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CBBC Launches Accessible Newsreader

May 28, 2009

My sincere thanks, and special award for Most Inclusive TV Channel and Media Company, must go to the BBC. I’m too old for CBBC now, but I’m still very pleased to read this at the BBC Ouch Blog:

CBBC has just launched its Accessible Newsreader service – an alternative interface to the Newsround website. It’s been created to help fill the gap in good quality content available on the web for older disabled children or teenager who use computers operated by switches,

The CBBC team behind the Newsreader worked closely with industry experts and special needs schools to produce a greatly simplified interface, which is capable of being controlled by a single switch.

Being able to do this kind of thing on a standard website using only a regular internet browser, rather than by downloading a dedicated piece of software, is an exciting development, according to Ian Hamilton, a senior designer in the CBBC Online team. Hopefully, it’s something that’ll be carried across to other sites, too.

As well as complex motor disabilities the Accessible Newsreader caters for other needs too, with features such as full speech synthesis for the menus and stories, and fully configurable fonts and colour schemes. There have already been some interesting findings during CBBC’s teating, in particular with users on the autistic spectrum, who found the site especially usable due to its combination of a simple interface, simultaneous text and audio, and the content itself having a strong link to the real world.

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