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Incorporating Accessibility in Web-Based Work Environments: Two Alternative Approaches and Issues Involved

Basdekis, I., Alexandraki, C., Mourouzis, A. & Stephanidis, C. Incorporating Accessibility in Web-Based Work Environments: Two Alternative Approaches and Issues Involved. In: Stephanidis, C (Ed.), Universal Access in HCI: Exploring New Dimensions of Diversity. 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 22-27 Jul 2005, Las Vegas, USA.


The development of online work and collaboration environments presents a number of opportunities as well as challenges, especially for diverse user populations. They can enhance the mobility of workers and, subject to their design, offer access to people with disability and contribute significantly to tackling existing barriers in employment and social inclusion. At present, a number of web-based work environments have been developed; nonetheless, they hardly reach people with disability due to their low conformance with Web accessibility principles. One of the reasons why incorporating accessibility in online environments remains elusive for most Web service providers is that it is difficult for them to choose among the alternative approaches. This paper examines two different approaches of Web accessibility engineering from a provider’s perceptive and in relation to the resources required in each case. In the first approach, interfaces are made accessible by design, whereas the second approach involves the use of “filter and transformation tools” as a means to transform existing non-accessible interfaces into ones that comply with de facto Web accessibility recommendations. Based on the authors’ experience and hands-on practice on both approaches gained in the context of several European and national projects and through the development of fifteen accessible online tools in total, a study was conducted to examine the cost effectiveness of each approach. As a result, a set of practical guidelines are offered here for assisting web service providers in identifying the most appropriate approach with regards to the different needs of any given project.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (now part of Routledge) in Advances in Human-computer interaction international 2005, HCII 2005 in 2005, details available online:
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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