Apple Sued For Website Design Deemed Inaccessible For Visually Impaired Internet Users
Oct09

Apple Sued For Website Design Deemed Inaccessible For Visually Impaired Internet Users

In today’s digital world, web design plays an essential role in the internet experience. According to Forbes, 38% of internet users will stop interacting with a website if its layout is unattractive. When pages don’t load quickly enough, we abandon them within a matter of seconds. And if the content is irrelevant, unhelpful, or sparse, we’ll head back to the search results and try again. But many of us take our ability to visually assess the features of these sites for granted. There are plenty of visually impaired web users who rely on coding queues to understand the information provided by websites all over the globe. And when one of the most well-known tech companies ignores the needs of those users, they’re going to be held legally responsible. Around 10% of the world’s population — an estimated 650 million people — live with a disability. According to the World Health Organization, around 253 million people live with some sort of visual impairment; approximately 36 million are blind, while 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment. The National Federation of the Blind estimates that there are approximately 7.3 million people in the U.S. over the age of 16 who have a visual disability. In the United States, there are pieces of legislation that protect these individuals — namely, the American Disabilities Act — from unequal treatment in many areas. In addition, a web standards organization called W3C published Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in 2008, which provide recommendations and rules for websites to ensure those who are visually impaired can access websites. That’s important to maintain equality for all internet users. Although 83% of all human learning occurs visually, it’s essential for websites to ensure their content is in some way accessible and understandable to those with impairments who cannot rely on sight or sound. Now, one woman has alleged that Apple — one of the foremost innovators in the technological realm — has failed to provide the means for visually impaired web users to understand their website. Although Apple has actually dedicated several of their webpages to “accessibility support” for their actual products, plaintiff Himelda Mendez has filed a lawsuit against Apple for its alleged violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Mendez claims that Apple’s website actually lacks the alt-text attributes in its coding that will allow screen readers to decipher and convey the description of images and other information. Screen reading software can either translate information into a Braille display or can read information aloud; in order to function properly, websites have to be constructed in certain ways that allow the contents to be read by these readers. The suit explains that Apple.com’s webpages contain empty...

Read More
Fitbit Announces Plans For New Health Care Approach
Oct08

Fitbit Announces Plans For New Health Care Approach

The average adult takes approximately 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day, closer to 10,000 for active individuals. Since Fitbit products and other wearable devices have become so popular in recent years, people are not only taking more steps, but keeping track of them, as well. Now, Fitbit wants to expand beyond the wearable technology market and toward the lucrative health care industry. According to ZD Net, Fitbit has recently launched its new health care platform — Fitbit Care. Fitbit Care will connect health plans, employers, health and systems coaching, and more all to the company’s fitness watches and wearable devices. The new health platform will be available through Fitbit’s business-to-business unit called Fitbit Health Solutions. Humana, a popular health care organization with more than 5 million members, has selected Fitbit Care as its coaching platform. Fitbit Care includes: Wearable devices — Wearables and devices for self tracking of sleep, heart rate, and other activities. This data serves as the basis for personalized care. Digital interventions — These digital interventions can offer support tools, address various challenges, hold private groups, and guided workouts. Fitbit Plus — Fitbit Plus is an app that serves as a health coaching program. This tool connects Fitbit metrics with health care data, mediations, and activity trends. Health coaching and virtual health assistance — Coaches will be able to connect with users via app, phone, and even in-person meetings. Core topics include smoking, weight management, and dealing with depression, diabetes, and heart disease. Fitbit Plus will also feature a much more personalized and human touch to its fitness tracking. The app promises to step beyond algorithmic data by accessing real-life social groups, health coaches, counselors, and other health care professionals. According to Market Watch, as Fitbit announced its new health care plans, the company’s stocks have jumped 4% in early trade. “The fact that we’re able to pull all that together is incredibly valuable,” said John Moore, Fitbit’s medical...

