Paper Accepted for #W4A12 Conference

Earlier this week I returned from San Diego to receive news that my joint paper “A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First” has been peer-reviewed and accepted for the 9th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility – 16/17th April 2012 – Lyon, France. This year’s conference theme is “Web of Data”. The conference is notably co-located with WWW2012. Web Accessibility people may also be interested to know that select papers from this years’ conference will be published in a special issue of  Universal Access in the Information Society.

Our communications paper was written in collaboration. Martyn Cooper (Open University) was lead author, working alongside Brian Kelly (Bath University) David Sloan (Dundee University) and myself. Those of you with sharp memories will know that Brian, David and I worked together on a previous W4A paper, Developing Countries; Developing Experiences: Approaches to Accessibility for the Real World which won the John Slatin award for best communications paper back in 2010.  Perhaps interestingly, I still haven’t actually met Brian (or Martyn), but I’m sure that day will come!

“A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First” will be publicly available next month. The paper itself argues that web accessibility is not an intrinsic characteristic of a digital resource by highlighting political, social and contextual factors that shape user experiences in combination with technical aspects.  As a result, it can be inappropriate to develop legislation or focus on metric that deal with the properties of a resource regardless of context.  From this point we describe the value of standards such as BS 8878 and use a case study illustrating how learning analytics could provide data to support the improvement of inclusive learning resources, developing a broader perspective of the resource in-use.

Brian Kelly will deliver a post on the UK Web Focus blog which will discuss these ideas, and the challenges which are presented to legislators,  policy makers and practitioners who develop practices based on a view that web accessibility is an intrinsic property of a resource at a later date. Watch that space!

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