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Web Accessibility

At the weekend I applied to register DRNZ as a company. I had sighted help fortunately for me, as the website was only partially accessible using a screen reader, even once I learned it’s particular foibles. This lead me to think about the Government Web Standards on accessibility, which were established by the State Services Commission way back when …

After my weekend experience and several others I have had lately with government and other websites, I can’t help but wonder: has no one thought through the practical implications of continuous software updates on accessibility? A department might audit accessibility when a website refresh occurs, but how often do they review the site for accessibility? This really needs to be done whenever there is a major website update or rebuild and whenever new versions of both mainstream and adaptive software and various computing platforms are launched. So this means they need to be constantly reviewed.

How can this issue be resolved? Certainly not by guessing about what needs to happen. But by ensuring disabled people are part of the design and maintenance of websites and advice is sought from appropriate disabled people with the knowledge, skills and experience to support accessibility. Average disabled users also need to be consulted, since this is most of us!

Pam MacNeill