One world one web but great diversity
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One World, One Web ... But Great Diversity

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One world one web but great diversity

About This Paper:

This paper builds on previous work on holistic approaches to Web accessibility.

The need for a user-centred, rather than resource-centred, approach is described.

Application of this approach in various contexts, including Web 2.0, is described.

One World, One Web ... But Great Diversity

Brian Kelly


University of Bath




[email protected]


Liddy Nevile, EA Draffan and Sotiris Fanou

Tag ‘w4a-2008'


UKOLN is supported by:

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat)

Previous work 1

Previous Work (1)

  • Limitations of WAI’s approaches to accessibility in e-learning context were first described in 2004.

Paper argued need to focus on the accessibility of the learner’s needs, rather than the e-learning resources.

Developing A Holistic Approach For E-Learning Accessibility, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 2004, Kelly, B., Phipps, L and Swift, E. Vol. 30, Issue 3.

Previous work 2

Previous Work (2)

  • A framework for applying WCAG in the real world (of flawed browsers, limited resources, etc) was described at W4A 2005.

Forcing Standardization or Accommodating Diversity? A Framework for Applying the WCAG in the Real World, Kelly, B., Sloan, D., Phipps, L., Petrie, H. and Hamilton, F. W4A 2005

Previous work 3

Previous Work (3)

  • The need to address the context of use and the potential of AccessForAll metadata described at W4A 2005.

  • Tangram metaphor introduced to visualise a diversity of approaches

Contextual Web Accessibility - Maximizing the Benefit of Accessibility Guidelines. Sloan, D, Kelly, B., Heath, A., Petrie, H., Hamilton, F & Phipps, L. W4A 2006 Edinburgh, Scotland May 2006

Previous work 4

Previous Work (4)

  • Application of our work in a wider context (e.g. cultural resources) described at W4A 2007.

  • Paper introduced the stakeholder model and coined the term ‘Accessibility 2.0’ to describe this approach

What do you see? Is the answer to be found in the resource or in the reader’s interpretation ?

Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes. Kelly, B., Sloan, D., Brown, S., Seale, J, Petrie, H., Lauke, P. and Ball, S. W4A 2007

Where are we today

Where Are We Today?

  • Our work:

    • Acknowledges limitations in WAI’s guidelines

    • Complements WAI’s developments to WCAG 2.0

    • Provides a realistic framework for development activities

    • Seeks to avoid stifling of innovation by the ‘accessibility fundamentalist’ barrier

Wai limitations

WAI Limitations

  • Limitations of WAI guidelines have been acknowledged:

“However, we recognize that standards are slow, and technology evolves quickly in the commercial marketplace. Innovation brings new customers and solidifies relationships with existing customers; Web 2.0 innovations also bring new types of professionals to the field, ones who care about the new dynamic medium. As technologies prove themselves, standardizing brings in the universality of the benefit, but necessarily follows this innovation. Therefore, this paper acknowledges and respects Web 2.0, discussing the issues and real world solutions.”

Accessibility of Emerging Rich Web Technologies: Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web. Cooper, M. W4A 2007

What s missing

What’s Missing

  • Further work is needed:

    • In understanding how WCAG guidelines can be used in a Web 2.0 context

    • In developing approaches for migrating from WCAG 1.0 to WCAG 2.0

    • In developing a more flexible and user-centred approach to Web accessibility

    • In addressing more challenging areas of accessibility, such as learning disabilities

  • These areas are addressed in the paper

Accessibility and web 2 0

Accessibility and Web 2.0

  • Reactions to Web 2.0 from “accessibility fundamentalists” (‘the truth is to be found in WCAG 1.0’) and Web 2.0 sceptics:

    • It uses AJAX, and we know that a bad thing

    • You shouldn’t use Facebook, MySpace, … as it breaks WCAG guidelines

    • Second Life is a no-no – it’s inherently inaccessible

  • But:

    • AJAX can provide accessibility benefits

    • People with disabilities are using social networks – should we stop them if they find this useful?

    • Judith finds Second Life a liberating experience

Second life

Second Life

  • A video clip shows Judith, a user with cerebral palsy, using Second Life with a headwand.

“Do you think that this will be a really useful tool for people who are unable to get around, who have problems of mobility in real life?”

“Yes, because you can have friends without having to go out and physically find them”.

The danger is that organisations will ban SL as they feel if fails to comply with accessibility guidelines.

Social networks 1

Social Networks (1)

  • Social networks (e.g. Facebook):

    • Are being used by people with disabilities

    • Evaluation of PWDs’ experiences (rather than evaluation of the resource) is beginning

    • CAPCHA seems to be a barrier:

      • RNIB admit that solutions are not easy

      • Removal of CAPCHA would provide a worse environment for PWDs (more spam)

      • Blended solutions may have a role (“ring this number”)

  • Need for:

    • More evidence gathering

    • More advocacy & pressure

  • But to facilitate access to SNs not to undermine them

Social networks 2

Social Networks (2)

  • Should we regard Facebook (for example):

    • As a stand-alone service?

    • As one of a range of access points and allow users to chose their preferred environment?

  • Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and Personal Research Environments (PREs)

    • Of increasing interest in higher education

  • A focus on:

    • Supporting personal choice

    • Providing data which can be surfaced in different environment (via RSS and other technologies)

    • New media literacy skills

Learning resources available via RSS. Users may choose to access via VLE, RSS reader, social network, …

Accessibility metadata

Accessibility Metadata

  • Initial work focussed on

    • Models to embrace diversity

    • Policies to support such models

  • Complementary work in progress on:

    • Metadata to support computer-mediated delivery of personalised resources

    • Standardisation activities (AccessForAll)

    • Demonstrator projects (e.g. TILE)

Learning disabilities

Learning Disabilities

  • “WCAG 2.0 [does] not address all of the needs of people with disabilities, particularly cognitive, language, and learning disabilities”

  • How to address learning disability issues?

    • Research work at UWE

    • System aimed at health trainers who have learning disabilities

    • Group will be trained to support health promotion in learning disabilities community

  • Approaches:

    • Engagement with the users at initial design phase

    • Pragmatic approach based on ‘what works’

    • Experiences will be shared at later date

Commissioning web sites

Commissioning Web Sites

  • Evidence:

    • Popularity of WCAG-based logos (WCAG A/AA/AA Compliant, Bobby, …)

    • We know this is a problem

  • What should we do?

    • Discourage use of logos?

    • Explore alternative approaches?

  • Alternative approaches:

    • Focus on quality workflow processes, rather than the resources (cf ISO 9001 standard)

    • BSI PAS 78 provides example of this approach



  • Limitations

    • Developers prefer hard objective rules

    • Difficulties in identifying ‘reasonable measures

    • Institutional policies based on old approaches

    • Ego invested in existing approaches (“I’ll never use any trendy JavaScript on my site”)

  • Addressing the challenges:

    • Drawing parallels with other areas

    • WCAG 1.0 as ‘training wheels’ – once principles mastered, more flexibility approaches can be taken

    • Sharing experiences, best practices (and problems) with peers



  • To conclude:

    • Previous work on identifying limitations of ‘Web accessibility 1.0’ is now becoming accepted

    • Deployment of WCAG 2.0 provides an opportunity to promote more flexible approaches

    • We hope paper has provided examples of such flexibility

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