New standard will improve accessibility for blind or low-vision users across different operating systems and hardware
Beaverton, OR, USA – May 31, 2018 – USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, today announced a USB HID (Human Interface Device) standard for braille displays, representing a collaborative step toward greater technological accessibility for people who are blind or have low vision. The standard will make it easier to use a braille display across operating systems and different types of hardware. It will also simplify development, removing the need for braille devices to have custom software and drivers created for a particular operating system or screen reader.
“This is another great example of how USB-IF device class specifications can improve people’s lives,” said USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft. “With more than 1000 members worldwide, USB-IF brings companies together to improve access to technology and provide a seamless user experience.”
“We see the opportunity that advancements in technology can create for people with disabilities and have a responsibility as an industry to develop new ways of empowering everyone to achieve more,” said Jeff Petty, Windows accessibility program manager lead at Microsoft. “Developing a HID standard for braille displays is one example of how we can work together, across the industry, to advance technology in a way that benefits society and ultimately improve the unemployment rate for people with disabilities.”
“Technology should be accessible to everyone and Apple designs all products with that in mind,” said Sarah Herrlinger, director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple. “We’re proud to advance this new USB-IF standard because we believe in improving the experience for all people who rely on braille displays to use their Apple products or any other device.”
“The new standard for braille displays will significantly narrow the gap in communication between people who are visually impaired, blind, or deaf-blind and their sighted and hearing counterparts,” said Joseph Bruno, president and CEO of Helen Keller Services. “It allows these individuals to more seamlessly connect to their favorite devices, which is a major step in helping them connect to the world around them. Helen Keller Services applauds the USB Implementers Forum and their members including Apple, Microsoft and other tech companies.”
The non-profit USB Implementers Forum, Inc. was formed to provide a support organization and forum for the advancement and adoption of USB technology as defined in the USB specifications. USB-IF facilitates the development of high-quality compatible USB devices through its logo and compliance program, and promotes the benefits of USB and the quality of products that have passed compliance testing. Further information, including postings of the most recent product and technology announcements, is available by visiting the USB-IF website at www.usb.org.