Museums And The Web 2005 Conference


Brian Kelly gave a talk on Web Accessibility: A Holistic Approach at the The Digital Object: UK Museums and the Web 2005 conference which was held at Leicester University on on 21st April 2005.

The talk took place in the "Accessing the Digital Object" session from 11:45-12:30, chaired by Marcus Weissen.

Conference Materials


[HTML format] - [MS Powerpoint format]


1. Comments on accessibility survey of museum Web sites
This has many similarities to surveys of the UK University sector.
2. Are the poor compliance levels of concern?
There has been much discussion about this. There is a feeling amongst the community, especially fdrom those who are actively seeking to provide accessible Web sites, that the WAI guidelines, although useful, do have their limitations.
3. If WAI has limitations, should we forget about it?
No! We do need to address accesibility issues. However there can be alternative approaches which complement the guidelines developed by WAI. These might include: (a) use of accessible proprietary formats (Flash and PDF can be accessible); (b) exploiting enhancements provided by operating systems and (c) exploring the potential of accessible real-world alternatives to inaccessible digital resources.
4. Can you give some practical examples of what museums should be doing?
You should have an accessibility policy. But this can (should) be wider than simply stating compliance with WAI guidelines.
You should carry out accessibility audits - but include people and don't just rely on automated tools such as Bobby.
You should seek to make use of WAI WCAG guidelines, especially level 1 guidelines. But have a pragmatic approach and don't necessarily treat them as gospel.

Useful URLs

Developing A Holistic Approach For E-Learning Accessibility
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.
Developing and Publicising a Workable Accessibility Strategy
Developing and Publicising a Workable Accessibility Strategy, Phipps, L., Harrison, S., Sloan, D. and Willder, B. Ariadne, Issue 38.
How To Evaluate A Web Site's Accessibility Level
Briefing 12
Use of Automated Tools For Testing Web Site Accessibility
Briefing 02
Accessibility Testing In Web Browsers
Briefing 57
Compliance with HTML Standards
Briefing 01
Use Of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Briefing 34
A URI Interface To Web Testing Tools
Briefing 59
Summary of the QA Focus Methodology
Briefing 57
Top 10 Quality Assurance Tips
Briefing 37
Implementing Your Own QA
Briefing 58

Biographical Details

Brian Kelly is UK Web Focus - an advisory post funded by the MLA and the JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee). Brian advises the cultural heritage sector and the higher and further education communities on standards and best practices for the provision of Web-based services. One of Brian's particular areas of interests is in Web accessibility. Brian has written papers on accessibility for e-learning and will be giving a paper at the International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop on Web Accessibility (W4A) in Japan in May 2005 on "Forcing Standardization or Accommodating Diversity? A Framework for Applying the WCAG in the Real World". Brian is based at UKOLN, a national centre of expertise in digital information management, located at the University of Bath.