UCL Centre for Digital Humanities


Digital Content and Disability

10 January 2018, 1:00 pm–7:00 pm


Event Information

Open to



Wilkins Building: registration and refreshments, South Cloisters; seminar, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre

This afternoon seminar examined accessibility and usability issues in digital content, with a particular - but not exclusive - emphasis on learning-disabled people. Within this area, themes were centred around different hardware (mobile, laptop, e-book reader), media (web, e-book, apps), barriers to effective use and experts from various sectors explained initiatives attempting to address the differing access needs. 

Partly in tandem with the astonishing rise in Smartphone technology and sales, the consumption of digital information has become an essential part of modern life. However, despite anti-discriminatory legislation and greater awareness of disabilities, much digital material is still not designed for easy access by people with all kinds of impairments. And technology - such as smaller screens and keyboards, and even the 'swipe' facility inherent in mobile technology - may add further layers of difficulty. This at a time when, for example, the population is getting older and dementia is on the rise. There are the joint challenges of creating original accessible content and that of adapting existing content to meet accessibility needs. This event attempted to explain current research and thinking on these issues as well as highlight the experiences of practitioners and others. 

The event was aimed at content providers, publishers, educationalists, librarians, supporters of people with disabilities (whether professional or informal carers etc.), interface designers and interested academics.  It was an opportunity to understand an increasingly significant issue, see how others have responded and work out how to better target and market products. 

The seminar was part-funded by The British Academy, as part of a Post-Doctoral Fellowship awarded to Dr Peter Williams, conference co-organiser and co-chair. 

Programme and links to presentations (in Slideshare)

13:00 Registration and Tea/Coffee in the Cloisters
14.00 Welcome to UCL  
14.05 Introduction to the Seminar and Learning Disability Project 

Dr Pete Williams, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, UCL
14.20 Creating a communication platform for people with learning disabilities. Philip Gibson, Project Manager, Camphill Village Trust
  Creating original content to serve disabilities: methods, tools and practice. Chair for First Session: Prof Barrie Gunter, University of Leicester
14.40 Visual Literacy practices of Young People with dyslexia in multimodal environments. Dr Yvonne Vezzoli, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Learning and Communication Specialist @ Go Touch VR
15.20 Tea and cake   
  Adapting content for maximum accessibility: tools, methods and practice. Chair for 2nd Session: John Akeroyd, UCL and CIBER Research
15.40 Format conversion of digital content Tanja Stevns and Lars Christenson SensusAccess, Denmark
16.00 The Publisher Perspective Emma House, Deputy CEO, Publishers Association
16.20 The Librarian Perspective Teresa Pedroso, Disabilities Librarian, Bodleian Library
16.40 Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society Ben Watson, Accessible Information Project Adviser, Kent University

Lightening Talks 

  • Heather Smith(NT)
  • Maria Kett (Leonard Cheshire)
  • Barbara Denton (UAL)
17.30 Panel Session  chaired By Joint Chairs
18.00 Drinks in the Cloisters