Squaring the triangle: the implications of broadband for access, diversity and accessibility in museum web design
This paper challenges international policy eg. UK, USA, Australia,regarding accessibility-design for museum Websites. Government-funded institutions are legally required to conform to reasonable and acceptable standards of accessibility. These are currently defined in terms of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The paper demonstrates through case studies that these guidelines are inadequate and that a more inclusive model of usability is needed. This paper is based on a comparative analysis of award winning website designs. Using case studies, it critiques current accessibility-evaluation tools by demonstrating how conformance to WCAG does not ensure accessibility. It extends previous research by proposing a set of practical heuristics for Web accessibility analysis that focus in particular on multimedia. Although there is a growing body of literature on Web site accessibility generally (Paciello 2000, Clark 2002, Mueller 2003) and some evaluation of Web sites in the library sector (Ormes and Peacock 1999, Brophy and Craven 1999, Petrie et al. 2004), very little research exists evaluating the accessibility of on-line cultural heritage collections for either general or disabled users (Robinson and Terras 2005).This work therefore breaks new ground. The significance of this paper is evidenced by its selection as one of 18 published in the printed proceedings from a programme of 37 accepted presentations. It prompted an invitation to contribute to a UK national forum on accessibility (Web Accessibility Summit II, 2 November 2006, TechDis/Higher Education Academy, York, UK.) that led in turn to another international conference paper (The 4th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility, 7-8 May 2007, Banff, Canada), an invitation to submit a paper to the Journal of Access Services and an invitation by the UK Central Office of Information to comment on recent proposals to make strict compliance with WCAG mandatory.
Citation : Brown, S.C. and Gerrard, D. (2006) Squaring the Triangle: The Implications of Broadband for Access, Diversity and Accessibility in Museum Web Design. Museums and the web 2006, March 22-25, 2006 Albuerque, New Mexico, pp. 47-57.
ISBN : 1-885626-33-9
Research Group : Photographic Studies and Creative Imaging
- Leicester Media School