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Archive for May, 2010

Digital Exclusion: Exclusion Zone

By Dan Jellinek

The concept of ‘digital exclusion’ might seem simple enough, but it is actually a highly complex field to define and analyse, and academics and policymakers are divided on the best ways to address it, a City University, London seminar heard last week.

‘Digital inclusion and social exclusion: is there a relationship and what are the policy implications?’ was addressed by Ellen Helsper, lecturer in media and communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Accessible e-Books “Tantalisingly Close”

Many of the barriers that currently hinder access to electronic book reading platforms by people with disabilities are easily correctable by altering the implementation of existing technologies, according to a new report.

The best practice guide on e-book accessibility was produced for the publishing industry by the Publishers Licensing Society and JISC TechDis, the disability and technology advisory agency for the education sector. Findings in the guide – which form part of a lengthier full report on the research – are based on the results of accessibility testing of e-book platforms carried out in 2009 by disability charity the Shaw Trust.

Disability Linked To Digital Exclusion And ‘Disengagement’

Levels of home internet access in the UK are directly linked to a wide range of traditional indicators of social exclusion including disability, a digital inclusion seminar at City University, London heard this month.

Ellen Helsper, lecturer in media and communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, told the seminar that among the disabled population, 59% do not have home access, compared with just 29% of the general population.

Draft Web Access Standard Embraces Personalisation

Personalisation of website accessibility, including customising tools and offering different versions of sites to suit individual needs, should be considered for some specialist websites such as social networking platforms, according to the latest draft of a British standard on web accessibility.

The second draft of BS 8878 ‘Web accessibility – Code of practice’, developed by a sub-committee of the British Standards Institution (BSI), IST/45, suggests that educational establishments, social networking sites, e-learning websites and other sites requiring a member login have an opportunity to provide users with personalisation facilities and “an individualised approach to dealing with their accessibility needs”.