Digital Media Accessibility

An Evolving Infrastructure of Possibility

Authored by: Elizabeth Ellcessor

The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138884588
eBook ISBN: 9781315716008
Adobe ISBN:


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Web accessibility standards, the guidelines by which the web and related technologies are made usable by people with disabilities, are not neutral. This chapter traces the processes of negotiation that characterized the development of WCAG 1.0, the US Section 508 standards, WCAG 2.0 and recent related updates. Using policy documents, web archives and interviews, this chapter describes accessibility standards as an infrastructure of possibilities. This is possible only because increased standardization—sameness—at the level of technical policies (“harmonization”) has streamlined standards in order to allow for a variety of practical interpretations.

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