Code in action: Closing the black box of WCAG 2.0, A Latourian reading of Web accessibility

David Kreps, Mhorag Goff


The focus of much academic work on Web accessibility has been concerned with the lack of implementation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. There seems, as yet, however, to have been little critical reflection on the Guidelines themselves — save perhaps some awareness of the heterogeneous nature of the Web, and the difficulties facing Web developers trying to ensure their work displays true to their intentions across a wide range of different browsers and devices, making use of continually evolving and contested code. Yet, as this paper highlights, the long drawn out process by which version 2.0 of the WCAG came into being hides many skeletons, including aspects of the process of developing standards that bear closer scrutiny, and reveal much when viewed through Latourian eyes. The findings of this paper suggest that the WCAG2.0 are almost irrelevant today — to the detriment of those for whom they were made — and that the process of creating them was at fault.

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