This workshop gives a practical introduction to the IMS AccessForAll specifications that support a new strategy for achieving accessibility to computer-based resources based on the needs and preferences of specific users in the circumstances in which they are operating. This abstract gives a brief introduction to these specifications which will be described by the presenters and used by delegates in the workshop.
There are many reasons why a user may have different needs and preferences with respect to their use of a computer, including because they have disabilities. Instead of classifying people by their disabilities, this new approach emphasizes the resulting needs in an information model for formal structured descriptions of them. It then provides a complementary formal structured information model for describing the characteristics of resources required for the matching process. The aim is to make it easy to record this information and to have it in a form that will facilitate the computer system to manage the accessibility provision efficiently.
The work described is not about how to create accessible content; that work is done primarily by the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C/WAI) . This is outlined for an eLearning context in a publication contributed to by the workshop presenters: the IMS Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications . The distinguishing feature of the approach described in this workshop is that it provides an approach that combines distributed content into accessible resources and so is not dependent upon the universal accessibility of the original resource.
The specifications, while initiated in the educational community, are suitable for any user in any computer-mediated context. These contexts may include e-government, e-commerce, e-health and more. The specifications can also be used in a number of ways, including: to provide information about how to configure workstations or software applications, to configure the display and control of on-line resources, to search for and retrieve appropriate resources, to help evaluate the suitability of resources for a user, and in the aggregation of resources.