One World, One Web … But Great Diversity

Yesterday I presented a paper on “One World, One Web … But Great Diversity” at the W4A 2008 conference  which was being held in Beijing. After the presentation and responding to the questions I received I went to the Claverton rooms at the University of Bath for coffee with my colleagues.

For the first time I presented a peer-reviewed paper which I had previously recorded and made available on my Web site and also via Google Video. The 22 minute long video was played at the conference and I was available to respond to questions via a Skype connection with the conference chair, David Sloan.

This was a very valuable learning experience. My previous use of video to give a presentation was at the UCISA 2008 Management Conference, where Andy Powell was available to complement my introduction with his live participation at the conference. On both occasions I’ve found that my talk has sounded ‘flat’ without the feedback one gets from presenting to a live audience.  Perhaps the next time I do this I should record a talk I give to a live local audience. But at least I saved an estimated 2.9 tonnes of carbon emissions and was able to get back to pressing items of work after the presentation.

The paper build on previous papers on accessibility, and explored how the holistic approach to Web accessibility we have developed previously can be applied in a Web 2.0 context. The paper arguing the need for a user-centred approach to Web accessibility, rather the the resource-centred approach which is the underlying basis for the accessibility guidelines developed by WAI.  

Your comments are welcomed.


  1. A 747 can carry roughly 180 tonnes of fuel. Assuming it burns all of its fuel each way (which it probably doesn’t), that’s 360 tonnes of fuel. It carries more than 400 passengers. Which means less than 1 tonne of fuel per passenger for a return trip.

    Now while there’s a lot of carbon in the fuel (about 80 percent by weight) there is not more carbon than there is fuel. So how is it that you are saving 2.9 tonnes of carbon emissions when you’ve burned less than 1 tonne of fuel?

  2. Hi Stephen – if you follow the link you’ll find that 2.9 tonnes is the figure provided by Carbon Footprint Calculators for a return trip from London Heathrow to Beijing. Note this is a UK company – perhaps the UK calculates the figures differently from Canada. Or perhaps the Web site factors in the carbon costs associated with building the plane? I’m not sure – and the Web site doesn’t seem to provide any details.

    Or possibly the green lobby is exaggerting the claims. Anyone care to respond?

  3. Hi Brian,

    I sat through your presentation yesterday lunchtime and it was nice to be able to have a cup of tea in the midst of it, so that’s a bonus of an online talk! It is a bit odd when I’m used to the dynamics of a live speaker, and yes, a little bit flat, but I thought it all very much worthwhile listening to. I particularly like your point about “stifling of innovation by the ‘accessibility fundamentalists’ barrier and the idea of moving to a user-centred approach of accessibility. I’ve found since trying out various applications with JAWS (and I know you’re not a big fan of it!) that they are not all bad. Somethings need to change in F’book and I’ve been chatting to other JAWS users on the accessibility group and hopefully one or two things will change. I’d rather not stop progress, but work with it to make it accessible.

    Hopefully I’ll get to hear you live and in person at your next conference!

    Re: Carbon Footprints, I reckon today with the teachers’ strike, quite a lot of carbon was saved – certainly the A34 was decidedly clear this morning!


  4. Hi There

    Carbon Dioxide that is the problematic greenhouse gas and not Carbon.

    When aviation fuel burns the Carbon within it reacts with Oxygen
    in the atmostphere, producing CO2 – 2 Oxygen atoms for
    each Carbon atom.

    So the mass of CO2 produced from burning Kerosene will be greater
    than the mass of Carbon available in the source of kerosene.

    In fact burning 1kg of kerosene fuel produces around 3.15 kg of CO2.

    If you put your flight details into any online Carbon Dioxide calculator you will get different results.

    My own calculations might be as follows:

    Depending on your source (do a google search) a 747 uses anything from 11 litres of fuel per km to 18 litres /

    This varies because of changes in take off time, taxying, waiting , landing, and weight of the freight, age of engines etc etc. Its a rough calculation.

    -Lets assume an average of 15 litres per km.

    -1 litre of water = 1 kg. I dont think kerosene differs much from that.

    -Heathrow to Beijing and back is about 16000 km.

