Current debates on the future of Internet accessibility

Location: Lancaster University, UK

Date: 5th March 2014

This is a multi-disciplinary, interactive forum which aims to bring together participants from public and private sectors, charities and academia to debate upon and shape the future of website accessibility.  A particular concern is high-level initiatives to deliver public services online in the light of the concern that technological equality can only be achieved if policies are put in place to ensure all that citizens are given the opportunity to participate and reap the benefits of technological developments equally. 

Issues covered will include:

  • The digital divide and disability discrimination law
  • Accessibility design, implementation and usability
  • The public sector and accessibility
  • The social model of disability and the impact of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • The EU Accessibility Act and procurement
  • Accessibility case studies

The day will include presentations by a number of invited speakers and a number of participatory activities to highlight strategies for future development.  The event will be particularly useful for:

  • Charities
  • Policymakers focusing on public IT provision
  • Website designers and project managers
  • Academics working in the areas of technology, law and disability studies

Participants should expect to gain:

  • Insights into how to embed accessibility into large projects
  • A greater understanding of how law and policy shape website accessibility compliance

This is a FREE event and as such places are limited.  Please email the organiser, Catherine Easton to reserve a place.  The closing date for reservations is the 21st of February 2014.


Mike Paciello, Founder and President of The Paciello Group

Mike has pioneered the field of accessible interface design as a technologist, consultant, author and professional speaker. His internationally best-selling book, Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities, remains the definitive standard reference for accessibility design, implementation and usability.

In 2006, Mike, along with colleague Jim Tobias, was appointed co-chair to the United States Federal Access Board’s Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC). On April 3rd 2008, TEITAC presented a historic series of internationally harmonized recommendations that will bridge the gap between technology and people with disabilities.

In 2007, Mike was invited by United Nations Ambassador Luis Gallegos of Ecuador to speak on the theme, “Identifying Core Areas of Opportunity to Foster Greater ICT Accessibility” at UN headquarters for the UN’s Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) event. In 1997, Mr. Paciello received recognition from President William Clinton for his work in the creation of World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

Paciello has been cited and interviewed in numerous newspapers and periodicals including the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, NY Times, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Weekly, and E-Week magazine. He has appeared on the award winning PBS show, “Computer Chronicles” hosted by Steward Cheifet and has made several appearances on the AT508 webcast show for Internet TV pioneer, TVworldWide.Com hosted by Dave Gardy.

Joshua Marshall

Head of Accessibility for the UK’s Government Digital Service

Joshua is a developer and the Head of Accessibility for the UK’s Government Digital Service, and part of the team responsible for building the award-winning

Léonie Watson 

Senior Accessibility Engineer with The Paciello Group

Léonie Watson began using the internet in 1993, turned it into a web design career in 1997, and (despite losing her eyesight along the way) has been enjoying herself thoroughly ever since.  After many years as Director of Accessibility at Nomensa, Léonie is now a Senior Accessibility Engineer with The Paciello Group (TPG). Amongst other things she is Chair of the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB), writes for .Net magazine, and is a member of the W3C HTML Working Group and HTML Accessibility Task Force. She even appears every now and then on TV and radio to talk about technology.


Dr Catherine Easton

Lecturer in Law, Lancaster University

Catherine’s research interests focus on Internet governance and accessibility.  She has written a number of publications examining how disability discrimination provisions apply to the Internet.  Catherine is a member of the steering panel of the UN Internet Governance Forum’s Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition.


5 thoughts on “Current debates on the future of Internet accessibility

  1. Catherine Easton

    Dear Jenny,
    Thank you for your interest. I am aiming to video record some of the presentations and to provide some handouts either online or by request. I will post here in relation to what will be available after the event.
    Many thanks,


  2. Jenny Darzentas

    I am also very interested in this event, but unfortunately cannot attend. As with Dale, I would be very pleased to have access to any information that would be made available after the event.


  3. Catherine Easton

    Dear Dale – thank you for your interest. The exact details are not yet determined but I aim to record the main presentations and make these available online. This site will be updated once the plans are finalised.


  4. dalecruse

    I’d love to be there. This sounds like a terrific discussion. Will it be streamed or will a transcript be made available later?



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