Government 2.0 Taskforce » access Design by Ben Crothers of Catch Media Tue, 04 May 2010 23:55:29 +0000 en hourly 1 Making more government data and information available Fri, 21 Aug 2009 07:06:21 +0000 Ann Steward How much support does Government need to provide when it releases government data?

This is one of the important areas for the Taskforce to consider and we would like to hear your views and ideas on this.

Metadata plays an important role in understanding the meaning of data, its use and management. But are there other expectations from those who would like to see more data made available, such as:

  • retention specifications that the agency will need to provide at the time of release of data, for example, formats;
  • details of where and when the data will be archived;
  • how long the data is likely to be captured;
  • how complete the datasets are;
  • would it be helpful to have a general policy, covering all government data releases that sets out what support would be provided – for example, contact points for clarification on the data and its sources;
  • role of disclaimers when releasing data and what should they cover;
  • and so on.

In looking beyond just text data, are support regimes considered to be pre requisites, for example, when images are released? And are they the same regimes or is something new needed?

Are there issues that you have encountered, either with data or images that the Taskforce should take into account as we form our recommendations to Government?

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Accessibility and Government 2.0 Sat, 11 Jul 2009 21:56:48 +0000 Lisa Harvey Guest Blogger Post from Scott Hollier: Media Access Australia

Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
Ron Mace

One major issue to face the Government 2.0 taskforce will be how to meet the needs of people with disabilities.  In my role as Project Manager for Media Access Australia and as a person with a vision impairment, I’ve been fortunate to have both a profession and personal perspective on access issues so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the topic.

The challenge here will revolve around the use of universal design in the delivery of accessible government information via Web 2.0 technologies.  While the principle sounds good, two questions need to be asked:  what is universal design, and can it realistically be achieved?

One of the easiest mistakes to make is assuming that universal design means that everything has to be approached using a ‘one size fits all’ model.    This would be very difficult, not to mention impractical to actually do.  For example, if the government decides that Facebook is a good medium for communication, should the popular website launch a text-only interface to ensure complete access?  Would this meet universal design requirements?  How would current Facebook users feel about that?

An alternative is not to see universal design as an impossible dream, but to use the concept in practical ways that make mainstream products reach the largest possible audience.  The Center for Universal Design looked across a variety of disciplines, and focused on things like equitable use, flexibility in use, emphasis on simplicity and intuitiveness, the need for perceptible information and tolerance for error.  When we think about the Facebook example, can all these concepts apply without making a text-only site?  I’d argue yes.  Will this make Facebook accessible to every Australian with one or more disabilities? Probably not, but it will get close enough that specialist solutions would be required on such a small scale that it can be provided to the remainder of the population at minimal cost.

The third option is to put it all in the ‘too hard’ basket, which is what has previously happened in Australia.  Other Federal governments around the world like the United States of America have legislation, Section 508, that requires products produced or sold to the government meet accessibility criteria.   Our equivalent legislation, the Disability Discrimination Act, has no comparable requirement.

So what do you think?  Should the government find a one-size-fits-all solution to access?  Should the focus be on making government resources as accessible as possible using mainstream technologies, or is it all just too hard?   Add your thoughts.

About Dr Scott Hollier: Scott Hollier is the Project Manager, New Media for Media Access Australia (MAA), a not-for-profit, public benevolent institution.  Scott’s work focuses on making computers and Internet-related technologies accessible to people with disabilities,  Scott also represents MAA on the Advisory Committee of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the organisation primarily responsible for developing and promoting access standards to media through technology for people with disabilities.   Scott has completed a PhD titled ‘The Disability Divide: an examination into the needs of computing and Internet-related technologies on people who are blind or vision impaired’. Scott is legally blind and as such understands the importance of access at a personal level.

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Access to PSI – Policy Sat, 27 Jun 2009 08:52:01 +0000 Brian Fitzgerald In relation to access to Public Sector Information (PSI) issues people may be interested in looking at some of the following documents.

In June 2008 the OECD recommended a set of principles for enhanced access to and use of PSI.  Australia is a member of the OECD.

The Review of the National Innovation System (Cutler Review) in the Venturous Australia report in late 2008 recommended amongst other things that “Recommendation 7.7 – Australia should establish a National Information Strategy to optimise the flow of information in the Australian economy.”  (See Chapter 7 generally)

A comprehensive literature review of access policies and principles has been undertaken by our research group at QUT.

 Last Thursday the Victorian Parliament’s EDI Committee released it report titled: Inquiry into Improving Access to Victorian Public Sector Information and Data

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