ACM Interactions

Writing About Accessibility

Words or phrases can suggest bias or reflect negative, disparaging, or patronizing attitudes toward individuals or groups of individuals. These words and phrases can influence our impressions, attitudes, and even our actions. Choosing language that represents the preference of the groups to which it refers can convey respect and integrity. For these reasons, journalists, along with authorities in various research disciplines, have worked to provide guidelines for how to appropriately discuss disability issues. In 2008 we published guidelines for writing about disability by those who work with technology for accessibility. That article is widely referenced within accessibility communities for how to correctly and sensitively discuss disability. When we wrote those guidelines, we noted that language conventions change with time and that the updating of these guidelines would be necessary at some point. We believe that time is now.

Hanson, V. L.; Lavender, A.; and Trewin,S. 2015. Writing about accessibility. interactions 22, 6 (October 2015), 62-65. DOI=