Government website accessibility guidelines
written by craig, 7 November 2007
The UK Government has issued an initial consultation document on delivering inclusive websites in order to meet European objectives for inclusive e-government. (It also covers other document types such as Word, PowerPoint and PDF.)
the minimum level of accessibility for all Government websites is Level Double-A of the W3C guidelines
By December 2008, all .gov.uk websites must adhere to WAI Priority 2 accessibility. That certainly means semantic XHTML, CSS layouts, progressive enhancement, and adoption of best-practice techniques.
The document recognises that fixing existing sites will be difficult and recommends that sites are built with accessible features from the start. I suspect that the main problems will be:
- sites using content management systems that do not produce code to W3C standards
- sites that use older out-of-the-box ASP.NET controls
- training content authors
Whilst the true impact of this document is yet to be determined, it’s good that the government understands the issues and it will help promote web standards throughout the industry.
We offer standards and accessibility training for web developers – please contact us for more information.