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Preview: Will Web 2.0 = More Accessibility?

Will Web 2.0 = More Accessibility?

Updated: 2017-01-09T16:03:07.577+00:00




1. Introduction

The World Wide Web is the only uncensored medium where it is almost impossible to impose monitoring or regulations. The Web is only attractive if we can see, hear, read, watch, scan pages quickly and navigate with ease. If we lose these abilities the Web will loose all or part of its attractiveness. Despite the efforts of the government, and organisations and charities such as the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), Web Access Centre (RNIB), Watchfire and many more the large part of the web remains inaccessible.

After the collapse of dot-com in 2001 some of the large companies and corporations came together to find out what to do to survive. The concept of web 2.0 was born as a result and the first Web.2.0 Conference took place in 2004.

Chapter one of this report lays out the aims and objectives of the project. Chapter 3 and chapter 4 briefly explain the areas to be investigated. Chapter 4 will name some of the related research which has been done by others. Chapter 5 will explain the likely evaluation strategies to be considered. Chapter 6 will list some of the main background material which would be used as primary source. Chapter 7 and 8 will contain bibliography and resources used for this report respectively.

Chapter two of this report will introduce you with disability, accessibility what is it and why it matters, the law and the businesses. Chapter 3 explains the concept of Web 2.0. Chapter 4 will deal with Web 2.0 and accessibility.. Chapter 5 will explain the the methods of designing Web 2.0 accessible pages by following the WAI's WCAG guidelines. Chapter 6 will list some of the main background material which have been used as primary source for this report and chapter 7 will contain resources used for this report respectively.

1. 2. Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives of this research project are to investigate and analyze the concept of Web 2.0 and its possibility of improving accessibility. How disabled people access the web and what web designers and developers of web technologies can do to make the Web more accessible. After the initial research, Web 2.0 standard pages will be designed with the aim to test accessibility towards a wide range of users.



2. Disability, Accessibility, the Law and the Businesses There are millions of mental or physical disabled people live in the world. In most circumstances it is challenge for these people to curry out their day to day essential tasks. Disabled Web users are more likely to find a simple task such as searching information or purchasing an item much more difficult than users without disabilities. Apart from moral responsibility, it is a legal requirement for businesses and individuals to provide equal services to disabled customers. Businesses should also remember that disabled users are the ones who need Internet the most as they can shop at home without having to go to the store and browse the shelves with the help of another person. 2.1. What is disability?A disability is impairment or the inability to carry out normal social roles because of the lack of one or more abilities. The Disability Right Commission defines disability as people who have a long-term health condition that has an impact on their day to day lives. According to the same source one in five people of working age are considered by government and DRC to be disabled. (DCR: 2002) According to Adobe (2006) a 1997 report by the U.S. Census Bureau categorizes 19.6 percent of the United States population as having some sort of disability. Within that group are individuals with visual impairments, hearing impairments, cognitive impairments, and motor impairments. Each category includes a much wider range of conditions. For example, visual impairments include limited vision, color blindness, and blindness. Disability categories can also include temporary disabilities; for example, someone with a broken wrist may have difficulty using a mouse but still needs access to the web to meet day-to-day job requirements.At the same time, statistics about individuals with disabilities may be misleading. As people get older, most face a disability of some kind. While nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population have a disability, as the population ages, the proportion of people with disabilities grows higher. According to European Commission (2003) there were over 37 million people with disabilities in the European Union in 2003. The following list of disabilities and their relation to accessibility issues on the Web has been prepared by W3C. Disability in this report means people who are affected by one or more of the following impairments.visual disabilitiesblindnesslow visioncolour blindnesshearing impairmentsdeafnesshard of hearingphysical disabilitiesmotor disabilitiesspeech disabilitiesspeech disabilitiescognitive and neurological disabilitiesdyslexia and dyscalculiaattention deficit disorderintellectual disabilitiesmemory impairmentsmental health disabilitiesseizure disordersmultiple disabilitiesaging-related conditions2.2. How Disabled People Access the Web?Users with disabilities rely on hardware and software to access the Web. These tools are called assistive technologies, which range from screen readers to touch screens and head pointers. Blind users of the web frequently use software called a screen reader to read the contents of a web page out loud. Two common screen readers are JAWS from Freedom Scientific and Window-Eyes from GW Micro. Screen readers enable users to hear, rather than read, the contents of a web page; however, a screen reader can read only text, not images or animations. Users with mobility issues may rely on the keyboard instead of the mouse to navigate web pages. For individuals with nerve damage, arthritis, or repetitive motion injuries, use of the mouse may not be comfortable or possible. Using only Tab and Enter on the keyboard, it is possible for these individuals to negotiate a page with ease. Many users of the Internet have the capability to navigate without a mouse and are simply unaware of it. In some cases, users may employ touch screens, head pointers, or other assistive devices. A touch screen allows an individual to navigate the page using her or his hands without the fine-motor control required by t[...]



