IAAIS Develops Accessibility Standards for HD Radios

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Dec 1, 2008 - The International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) has announced standards for HD Radio receivers for people who are visually and physically handicapped. The group says these universal design standards are the first of their kind for radios and other electronic devices.

The IAAIS notes that radios and other electronic devices have deployed increasingly advanced features that prevented senior citizens and people who are visually or physically from using them. Because the HD Radio systems are new, there are relatively few HD Radio receivers in homes. The IAAIS wishes to generate early adoption of the standards by many manufacturers so that many different units will be accessible and simple to use for all radio users.

Once units are available, the IAAIS will promote the purchase and use of accessible HD Radio receivers to provide reading services for blind or otherwise print-disabled persons. Manufacturers of radio or other consumer electronic devices must utilize the standards to create products for people who are visually and physically handicapped can buy and use independently. The IAAIS will not recommend or endorse any product that fails to meet the newly published standards.

The IAAIS breaks down radio functions and design into required, desirable, and unacceptable in the categories of controls, displays and feedback, documentation, other considerations, operation/ functions, and infrared remotes. The standards call for speech feedback, tactile controls, and larger buttons and at least 18-point print fonts, among other requirements. Specifically unacceptable functions include touch screens, soft keys and hard-to-find recessed buttons. The details of the standard are available at the IAAIS website at www.iaais.org.

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