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RE: Slashdot: How should Govt sites be designed?

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bruce_Bailey@ed.gov>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 09:13:27 -0500
Message-ID: <5DCA49BDD2B0D41186CE00508B6BEBD030041D@WDCROBEXC01>
To: "'Charles F. Munat'" <chas@munat.com>, "'Dr Nick Fiddes'" <nick@scotweb.ltd.uk>
Cc: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "'info@open.gov.uk'" <info@open.gov.uk>
Charles (et al.),

I agree that deprecated elements like FONT and BGCOLOR have no place on a
Double-A page.  They are using textual graphics for headers which (thank you
Wendy) we have finally come to a consensus is a violation of Checkpoint 3.1
(P2).

The home page didn't validate when a took a look (despite the provision of a
live check).  Some other pages I spot checked were fine.  I am not sure why
they commented-out the CSS badge on the homepage when it too is provided
further in.  Some deeper pages claim only Double-A conformance.

I also noticed that the logo button graphics are shrunk by putting in false
information about the image size.  Is this a violation of any standards?

How does a site claiming Single-A compliance justify a high level link to
Adobe Acrobat Reader?  I did not come across any PDF documents, but lack of
HTML equivalents would be a violation of Guideline 11.

Why does a government site have banner graphics anyway?

I like the feedback form since it allows contact by people in a public
setting (like libraries) where an email client is not available.  They do
provide a bunch of email address at
<http://www.open.gov.uk/services/team.htm> I CC'd this message to a generic
one provided on the feedback page.

I also looked for and found violations of Checkpoint 3.7 requiring the use
of <Q>...</Q> instead of other forms of quotation marks (P2).

The descriptions available for the sparse graphics that do exist are so
poorly done that they are IMHO virtually useless:
<http://www.open.gov.uk/longdesc/photos.htm>
<http://www.open.gov.uk/services/standards.htm>

I also agree with Charles that the efforts of the web development team are
truly commendable.  We really are nit picking.  The site is extremely
accessible, and definitely Single-A compliant.  Hip, hip, hurrah!  (Now that
we're done with the virtual ticker tape parade, is it too much to hope that
Judy might write them a note complaining about the Triple-A claims?)

Bruce Bailey


> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Charles F. Munat
> Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2000 5:40 PM
> To: 'Dr Nick Fiddes'; kynn@idyllmtn.com; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Slashdot: How should Govt sites be designed?
> 
> 
> Dr Nick Fiddes wrote:
> 
> "Those of you on the other side of the pond may be interested to take
> a look at the UK government's main public site:
> http://www.open.gov.uk/  It claims 'WAI-AAA' standard of
> accessibility and though I've not analysed in depth I've seen no
> reason yet to dispute this."
> 
> I think they're exaggerating a bit. For one thing, they use deprecated
> elements like border and bgcolor. And they use tables for 
> layout. (They've
> also messed up their DTD and the home page won't validate, but that's
> another story.)
> 
> The bgcolor is totally unnecessary. The page looks terrible 
> in Netscape 3
> (it would look better without the bgcolor attribute), and in all later
> browsers the same effect could be had by using 
> style="background-color: " or
> better yet a class attribute together with the style sheet.
> 
> They are also using FONT tags! And <b>! How can this be AAA 
> or even AA? If
> they dropped the bgcolor attribute, they could drop the font 
> tags as well.
> They should give up on Netscape 3. Let it degrade gracefully 
> to a plain
> look. For that matter, they could stop using the table for 
> formatting as
> well, although that might be a problem with Netscape 4 (God, 
> I hate Netscape
> 4).
> 
> So:
> 
> 3.3 (Priority 2) Use style sheets to control layout and 
> presentation. I read
> this as no bgcolor and definitely no font or bold tags.
> 
> 11.2 (Priority 2) Avoid deprecated features of W3C 
> technologies. I read this
> as no Transitional XHTML. Strict only.
> 
> When you get to Priority 3, it gets even more problematic:
> 
> 4.2 Specify the expansion of each abbreviation or acronym in 
> a document
> where it first occurs. Not done.
> 
> 9.4 Create a logical tab order through links.... Not done.
> 
> 10.5 Until user agents render adjacent links distinctly, 
> include non-link,
> *printable* characters between links. Does <br /> count? 
> Wasn't there a
> thread on this list about this just recently?
> 
> 13.7 If search functions are provided, enable different types 
> of searches
> for different skill levels and preferences. Not done.
> 
> 5.5 Provide summaries for tables. I don't think 
> summary="alpha" really fits
> the bill. What does that mean? (The table holds a row of 
> letters linking to
> sections below.) Summaries should make sense to the user, not 
> just to the
> page designer (they're not section labels).
> 
> There are a few others, too. A big one is 10.3 (provide a linear text
> alternative for ALL tables that lay out text in parallel).
> 
> Frankly, the site looks great and they've obviously put a 
> tremendous effort
> into it. They should be commended for this. But the site is 
> FAR from AAA and
> really not even AA, although with a little effort they could 
> quickly get it
> to AA in my opinion (others are less sanguine about AA pages 
> using tables
> for layout, but I'll leave it to them to argue that point).
> 
> I'd cc this to them, but they don't provide an email address, only a
> feedback form (another big no-no in my book).
> 
> Charles F. Munat,
> Seattle, Washington
Received on Friday, 15 December 2000 09:40:23 GMT

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