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Robert Pearson

Accessible Media

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Centralization of Digital Accessibility Knowledge

As web accessibility compliance becomes more widespread and universal, there is an urgent need to centralize all our digital accessibility resources, writes Robert Pearson.

Digital Accessibility Resources

Images: We are experiencing the first the first Golden Age of Accessibility 

When the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 was established as an official recommendation by the W3C, it was the governments who first recognized that they needed to give attention to these new, internationally-recognized, standards. They had to ensure that government services and information had to transition smoothly over to the digital arena, and also remain accessible to all its citizens.

However, they needed the technological resources and personnel to be able to accomplish the intent of universal digital inclusion. At the time, the industry focus on the topic was only just developing and those personnel with the knowledge to understand and implement digital accessibility, with the resources at their disposal, became a highly sought-after resource to governments who then worked to centralize their knowledge.

Moving forward a few years, other major organizations became cognizant of the need for digital accessibility compliance and to an extent how it would be a business differentiator if they adopted accessibility into their digital presence against their competitors who did not. More than that these organizations served a vast clientele and therefore their adoption of accessibility was a logical business decision to ensure that they were serving everyone with equality. To that end, once again it was these organizations that worked to centralize the knowledge of a nascent industry.

Today, it would appear that a similar trend is developing. The industry has made significant gains in recent years, not only through standards adoption, technological evolution and grassroots initiatives, but also through the establishment of a professional society and recognition of the need to expand the definition of the industry itself beyond the web to all aspects of digital and ICTs. It would appear that the first golden age for accessibility is just beginning (more on this in my next blog post). Grassroots initiatives continue with rapid growth, while assistive technology organizations continue to make vast strides in providing that original intent of universal accessibility for those who require it or may utilize it.

Therefore, with governments and major organizations continuing to move forward with accessibility compliance based on years of experience, it is organizations of other sizes and industries that are now realizing the need to provide for this intent. Technology and consulting firms, sensing this burgeoning trend, have most clearly begun the process of knowledge centralization, bringing former independents together to be in a position to respond to the needs of the industry as it continues to grow in strength.

The logical question is whether this process will advance digital accessibility and its overall intent of universal inclusion? Or will it result in the golden age being shorter than it may have been, as the focus of work within the field begins to change? This is, of course, until new inductees into the field position the adoption of accessibility well and usher in the next golden age.

Overall though, there is an aspect of the industry that will always remain unchanged through this cyclical nature: the intent ‘to do good’. To serve the needs of an audience who may require some type of accommodation and to do it with ever increasing ingenuity.

Related Resources

Blog: e-Accessibility Leading the Way Toward Knowledge Society | Read Alexandre Gorelik's Article.
Publication: Putting e-Accessibility at the Core of Information Systems | Download Free Report.
Event: G3ict Presents at Zero Project Conference 2014 on Accessibility | Vienna - February 27-28, 2014 | Event Details.


Related Items:

• GameON


• Accessibility Online: A Neglected Frontier for People with Disabilities

• Nominations Open for U.S. FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility (AAA)

• BSI documentary points the way to accessibility in buildings and the Internet

• Accessibility Summit 2014: Web and Mobile Accessibility, Online Event

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