Read More
Crucial Cybersecurity Tips for Divorcees
Oct05

Crucial Cybersecurity Tips for Divorcees

In the age of revenge porn and identity theft, you can’t be too careful. That’s why anyone going through a divorce should be mindful of these cybersecurity tips for divorcees. When you marry someone, your lives intertwine. In modern times, that also includes your tech. Cybersecurity often evokes images of shadowy hackers cracking into big-business mainframes, but this isn’t the whole picture. Cybersecurity spending is projected to exceed $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021, protecting against the tiniest domestic threats along with the major incidents. A lot of divorcing couples don’t think to prioritize cybersecurity on their personal devices and accounts, but it’s actually quite important. Cybersecurity during or after a divorce process could save you two a headache or even save your life. Less amicable splits have been subject in the past to spyware, GPS tracking devices, and other tech options that would allow an ex-partner to glean private information about their target without their knowledge. Sometimes this has actually been found legal, like in the case of a divorced woman who spoke with NPR. She had suspicions her abusive ex-husband was stalking her, but couldn’t prove it. While taking her car for maintenance work, a small GPS tracker device was found in one of the car’s tire wells. It had been there for weeks. Even though the woman felt in danger, no charges could be pressed against the husband because the car was still jointly owned by the couple on paper. Technically, he had a right to track it. It doesn’t need to be an abusive or hostile situation for you to worry about your cybersecurity. Expenses, stress, confusion, and unhealthy curiosity can fuel issues with tech between you and your ex-partner. Remember that divorces in the U.S. can be expensive, ranging in cost from $15,000 to around $42,500 on average. Even that bit of financial stress can be a straining factor between yourself and your ex-partner if your bank accounts are still linked online. Tips for you to follow for your own safety: Unsync your tech. This especially goes if you have Apple products. iPhones, iPads, and Macs can all sync to each other pretty easily in a single household, but keeping them synced after separation can compromise you and your ex’s privacy. If you feel it’s necessary, turn location tracking off on apps. Applications like Snapchat can show an accurate map of exactly where your phone is located. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable with this feature, you have the option to turn it off in the app settings. Change your passwords. All your important passwords should be changed. Your email, your banking, your social media, etc. Make them something...

Read More
Can This Wearable Technology and App Prevent Seniors From Falling?
Feb21

Can This Wearable Technology and App Prevent Seniors From Falling?

Wearable technology is generally thought to be used by millennials, teens, and early adopters, but a new fall detection waistband developed at the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain could help prevent fall injuries in older individuals. FallSkip is an Android device with an accompanying app that can be used to assess the likelihood of a fall for the person wearing it. Today, about 50% of Americans use their smartphone as their primary internet source, and the app’s developers hope the user-friendly interface will encourage seniors to adopt the technology. While patients are wearing this innovative app-based waistband, doctors will input their patient’s vitals. They will then walk around. Using the internal accelerometer and gyroscope, doctors will be able to assess “balance and gait patterns, coordination, reaction time, and muscle strength,” according to Digital Trends. “One out of three older adults falls at least once a year, which is one of the major geriatric syndromes and the second [biggest] cause of accidental or unintentional death,” FallSkip innovation manager Xavi Andrade Celdrán told Digital Trends. The risk of elderly individuals falling cannot be understated. In fact, an older adult visits the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds in America alone. This is no small issue then, and any technology that can predict or prevent falls would help countless seniors. Though insurance for individuals over 65 is much better today — with 98% of seniors insured, compared to just 50% in 1962 — falls still happen at an alarming rate. So far, most technology aimed at addressing falls is designed to help seniors after a fall has already occurred. With a rapidly aging world population, researchers are looking for more proactive solutions. That’s the goal of FallSkip, at least, and it certainly shows promise to be used diagnostically. Their research could also help build on existing knowledge about hip fractures and their causes. A study lead by a mechanical engineer at the University of Utah suggests analyzing the human skeleton from a mechanical point of view, as reported by Science Daily. “It really starts with a small microcrack that grows over time under repeated loading,” says study leader Claire Acevedo, discussing the proximate cause of hip fractures in the elderly. The study posits an alternative theory to conventional wisdom that fractures are caused by the force of the fall itself, but rather by an existing small fracture from years of stress. The fall is the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Perhaps collaborative efforts will be made in the future to help determine both the risks of falls and what the true cause of fall related injuries might...

