Archive: March, 2007

Government responds to website accessibility e-petition

Towards the end of last year I wrote an entry urging readers to sign an online petition. The petition aimed to highlight the poor standard of accessibility in UK Government websites following the launch of a disappointing new website by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) in May 2006.

In what I’m starting to percieve as “bloomin’ typical”, the Government response to this e-petition leaves the main question unanswered: how is the Government going to ensure that the websites they launch will be accessible?

Smokescreen

The Government’s response implies that their current strategy will ensure accessibility, but the sub-standard DTI website contradicts that claim.

In the response, they mention that their Digital Strategy “is to be implemented by [the] DTI” (my emphasis). The Government’s Digital Strategy has been around since March 2005 and includes the following statement of action:

Tackling social exclusion & bridging the digital divide

Action 7: Improve accessibility to technology for the digitally excluded and ease of use for the disabled

Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy

The new DTI website was launched in May 2006, over a year after the Digital Strategy was published. So, the DTI website fell short of this action, despite the fact that the report outlining that strategy was jointly written by the Prime Minister’s Stategy Unit and the DTI. They fell short of meeting their own standards.

For me, this fact doesn’t support the idea that the DTI is capable of supervising the cross-government review of the Digital Strategy mentioned in the response to the petition. Ian Lloyd raises this point for discussion over at Accessify:
Typical Government Response? Yup.

But what can you do? Time for another petition?! Or is that just another waste of time for the general public?

Growing up…

So, I guess you’re all wondering where I’ve been of late? I mentioned in my last post about 2007 being a good year – well, it’s certainly started off well! November 5th has grown up!

As I have now been officially welcomed, I’m very pleased to announce that I’m working as interface and application developer for Grow Collective, a Web design co-operative based in Bristol. Thanks for the warm welcome guys!

I’m stoked to be working with Jon, Paul and Charlie. Ever since first bumping into Jon on Accessify Forum, I’ve admired Grow’s work, and now it’s my work too! Mwah, ha, ha!

Working with Grow on projects over the last few months has kept me busy, but I’ve found it inspiring and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been particularly good because I’ve been able to concentrate on working in areas I am good at and enjoy. It’s great to feel recognised for a skill and to be given the opportunity to develop those areas of my work.

Germination

So, it’s been busy lately – and it’s still busy. There’s a blog redesign I’ve contributed to preparing for launch just launched, a stationery company’s redesign in the final stages, and a shiny new Web application on the way – we’ve got lots of exciting things to get cracking on with! And, with some of the load of self-employment lifted by my colleagues at Grow, I’m going to have more time to spend here – aren’t you lucky?!

Several discussions with my new work-buddies have brought light to some interesting ideas and technical tidbits that others may find useful. So, armed with a few ideas floating around on the breeze and a pocketful of draft blog posts, expect to see a bit more natter and a bit less… silence.