SocialTech

Tech Support
for Social Problems

Accessibility is a social issue that is often framed in technical terms.
Rather than separating accessibility, diversity and inclusion, we want to think them as interconnected aspects of human interaction.

We want to take a step back from technological limitations to work on creating inclusive, accessible environments that welcome everyone.

Understanding access needs and creating inclusive spaces however is very context-dependent and usually has to be done on a case-by-case basis. Dealing with accessibility and inclusion requires good strategies, but there is more to it than adhering to a set of pre-definided guidelines.

We would like to invite you to re-think practical matters of accessibility and inclusion by approaching it as part of everyday communication. We want to highlight that accessibility is not necessarily about solving a fixed set of problems, but about cultivate an ability to critically and productively engage with people and their needs in our daily lives.

No matter if you are an academic writer, webservice host, business, or service provider, you want to reach people with your work. Framing inclusion as a matter of communication allows to consider a wider range of ideas and therefore enable you to reach a broader audience.

Why are we doing this?

During my studies at the department of Science and Technologie Studies at the University of Vienna, I became involved in (academic) event planning. For the Changing Worlds Conference that I co-founded, we focused on transdisciplinarity, accessibility and inclusion. But even after that project ended, one question kept popping up: Accessibility sounds great, but where do I start?

Together with my colleague Victoria Neumann, I have been working towards answering this question for and with others. We want to show you that there are many small, doable actions everyone can take to invite more people in. A big part of doing that is making the invisible visible, and we want to facilitate that by helping you to ask yourself the right questions. Because often asking the right questions is much harder than finding good answers.

Finding Useful Questions

“Finding Useful Questions” is an annotated list of questions a lot of people would like answers to, but often don‘t get to ask for a variety of reasons. It is supposed to serve as an entry point to facilitate inclusive and accessible interactions, events, and everyday communications.

Learning about the types of information other people find helpful will aid you in uncovering hidden barriers. Keep in mind that depending on the scope of your project only a small part of it might apply to what you do. But one thing is for sure: You will learn something new while working with our materials, and it will help you learn more about your audience!

There are no “one size fits all” solutions to dealing with people's needs, but in this list we tried to provide a range of questions you could use as a starting point to consider your audience and how to make your space as welcoming as possible – to the biggest audience you can reach.

Resources

The list of questions we are working on is supposed to form a starting point for reflecting on your audience/users.

The topics in this document also correspond with the examples we are using for workshops. They represent some commonly overlooked issues and how to deal with them while focussing on simple measures that are doable for individual and small organizations.

Under Resources you can download the questions and information we collected as well as materials from previous talks and workshops.