    -Burning 1 kg of fuel produces 3.15 kg of CO2

    A straight calculation of these gives:
    16,000 km uses 15 x 16,000 = 240,000 kg of fuel.

    and so burning 240,000 kg of fuel will produce

    240,000 x 3.15 = 756,000 of CO2

    = roughly 1,890 kg CO2 per passenger (400 passengers)

    By Stephens calculations if the plane used all 360 tonnes (360,000kg)
    of fuel it would have produced
    360,000x 3.15 = 1,134,000 kg of CO2

    = roughly 2,835 kg CO2 per passenger (400 passengers)
    which is actually pretty close to your estimate above.

    None of this takes the effect of (water) vapour contrails from the aircraft, and no doubt many other factors. I
    would say it is only an estimate. Out of interest the only online carbon calculator I found that gave any kind
    of reference to how it worked its values out was the one on the carbon trust website.

    The DEFRA paper
    has some interesting statistics and I think this:
    was a good summary of some of the issues.

  5. Brian

    You might want to consider in future to do the videoed presentation as a discussion instead. In other words two or more people discussing and presenting.

    This may avoid the “flatness” associated with a lone delivery.


  6. Brian

    where can i get a copy of this paper?
    like to give it a read

    John Morse
    Eduserv PSG

  7. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the link to the conference. Looks interesting, esp as there will be a speaker from the RNIB. The race is on to squeeze some more cash from my institution to attend…

    I’ve been posting and chatting to other JAWS users on The Official Petition for a more Accessible Facebook ( It threw up an issue of not being able to read the email addresses on friends profiles and one of the other members has emailed F’book, so I’m pleased that VI users are getting themselves involved. Things are likely to change with F’book’s layout and may involve use of Ajax – do you have any useful info on it before I go Googling? I know it’s often cited as super inaccessible, so I’d like to know more and if there are things that can be done to make it more accessible.

    I’ll be keeping blogging. I’ve been enjoying Web 2.0 so much, I’m afraid I may be addicted… although I’m still not convinced about Twitter.


  8. Interesting paper. Would like to see/hear your flexible model for developers – it sounds great. Was there an earlier paper about that?

  9. Hi John, Yvonne
    My accessibility papers are listed below:

    One World, One Web … But Great Diversity
    Kelly, B., Nevile, L., Draffan, EA. and Fanou, S. WWW 2008 Beijing, China, 21-22 April 2008.

    Accessibility 2.0: People, Policies and Processes
    Kelly, B., Sloan, D., Brown, S., Seale, J, Petrie, H., Lauke, P. and Ball, S. WWW 2007 Banff, Canada, 7-11 May 2007.

    Using Context To Support Effective Application Of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
    Sloan, D., Kelly, B. Phipps, L., Petrie, H. and Fraser, H. Journal of Web Engineering, Issue 4. Vol. 5, 2006

    Contextual Web Accessibility – Maximizing the Benefit of Accessibility Guidelines
    Sloan, D, Kelly, B., Heath, A., Petrie, H., Hamilton, F and Phipps, L. WWW 2006 Edinburgh, Scotland 22-26 May 2006. Conference Proceedings, Special Interest Tracks, Posters and Workshops (CD ROM).

    Holistic Approaches to E-Learning Accessibility
    Phipps, L. and Kelly, B. ALT-J Research in Learning Technology, Vol. 14, No. 1, March 2006, pp. 69-78.

    Implementing A Holistic Approach To E-Learning Accessibility
    Kelly, B., Phipps, L. and Howell, C. ALT-C 2005 Conference Proceedings

    Forcing Standardization or Accommodating Diversity? A Framework for Applying the WCAG in the Real World
    Kelly, B., Sloan, D., Phipps, L., Petrie, H. and Hamilton, F. Proceedings of the 2005 International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop on Web Accessibility (W4A). ISBN: 1-59593-036-1.

    Developing A Holistic Approach For E-Learning Accessibility
    Kelly, B., Phipps, L. and Swift, E. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 2004, Vol. 30, Issue 3.

  10. I was at the conference, and even in the W4A meeting but not for your talk.

    You said: “After the presentation and responding to the questions I received I went to the Claverton rooms at the University of Bath for coffee with my colleagues”. That’s the missing part of this experience. You should have stayed in Beijing and had coffee with your colleagues there so that you had genuinely been a part of the confer-ence. Perhaps your face could have been projected onto the screen during the break, so that people could come and talk to you?

  11. Hi Les – I would have liked to have attended the conference in the flesh, but that wasn’t possible. I agree that it would have been better to have had a visual presence and not just the audio link using Skype – however the technology wasn’t up to that (indeed, the PC in Beijing crashed when my video presentation was first launched, resulting in a rapid change to the programme).


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