FCC accepting accessibility award nominations

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking nominations for the 2nd Annual Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility that recognizes innovations in technology accessibility.

Entries may be self-nominated or submitted by a third party and should include a brief description of the innovation, identification of the category of innovation, the date the innovation was introduced, and why the innovation qualifies.

Nominations will be accepted June 31 to July 31 and should be emailed to

Category descriptions:


Education: College/University – This category focuses on educational initiatives designed to teach students about universal design (designing for the broadest possible audience, regardless of disability) and how to incorporate accessibility into technology. Nominations will be accepted on model educational curricula focused on universal design or innovations designed by individuals or teams of students.

Deaf-Blind Solutions – The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), established a National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, which will launch in the summer 2012, to distribute communications equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind. This category will accept nominations on accessible and affordable communications technologies built to explicitly address the needs of the deaf-blind community.

Video Programming Device Solutions – The CVAA contains various new requirements for video programming devices to (1) pass through or render closed captions and video description;1 and (2) make available emergency information that is accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.2               In addition, the CVAA adopted certain mandates pertaining to the accessibility (by people who are blind or visually impaired) of user interfaces, on-screen menus and navigational programming guides on video devices, along with requirements for a button, key, icon, or comparable mechanism designated for easily activating closed captioning and video description.3     Finally, the CVAA requires that interconnection mechanisms used with video devices be able to render closed captions.4              This AAA category seeks nominations on innovative solutions for these new capabilities.5

Geo-location Solutions – In July 2010, the FCC, White House and Department of Commerce convened a brainstorming session between technologists and advocates that identified the use of geo-data to advance travel accessibility as a pressing technological need of persons who are blind or visually impaired. This category invites solutions to meet this access need.

Mobile Apps – Mobile phone apps offer new ways of achieving accessibility that were not considered possible just a few years ago. Consumers are increasingly downloading apps for their news, entertainment, education and other daily purposes. This AAA category seeks nominations on innovative, affordable and accessible mobile apps for people with disabilities.

Consumer Empowerment Information – This category invites innovations to help consumers navigate technology choices and options, teach them how to operate and effectively use new technologies, and help expand the digital literacy of persons with disabilities.

Civil Participation Solutions – This category seeks nominations on communications solutions to facilitate participation by people with disabilities as active members in civic affairs, such as volunteering and registering to vote.

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