Since 2005 I, in conjunction with a number of other accessibility researchers and practitioners in the UK and Australia, have sought to develop a framework for Web accessibility which addresses the shortcomings of the WAI model (which suggests that universal accessibility will be provided by a combination of guidelines for Web content, authoring tools and user agents).

This work began with a paper on “A Holistic Approach to E-Learning Accessibility” by myself, Lawrie Phipps and Elaine Swift published in the Canadian Journal of Learning and Research in 2005.  Ten further papers were subsequently published which furter developed these ideas.

A fair amount of thinking and discussions have taken place in the past 5 years. However at the recent OzeWAI 2009 conference Lisa Herrod summarised our work in a Twitter post:

massive thanks and kudos to @briankelly for adding context & purpose to my accessibility methodology i.e. Accessibility isn’t binary.

Yes, that’s a great summary: “Accessibility isn’t binary“.  It’s not about following a set of rules to achieve universal accessibility.  It’s about shades of grey, differing interpretations, differing user requirements, differing scenarios, etc. And the advocacy, the policies and the appropriate areas for standardisation all arise from those three words.

Thanks to Lisa for spotting the key aspect – and for perhaps coming up with an appropriate title for my next talk on this topic.