Government web / IT workers - WCAG2A compliance by december.

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by flashy22, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. flashy22

    flashy22 Member

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    Afternoon all,

    I work for a central government agency here in NSW, in the role of Web Admin + Developer.

    Anyone in the web space of Government, Australia wide, should be aware of the impending 31 December 2012 deadline from the National Transition Strategy / AGIMO to make all web services WCAG2 Level A compliant, and 31 December 2014 for AA.

    For those of you that aren't familiar I suggest you read up on it here and (for NSW, from DPC) here.

    My biggest shock came around two months ago, when I learned that this is NOT just public facing websites.

    It is Websites, password protected websites, extranets, intranets, web applications etc. ANYTHING with a URL.

    We have 3 websites, an extranet, an intranet and 1 web application to work on. I've been working bloody hard on it since July, and we are now looking like *should* meet the deadline.

    All of our website's HTML pages are now compliant to A, however only around 60% of our PDF documents are. These are proving tough and time consuming (Mainly alt-text).

    85% of our intranet's HTML pages are now compliant. The PDF mass on our intranet will probably consume most of November to complete.

    The last phase is probably the toughest, our 1 internal web application - our IT team's incident tracking system. We've started planning and we *should* get it done in time.

    What are you and your teams doing to become compliant?

    Anyone else thinking they will / won't make it?

    Any suggestions to get compliant, particularly when document owners do not want to hear a bar of it?

    In good time, and if anyone actually responds to this, I'll let you know what we've employed to get compliant so far...

    Good luck to you all, from a web teams perspective, it's a crazy deadline and I feel damn sorry for a lot of agencies who have ten times more websites than we do..

    Ben.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  2. itsmydamnation

    itsmydamnation Member

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    AGIMO are nothing but useless bean counters, feel free to ignore there dumb ideas.


    // these opinions are my own.
     
  3. Ashpool

    Ashpool Member

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    What about web content that is not designed for humans?
     
  4. DavidRa

    DavidRa Member

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    It's AGIMO, so yes, all web content means all web content. You need to cater for partially able software as much as partially able humans...
     
  5. IACSecurity

    IACSecurity Member

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    How about 'web services' as in true web services, not 'web applications'.

    FWIW, everyone I know in govt CBF with anything AGIMO says. Make shit up, dont enforce it, dont help people acheive it. Same as most 'shared services' agencies within all the states too.
     
  6. Luke212

    Luke212 Member

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    whos supposed to pay for these changes?
     
  7. Iceman

    Iceman Member

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    What's the penalty for non compliance? ;)
     
  8. chook

    chook Member

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    This man has governmented before :)
     
  9. h-90

    h-90 Member

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    You win the government game :thumbup:
     
  10. ZXR

    ZXR Member

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    My background... I work for one of the biggest federal departments as a web developer.

    I wish we only had 10 times more websites than you! We, at last count, had 128 websites (down from 152 at the start of the year). There's currently an audit (which has been going on since early this year) to identify websites that are no longer required due to the re-structure/re-design of our main website. It will incorporate a lot of the information from these small sites. We envisage at this stage that there will only be about 25-30 real websites at the end of the audit.

    Part of that also requires a re-write of all of our web content as a lot of it is written in language that only university graduates could understand.

    As for documents, we're pretty lucky that almost all of our documents are in PDF, RTF and DOC formats already, which meets the requirements (we've double checked this with AGIMO and it's all good according to them).

    We're also moving any websites from a Sharepoint based system (heavily modified) to a Drupal infrastructure. Much much better for accessibility, plus the turn around time for getting a site up and running is about a quarter of the time.

    We've also developed an excellent media player. It has captions, descriptive text, and an active transcript (highlights the line in the transcript as the words are said in the video). It's also got fallbacks to ensure the information is available to people using all browsers. It just won't be as interactive/cool with older browsers (i.e. IE). :p

    We plan to launch our main site before christmas, with everything on track for that to happen currently. The rest of the sites will be done next year, but shouldn't take nearly as long as the main site as they are, for the most part, just static sites.

    If you want to discuss more, PM me.

    -ZXR
     
  11. LDM

    LDM Member

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    I'm in the same boat as ZXR (And worked with him previously).

    I currently work at a fairly small Federal Government Department, and we have around 20 websites directly and we are pretty well screwed.

    I'm the only external website devleoper (We have no Intranet/Sharepoint developer, nor the money to hire one... so that's not getting fixed), and I've raised WCAG over and over with the higher ups and with around 30 work days until compliance, they are finally getting it, and by 'getting it' I mean coming up with plans on how to breach it, rather than fix it.

    Our approach has been the same as ZXR, moving from a .Net (Teamsite) environment, into an open source Drupal environment.

