W4A 2010       

26th & 27th April 2010 • Raleigh • NC • USA


7th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility

Developing Regions: Common Goals, Common Problems?

Co-Located with the Ninteenth International World Wide Web Conference, in Raleigh, USA.

This years conference focused on Developing Regions wishing to investigate our Common Goals and Common Problems. We thought that a revolution in the information society was starting, based on the use of mobile phones in developing countries. The hyper-growth of mobile phone penetration was deeply changing the lives of people in most of the world; their ways of communicating, working, learning, and structuring their societies. The promising next step was obviously to access the Web. The Web has already touched the lives of over a billion people and now was the time for the next billions.

However, this expansion faced unprecedented accessibility challenges. Even the word "accessibility" needed a new definition for people in the developing regions. How can someone who is illiterate or barely literate access the Web? In some cases, a language may not even have a written form. The affordability of the technology is also a challenge, while access is constrained by low computational power, limited bandwidth, compact keyboards, tiny screens, and even by the lack of electric power. All of these constraints compound the problems of access and inclusion.

The desire for access in developing regions and the resourcefulness of the people who want inclusion unite the communities of people in developing regions and the communities of disabled people in the developed world. Would complex and highly graphical interfaces exclude developing regions from access? What problems existed, what were the newly appearing problems, and what solutions were required? How did the adoption patterns for Web accessibility and inclusion vary across cultures? What effect would the Web in developing regions have on accessibility in the developed regions and vice versa?

We had common goals and common challenges to overcome, but what were they and how could they be addressed to our mutual benefit? What could Web accessibility experts learn from providing access in developing regions and what could developers do to facilitate access in developing regions based on lessons from Web accessibility?

2010 Archival Links

2010 Award Recipients

2010 Best Paper Award

Andy Brown, Caroline Jay, and Simon Harper; for Audio access to calendars

The rise of 'Web 2.0' has brought a much more interactive aspect to the Web: users are no longer just reading pages, but creating them, modifying them, and interacting with them. The Web is increasingly becoming the preferred means of communication, and particularly booking events and appointments; online personal and corporate diaries allow friends and colleagues to arrange meetings and coordinate activities. Many of these types of online activities require users to perform the apparently simple task of entering a date. For sighted people who have access to pop-up calendars, selecting a date is quick and easy. Unfortunately, this facility is not currently available to people with visual impairments, for whom entering a correctly formatted date can be a difficult and time-consuming task, with mistakes having potentially serious consequences. Here we describe the process by which we designed and evaluated an audio interface for entering dates. An eye-tracking study gave insight into how tabular calendars help sighted people enter dates, This understanding was used to design an audio interface that used the cognitive advantages of the visual design, rather than mimicking the visual representation. Iterative testing was followed by an evaluation using participants with visual impairments that highlighted the problems with manual date entry, and which showed the audio system to be effective and popular.

author = {Brown, Andy and Jay, Caroline and Harper, Simon},
title = {Audio access to calendars},
booktitle = {W4A '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A)},
year = {2010},
isbn = {978-1-4503-0045-2},
pages = {1--10},
location = {Raleigh, North Carolina},
doi = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1805986.1806028},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},

2010 John M Slatin Award for Best Communication Paper

Brian Kelly, Sarah Lewthwaite, and David Sloan; for Developing countries; developing experiences: approaches to accessibility for the real world

The need for developing countries to consider appropriate strategies for enhancing access to networked resources by disabled people provides an opportunity to assess the merits and limitations of the approaches which have been taken in western countries. This paper reviews the limitations of dependence on a constrained technical definition of accessibility, and builds on previous work which developed a holistic approach to Web accessibility and a generic model to assist policy makers in understanding the complexities of addressing Web accessibility. We explore how such approaches can be deployed by practitioners and developers with responsibilities for the deployment of Web services within the context of limited resources, flawed technologies, conflicting priorities and debates within disability studies on the nature of disability. A pragmatic framework is presented which supports promotion of digital accessibility within a wider social inclusion context. It learns from past difficulties and aims to assist policy makers and practitioners across the world in decision-making when seeking to deploy accessible Web-based services within the context of limited resources, conflicting priorities and the limitations of technical accessibility guidelines.

author = {Kelly, Brian and Lewthwaite, Sarah and Sloan, David},
title = {Developing countries; developing experiences: approaches to accessibility for the real world},
booktitle = {W4A '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A)},
year = {2010},
isbn = {978-1-4503-0045-2},
pages = {1--4},
location = {Raleigh, North Carolina},
doi = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1805986.1805992},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},

2010 Web Accessibility Challenge sponsored by Microsoft: Judges Award

Nikolaos Kaklanis, Konstantinos Votis, Konstantinos Moustakas, and Dimitrios Tzovaras ; for 3D HapticWebBrowser: towards universal web navigation for the visually impaired

2010 Web Accessibility Challenge sponsored by Microsoft: Delegates Award

Jeffrey P. Bigham, Chandrika Jayant, Hanjie Ji, Greg Little, Andrew Miller, Robert C. Miller, Aubrey Tatarowicz, Brandyn White, Samuel White, and Tom Yeh; for VizWiz: nearly real-time answers to visual questions

Mendeley citation generator
IW3C2 Endorsment ACM Supported Zakon Supported Microsoft Supported Mozilla Supported Google Supported


We'd like to thank the IW3C2, ACM and the ACM SIGACCESS, Zakon Group, Microsoft Research, Mozilla, and Google for all their support in arranging and funding the conference.

Creative Commons License
W4A Conference Web Site by Web4All is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.w4a.info/about/rights.shtml.