Proceedings of the 2007 international cross-disciplinary conference on Web accessibility (W4A) - W4A '07
The work of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is described in a set of technical guidelines designed to maximise accessibility to digital resources. Further activities continue to focus on technical developments, with current discussions exploring the potential merits of use of Semantic Web and Web 2.0 approaches. In this paper we argue that the focus on technologies can be counter-productive. Rather than seeking to enhance accessibility through technical innovations, the authors argue
... the priority should be for a user-focussed approach, which embeds best practices through the development of achievable policies and processes and which includes all stakeholders in the process of maximising accessibility. The paper reviews previous work in this area and summarises criticisms of WAI's approach. The paper further develops a tangram model which describes a pluralistic, as opposed to a universal, approach to Web accessibility, which encourages creativity and diversity in developing accessible services. Such diversity will need to reflect the context of usage, including the aims of a service (informational, educational, cultural, etc.), the users' and the services providers' environment. The paper describes a stakeholder approach to embedding best practices, which recognises that organisations will encounter difficulties in developing sustainable approaches by addressing only the needs of the end user and the Web developer. The paper describes work which has informed the ideas in this paper and plans for further work, including an approach to advocacy and education which coins the "Accessibility 2.0" term to describe a renewed approach to accessibility, which builds on previous work but prioritises the importance of the user. The paper concludes by describing the implications of the ideas described in this paper for WAI and for accessibility practitioner stakeholders.