9 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
    1. In our critical evaluations of UD, we share several conclusions and concerns with the contributors to the webtext Multimodality in Motion: Disability and Kairotic Spaces.[18] In their opening “Access Statement,” Yergeau et al. acknowledge that “Universal design is a process, a means rather than an end. There’s no such thing as a universally designed text. There’s no such thing as a text that meets everyone’s needs. That our webtext falls short is inevitable.” They caution that the inevitable failure of UD “is not a justification for failing to consider what audiences are invited into and imagined as part of a text.” Rather, the recognition of failure at the heart of Universalist paradigms can enable us to attend more closely to the particular embodied orientation of users and stakeholders. We would embrace this emphasis on process over product, on becoming and emergent technologies over closed-systems of top-down provisions for accommodation. While we agree UD is an unachievable goal, we would argue that the goal itself is problematic and ultimately inadequate to the continuously evolving situation of not only the inclusion of more and more disabled/extraordinary/eccentric bodies into “normal” society but also the ever-shifting ableness of any body as it moves toward inevitable failure.

      Essentially, "Universal Design and Its Discontents" debates the advantages and shortcomings of a Universal Design, or a design technology that would be able to effectively convey rhetoric to a universal audience. The article is presented in an online position paper, an interesting choice of mode that is very accessible to many of the academic discourse community; this keeps with the accessibility theme of the discussion. The bulk of the article discusses the inclusion of communication for the disabled community, such as the ASL community. Essentially, while UD is an interesting research and compelling supposition (of something that can be very helpful), I am reluctant to say that it can become a reality.

    2. I would suggest that the goals that animate UD should be and will continue to be a powerful principle in DH, but such a design principle needs to accompany, not supplant, the attention to the particular. Recriprocity could mean mutual care, of and for each other, but it should not need to flatten us out into a universal subject in the process.

      Like the Albers article from Unit One, I believe that UD is definitely a dynamic concept because communication is constantly evolving. UD would probably shift the rhetoric of media closer to being more accessible for a wide audience demographic. It would definitely be an interesting supplement to develop in the future.

    3. As someone with a disability, I feel deeply and urgently the need to be less reliant on other people, but sometimes existing technology can be inadequate—it can break down, be unreliable, or may just be a poor substitution for human help (even if I don’t want that help). Bednarska relates how, at her own institution, the University of California at Berkeley, funding for disabled students to have assistants became more restricted and limited because of the promise of available technologies. So, a student who did in fact work best with someone providing note-taking services would need to first demonstrate that available technologies were inadequate. This can provide an unnecessarily difficult bar to clear for some.

      I sympathize for these people because I understand that it is difficult for people to develop a reliable, working aid for their disabilities. Furthermore, institutions focused on "progressiveness" and profit are reluctant to spend more than necessary on these developments; they'd rather spend money on somebody who could potentially work just as hard but without the aid. Could this be a stigma towards people with a disability? Generally, people classified as disabled in anyway are stereotyped as being less able/healthy than people who aren't. Could this reluctance be partially discriminate?

    4. However, I want to suggest that both positions engender a sense of “best practice” that could obscure the specific sociopolitical and embodied orientation of an individual user.

      I concur. While I do acknowledge that there's merit to traditional handwriting (handwriting is better for memory), I also acknowledge that people of different contexts and situations may find reading and writing difficult. For example, many bilingual people are able to rattle off in their second languages, but are very slow to read and comprehend what they've read.

    5. Some items are in International Sign (IS), a Deaf contact language when signers have mutually unintelligible languages.

      In reference to my post, a lot of this could be due to context.

    6. One website under discussion was the Deaf Studies Digital Journal (DSDJ) published by the ASL (American Sign Language) & Deaf Studies Department at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.[6] This journal’s use non-textual digital media for its linguistic content make it an intriguing case study. DSDJ is the first peer-reviewed academic journal to use ASL for its content (with some material in English).[7] Since ASL is a kinetic language using embodied actions including manual gestures and facial expressions as grammar, Flash Video clips are crucial for content.

      This is another case of interesting mode choice. I really admire how they created an interdisciplinary study with Applied Linguistic elements; it really shows their dedication to the topic. I would really like to know how the academic discourse community responded to their rhetoric. Is their research widely accessible, though?

    7. Media theorist Jane Bringold observes that UD is not a discrete goal but a “Utopian ideal” (47).[1] No platform will ever be accessible across every language (spoken, written, signed), every medium, and every embodied difference (sensory, motor, cognitive).

      I find that this ideal will always hold true, for the world holds thousands of languages, yet people fail to convey their exact ideas with each other even in the same language. People are all different, and contexts vary across culture. Even if Universal Grammar were plausible (a common language inherent in all humans- as suggested by Noam Chomsky but disproved of by Daniel Everett), rhetoric would still have the issue of conveying the same meaning. For example, if everybody were to speak a single language, then contextual differences may make it difficult for two culturally clashing conversationalists to understand a dialogue- such as Shinto Buddhism to a Catholic. Even in English, it is difficult for colloquialism to translate across other native English speaking countries. Essentially, while Universal Design is a "Utopian ideal" and could bring about accessibility for a wider audience (as Andrew McClure stated ), I believe that it just isn't possible as of now or any near future endeavors.

    8. In my thoughts on Universal Design (UD) as a nondisabled person engaged with disability theory and Deaf culture, I make two counter-intuitive claims: 1. UD is a myth; and 2. Inaccessibility can be socially productive.

      I assume that he makes these statements with the intent that he will either prove or debunk them.

    9. Our online position paper is a two-headed reflection on disability and universalism in the fields of Digital Humanities (DH) and Universal Design (UD)

      This is the mode and main idea. In comparison to an academic paper or pdf, this mode seems much more accessible to any communications-related community; the tone seems a lot more informal and inclusive. I assume that they intend to make the audience outreach go beyond the academic community.