Emerging technologies and web accessibility: research challenges and opportunities focussing on vision issues

Harper S, Yesilada Y.

SOURCE: University of Manchester, School of Computer Science, Kilburn Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, United Kingdom.

This is a technological review paper focussed on identifying both the research challenges and opportunities for further investigation arising from emerging technologies, and it does not aim to propose any recommendation or standard. It is focussed on blind and partially sighted World Wide Web (Web) users along with others who use assistive technologies. The Web is a fast moving interdisciplinary domain in which new technologies, techniques and research is in perpetual development. It is often difficult to maintain a holistic view of new developments within the multiple domains which together make up the Web. This suggests that knowledge of the current developments and predictions of future developments are additionally important for the accessibility community. Web accessibility has previously been characterised by the correction of our past mistakes to make the current Web fulfil the original vision of access for all. New technologies were not designed with accessibility in mind and technologies that could be useful for addressing accessibility issues were not identified or adopted by the accessibility community. We wish to enable the research community to undertake preventative measures and proactively address challenges, while recognising opportunities, before they become unpreventable or require retrospective technological enhancement. This article then reviews emerging trends within the Web and Web Accessibility domains.