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A revolution in the information society is now starting, based on the use of mobile phones in developing countries. The hyper-growth of mobile phone penetration is deeply changing the lives of people in most of the world; their ways of communicating, working, learning, and structuring their societies. The promising next step is obviously to access the Web. The Web has already touched the lives of over a billion people and now is the time for the next billions.

However, this expansion faces unprecedented accessibility challenges. Even the word "accessibility" needs a new definition for people in the developing regions. How can someone who is illiterate or barely literate access the Web? In some cases, a language may not even have a written form. The affordability of the technology is also a challenge, while access is constrained by low computational power, limited bandwidth, compact keyboards, tiny screens, and even by the lack of electric power. All of these constraints compound the problems of access and inclusion.

The desire for access in developing regions and the resourcefulness of the people who want inclusion unite the communities of people in developing regions and the communities of disabled people in the developed world. Will complex and highly graphical interfaces exclude developing regions from access? What problems exist, what are the newly appearing problems, and what solutions are required? How do the adoption patterns for Web accessibility and inclusion vary across cultures? What effect will the Web in the developing regions have on accessibility in the developed regions and vice versa?

We have common goals and common challenges to overcome, but what are they and how can they be addressed to our mutual benefit? What can Web accessibility experts learn from providing access in developing regions and what can developers do to facilitate access in developing regions based on lessons from Web accessibility?

In this case topics of interests include (but are not limited to):

Inclusion and Citizen Empowerment in Developing Regions;
Inclusion and Literacy in Developing Regions;
Enhancing Education in Developing Regions;
Accessibility Problems in Developing Regions;
Web Based Employment in Developing Regions;
Web Based Health Care in Developing Regions;
Evaluation and Validation tools and techniques;
User Experimentation looking at Social Networking and Freedom of Expression;
User Agents for Developing Regions and User Agent Guidelines;
Web Authoring Guidelines;
Design and best practice to support Web accessibility;
Technological advances to support Web accessibility;
End user tools;
Accessibility guidelines, best practice, evaluation techniques, and tools;
Psychology of end user experiences and scenarios;
Innovative techniques to support accessibility;
Universally accessible graphical design approaches;
Design Perspectives;
Adapting existing Web content; and
Accessible graphic formats and tools for their creation.

Official Website: http://www.w4a.info/2010/index.shtml

Added by tom_croucher on January 13, 2010