Accessibility Studies: Abuses, Misuses and the Method of Poietic Design

  • Gian Maria GrecoEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11786)


Over the past several decades, accessibility has been increasingly pervading a vast range of fields, producing a large number of new ideas, theories, and innovations that have already proven to be quite fruitful. A closer look at how accessibility has entered and developed in various research fields shows that said fields have experienced fundamental changes: a shift from particularist accounts to a universalist account of access, a shift from maker-centred to user-centred approaches, and a shift from reactive to proactive approaches. Through these processes, accessibility has birthed new areas within those fields, that have been gradually converging to constitute the wider field of accessibility studies. The nature and position of accessibility studies has now become a central topic. This ongoing progression of conceptual clarification may bear some misunderstanding and misinterpretations along the way. In the paper, I first briefly review the principal traits of the process of formation of accessibility studies; then address some possible misconceptions; and finally, introduce a first, very general sketch of poietic design, a method proper to accessibility studies.


Accessibility revolution Accessibility studies Audiovisual translation Design Human rights Maker-user gap Maker-expert-user gap Media accessibility Poietic design Universal access in human-computer interaction 



I am grateful to Constantine Stephanidis and Margherita Antona for their support as well as to the two anonymous referees and the participants to the 13th conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction held in Orlando (Florida, US) on 26-31 July 2019. I wish to thank Josh Branson, Kate Dangerfield, Louise Fryer, and Pablo Romero-Fresco for their comments on previous drafts. Teressa Canosa skilfully copyedited the final version of this paper. All remaining mistakes are mine. The research presented in this paper has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 752659 (project UMAQ). The author is a member of TransMedia Catalonia (2017SGR113), a research group funded by the Catalan government under the SGR funding scheme, and the GALMA research group, funded by the Galician government under the scheme Proxecto de Excelencia 2017.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autonomous University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.University of VigoVigoSpain

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