3. What is Web 2.0? The concept of Web 2.0 According to O’Reilly (2005) “began with a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International”. The idea of Web 2.0 appeared after the collapse of dot-com in 2001 to transform the way that we look at the Web as a medium. To put it simply in the words of MacManus (2005) “Web 2.0 is a vision of the Web in which information is broken up into “microcontent” units that can be distributed over dozens of domains. The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data. We are no longer just looking to the same old sources for information. Now we’re looking to a new set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways.” O’Reilly (2005) highlights some of the core principle features of Web 2.0 as follow: The Web as Platform User Generated ContentSoftware above the Level of Single DeviceData is the Next Intel InsideLightweight Programming ModelsHarnessing Collective IntelligenceRich User Experiences According to Gehtland (2005) Web 2.0 represents the maturation of Internet standards into a viable application development platform. The combination of stable standards, better understanding and a unifying vision amount to a whole that is greater, by far, than the sum of its parts. Graham (2005) argues that till recently he thought that term Web 2.0 did not mean anything. At the time it was supposed to mean using "the web as a platform”. It seems that web based applications are the main component of Web 2.0. And the most successful web based application is AJAX which was used to design the Google Maps ( in 2005. It seems that Web2.0 has acquired a meaning now. So is that it? Does Web 2.0 mean Ajax? Not really. Take Wikipedia ( for example. This is one of the examples to show that amateurs can overtake professionals as long as they have the right kind of tools in their disposal. The main factor of Wikipedia success is that it is free. So people will use it. If you need professional opinions on the Web you have to pay for it. Web 2.0 means using the web as it was meant to be used, and Wikipedia does it, Google does it, Itune does it, Amazon does it and Microsoft is struggling not to lift behind. Probably the most up to date use of Web 2.0 is Windows Live at: ( Microsoft Virtual Earth is a detailed 3D imagery. US users with Vista-ready Windows computers and IE 6 or 7 will be able to navigate through an aerial view of cities with enough detail to discern the texture of buildings and read clickable billboards from the likes of Fox, Nissan and John L. Scott Real Estate. Virtual Earth 3D is expected to expand to cover up to 100 cities around the world by the end of next summer. Unlike Google Earth, Microsoft’s Virtual Earth is experienced directly inside of IE as part of search results. The imagery was taken from planes and processed with proprietary algorithms. See Kirkpatrick (2006) Web 2.0 means trying to understand what is happening. Measuring the nerve of the market and finding out what technologies are under development and trying to find out how to use those technologies effectively to make profit. It is not all. Web 2.0 means to have your eyes open for the future. What will happen and be there when it does and use the opportunity to turn the tide in your way. As stated by Graham (2005) “that's the way to approach technology-- and as business includes an ever larger technological component, the right way to do business.” On the other hand Web 2.0 is another way of using the Internet to smooth the progress of the engagement of consumers efficiently and outlet those to generate cheaper and faster profit. There is no hard boundary for Web 2.0, but rather, a gravitational core (O'Reilly 2005). Web 2.0 could be visualized as a set of principles and practices that tie together sites that display some or all of those pri[...]



