Accessibility & Big Open Data

It seems to me there is a gap between accessibility as we understand it today and the new requirements implied by todays fast moving, complex, and large data. This data is beyond the ‘limited’ user/author created content for which the current guidelines (focused on P. O. U. R.) were designed.

Big Open DataIndeed, think back to Christmas and the analysis and collation of usability principles resulting in the principles of: Dialog Yields Closure; Consistency & Standards; Exploit Constraints; Support Control & Freedom; Simple Error Handling; Familiarity; Informative Feedback; Help & Documentation; Resumption of Interrupts; Self Describing; Heuristic Evaluation; Learnability; Real-Virtual Mappings; Reduce Memory Load; Support Navigation & Freedom; Easy Reversal of Actions; Safety; Provide Shortcuts; Simplicity; Attention Singularity of Focus; Task Suitability & Conformance; Flexibility; Universal Commands; Utility; and Make Things Visibility. Indeed, usability seems more about functionality, while accessibility seems more about content.

Big Open Data is frequently updated, complex to analyze, and obviously very, very large. But this kind of open data is very important for full societal participation, with datasets being released by governments and councils around the world; in the interests of transparency and participation. But this intended participation is mute if you aren’t able to arrive at a deep understanding of the data and its meaning – for yourself. In general we need ‘first class’ access modalities which do not relay on second-class conversions from visual to non-visual; but are first class citizens in their own right.

In this case we need to add appropriate summarization, non-graphical display, non-tabular display, sonification, and intelligent data mining to the accessibility mix. But these cannot be provided by third-parties as the datasets update too frequently, and because the whole point of open data is empowerment; that a citizen can understand for themselves – without third party intervention – the data set that they are interested in.

If open data, and its access by citizens, is as important as governments seem to think, then the deep accessibility of that data is just as important.

We’ve seen the specific case in relation to Big Open Data; but what is deep accessibility in more general terms…?

2 thoughts on “Accessibility & Big Open Data

  1. Pingback: Deep Accessibility | Thinking Out Loud…

  2. Pingback: Defining Deep Accessibility (or how to make Mustikka-rahkapizza) | Thinking Out Loud…

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