Using Standard Protocols to Make Common Web-Based Applications More Accessible

Jason White


In this presentation, it is argued that by deploying industry-standard protocols in addition to, or in place of, custom-designed user interfaces, it is possible to attain a higher level of accessibility in a variety of application areas. While emphasizing that the use of widely implemented protocols is no substitute for following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 or its forthcoming successor, this strategy can nonetheless serve as a useful, supplemental means of increasing the accessibility of certain applications offered via the Web.

The principal advantage of common protocols derives from the extent to which they decouple the functionality of a Web-based application or service from its user interface. This enables a plurality of customized user interfaces to be developed by the Internet community, each suited to the needs of a different category of users. This solution is contrasted with the conventional approach to Web accessibility, which focuses instead on making a single user interface—that provided by the author of the Web content—as broadly accessible as possible.

Examples and References