RNIB jointly with Panasonic have been commended by The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).
The prize given by the AFB honours RNIB and Panasonic for working together to develop Voice Guidance. We have been awarded in recognition of 'an exceptional and innovative effort that has improved the lives of people with vision loss by enhancing access to information, the environment, technology, education, or employment, including making mainstream products and services accessible'.
Voice Guidance refers to the talking feature that was introduced to 30 of Panasonic’s television models in their 2012 range. The feature announces key elements of the on-screen menu system, including the electronic programme guide and other important menus. Panasonic have continued to develop and expand the Voice Guidance functionality in their 2013 television line-up, including the support of over 20 languages globally.
Voice Guidance has been developed after joint working with RNIB and user testing with blind and partially sighted people.
In response to the award, Panasonic has released the following statement, "we are extremely pleased to jointly receive the AFB's Equipment Accessibility award with RNIB, who we worked very closely with during the 2012 model development and received exceptional support from in order to make the Voice Guidance feature of real benefit to visually impaired users. One of Panasonic's business objectives is to contribute to society and we believe that one way of achieving this is to design products which are accessible to all."
In order to celebrate the recent successes that we have had in terms of accessible television technology, RNIB with support from the World Blind Union has produced a film which brings to life some of the features that enhance usability of television and related devices for blind and partially sighted people.
The video features James Risdon, an avid user of audio description (AD) and more recently text to speech on television, talking about his experience of using a television that talks and announces what is on the screen. James is partially sighted and has been using AD for more than two years.
Amongst other recent launches, the video also features developments that are underway to make alternative TV apps easier to use for people with sight loss.