Read More
Exciting New Upgrades to Apple TV Promise to Revolutionize Television
Sep18

Exciting New Upgrades to Apple TV Promise to Revolutionize Television

Apple is continuing to set the bar for technological innovation, and Steve Jobs would be more than proud of their latest feat. According to Tech Times, Apple CEO Tim Cook made the much-anticipated announcement on Sept. 9, which confirmed the belief that company was taking a major leap into the television industry. The upgraded Apple TV will be “centered around apps,” implementing the user-friendly interface that the tech giant has become known for. In basic terms, the new Apple TV turns your television into a giant iOS device. The company revealed that they would be introducing a new operating system for the Apple TV called “tvOS,” which runs on the same fundamental code as iOS, making it easy for developers to create apps specifically for the device. Consumers are excited for two particular add-ons involved in the upgrade: Siri integration and a touchscreen remote. By integrating the Apple TV with Siri, the encyclopedic voice command system introduced in 2010, users are able to have full control over their viewing experience. If you missed an important scene of a movie, simply tell Siri to “rewind one minute,” and the job is done for you. If people are excited about the Siri integration, they are ecstatic over the promise of a touchscreen remote. Studies show that one of the most heavily desired changes in remote controls is a touchscreen. About 47 to 59% of consumers agree that programmable remote controls with a touchscreen would improve their entertainment experience. The touchscreen will be located at the top of the Apple remote, and will enable you to navigate your Apple TV as if it is in the palm of your hand. The sensors will determine what you’re trying to point to based on the location of your finger on the touch-pad. According to Engadget, the remote will be connected via Bluetooth 4.0, and will include standard buttons for volume and channel control in addition to the touch-pad. It also features an accelerometer and gyroscope for motion control features. The upgraded versions of the Apple TV launch sometime in October, with the introductory price for a 64GB device at $199. Developers already have access to the tvOS beta, so there should be all kinds of incredible apps by the time it’s...

Read More
Shift Technologies Raises $50 Million to Make Buying Used Cars Online Less Sketchy
Sep08

Shift Technologies Raises $50 Million to Make Buying Used Cars Online Less Sketchy

Unlike renting an apartment or booking a taxi, buying a car online isn’t always easy to do. While almost 94% of individuals globally research their car online, only 33% of these individuals are willing to buy their car on the internet. And it’s no wonder — there are quite a few things that can go wrong. From acts of fraud and buying a stolen or bunk vehicle to vehicle transportation, the hassle of buying a car online just doesn’t seem worth it to many consumers. But now, Shift Technologies, the online used car marketplace, is trying to change that. The San Francisco-based company recently raised $50 million hopes of making buying and selling used cars as easy and accessible as ordering takeout. According to Forbes, Shift Technologies’ premise is simple: using data and algorithms, Shift provides potential buyers with the lowest price possible. The site keeps the cars available online for 60 days maximum (most cars take 30 days to sell). If the car isn’t sold in that period of time, Shift Technologies will cut their losses and seek alternatives such as auctions in order to properly service the customer. Like other competitors such as Vroom and Beepi, Shift repossess the car before sale, and stores them in a warehouse to be shipped after sale. However, Shift sets itself apart from the competition by offering test drives, and it allows potential customers to do these test drives “on-demand.” With the money raised, Shift also plans to open more locations across the country, making the transactions more widespread and convenient, as well as getting a leg up on their competitors. “We’re trying to disrupt the Craigslist experience,” said George Arison, cofounder and CEO in an interview with Forbes. “These purchases already happen, but we want to bring in trust and give you confidence when you’re buying.” Will Shift Technologies shift the current consumer perception of online used car buying and selling? Only time will...

Read More