Web 2.0 Evolution

Web 2.0 & Accessibility

Predictions about the web accesibility & Web 2.0

Posted by Rosa Delgado on October 13, 2007

I have been reading about web 2. and web accesibility, and i have done a summarize about some predictions and conclusions:

There are three major factors that will shape web accessibility in the very very short future: AJAX, user generated content and WCAG 2.0. The increased prominence of these factors could lead to some of the following:

Accessibility will become less and less guideline-driven
With the advent of new technology (such as AJAX), and the technology-neutral and vague nature of the new W3C guidelines (WCAG 2.0), accessibility is becoming less and less guideline driven. This means that employing accessibility experts is going to become more and more important for organisations as interpreting these guidelines correctly will become more and more difficult.
Alternative accessible versions will become the norm
Historically speaking, separate accessible versions were frowned on for both ethical and business reasons (see Separate text-only version? No thanks!13 for more on this). However, for the first time usability and accessibility are coming head-to-head with each other and rich interactive interfaces often can’t be made fully accessible. In this instance, a separate version will have to be provided (but only after all other routes have been exhausted).
User generated content is likely to offer poor accessibility
Content created by users is becoming more and more commonplace on the web. This kind of content is being created at such a rapid rate that it’s going to be impossible to police it for accessibility.
JavaScript, PDF & Flash will no longer be thought of as ‘evil’
In WCAG 1.0, web managers and developers were basically told that their websites shouldn’t rely on any of these three technologies. WCAG 2.0 on the other hand doesn’t stipulate this, and rightly so as most assistive technologies can now support these technologies.

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3 Responses to “Predictions about the web accesibility & Web 2.0”

  1. Elena_P said

    According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 27.1): “…Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits…”-

    Following with the accessibility topic, we can say that a website optimized for this, will benefit everyone. There are many people around the world who may have difficulties accessing the content of a website (people with sight problems, colour blindness, learning difficulties…are some examples), that’s why I would like to comment some of the web accessibility benefits:
    • Business Area:
    If a website has failures in accessibility, it can mean loss in potential business. Nevertheless if a company website is almost totally accessible, it will provide a competitive advantage your competitor don’t have, bearing in mind that disabled people (for example) benefit from the Internet more than anyone else. Older people are another social group very interesting to focus in while thinking about an easy access.
    • Technology area:
    We have to think that the use of Cascading Style Sheets for a website’s layout make the web work well on different technologies for accessing Internet. Also, we will have significant improvements in the download times.
    • Economic Area
    If a web page reduces the size of its files, the bandwidth costs decrease and for high traffic sites that is an advantage.
    Summarizing, making an extra effort in a website accessibility will increase not only its global value for the community, but also probably the earnings of the companies whose business model is based on the Internet and this can be a good reason for the enterprises to invest a part of their benefits on this.

  2. Jose Jesus said

    So it seems to me that accessibility is a seed for a little controversy, isn’t it? 🙂

    For instance, how do you think that accessibility should be considered?:

    -As a must: we shouldn’t conceive technology advancement without accesibility.
    -As an enormous problem… that we will only face in we have no other option.
    -As luxury: if we have time and money, we can think of accessibility; if we don’t… well, who minds?

  3. Rosa Delgado said

    Of course “A MUST”.

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