UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

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Web Accessibility Framework in 3 Words

Posted by Brian Kelly on 6 Feb 2009

Since 2005 I, in conjunction with a number of other accessibility researchers and practitioners in the UK and Australia, have sought to develop a framework for Web accessibility which addresses the shortcomings of the WAI model (which suggests that universal accessibility will be provided by a combination of guidelines for Web content, authoring tools and user agents).

This work began with a paper on “A Holistic Approach to E-Learning Accessibility” by myself, Lawrie Phipps and Elaine Swift published in the Canadian Journal of Learning and Research in 2005.  Ten further papers were subsequently published which furter developed these ideas.

A fair amount of thinking and discussions have taken place in the past 5 years. However at the recent OzeWAI 2009 conference Lisa Herrod summarised our work in a Twitter post:

massive thanks and kudos to @briankelly for adding context & purpose to my accessibility methodology i.e. Accessibility isn’t binary.

Yes, that’s a great summary: “Accessibility isn’t binary“.  It’s not about following a set of rules to achieve universal accessibility.  It’s about shades of grey, differing interpretations, differing user requirements, differing scenarios, etc. And the advocacy, the policies and the appropriate areas for standardisation all arise from those three words.

Thanks to Lisa for spotting the key aspect – and for perhaps coming up with an appropriate title for my next talk on this topic.

4 Responses to “Web Accessibility Framework in 3 Words”

  1. Henny Swan said

    I saw that when Lisa Twittered it and couldn’t agree more. There are so many factors at play. Good work BTW Brian.

  2. mectruy said

    I think that it is pretty clear Henny Swan.. ;)

  3. I was sure I had been using a similar phrase in web accessibility talks and tutorials, so I thought I’d look back through my archived presentations to see when I first mentioned something similar.

    But in doing so, it was surprising – and sobering – to see how much in older presentations I would jump into the detail without some context – some simple three word phrases, like Lisa’s, to underpin how to approach web accessibility. While the detail usually and eventually indicated that accessibility solutions can vary depending on circumstance, stating this upfront would (I’m sure!) have enhanced my early presentations and help get the message over.

    Your post on Twitter and JISC proposal writing, is an illustration of how services like Twitter are teaching us how to be more succinct and effective in our communication…

  4. […] – and followed that up with a tweet which succinctly summarised my talk in three words “Accessibility isn’t binary”. As I described in a blog post that encounter led to @scenariogirl (Lisa Herrod) […]

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