The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) aims to promote universal web access. The purpose of this presentation is to quickly show what is causing concern and what can be done about it.
Theoretically, it is an extension of the 'kerb cut' theory - everyone has the right to the same access to information and by making web content accessible, everyone stands to gain. If everyone has the same right to information, the same information, and there is broader bandwidth and more multimedia all the time, how can accessibility be achieved other than by providing all information in 'equivalent' forms for all people. This has led to the theory of 'equivalence' - and leaves questions about how it is to be achieved. the W3C Web Content Access Guidelines provide a theoretical framework for accessibility - but a practical approach is needed by those who want to achieve accessible content.
Those of us who care about accessibility and proactively advocate it want to show everyone that their awareness counts. More specifically, that:
Currently there is no simple way to produce universally accessible websites other than by following the guidelines and applying them to the website's metadata, structure, content and layout. If we demand better authoring tools, perhaps everyone will make accessible sites without even thinking about it.
Copyright Liddy Nevile 19 March 2001. This material may be copied if source is acknowledged.