Disability and New Media
By Katie Ellis, Mike Kent
Published December 20th 2010 by Routledge – 184 pages
Disability and New Media examines how digital design is triggering disability when it could be a solution. Video and animation now play a prominent role in the World Wide Web and new types of protocols have been developed to accommodate this increasing complexity. However, as this has happened, the potential for individual users to control how the content is displayed has been diminished. Accessibility choices are often portrayed as merely technical decisions but they are highly political and betray a disturbing trend of ableist assumption that serve to exclude people with disability. It has been argued that the Internet will not be fully accessible until disability is considered a cultural identity in the same way that class, gender and sexuality are. Kent and Ellis build on this notion using more recent Web 2.0 phenomena, social networking sites, virtual worlds and file sharing.
Many of the studies on disability and the web have focused on the early web, prior to the development of social networking applications such as Facebook, YouTube and Second Life. This book discusses an array of such applications that have grown within and alongside Web 2.0, and analyzes how they both prevent and embrace the inclusion of people with disability.
Introduction I. At the Crossroads 1. Universal Design in a Digital World 2. iAccessbility from iTunes 1.0 to iPad 3. Building Digital Stairways: Nice View, But What About My Wheelchair? II. How Did We Get Here? 4. We Want You in Our Network: Universal Design V Retrofitting the Web 5. (Physical) Disability Is a Form of Social Oppression? 6. Does That Face-'Book' Come in Braille? Social Networking Sites and Disability III. Where to Next? 7. Avatars with Wheelchairs, But No Virtual Guide Dogs: Disability and Second Life 8. Challenges and Opportunities: The Road Ahead for Disability in a Digital World Conclusion
Katie Ellis is a lecturer in Media and Communications at Murdoch University. A film-critic and cultural commentator, she is the author of Disabling Diversity (VDM 2008). She has mentored filmmakers with disability and published a number of articles on cinema and new media addressing both issues of representation and active possibilities for social inclusion.
Mike Kent is a lecturer in Internet Studies at Curtin University. His current research is focused on disability and the internet. His articles have appeared in Fast Capitalism, Nebula, Online Opinion, AQ – Australian Quarterly and M/C Journal (Media Culture). Dr Kent has taught media studies, cultural studies and e-commerce at universities in Australia and the UK.