Raising Awareness

"A centre of excellence in digital information management, providing advice and services to the library, information and cultural heritage communities."

UKOLN is based at the University of Bath.

OZeWAI 2009

From Web Accessibility 2.0 to Web Adaptability (1.0)

Brian Kelly was an invited speaker at the OZeWAI 2009 conference on "Web Adaptability for Inclusion Conference 2009: Realising the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities" which as held at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia on 21-23rd January 2009.

Brian gave the opening plenary talk on "From Web Accessibility 2.0 to Web Adaptability (1.0)".


[MS PowerPoint] - [HTML]


[AVI] (local copy)- [Flash] (on - [Flash] (on Vimeo)



From Web Accessibility 2.0 to Web Adaptability (1.0)
Length of talk
45 minutes plus time for questions.

The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative has been successful in raising awareness of the potential of digital resources for enhancing access for people with disabilities. This success has been achieved in high-level policy circles at national and international levels and by many developers and providers of Web services.

But with WAI now being over 10 years old it is timely to look beyond its political successes and revisit the effectiveness of WAI's three-layered approach to Web accessibility, which is dependent on content which conforms with WCAG, authoring tools which conform with ATAG and browsers which conform with UAAG.

In this talk Brian Kelly will describe his engagement with Web accessibility which dates back to attendance at the launch meeting of WAI. He will review his early work which promoted WAI best practices across the UK's higher and further education communities. He will go on to describe how the limitations of WAI's approaches became apparent, initially in the context of the accessibility of e-learning resources. The subsequent concerns on how to advise Web developers, authors and policy makers were resolved in the development of a holistic framework for Web accessibility, which was published in the Canadian Journal of Learning Technology in 2004. This work, which was initially carried out by UKOLN and its fellow JISC-funded service, Techdis, has continued since the initial paper, with peer-reviewed papers being presented at several international conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.

Recent work has described how the approach which was developed in the context of e-learning accessibility can be applied across other areas, such as the accessibility of cultural resources, and how this approach is also applicable within a Web 2.0 environment, in which the diversity of services available can allow users the flexibility to make use of services which reflect their own individual interests and preferences, which may include preferences which reflect their own personal environment.

This approach has focussed to dare on providing a flexible policy environment which will allow for a diversity of approaches, rather than the straight jacket of complying with a set of rules. The next steps will be exploring how this flexibility can be expressed in a machine understandable fashion.

Or, to summarise in a single sentence, this talk will describe a move from the monolithic and top-down 'Web accessibility 1.0' environment to a more pragmatic and user-focussed 'Web accessibility 2.0' world and speculate on a vision for the 'Web accessibility 3.0.

Further Information
A timeline of Brian's involvement in Web accessibility work is available at <>.

Biographical Details

Brian KellyBrian Kelly is 'UK Web Focus' at UKOLN, the national centre of expertise in information management based at the University of Bath. He has a responsibility for advising UKOLN's communities (the higher and further education sector together with cultural heritage organisations) on best practices for exploiting the potential of the Web. His particular interests are in Web standards, Web accessibility and Web 2.0.

Brian has been involved in Web activities since january 1993, when he helped established a Web service at the University of Leeds (possibly the first institutional Web site in the UK). In 1996 he worked as the Senior Trainer for the Netskills training organisation. He has been in his present post since November 1996.

Brian has given almost 300 presentations about the Web during his time at UKOLN. He has also published peer-reviewed papers on Web accessibility, Web standards and Web 2.0.

Brian has been involved in Web accessibility work since attending the launch event for W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative at the WWW 6 conference held in Santa Clara 1997. After a number of year's in which Brian promoted use of WAI WCAG guidelines, he became aware of the limitations of this approach especially in the area of the accessibility of e-learning resources. An initial paper on "Developing A Holistic Approach For E-Learning Accessibility" was published in 2004 which described a holistic approach to Web accessibility. Since then further work on developing this approach and extending it to other areas has been published in conjunction with a number of Web accessibility researchers and practitioners, initially in the UK but more recently with accessibility experts from other countries. In particular Brian has had papers on this work published at the W4A 2005, W4A 2006, W4A 2007 and W4A 2008 conferences.


Please note that due to embedded objects this page does not validate.