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Developing countries, developing experiences: approaches to accessibility for the real world.

Presentation of paper by Brian Kelly, Sarah Lewthwaite and David Sloan on 26th April at W4A 2010, Raleigh US. We discuss how we can learn from successes and limitations of web accessibility policy in the developed world, in order to optimise web accessibility policy in the developing world

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Developing countries, developing experiences: approaches to accessibility for the real world.

  1. 1. Developing Countries, Developing Experiences: approaches to accessibility for the real world Brian Kelly , University of Bath, UK Sarah Lewthwaite , University of Nottingham, UK David Sloan , University of Dundee, UK W4A 2010, Raleigh, NC, April 26 th 2010
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Lessons from applying web accessibility in the Developed World </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Accessibility and Social Inclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Observing patterns of best practice </li></ul><ul><li>A framework for policymakers in the Developing World </li></ul>
  3. 3. Lessons from Web Accessibility Policy in the Developed World <ul><li>Successes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility (WCAG) integrated into Web Standards movement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Section 508 influencing market approach to web accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Known shortcomings of the WAI model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debates on role of accessibility in standards (re)development (HTML 5!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uneven focus on accommodating specific impairments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Balancing ‘conformance’ with ‘helping people’ </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Digital inclusion and aversive disablism <ul><li>In the UK, digital inclusion initiatives have not always been inclusive! Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Theory from disability studies to explain behaviour: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>aversive disablism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hierarchy of disabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Might this be holding back research and development and willingness to adopt accessibility? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Case 1: security vs accessibility (CAPTCHAs, other demands for supply and recall of profile information) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case 2: text’s domination of definitions of ‘accessible content’ </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Alternative approaches to accessibility <ul><li>Less formal approaches to accessibility that might influence how we use the web to optimise inclusion: </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregating information in alternative media </li></ul><ul><ul><li> approach to sharing web design info (podcast, show notes/transcript, blog, twitter, discussion forum…book) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amplified conferences: using social web technology to overcome barriers to access that may be due to disability, economy or geography </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Developing effective Web accessibility policies <ul><li>How do we promote accessibility within a wider, and globally applicable, digital inclusion objective? </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges we know need to be considered: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex use cases – web applications versus informational web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dealing with existing (and often complex) publishing technologies, environments and workflows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User agent limitations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource limitations: expertise, time, cost (more significant in less affluent countries) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Developing effective Web accessibility policies <ul><li>Balancing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Taking advantage of guidelines in defining current best practice in making a web site accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing known limitations in current best practice by using the web to make real world tasks more accessible to more people </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sharing examples of how aggregation of solutions, or use of non-web alternatives can be embraced in a web accessibility policy </li></ul>
  8. 8. Advancing directions of accessibility R&D <ul><li>We need to ensure aversive disablism does not distort a globally-appreciated definition of web accessibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledge and address the effect of text bias in current accessibility work on populations with low literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the effectiveness of open source accessibility solutions on communities where pirated versions of proprietary software may be the norm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embrace the convergence of mobile usability and accessibility </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Closing thought <ul><li>Let’s be wary of a “wholesale colonial export of accessibility” to the developing world, and instead adopt an approach that is culturally- and context-sensitive </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Brian Kelly </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] twitter: @briankelly </li></ul><ul><li>Sarah Lewthwaite </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] twitter: @slewth </li></ul><ul><li>David Sloan </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] t witter: @sloandr </li></ul>