[CFP] Special Issue on “Quality of Media Accessibility Products and Services”, Universal Access in the Information Society

International Journal “Universal Access in the Information Society” (UAIS) Springer


Special Issue on “Quality of Media Accessibility Products and Services”

This special issue will focus on research on quality in the context of the design, development, implementation, evaluation, and use of MA products and services.
Contributions are solicited in, but not limited to, the following topics:

Theoretical issues and the theoretical foundation of quality in Media Accessibility


Guest-editor: Gian Maria Greco, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

About the UAIS Journal
The UAIS Journal solicits original research contributions addressing the accessibility, usability and acceptability of the Information Society Technologies by anyone, anywhere, at anytime, and through any media and device. Universal access refers to the systematic effort to proactively apply principles, methods and tools of universal design, in order to develop Information Society Technologies which are accessible and usable by all citizens.
The Journal’s unique focus is on theoretical, methodological, and empirical research, of both a technological and non-technological nature, that addresses equitable access and active participation of potentially all citizens in the Information Society.
For further information, please, refer to the “Aims and scope” section on the Website of the UAIS Journal.

Aims and scope of this special issue
The pervasive reshaping of our society by information and communication technologies has been providing new opportunities but also “difficulties […] in accessing multimedia services” (Stephanidis and Emiliani 1999, p. 23) by end users. Understood as a “set of theories, practices, services and technologies providing access to media content for people that cannot, or cannot properly, access that content in its original form” (Greco 2016, p. 11), Media Accessibility (MA) is consequently becoming increasingly central in providing universal access in the information society.
MA services and products are now well-established topics within a variety of contexts, including smart cities, museum education, live events, tourism, childhood education, second-language acquisition, filmmaking, and new media. While for a long time its main concern was providing access to persons with disabilities; in recent years MA has broadened its scope: it initially sought to include other groups at risk of cultural and social exclusion such as the elderly, children, and language minorities, then expanded even further to encompass the human rights of all. This has made MA a pivotal instrument for addressing the most pressing concerns of many international bodies as well as a driving area within the field of Accessibility Studies (Greco 2016; 2018).
The key aim of research on universal access is “to prevent the exclusion of users from the information society while at the same time increasing the quality and usability of products and services” (Stephanidis 2009, p. 1). For a long time now, policies and research involving MA have been mainly concerned with quantity; e.g. development of solutions for mainstreaming accessibility as well as the implementation of regulations that set quotas or impose the widespread adoption of MA services. Now that in various countries regulations are being implemented and quotas are being met, attention is shifting over to quality. This holds true for both policies and research. Taking a closer look at the landscape of Media Accessibility Quality (MAQ), the resulting picture conveys both a lively yet scattered scene. Lively, precisely because policy-makers, industry and researchers have increasingly started to focus on quality (see e.g. Burchardt et al. 2016; Castro Botega et al. 2017; Cristóbal-Fransi et al. 2017; Ismailova and Inal 2017; Orehovački and Babić 2017; Pedersen 2017; Romero-Fresco and Martínez 2015; Romero-Fresco and Pöchhacker 2017). At the same time, it is scattered, because attention has been spread out over a very diverse range of issues while lacking a unified venue for the discussion of quality. This is needed in order to provide a more efficient and interconnected account of those issues as well as of other topics strictly related to quality, such as accuracy, completeness, and reliability.
This UAIS special issue aims to start filling this gap. It will be the first collective publication to explicitly address, from various angles, the issue of quality in MA.