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Disability and discourses of web accessibility

Adam, A and Kreps, DG 2009, 'Disability and discourses of web accessibility' , Information Communication and Society, 12 (7) , pp. 1041-1058.

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Much of the World Wide Web remains inaccessible or difficult to access by people across a spectrum of disabilities and this may have serious implications for the potential use of the web for increasing social inclusion. We argue that the complexities of web accessibility are best analysed against a set of relevant discourses and that part of the reason for the obduracy of web inaccessibility lies in crucial gaps in engagement of these discourses, so that there is no clear avenue through which disabled people can engage effectively with the web accessibility issue to ensure their rights are met. We characterize the relevant discourses in terms of the digital divide discourse, the social construction of disability discourse, focusing on the historical relationship between disability and technology, the legal discourse where we briefly describe the burdens which disability discrimination demands of those who design websites and the web accessibility discourse, including a discussion of the development of web accessibility standards. We argue that there are crucial gaps in engagement of these discourses, signalling that important groups are not engaged with the dominant policy making agenda. Notably disability activists are not included in the standard making agenda of the web accessibility movement. Unless ways of including such groups can be found, we argue that the current state of web accessibility and hence the potential for social inclusion to be increased is unlikely to be ameliorated.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > College of Health & Social Care > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Information Communication and Society
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1369-118X
Depositing User: AE Adam
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 11:23
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 00:34

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