Australia trails overseas governments on web accessibility

 

Disability commissioner calls for private sector compliance.

Australia's federal and state government websites lag behind those in Canada and the European Union in catering to citizens with disabilities.

iTnews surveyed 14 government gateway sites against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 A -- a standard endorsed by the Australian Government in 2010.

Australia's National Transition Guidelines call for agencies to meet the WCAG 2.0 A standard by December. The Department of Human Services was the only agency found to comply in iTnews' survey of 23 federal agencies last week.

iTnews this week studied the Federal Government's gateway site, australia.gov.au, as well as those of eight states and territories and international counterparts that share policy concerns in making their websites comply with accessibility standards.

The sites were tested with two independent WCAG 2.0 checkers - the Ontario Government sponsored achecker.ca and Total Validator v.7.4.0. Results for each agency were averaged, sorted and summarised.

Although iTnews found no errors on the Australian Department of Human Services' website last week, no Australian gateway site managed to reach the perfect zero score.

Gateway websites of Canada and the European Union tied for first place in this week's study with zero errors.

The Australian and West Australia gateway sites came a close second, with 1.5 errors each, while the websites of the New Zealand, Tasmanian and Northern Territory Governments tied at third place.

The US Government gateway had an average of 6.5 errors against the WCAG 2.0 A standard. But it was perfectly compliant with standards set by section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act.

Typical errors identified by iTnews' two WCAG checkers included anchors without texts, document languages' not being identified, invalid language codes, no alternate texts to images and no text added to a label elements.

Most errors were "readily fixable" and due to small issues with forms, alternate text and descriptions according to a local web developer and government consultant who declined to be named.

The developer attributed some errors to the validators, noting that the validators might not account for contexts in which alternate text for images might not be necessary.

He said most of the gateway sites surveyed by iTnews were doing a good job, although "vic and sa.gov.au have a little more to do".

Guidelines for the Aussie private sector

Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes last week urged the private sector to be mindful of website accessibility, noting that the "National Transition Strategy and the NBN go hand-in-hand".

"Until very recently, essential Government services were delivered online without any consideration of who could, or couldn't, access them," he stated.

“While the National Transition Strategy guidelines render it particularly pertinent for Australian organisations, accessibility is of increasing importance globally.

"With an increasing number of services and information being moved online, all organisations will benefit from ensuring their website, web applications and digital experiences are accessible.

Gov gateway pages results ERRORS
(logged results at 23 July 2012) AVERAGE achecker.ca Total Validator
http://www.canada.gc.ca/home.html 0 0 0
http://europa.eu/index_en.htm 0 0 0
australia.gov.au 1.5 0 3
wa.gov.au 1.5 0 3
tas.gov.au 3 5 1
nt.gov.au 3 4 2
http://newzealand.govt.nz/ 3 6 0
qld.gov.au 4.5 6 3
act.gov.au 4.5 5 4
nsw.gov.au 5.5 5 6
usa.gov 6.5 11 2
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm 7 6 8
vic.gov.au 19.5 35 4
sa.gov.au 20 18 22

Chris Jager contributed to this story.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Australia trails overseas governments on web accessibility
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1442

Vote