UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Posts Tagged ‘addw08’

Videoing Talks As A Means Of Providing Equivalent Experiences

Posted by Brian Kelly on 8 October 2008

As I recently posted, a paper by myself and Liddy Nevile was accepted by the ADDW08 conference. In the paper we argued that the conventional wisdom regarding Web accessibility (just follow the WCAG guidelines and the Web environment will be universally accessible to all) has been shown to be flawed.  We argued that in a world of mass creation of digital objects, the hand-crafted approach which underpins the WCAG model doesn’t scale. We argued the need to embrace a diversity of approaches, including an exploration of the potential for exploiting the links between related resources in order to find equivalent resources.

Our paper is available (in MS Word, PDF and HTML formats) and our slides are also available (in MS PowerPoint and in (dodgy) HTML formats).  But in addition a video of the talk (which I took using a Flip video camera) is available on Google Video (and is embedded below).

And I’ve synched the video with the PowerPoint slides to provide an even richer experience. This is available on Zentation and a screen image is illustrated below.

Now although the HTML version of the paper should comply with WCAG guidelines (although as a peer-reviewed paper the language and writing style may mean that is is not necessarily  understandable by all), the MS Word, PDF, MS PowerPoint, HTML version of the slides and the .AVI video files will not.  Now I could make the resources conform to WCAG guidelines if I removed all but the HTML version of the paper.  But I would argue that this would diminish the impact of and accessibility of the underlying ideas I wish to communicate.  And seeking to make the various versions of the resources conform to the various checklists would be very time-consuming and would not, I would argue, provide an effective return on the tax-payers money.  And such consideration are, I suspect, informing policy decisions related to the provision of institutional repositories – although perhaps without the provision of links to related resources.

Now as devices such as a Flip can be purchased for less than £100 pounds, and uploading videos on Google Video can be done for free a question I would ask is “if conference organisers fail to make such alternatives for papers presented at conferences, could this be regarded as a failure to take reasonable measures to provide access to services for people with disabilities?”  Isn’t it unreasonable to fail to invest £100 to enhance the effectiveness of conferences along the lines I’ve suggested and demonstrated? And, indeed, doesn’t the informality used in talks provide a valuable alternative to people who may be put off by the nature of the language which is found in research publications.

Posted in Accessibility | Tagged: | 16 Comments »

Web Accessibility 3.0

Posted by Brian Kelly on 19 September 2008

I previously mentioned a joint paper on “Redefining Accessibility for a Web 2.0 World” which has been accepted for the ADDW08 conference to be held at the University of York on 22-24th September 2008. David Sloan, the lead author for the paper, will present this paper.

In addition to this paper Liddy Nevile and myself have had a paper on “Web Accessibility 3.0: Learning From The Past, Planning For The Future” also accepted at the ADDW08 conference. This paper describes three scenarios: it explores the limitations of a vision for Web accessibility based on use of the WAI approach to provide “universal accessibility” and then describes the limitations of the “holistic approach to Web accessibility” developed initially by myself, Lawrie Phipps and David Sloan. The paper describes how these approaches focus on, in the first scenario, on the accessibility of individual resources and, in the second scenario, on institutional approaches to enhancing the accessibility of the purposes of the Web services. However neither of these approaches seems to have much relevance to the accessibility of the globally popular Web 2.0 services. And if we are serious about Web accessibility we should be looking at the accessibility of the global World Wide Web, and not just individual resources or the resources managed within our institutions.

But how should be go about addressing such large-scale challenges? In the paper we suggest that we should be exploring how the relationships between resources might help to provide users with access to related resources and how personalisation approaches might provide users with access to resources which are accessible to the individual user, rather than being universally accessible. The vision, Liddy and I feel, can be regarded as an implementation of the W3C’s vision for the Semantic Web. But we also argue the need to have the scepticism which failed to be applied to WAI’s model for Web accessibility.  

The slides which will be presented at the conference are available on Slideshare and are embedded below.

And as we argued the need for a critical approach to proposals for Web accessibility (which we have taken in the past to the limitations of the WAI model and the WCAG guidelines) we invite your comments on our paper and this presentation.

Posted in Accessibility | Tagged: | 5 Comments »