somewhere in academia. IMS GLC aims for "standards that enable the development and adoption of innovative technologies to improve and transform education worldwide." They held the Learning Impact 2010 conference in May, but I cannot find public slides or material from the conference. Go explore if it has aroused your curiosity.

What are the issues with online learning and accessibility? "Research and Practice in K-12 Online Learning: A Review of Open Access Literature" by Cathy S. Cavanaugh, Michael K. Barbour, and Tom Clark examines a report from the U.S. Department of Education and poses questions about "universal design of online learning environments and materials". You can download an excerpt from "What Works in K–12 Online Learning", edited by Cathy Cavanaugh and Robert Blomeyer (2.1 Mb .pdf).

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Tutorial is about more than accessibility or the notion of making environments accessible for learners with disabilities. It gets at the heart of design – whether it's design of a building, design of learning materials, design of a classroom environment, or design of a system. UDL is about the decisions we make in the design and development of learning systems, materials, and environments and whether those decisions unnecessarily constrain learners. From the National Center on Low-Incidence Disabilities, University of Northern Colorado. See also:

Tools That Change Lives

analogy of web accessibility being like a ramp. Web accessibility is a well built building from the foundation up." I agree with this and want to include those technical communicators who are not in software
@ezufelt once wrote, "I don't like the- accessibility is part of the foundation whether you are working with software or hardware. Some people seem to find this concept hard to digest. Stories that tell how accessible products have a positive effect in someone's life could be the tipping point. I've collected some links that tell stories – life-changing stories, in fact.

Use these stories as inspiration for involving people with disabilities in any kind of usability testing you are doing – or should be doing. No matter how clever you are, you will not be able to think up all possible scenarios on your own. Remember, users can always provide a new and surprising angle. If people with disabilities are involved as developers or designers of products, wow! Think of the potential for inclusion in that scenario!

The Last Word

I have a dream that one day we will not be judged by our abilities / bodies but by the content of our character. – @wendyabc

Link Contributors

This post was glued together with links or inspiration from many people. They are listed with their Twitter names.

@anikto
@atmacjournal
@DaveBanesAccess
@dboudreau
@IBMAccess
@jebswebs
@Jennison
@joemsie
@kellylford
@maccymacx
@mpaciello

Improved Service to Older Patients in ER

Last updated: March 5, 2015

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The Washington Post reported that a local hospital in the Washington, DC metropolitan area (Holy Cross in Silver Spring, Maryland) has initiated a new service for older patients to make their visit to the emergency room (ER) a better experience.

Holy Cross chief executive Kevin Sexton said the idea for an emergency room for older people came to him after he got a call from his mother from an ER in New Jersey. 'It was clear she was really stressed out,' he said. 'It was the combination of her being there quite some time and it being very crowded and chaotic. It came to me we really do treat seniors poorly in that setting.'

The aging of Montgomery County contributed to the decision to open the center: 70 percent of anticipated population growth over the next decade will be people older than 65, according to Sexton. 'An enormous demand for services is going to befall hospitals,' he said. 'Figuring out how to do it better without bankrupting us all is going to be one of the challenges.'

The senior emergency center is a first step in the hospital's long-term plan to become known for serving older people. It's an unusual concept: An expert at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine could think of only one similar facility, located at Nassau University Medical Center in New York.

"Serenity In Emergencies: A Silver Spring ER Aims to Serve Older Patients" By Beth Baker, Special to The Washington Post, Tuesday, January 27, 2009; Page HE01

Read the full article for more information about this program. Hopefully more hospitals across the country will follow their lead.

Call for Review and Participation: WAI-AGE Literature Review and Task Force

Last updated: March 3, 2015

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The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) sent out a call for review of its First Public Working Draft of Web Accessibility for Older Users: A Literature Review, one of the WAI-AGE project deliverables. It was published 14 March 2008, and WAI encourages review and comments, all to be submitted by 4 June 2008, if possible.

This draft document reviews and analyzes guidelines and articles covering the requirements of people with Web accessibility needs related to ageing. The purpose of the literature review is to inform education and outreach to better promote accessibility solutions for older Web users, and potentially develop profiles or extensions to WAI guidelines.

A mail from Shawn Henry on the WAI Interest Group list explains that

The Web Accessibility Initiative: Ageing Education and Harmonisation (WAI-AGE) Project is a European Commission-funded project that focuses on education and outreach regarding the requirements of people with Web accessibility needs related to ageing.

You can learn more about the project on the WAI-AGE Project page. You can also consider joining the task force that is being formed.