I will be presenting a paper “How Social Institutions Impact E-Accessibility Policy” at the Universal Design 2012 conference in Oslo on 11-13 June 2012.
This paper examines how social institutions (i.e. the differences in norms, values and procedures) impact the design and implementation of national and supranational policies to promote accessibility of information and communication technology (E-Accessibility). Due to its social and political importance, the paper focuses on web accessibility (Internet and intranet websites, web based applications, and non-traditional and emerging technologies).
Based on original research currently in progress the paper presents preliminary findings based on a content analysis of policy documents from the UN and the EU, and the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway. The paper describes the emergence of E-Accessibility on the UN and EU policy agenda, and then compares how and to what extent the US, UK and Norway have responded to or anticipated these supranational policies to promote E-Accessibility.
Achieving E-Accessibility depends on whether policymakers can regulate the market to address the needs of all people, including persons with disabilities. Social regulation policies aim to influence market function and the behavior of non-governmental actors in an attempt to promote social objectives. While policy measures for social regulation may take different forms, many of them will be covered by the distinction between legislative means, financial incentives and persuasion strategies.
The paper argues that the US, UK and Norway have not only adopted different policy instruments, they also have different approaches to ensuring or enhancing opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in the information society. E-Accessibility policy programs and approaches in these countries have been influenced and framed by different national policy traditions, the distribution of roles, and the relationships between actors participating in the design and implementation of E-Accessibility policy.