Centre for Accessibility
The Centre for Accessibility is an industry and not-for-profit collaboration working to promote digital access. It is wholly government-funded by the Disability Services Commission.
The digital world is a rapidly changing environment that all of us increasingly rely upon, but for people living with disability much of the Internet remains inaccessible. Applications and connectivity through online digital services can open up the world for people with disability, but they need to be accessible. Digital access increases ability, creates social connection and political engagement opportunities.
The role of the Centre for Accessibility is to empower the government sector and organisations, along with their digital designers and content developers, to implement accessibility when designing online resources. The Centre’s website provides a free, highly accessible online resource to promote and respond to queries about digital access.
Accordingly and unsurprisingly, the Centre’s website is designed to be WCAG 2.0 compliant. It provides an example of how to implement digital access in a way that is not boring. Many outwardly ‘accessible sites’ tend to be over simplified, perhaps remedial-centric, and often forgo aesthetic design. This website is a showcase, designed to demonstrate that implementing accessibility does not have to be to the detriment of good design.
Shortly after the Centre’s website launched, W3C released its updated WCAG 2.1 guidelines. Now, ICT professionals and content producers need to also consider the access implications of mobile-specific elements such as multiple input methods and sensor integration. The Centre for Accessibility website and resource were updated to reflect this new Standard, providing the same detailed instructions and examples as in the original content.
The Centre for Accessibility emerged out of the active, working collaboration of the project partners; digital access specialist Dr. Scott Hollier; digital design agency Media on Mars; and arts and disability organisation DADAA LTD. The partners’ long term collaborations and active work in digital access lead them to devise the Centre for Accessibility, and a wider campaign for social change, working to move ‘accessibility’ from a compliance issue to one that is focussed on the people it serves.