4. Web 2.0 and AccessibilityMany geeks and pundits are increasingly worried about the pace and scale of “Ajaxification” of everything on the Web. Lawson (2006) claims that “people are so busy adding extra Ajax loveliness that the separate stripped-down html-only versions they offer are unthinkingly accepted as a legitimate sop to people with disabilities.” He adds that there is nothing wrong with Google’s maps, gmail etc, and have never thought that accessibility means bringing everything down to the lowest level of quality or taste. Truly creative and considerate coding will ensure polished “rich user experience”. But in the rush to “Ajaxify” the bulk of developers are not appropriately thinking of accessibility consequences.Another pundit Keith (2006) suggests that Ajax should be used in the same way that any other kind of DOM scripting is used: as an improvement to, rather than an obligation of, the user experience. He adds “I would like to see the idea of Hijaxing (making sure an application works without JavaScript) applied to pages elements like feedback forms and shopping carts.” Godding (2006) is not happy with the “thoughtless implementation of technologies, in this case AJAX”. He adds that creative, novel and wide-ranging coding would guarantee that those users who don’t have JavaScript capability are not deprived of information or the capability to take part in this new society with improved user experience. He warns of overlooking of “social conscience in the mad rush to produce something that is Web 2.0 and cool!” 4.1. Ajax and Web AccessibilityIn order for Ajax applications to work on web browsers JavaScript and XMLHttpRequest object have to be enabled. Although most popular web browsers are capable of handling JavaScript, it is turned off by default. Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer for example, warn the user of prohibited content. There are some other problems regarding accessibility. Consider Google Maps ( for instance, it failed the accessibility when it was tested using Watchfire WebXact Validator ( on the following:No title for frame element to describe the purpose and content of the frame.No extended description for the main map which conveys important information.While colour is used to convey information, the information is not represented another way. While table is used to hold data there was no header for the table rows or columns. If Style Sheet is turned off on a browser, or the page is viewed on browser that does not support Style Sheet the content should be displayed in logical order.If JavaScript is turned off or the page is viewed by browsing devices that not support JavaScript there is nothing useful left on the page. The main function of Google Maps is to find an address or a building on the map. It is not possible to make the page usable with scripts not running or turned off. Programmatic objects, such as applets, plug-ins and scripts may cause the screen to flicker. Screen flickering or flashing in the 4 to 59 flashes per second (Hertz) range can trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. Quick changes from dark to light, like strobe lights, can also trigger seizures. See (WebXACT, 2006)As there is no keyboard equivalent to double-clicking ("ondblclick") or mouse movement ("onmousemove") in HTML 4.0 there is no alternative to mouse coordinates. Missing labels for form controls.Lack of sufficient contrast of foreground and background colours. This may not provide sufficient contrast when viewed using monochrome displays or by people who have difficulty seeing certain colours. The same page was tested using Hermish ( While it passed priority one with 2 cautions it failed on the following:Hermish detected the use of H tags. If your H tags are being used only for decoration then please use an alterative method of text display. Use H tags only to specification not for page de[...]



5. Good Practice (How to Design Accessible Web 2.0 Pages) As a result of unprecedented surge of Web technologies, intricate page layout and increased desire to use digital media in design process, today’s web pages look smarter and more attractive than before. The rise of Web 2.0 and the birth of AJAX added to this complexity. The result is that most designers and developers ignore one of the crucial ethics of the Web that it should represent everyone in spite of their mental or physical circumstances. The most important purpose of Web accessibility is to jog the memories of website developers of the methods for making the Web clearer, readable and writable for the disabled and for all other users. The Web is full of diverse technologies and applications to deferent degree of accessibility and millions of totally or partially inaccessible websites. The problem is not as WebAim (2006) puts it that the web designers deliberately don’t want to produce accessible websites but it is more to do with ignorance. Large numbers of web designers do not understand the concept of web accessibility. Understanding of the issue will help developers of web technologies and the designers of web pages to produce accessible web pages. 5.1. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 W3C introduced the working draft of Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2 (WCAG 2.0) in June 2006. The deference between WCAG 1 and 2 as stated by W3C (2006) “applies more broadly to different Web technologies and is designed to apply as technologies develop in the future. The WCAG 2.0 requirements are more testable. In WCAG 1.0, brief descriptions are included in the main WCAG 1.0 document under each guideline. With WCAG 2.0, extensive guidance is provided for each guideline and success criteria in Understanding WCAG 2.0. The WCAG 2.0 techniques are also more comprehensive and include tests”. The number requirement is to provide an alternative equivalent text for all none text content. This is essential to Web accessibility for disabled people. The for the most part a universal type of equivalent alternative is ALT text. ALT should be coupled with images and clickable part of image maps. ALT text is a phrase that briefly explains the image and makes its task clear to a person who cannot see the image. Principle 1: Content must be perceivable. Guideline 1.1 Provide text alternatives for all non-text content “If non-text content presents information or responds to user input, text alternatives serve the same purpose and present the same information as the non-text content. If text alternatives cannot serve the same purpose, then text alternatives at least identify the purpose of the non-text content.If non-text content is multimedia; live audio-only or live video-only content; a test or exercise that must use a particular sense; or primarily intended to create a specific sensory experience; then text alternatives at least identify the non-text content with a descriptive text labelIf the purpose of non-text content is to confirm that content is being operated by a person rather than a computer, different forms are provided to accommodate multiple disabilities.If non-text content is pure decoration, or used only for visual formatting, or if it is not presented to users, it is implemented such that it can be ignored by assistive technology.” Guideline 1.2: Provide synchronized alternatives for multimedia Audio, video and animation are essential assets for many Web designers, particularly to those who are working on news, amusement, and distance learning website. These essentials, however, can cause frightening problems for people who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, cognitive impairments and learning disabilities if they are not incorporated into the site by accessible ways. · “Captions (subtitle) are[...]



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