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Dutch ministerial decision on accessibility of government websites

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 13:23:08 +0100
Message-Id: <6.2.5.6.2.20070307124814.0312aac0@esat.kuleuven.be>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Hi,

I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned in this list: on 1 September 
2006, the Dutch minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations 
published a "ministerial decision" on the quality of the national 
government's websites. (I'm avoiding legal terms like "decree" 
because that's not my area.) The decision is not a "law" (that much 
is clear) and it does not apply to provincial governments and municipalities.
The Dutch version is available at:
<http://webrichtlijnen.overheid.nl/besluit/tekst-besluit-en-toelichting/>.
A rough and unofficial English translation is available at:
<http://algemeenbekend.nl/misc/dutch-accessibility-decree.html>.

A few hightlights:
1.1: separate content and presentation.
2.1: use HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0 according to W3C specifications.
2.2: don't use deprecated markup.
2.3: when updating an existing web site, use the Transitional 
doctypes only if using the Strict variant is possible or undesirable.
2.4: when creating a new web site, use the Strict doctypes of HTML 
4.01 or XHTML 1.0.
2.5: don't use framesets.
2.6: use CSS 2.1 according to W3C specs.
[CSS 2.1 was pushed back from Candidate Recommendation (February 
2004) to normal working draft (June 2005).]
2.8: when manipulating elements in the HTML hierarchy, use W3C DOM 
according to spec.
2.9: follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.
[The level is not specified.]
3.15: use meaningful values for id and class attributes.
7.3: don't use d-links.
8.21: serve files with the appropriate MIME type.
[People have argued that this rules out XHTML 1.0 because it's MIME 
type is not supported by a dominant browser.]
16.2: specify the UTF-8 character set.
[Why prohibit UTF-16 or other Unicode Transformation Formats?]

Note that the "guidelines" are not really new: they are a very minor 
update on the guidelines that were already in use by the government. 
An English translation of these guidelines (version 1.1) can be found 
at <http://webrichtlijnen.overheid.nl/archive/version1.1/english/>. 
The most recent version (1.2) is currently only available in Dutch, 
at <http://webrichtlijnen.overheid.nl/>.

For other comments, see also
* 456 Barea Street: 
<http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200702/the_dutch_accessibility_law_is_awesome/>;
* QuircksBlog: 
<http://www.quirksmode.org/blog/archives/2007/01/new_dutch_acces.html>.

Best regards,

Christophe


-- 
Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Departement of Electrical Engineering - Research Group 
on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 - 3001 Leuven-Heverlee - BELGIUM
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
http://www.docarch.be/ 


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Received on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 12:23:29 GMT

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