The Epidemiology of Web Accessibility: Improving Internet Health by Identifying and Tackling the Root Cause of Web Accessibility Issues

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The epidemic of inaccessible websites presents a major challenge to equitable information access and continues to threaten our vision of an inclusive digital society. Despite decades of research, education, legislation, and policy reform globally, little progress has been made to ensure the accessibility of websites. Today's web accessibility strategies and tools are predicated on the belief that web accessibility issues are introduced through code created by the website developer and therefore focus on that website's code in isolation. However, as demonstrated in modern web security research, vulnerabilities can be introduced via dependencies to external libraries and frameworks outside of their development control. This PhD research explores an epidemiology-inspired approach to web accessibility to accurately model internet health, with the objective of identifying the root causes of accessibility barriers, how they propagate in the web ecosystem, and how to help web developers prevent and mitigate the propagation of accessibility barriers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages8
JournalACM SIGACCESS Accessibility and Computing
Issue number137
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2024

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