Posted in Discussion Questions

Web Accessibility Statements: Connecting Professional Writing, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Burkean Rhetoric

Meloncon’s “Rhetorical Accessibility” chapter 9 covers the importance of a WAC (web accessibility statement) and examining how corporate companies go about creating one. WACs have been defined within the text as and organization’s “declarations on a website, usually produced by the web developer… the accessibility of the site to disabled people and others with accessibility needs.” The chapter also goes into extensive depth about Burke’s rhetoric, a more classical approach to the praise/blame theory and Aristotle’s rhetoric.

What struck me the most about that passage about Burkean rhetoric was that there are two ways to look at public relations and rhetoric. It’s most common for it to be separated between political, legal, and ceremonial, but Burke wants us to see them more as the original rhetorics; deliberative, epideictic, and forensic. Epideictic rhetoric is a cause-related outreach at work.

Web design intersects with professional writing/communications. I personally have never seen it as that, but after reading the chapter I realize that it’s very similar. To me, web design has been a complete designer centered job. I always assumed that while web designers must create a website based off of audience, that they were just given said information from a company and created based off that. How much research must the designer get into in order to create a universal site for a company? They must be aware of a maximum audience rather than focus on a specific audience. Focusing on one automatically alienates those with disabilities/disadvantages.

After reading, these are the questions I came up with.

  • Why do you believe some major companies don’t include a WAC?
  • On 185, Meloncon states that the homepage is the key to a connection between the user and corporation, but literature on web navigation “underscores” that said connection. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • While reading this chapter especially, did any of the information seem outdated? Do you think accessibility has improved with websites?
  • When is it appropriate to use company jargon in a WAC? On 198, Meloncon suggests that there may be a day when we will have one document to meet all the needs of accessibility. Do you think that’s achievable?
  • Meloncon created a list of an effective WAC, would you add any more to her list or does it cover everything necessary?

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