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10th European e-Accessibility Forum
e-Accessibility in a connected world

30 May 2016, 9am-6pm
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Paris

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Accessible Open Web Platform

Shadi ABOU-ZAHRA (Europe)
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

Speaker's information

photo Shadi Abou-Zahra

Shadi Abou-Zahra works with the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) as Activity Lead of the WAI International Program Office, which includes groups that are responsible for education and outreach, coordination with research, general discussion on web accessibility, coordination with the WAI Technical Activity, and WAI liaisons with other organizations including standards organizations and disability groups. Shadi coordinates WAI outreach in Europe, accessibility evaluation techniques, and international standards promotion and harmonization activities. He is the scientific coordinator of the WAI-DEV Project (IST 611612), and is an editor and staff contact for the Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG). Shadi previously also led developments of the WAI-ACT Project (IST 287725), WAI-AGE Project (IST 035015), and WAI-TIES Project (IST 038471).



The Internet of Things promises to connect all sorts of sensors, actuators, and devices. This includes: telecommunications, medicine, cars and transportation, smart homes, buildings, and entire industries. But one primary issue still remains: the interoperability and usability of this new technology.

The Internet of Things (IoT) suffers from a lack of interoperability across platforms. As a result developers are faced with data silos, high costs and limited market potential. This can be likened to the situation before the Internet when there were competing non-interoperable networking technologies. The Internet makes it easy to develop networked applications independently of those technologies. The Web could solve this solution as the primary user interface and platform for interoperability.

The model for “Web of Things” is still continually evolving and maturing, but is based on a stack of technologies:

The Web of Things is a logical continuation of the evolution of the Web which has moved from a rather static and document-oriented technology to a highly dynamic platform. Each web page today is a programmable platform in itself, using the stack of web technologies. The Web could naturally continue to be the predominant user interface of the “internet of things” as it is for the “traditional internet”.

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) believes the Web of Things (WoT) to be a huge opportunity for people with disabilities and is working to ensure end-to-end accessibility from the creation of web content to its consumption by users. In addition to the internationally recognised standards developed by the WAI (WCAG, ATAG and UAAG) WAI would like to take a closer look at the protocol level, firstly through researching real life use cases. For example, do connected heating systems give temperatures in a text format, which can be represented in Braille, audio or any other format, or as an image? What protocols do sensors and actuators need to conform to in order to make provision for an accessible interface? Secondly, WAI would like to learn more about user needs and how solutions work in practice for people with disabilities. To do this, WAI calls upon the accessibility community to contribute to this work through community groups, interest groups and working groups.

Watch Shadi Abou-Zahra's presentation on YouTube. For subtitles, please use the CC button, and if you require a transcript do not hesitate to contact us at contact[at]braillenet.org.


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