Opening Pandora’s Box – Making Government 2.0 Websites More Accessible
The rise of new Web 2.0 technologies and content models brings with it increasingly complex challenges for Government agencies to keep their websites accessible e.g AJAX objects, dynamic content, Rich Internet Applications and user generated content.
While we want our Government agencies to be braver and experiment with these new technologies and content models, we don’t want them to abandon their responsibilities to provide universal access to public sector information by applying best practice in accessibility and usability.
To reward rather than punish some of our braver agencies, we thought we would run a slightly different type of contest that will give them a helping hand to improve the accessibility of their Government 2.0 websites. To help the Taskforce with this process, we have enlisted the assistance of Media Access Australia to help us select, review and hopefully also fix-up a couple of Government 2.0 websites.
Are we opening Pandora’s Box by running a contest about Government 2.0 accessibility? Most probably yes, but we can’t ignore the elephant in the room and the best way we reinforce the message that accessibility is just as serious a responsibility for Government 2.0 website as it was for Government 1.0 is to lead by example and show that Government 2.0 and accessibility can comfortably co-exist.
We want you to nominate Government websites that have implemented Web 2.0 technologies and techniques so we can put them up for an accessibility make-over (which won’t be nearly as cheesy as those make over reality TV shows).
The Makeover Process
Based on your nominations and feedback, we will select up to five websites that will be added to the Australian Web Access Review website for two weeks to obtain more detailed community and user feedback. Based on this feedback, MAA will prepare a “makeover” action plan with recommendations for how these sites could be given a makeover to improve their accessibility. The Taskforce will then engage with the agencies about how they can implement their action plan, and we may even commission a project to engage a consultant to provide them with any technical assistance or expertise that they need. We can’t promise that this process will fix every accessibility issue with these websites, but we think we can make some real progress that will inspire and teach other agencies how to handle some of the accessibility challenges of web 2.0 (which should make it easier for them to embrace Government 2.0).
As with the Suggest a Dataset challenge, no prizes will be awarded in this category – any improvements to agency websites we can facilitate will be a reward that everyone can benefit from!
Entries for this challenge are due by 5pm, October 30 5PM, November 6, although after that we’ll leave the IdeaScale page open and running for continued discussion and participation.