‘Instead of building a new association, if the aim is to remove barriers to access, then we should contribute directly of the ACM/IEEE curriculum effort, we should add information to the Opera Web Standards curriculum, and the W3C WAI EOWG. We need to get access education across all teaching and learning resources and into existing curriculum’s.’
As you’re reading this a session, over at CSUN, will be starting which is discussing the creation of an association of accessibility professionals:
Taking Accessibility Mainstream—Making the Case for an International Society of Accessibility Professionals
This has caused a number of accessibility organisations, companies, and people to weigh in with their opinions; including ‘AFB‘ and ‘Knowbility‘ to name but two – and there are many discussions on the ‘508 LinkedIn‘ list t’boot!
Those with the ‘No’ view cite many reasons but of the many, three resonate with me:
- There IS an authority in web accessibility standards and design techniques;
- Too expensive – needed voices will be excluded; and
- Accessibility must be integrated everywhere, not only commercially.
Now this is mostly academic (yes, pun intended) to me as I’m an empirical research scientist and so I’m unlikely to join any such practice based organisation, but as you’d expect, I do have a view!
It seems to me there are 3 main reasons for creating such a soc./assoc.
- To certify members of the association as competent accessibility professionals;
- To create a ‘club’, which will in the end become a tick-box requirement for accessibility work, and therefore become a de-facto membership requirement for all accessibility work; or
- To help reduce the barriers to access.
Now, to my way of thinking, certification is going to be difficult – who decides, how will this be measured, what will it cost, what will it entail, what, what, what?
Creating a club doesn’t seem to really do anything – we already have clubs – unless it will become a requirement for accessibility work. Now if this is the case, what will happen to accessibility researchers, people who are super competent but don’t wish to join, people who disagree with the advice and best practice the association gives?
Finally, if we wish to make things better, then as many accessibility researchers already know – via the work already in the field by Trewin 2010, and Fortes 2007 – it’s Education, Education, Education.
Instead of building a new association, if the aim is to remove barriers to access, then we should contribute directly of the ACM/IEEE curriculum effort, we should add information to the Opera Web Standards curriculum, and the W3C WAI EOWG. We need to get access education across all teaching and learning resources and into existing curriculum’s.
A difference will be made, not by another association, but by building in accessibility ‘thought’ / ethos / ethics (via education, mostly) across all development.