IEC Offers Free Technical Report on Accessibility for Multimedia Systems and Equipment

New York October 11, 2010

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The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is offering free downloads of a Technical Report 62678 (TR) on audio, video, and multimedia systems and equipment activities and considerations related to accessibility and usability.  Updated

The TR is being offered in cooperation with this year's theme for World Standards Day: accessibility for all. Around the world, nations celebrating World Standards Day 2010 recognized the critical role of model codes, standards, and conformity assessment activities in developing and maintaining the built environment, products, technologies, and systems that are accessible for persons with special needs.

IEC/TR 62678, Audio, video, and multimedia systems and equipment activities and considerations related to accessibility and usability, provides information on accessibility and usability terms, activities, completed and ongoing standards, technical reports, and projects, and specifies user needs that may or may not apply to audio, video, and multimedia systems and equipment.

It also contains a user-friendly checklist of accessibility and usability considerations. The information provided in the TR may be applied by industry experts who are evaluating opportunities to integrate support for accessibility and usability.

Annette Reilly
phone: 301-548-2121
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HFES 200 is now an ANSI standard

Friend, Whitney Quesenbery shares this news:

The HFES 200 has been approved as an American National Standard (ANSI). HFES is the Human Factors and Engineering Society, which has authored several standards relating to usability, accessibility, and ergonomics.

HFES 200 covers Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interface, and has been carefully harmonised with other standards, notably the ISO 9241-171 draft on Software Accessibility.

HFES 200.2 and the draft ISO 9241-171 both focus on software, and complement the work of the W3C WAI on web standards.

From the HFES web site:

The objective of HFES 200 is to provide design requirements and recommendations that will increase the accessibility, learnability, and ease of use of software. The ultimate beneficiaries are the end users of software, whose needs motivated the design recommendations in HFES 200. The application of this standard is intended to provide user interfaces that are more usable, accessible, and consistent and that enable greater productivity and satisfaction.

There are five parts to Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces:

  • HFES 200.1: Introduction
  • HFES 200.2: Accessibility
  • HFES 200.3: Interaction Techniques
  • HFES 200.4: Interactive Voice Response
  • HFES 200.5: Visual Presentation and Use of Color

HFES 200 Part 1: Introduction provides an overview of the content, explains relationships among the individual parts, and provides guidance on the relevance of individual parts to the development process so that designers may understand where and when to use the parts.

HFES 200 Part 2: Accessibility provides recommendations on features and functions of computer operating systems, drivers, application services, other software layers on which applications depend, and applications that increase the accessibility of applications for users with disabilities. Hardware is not specifically addressed by any recommendations; however, many hardware assistive devices may utilize recommended functions that are provided by operations system and application software. HFES 200 Part 2 has been extensively harmonized with the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9241-171 Software Accessibility Committee Draft released in the first quarter of 2005.

HFES 200 Part 3: Interaction Techniques incorporates material from ISO 9241 Parts 13 through 17 and is compatible with those ISO standards.

HFES 200 Part 4: Interactive Voice Response consists of completely new material that has not appeared in ISO 9241 standards.

HFES 200 Part 5: Visual Presentation and Use of Color incorporates material from ISO 9241 Part 12 and includes new recommendations on the use of color.

More information – and the table of contents – is available on the HFES web site. Unfortunately, like so many standards, you have to pay for a copy – $200 for people who are not members of HFES. However, HFES has made the table of contents available. So, although the details of the requirements are not included, all of the requirement titles are listed (written as imperatives, eg "Read content on closed systems"). The level for each requirement is also included.

Thank you for sharing this news, Whitney. If anyone is using HFES in their work, please share your comments with us.