    Due to our lack of resources and time, we (I) are prioritizing based on likely hood of exposure.
    We have no sight impaired employees, so I am ignoring Internal applications.
    But the biggest hurdle I have is getting approvals from business areas.

    I've had word today that "everything will be ok" because rather than waste our time reaching single A, only to have to re-redevelop to reach double A by 2014, we will just ignore this deadline and aim for double A by 2014.
    Thus breaching compliance for two whole years.

    And although it is "only AGIMO" its also the Disability Discrimination Act, and the United Nations Rights of a person with disabilities.

    I've registered my official position of "We CAN reach compliance if you give me authorization to 'get shit done'" with CIO and such, so when we get sued by Vision Australia, hopefully I'm covered.

    It just pisses me off that stuff like this gets ignored because it's not as sexy as launching a new website, or uploading data that no one reads.

    Bit of a ranty read... but that's how all this makes me feel.
     
  12. ZXR

    ZXR Member

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    LDM has hit the nail on the head. It is irrelevant what AGIMO want us to do. What is relevant is the various laws that are being broken. As a department, we can legitimately be sued if we don't offer an accessible way to access all of our information. It's as simple as that.

    I've heard the above story from various other government web people over the last year. Seems that management are more interested in working out how to avoid being compliant than actually allowing the people who can make it happen get on with the job.

    The biggest hurdle we've had is getting the people who 'own' the content to review it and re-write it when required. As such, we'll be going live with the new site with a lot of the old content which will be reviewed into the new year. We are however, ensuring that the HTML of the old content is compliant as a lot of it is currently just copied over from word (with all of the crappy MSO code that comes with it). It might not look great at times, but that'll be fixed as the content review goes on early next year.

    -ZXR
     
  13. Luke212

    Luke212 Member

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    unlikely to be sued for existing sites because they are all built to the previous accessibility requirements, right? i havent seen the legal precedents but maybe there are a few out there. has anyone been sued in recent history?
     
  14. LDM

    LDM Member

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    AFAIK:
    Any documents/content uploaded prior to July 2010 does not need to be made compliant, but everything else does.

    So if you have a site that was last updated in June 2010, you are probably ok... but if even one page on it has been updated since, then that page will need to be accessible... which will usually mean that the entire sites framework needs to be altered.

    The one cheat I know a certain Department *hint* *hint* has used to help with getting Sharepoint sites compliant is using the HTML5 doctype, which will parse correctly even with Sharepoint stripping out self-closing tags and such.

    My preferred approach is to turn everything off, and then turn on and make compliant as people complain.... but so far that idea hasn't got much traction.

    ZXR, it's not only getting people to own content, its getting people to approve the launch of new sites. I keep waving shiny new sites with easy workflows, compliance, pretty, and they walk around in circles and make steering committees.
     
  15. Mintsauce

    Mintsauce Member

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    Welcome to Government? This is what dealing with all the local Governments in WA is like - no one wants to make a decision as if they make a bad one they get held accountable.

    What's the challenge with PDF's? I work with a lot of software which processes (almost) any image file to OCR'ed pdf/a - what are you trying to get to?
     
  16. chook

    chook Member

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    PDF/A is now one of the only formats that National Achives will accept for Permanent Records.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  17. LDM

    LDM Member

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    True that PDF is on the up and up in the accessibility circles, but its not enough to just to be using an accessible format, the content needs to be right.

    We have people publishing word document using Bold and increased font size instead of the semantic Heading 1 style.

    So even if the document was converted in PDF, it will just be text with no structure.

    Mintsauce, remind them that not making a decision is making the decision to do nothing.
    It doesn't work for me (imparting logic onto airy fairy Comms/Policy), but it's worth a try.
     
  18. ZXR

    ZXR Member

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    I'm seeing a really good opportunity to start up a business that re-formats documents semantically. Just think of the amount of work you'd be getting from every government department out there!

    We've used a couple of external companies to re-write some of our content, and even they aren't great at semantic markup. It's really not that hard if you have any kind of english skills!

    -ZXR
     
  19. Primüs

    Primüs Member

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    Blurgh, this is the part of web development that starts to turn me off, but it is a necessary evil in some instances.

    Previous job was with an e-Learning / LMS company who supplied to a few government (state and federal) agencies. One of their requirements, especially a big one we were doing for a federal department public facing website along with advertising campaign, had to be WCAG compliant. I forget which version, however it was one of my job's to assist in making sure this happened.

    The REAL annoying part about it was this requirement was voiced after the core of the system was done, and we had to go back and 'retro-fit' the WCAG compliance.

    Point of my story? I feels ya.
     

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