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Accessibility of Social Networks: the Viadeo case

Jul 05, 2015



The present study will focus on the problem of computer use by persons with disabilities considered in all its aspects.
In particular it aims at analyzing the power to have the use of resources on the Internet and focuses specifically on the accessibility of social networks, by subjecting to a specific analysis two of the most known and used ones:
Facebook and LinkedIn.
There’s also a careful study on Viadeo accessibility, a social network developed for professional relationships, by using the reference text for developers of contents for the Web: the so-called "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines", better known as WCAG 2.0.
Each statement in the document has been carefully considered and the satisfaction or non-satisfaction of it has been verified and reported.


    Relatore: Prof. Marco Porta

    Correlatore:Prof. Mario Dossoni

    Correlatore esterno:Dott. Roberto Marmo

    Laurea Specialistica inEditoria e Comunicazione Multimediale (ECM)

    Tesi di laurea di:Chiara Evangelista

  • Social Network: definition

    A social network is a social structure made up ofindividuals (or organizations) called "nodes,which are tied (connected) by one or more specific typesof interdependency, such as friendship, kinship,common interest, financial exchange, dislike,sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs,knowledge or prestige


  • Social Network: birth and development

    sixdegrees.comBorn in 1997, remained a niche reality for some time

  • friendster.comBorn in 2003; unlike became immediately famous on the Web

    Started the boom of Social Networks on the Web that still does not seem to stop

  • From Social Networks to Social Media

    Social Network: [] a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes

    which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency [] (Source:

    Social Media:a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content (Source:

  • Disability: definition

    Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments,activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations

    Source: World Health Organization http:/

  • Disability: normative sources

    Italian Law n. 104/92, Legge-Quadro per lassistenza, lintegrazione sociale e i diritti delle persone handicappate

    Italian Law n. 4/2004, Disposizioni per favorire l'accesso dei soggetti disabili agli strumenti informatici c.d. Stanca Law

    The Madrid Declaration Non discrimination plus positive action results in social inclusion (2002)

    ONU Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007) implemented by Italy in 2009

  • Accessibility: definition

    Capability of informatic systems, in the forms and limits allowed by technological knowledges, to supply services and to provide usable information, without discriminations even by those who need assistance technologies or special configurations, owing to disabilities *

    Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web **

    * Source: Italian Law n.4/2004** Source:

  • About the W3C

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. Led by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and CEO Jeffrey Jaffe,W3C's mission is to lead the Web to its full potential

    The information are taken from the Web site:

  • WCAG 2.0

    Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are the new guidelines for accessibility of Web content (official version of 2008)

    They represent the revised edition of the existingWCAG 1.0, written in 1999 for the same purpose

  • WCAG 2.0: structure

    Principles - At the top are 4 principles that provide the foundation for Web accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust

    Guidelines - Under the principles are guidelines. The 12 guidelines provide the basic goals that authors should work toward in order to make content more accessible to users with different disabilities

    Success Criteria - For each guideline, testable success criteria are provided to allow WCAG 2.0 to be used where requirements and conformance testing are necessary such as in design specification, purchasing, regulation, and contractual agreements. In order to meet the needs of different groups and different situations, three levels of conformance are defined: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest)

  • WCAG 2.0: an example

    Principle 2. Operable User interface components and navigation must be operable.

    - Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Accessible: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.

    2.1.1 Keyboard: All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes, except where the underlying function requires input that depends on the path of the user's movement and not just the endpoints. (Level A)




  • FacebookBorn in 2004 from an intuition of a student of Harward,Mark Zuckerberg, is now the most popular and used Social Network with over

    500.000.000 users

    - 123.000.000 in Europe- more than 13.000.000 in Italy

  • accessibility

  • (Mobile version)

  • LinkedIn

    Founded in 2003, is the Business Social Network with the largest number of usersCurrently has over


    - 15.000.000 in Europe and - 1.000.000 in Italy

  • accessibility

  • (Mobile version)

  • The Viadeo case

    Founded in 2000, is one of the most popular and used Business Social Network, second only to LinkedInHas currently


    - 10.000.000 in Europe- 700.000 in Italy

  • Viadeo: study of accessibility

    1. Use of colors that create little contrast with the background and therefore are not suitable for low-vision or color blind people

  • 2. Too much content with not enough space between text lines

  • 3. resize the text and change the color scheme

    4. display high contrast or content only versions of the pages

    5. vary the structure or order of the content

    6. obtain clear indications about mistakes (no checking and suggestions for correction)


    It is not possible to:

  • Study of Viadeo accessibility: conclusions

    The WCAG 2.0 Guidelines principles satisfied by Viadeo are more than those not satisfied

    However, Viadeo remains partly inaccessible

    Viadeo developers are currently working to provide a full accessible version

  • Conclusions

    WCAG 2.0 are available to everyone, so accessibility should be checked for any Web resource

    Accessibility is currently not taken into proper consideration as demonstrated by the inaccessibility of the two most popular Social Networks: Facebook and LinkedIn

    Prejudice against the different is still widespread

    Inaccessible sites preclude their use by a significant number of people

  • Author

    Chiara Evangelista

    mail: [email protected]


    Tesi on line:

  • Thanks to Marco Porta - Contract researcher and professor at the University of Pavia

    mail: [email protected] site:

    Roberto Marmo Contract professor at the University of Paviamail: [email protected] site:

    Mario Dossoni Researcher and professor at the University of Paviamail: [email protected] web site:

    Sabrina Mossenta Partnerships Manager, Italy of Viadeo mail: [email protected]

    THE ACCESSIBILITY OF SOCIAL NETWORKS: THE VIADEO CASESocial Network: definition Social Network: birth and developmentDiapositiva numero 4From Social Networks to Social MediaDisability: definitionDisability: normative sources Accessibility: definitionAbout the W3CWCAG 2.0WCAG 2.0: structureWCAG 2.0: an accessibility Diapositiva numero (Mobile version) (Mobile version)The Viadeo caseViadeo: study of accessibilityDiapositiva numero 22Diapositiva numero 23Study of Viadeo accessibility: conclusionsConclusionsAuthorThanks to

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