by Brian Kelly
The mantra "One World, One Web" has a strong appeal to Web developers. They think of it as a design philosophy based on use of internationally agreed open standards for providing universal access to networked resources and services available on the World Wide Web. But does the available evidence show that practices match this philosophy? How would such an approach work in a Web 2.0 environment in which users may be authors of content?
This paper reviews the limitations of the dependence on a single WAI model and WCAG 1.0 guidelines. It describes a holistic approach to Web accessibility that has been discussed previously. There are additional complexities of accessibility in a Web 2.0 environment, in which not only can readers be creators of Web resources in a variety of formats, but also content can be surfaced in a variety of ways, addressed in this paper. The authors describe how the holistic model, initially developed to support the development of accessible e-learning in a Web 2.0 context, is well-suited for a Web 2.0 environment.
The paper provides a case study to illustrate how this holistic approach can be applied in the development of Web resources for users with learning difficulties. The paper concludes by arguing that future work to enhance the accessibility of Web services should focus on the development and commissioning processes rather than continue the current narrow emphasis on the compliance with universal accessibility guidelines of the digital resources themselves, independently of the context of their use.
Finally the paper refers to two new developments that support the wider focus, providing for individual user-centred accessibility with descriptions of resources and components enabling adaptation of resources to individual needs and preferences.
21st–22nd April 2008