Preventing Societal Discrimination: Accessible Web Design for People with Disabilities
Jonathan Lazar, Towson University
Tuesday, November 8, 12:30 pm Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
Technical standards already exist to make web sites accessible for people with perceptual and motor disabilities, while research is underway to better understand web design for cognitive disabilities. Despite the existing resources and knowledge, many categories of web sites continue to be inaccessible for people with perceptual and motor disabilities. For instance, over 90% of federal government web sites are inaccessible for people with disabilities, denying users access to important government information. Social media tools tend to be inaccessible, cutting people with disabilities out of the chance to socialize with friends and contribute to important discussions, both interpersonal and societal. E-commerce web sites are inaccessible, often meaning that people with disabilities are denied the online-only discounts available on the web. Online employment applications are often inaccessible, denying people with disabilities the ability to apply for jobs on an equal footing. This presentation will provide an overview of web accessibility for people with disabilities, including the technical standards and laws, as well as reporting on recent research projects documenting how inaccessible web sites lead to various forms of discrimination against people with disabilities.
Dr. Jonathan Lazar is a Professor of Computer and Information Sciences, Director of the Undergraduate Program in Information Systems and Director of the Universal Usability Laboratory, all at Towson University. Dr. Lazar is involved in teaching and research in the area of human-computer interaction, specifically, Web usability, Web accessibility for people with disabilities, user-centered design methods, assistive technology, and public policy in the area of human-computer interaction. He has published 5 books, including “Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction” (2010, John Wiley and Sons), “Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations” (2007, John Wiley and Sons), and “Web Usability: A User-Centered Design Approach” (2006, Addison-Wesley). He serves on the editorial boards of Interacting with Computers, Universal Access in the Information Society, and ACM Interactions Magazine, and serves on the executive board of the Friends of the Maryland Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Dr. Lazar was named a winner of the 2011 University System of Maryland Regents Award for Public Service, a winner of the 2010 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award from the National Federation of the Blind, and a winner of the 2009 Outstanding Faculty Award in the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics at Towson University. Dr. Lazar currently serves as the chair of public policy for ACM SIGCHI (Computer-Human Interaction).