Using Web 2.0 and 3D Worlds to enhance accessibility

Jun 1, 2010 7:51:00 PM / by Vu Long Tran

I have been reading this titled, 'Communicating in virtual worlds through an accessible Web 2.0 solution' by Denise Wood published in the Telecommunications Journal of Australia 2010, Vol. 60, No. 2: 19.1-19.16., and she's been explaining the benefits of web 2.0 and 3D worlds for isolated individuals within our community and how it can be used to reengage them.

It was interesting so I would like to share this with you some of the highlights.

She explains how '3D virtual worlds have the potential to link those who are isolated by disability, geographical location and social circumstances through the establishment of virtual communities. In this way virtual worlds can enable people with disabilities to transcend the limitations of their 'actual lives' through virtual space'. I see this as following through from what Hiliary Clinton mentioned about to potential for each of us to transcend ourselves ( ...transcends yourself and you will find yourself...), and I see that it is important that they have the opportunity to do so.
So used correctly, it was noted that Web 2.0 and 3D virtual worlds would be able facilitate the following benefits for people with disabilities, such as:
  • Increasing social participation
  • Ensuring equal access to information; and
  • Enhancing teaching and learning.

Why Web 2.0 and social networking are used

There was also a reference to five classes of social software which is important to understand the core reasons that an individual may choose use social networking tools. They are as follows:
  1. Communication;
  2. Sharing
  3. Discovery of old and new contacts
  4. Relationship management
  5. Collaborative or competitive gaming


Although it was noted that there are still accessibility challenges posed by Web 2.0 and 3D virtual worlds, some of these included keyboard accessibility limitations, lack of alternative text for images, and use of fixed font size for text. This is attributed the increasing use of technical web development code (Asynchronous Javascript and XML (AJAX) to create dynamic Web 2.0 pages along with the growth of video content within Web 2.0 sites which 'augments or replaces web content'. These are challenges as users using legacy or slower devices may find it difficult to access this.
Vu Long Tran

Written by Vu Long Tran

Solutions Engineer APAC. ex-@Forrester consultant. Writing on #cloud #howto guides and #tech tinkering!