Press Release - Stevland project bridges the accessibility gap for web kiosks
Isle of Wight, UK, 24th February 2012
64 Studio has announced a new GNU/Linux distribution designed to make web kiosks more accessible to people with disabilities.
Public Internet terminals, or web kiosks, present an accessibility challenge for the organisations which deploy them, such as libraries, Internet cafés and transport hubs. A member of the general public may have one or more of a wide range of impairments which it is impractical to determine in advance, including impaired vision, hearing or mobility.
Although the software installed on some web kiosks may offer accessibility features, the configuration settings for these features are not usually accessible until accessibility itself has been activated. This means that users requiring these features rely on others to enable accessibility, compromising their independence and requiring additional support resources. In some cases, users or support staff may not be aware of accessibility features, or how to configure them.
Stevland is a GNU/Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu, designed so that people with disabilities can enjoy access to the Internet, regardless of their level of computer knowledge. It includes a full-screen wizard designed to help kiosk users set their accessibility preferences. This wizard uses large buttons and text, together with audio description and key press feedback, so that users with vision impairments, hearing impairments or mobility impairments can set up the kiosk for their individual needs, without needing to know anything about system administration.
Stevland was created for Media Access Australia by 64 Studio Ltd and Boost Hardware Ltd, with support from the Ian Potter Foundation. It is named in honour of Stevland Hardaway Morris, also known as Stevie Wonder - not just a great inspiration to people all around the world, but also the first user of Ray Kurzweil's Reading Machine, an early leap forward in computer-enabled accessibility.
To request an evaluation copy of Stevland, please contact Sarah Pulis at Media Access Australia.
About Media Access Australia
Media Access Australia (MAA) is Australia’s only independent not-for-profit media access organisation.
People with disabilities, particularly those who are Deaf, hearing impaired, blind or vision impaired, are in many cases excluded from mainstream audio-visual media, with often profound implications for educational outcomes, workforce participation and social inclusion.
MAA works to improve access to audio-visual media, such as TV, cinema, DVDs and new media, by providing information about technological solutions that make audio-visual media accessible to people with disabilities. These solutions include audio description, captioning and mainstream new media technologies. MAA also supports improvements in media access in Australia towards international best practice by identifying mainstream technological solutions and cost-effective ways to promote and implement them.
To this end, MAA works collaboratively with consumer organisations, Government and industry in Australia and internationally.