One of the most frustrating yet fascinating challenges to achieving an optimally accessible Web is trying to complete a perfect circle. Three parts of that circle are covered by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative’s triumvirate of guidelines: conformant content (WCAG), created by conformant authoring tools (ATAG), and accessed using conformant user agents (UAAG). This approach has some practical flaws – not least in that there’s a missing part of the circle: conformant users.
As a web accessibility researcher and consultant, a significant part of my job involves finding out what’s going on in the field.
In order to do this, I should spend most of my time reading journal papers and attending academic conferences. These publications are peer-reviewed, and should be rigorous and high quality accounts of relevant investigations into how technology can be used to improve the experiences of disabled people. They’re usually the results of major funded research projects, lasting one or more years, and are indeed generally of high quality.
In academia, this is how the quality of our work is measured – the number of publications we achieve, and more importantly, the quality of the place we publish.