ACM tops list of “meanies” for lack of accessibility

January 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm 1 comment

Accessible Computing Mockery (ACM) happily behind the times

via Reading, Ranting, and Computing: 2009 Heroes and Meanies « As Your World Changes.

I linked to the As Your World Changes blog previously, for the eye-opening post on accessibility concerns in CS education.  I found that post particularly useful recently when I was asked to comment on a project that aimed to teach video game design to blind students (among others), using tools like Alice, Scratch, and Kodu.  I knew to ask, “How are blind students going to use a visual programming language?”  It’s an obvious question in hindsight, but I hadn’t made the connection before that post.

Susan Gerhart’s blog ends 2009 with a list of “Heroes and Meanies” in accessibility.  I was surprised to see the ACM heading the list of meanies.  While the ACM’s role in CS education is mentioned, the main complaint is about the inaccessibility of the ACM’s digital library (certainly one of the most valuable benefits of society membership).  That’s a sad commentary, that the most advanced computing professional organization isn’t making their web sites accessible.

The list of meanies goes on with several others that I hadn’t thought about previously. CAPTCHA is philosophically problematic.  The point of CAPTCHA is to prove ‘humanness,’ which it implicitly defines as accurate vision or hearing.  That’s quite an insult to disabled users.

I don’t have any great insights into solving accessibility problems.  I’m still learning about the issues from places like Susan’s blog.  I do think that significant thought-leading organizations like ACM ought to be leading the way by, at least, implementing the existing technologies for improving accessibility.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Selling electricity Introducing distributed over centralized version control system

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. slger  |  January 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks, Mark, for your thoughtful responses and dissemination of concerns about accessibility.

    I strongly recommend the well-written

    “Universal Design for Web Applications”by Wendy Chisholm and Matt May

    for an overview of a decade’s experience from W3C and the field. Are there comparable books or chapters for desktop software, especially pedagogical applications? The good news is that the powerful desktop-like browser and mobile platforms are incorporating accessibility as they come into use.

    To quote myself and encourage further thought, here’s a claim:

    Indeed, there is a “science of accessibility” with framework of concepts, criteria (perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust), engineering principles (POSH=Plain Old Semantic HTML”), progressive enhancement design process, empirical studies, validation and design tools, all based in the current mantra of “computational thinking”.

    — And see the great resources under #accessibility and#a11y on Twitter #


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,184 other followers


Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 2,039,343 hits
January 2010

CS Teaching Tips

%d bloggers like this: