Enabling or Disabling Technologies?: A Critical Approach to Web Accessibility

David published a paper in the journal Information Technology and People, in 2006, entitled, ‘Enabling or Disabling Technologies?: A Critical Approach to Web Accessibility’.

Abstract: Purpose
– The purpose of this article is to analyse the continuing problem of web accessibility for disabled people as a critical information systems issue.

– The ways in which the web is used by disabled people, and problems that can arise, are described and related to the development of critical disability theory from older models of disability, including the medical and social models, noting that the social construction of disability model may tend to mask the embodied, lived experience of disability.

– The lack of interaction of the critical disability approach and dominant discourses of web accessibility and internet studies, particularly in relation to embodiment, is a major contributor to the continuance of an inaccessible Worldwide web.

Research limitations/implications
– The paper does not offer a comprehensive set of web accessibility issues, concentrating instead on the most common problems as exemplars.

Practical implications
– The paper raises awareness of web accessibility.

– The paper brings the topic of accessibility of technology by disabled people into the critical information systems arena and also incorporates social construction of disability and theoretical considerations of embodiedness in its analysis.


Adam, A & Kreps, D (2006) ‘Enabling or Disabling Technologies?: A Critical Approach to Web Accessibility’ in Information Technology and People Vol. 19 Iss: 3, pp.203 – 218 DOI:10.1108/09593840610689822

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