May 2017 Issue  Volume 18  Number 5

AccessWorld News

AccessWorld News

Virgin Australia Introduces Vision Impaired User Interface for In-flight Entertainment

Virgin Australia has become the first airline in the Asia Pacific and the second airline in the world to introduce an in-flight entertainment (IFE) user interface for passengers who are blind or have low vision.

Designed to make the customer experience more accessible for visually impaired passengers, the new interface increases accessibility to IFE content through simplified screen layouts, larger icons, and voice prompts.

Developed by globally recognized IFE innovator CoKinetic Systems, the interface is available on Virgin Australia's entire fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which feature a seatback entertainment system, and will be rolled out on the Airbus A330 fleet in the first half of 2017. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fly from Australia's east coast to Los Angeles, while the Airbus A330 primarily fly between Australia's east coast and Perth.

Virgin Australia General Manager, In Flight Experience, Tash Tobias said:

"We are determined to ensure travel with Virgin Australia is enjoyable for all of our guests and we are delighted to introduce this new user interface for guests who are blind or have low vision.

"Throughout the development process we consulted with disability advocate, Phillip Chalker, to create a system that enables more passengers to enjoy movies, music, audiobooks and TV shows and we thank him for his invaluable assistance.

"This new technology also allows vision impaired guests to access important flight information such as the time and distance to their destination," Ms Tobias said.

Vision Australia General Manager for Advocacy and Engagement, Karen Knight said, "We congratulate Phillip on the outcome his advocacy efforts have helped achieve. In addition, we commend Virgin Australia for taking steps to improve the accessibility of their IFE system. Many people who are blind or have low vision enjoy travel and travel widely, and by Virgin Australia continuing to improve the accessibility of its IFE technology guests have the opportunity to enjoy the latest entertainment."

This feature is the latest addition in an ever-increasing focus on accessible entertainment for all guests. Virgin Australia recently introduced a broader variety of assets suitable for hearing impaired guests with subtitled and closed-captioned movies and TV, a growing range of non-narrative documentaries and a handpicked collection of reading materials.

Virgin Australia's wireless IFE system is available on its Boeing 737-800 and Embraer E190 fleets, and is accessible to vision impaired guests via screen reader software available on guests' own devices.

2017 M-Enabling Summit

Register today for the 6th annual M-Enabling Summit, one of the leading global conference and showcases on the East Coast dedicated to technological innovations that enable seniors and persons with disabilities to access digital content and services in new ways.

With its 2017 theme, "Making Connected Things and Services Accessible for All," the M-Enabling Summit sets the stage to promote accessible products, services, and assistive technologies. It also offers an ideal platform to network with accessibility professionals, organizations, and decision makers seeking to address compliance challenges and market development opportunities.

In the spotlight: accessibility for better branding, consumer marketing, innovation in robotics, wearables, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, IoT, smart homes, Section 508 and WCAG 2.1, as well as scaling-up accessibility in higher education, businesses, government, and smart cities.

New to the M-Enabling Summit is the addition of the IAAP Pre Conference Session taking place June 12.

Register today at the registration page.

The ATIA 2018 Call for Presentations Is Open!

January 30--February 3, 2018

Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center, Orlando, Florida

The ATIA 2018 Call for Presentations is open for a period of two months from April 17--June 16, 2017.

ATIA is looking for dynamic, innovative speakers for its 2018 conference--presenters who teach proven practices and cutting-edge technology for children and adults with disabilities and who can motivate others.

You are invited to contribute your expertise to the conversation and education happening around assistive technology at ATIA 2018.

ATIA conference coordinators are looking for presentations from:

  • Accessibility professionals
  • Administrators
  • Advocates
  • AT specialists
  • AT Act Programs
  • Communication specialists
  • Consumers/individuals with disabilities
  • Disability services staff
  • Educators
  • Government/non-profit agency staff
  • IT professionals
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Professional development/training staff
  • Rehab therapists
  • Social workers
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Special Education educators
  • Visual impairment specialists
  • Vocational rehab specialists

Preparing Your Abstract

Abstracts should cover the use of assistive technology from a practitioner or user perspective and may be in the form of a case study, demonstration, implementation study, panel discussion, poster session, research paper or a tips and techniques workshop.

ATIA 2018 is planned around 11 Session Strands exploring the newest technologies and the most important questions and issues in the AT field today. Its Strand Advisors are international content leaders and representatives from strategic professional organizations such as AOTA, ASHA, IAAP, JAN and RESNA.

Submit Your Presentation

Please submit your best, well-written abstracts for consideration for ATIA 2018. All submissions will be considered during the Strand Advisor Blind Peer Review Process. Based on the Strand Advisors recommendations, the two highest ranked sessions that contribute to a well-rounded and balanced educational program are eligible for inclusion*. From an individual speaker perspective, this includes submissions where you are listed as primary or co-speaker.

* Invited speaker sessions are exempt and may be included, for example, Pre-conferences Seminars, MTSS & Town Hall Sessions, QIAT Conversations, Smackdowns, Strand Spotlight Panels, and/or approved session moderators.

After ensuring all sections are complete, submit your presentation online by June 16. You can submit a draft and revise it later but all drafts MUST be completed by June 16 to be considered for review and selection.

Download the accessible Call for Presentations form to organize your thoughts before you submit your presentation online.

Learn More During the Call for Presentations Webinar

The ATIA Headquarters team will host an informational webinar orientation about the ATIA 2017 Call for Presentations on May 3, 2017 at 3--4 pm EDT. This webinar will walk through the online Call for Presentations form with tips on how to complete it successfully. Useful information will be presented for new and returning speakers with background on some new features in the form for this year.

To join the meeting:

Audio Conference Details: Conference Number: +1 8775272344; Conference Code: 3073468090

The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing for those unable to attend the live broadcast.

Please contact the ATIA Education Team at with questions.

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