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RE: UK Government Web Guidelines

From: Simon White <simon.white@jkd.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 12:46:02 -0000
Message-ID: <D1EFBFDCD178C24DA607A306D6E3A7114F71D7@URANUs>
To: "Scarlett Julian (ED)" <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>, "Tom Gilder" <w3c@tom.me.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Name witheld for fear of persecution,
I wholeheartedly agree that no HTML version of this document is not good, but there are Word versions available on the site. To clarify what I meant by my comments: if we all put our comments forward then hopefully change will come. However, simply being sarcastic and derisory about it will only make people assume that apathy is rife. Then nothing will change. The reason that these guidelines went out to people for evaluation is, perhaps, because the government realises that it does not know what it is talking about (and not just on this issue).

If the guidelines fail to change after everyone's comments have been taken into consideration, then we all have cause for complaint. So, shouldn't we wait to see the outcome? If the guidelines are not any good once published then ignore them, or follow them to the letter and then let those who are at the top know that the website is not accessible *because* of their guidelines. The words cut, nose, spite and face spring to mind here...

I also think that a great many assumptions have been made about this document. Firstly, the document is a guideline, not a stringent set of rules; secondly, it is a draft set of guidelines. Perhaps we should be reading the whole document, including the front page. Notice the use of the word draft, too.

While it may seem that I am not in agreement with your comments, that is not true. As someone who works with government departments but is not employed by them I think that I can see beyond the day-to-day stuff (crap?) that you seem so annoyed about. This document is aimed also at me, not just you and the rest of the people who work in government departments, and sanctimonious comments don't help anyone. As for fear of persecution, well that surely is conspiracy theories at their most idiotic, isn't it? I would have thought that anyone who could help make a process better would be lauded not pilloried, and that is the feedback I have received from the government department responsible for this. Perhaps it would  be better then if they didn't consider it at all? As a commuter I think trains are more important - but that is something that flies against my beliefs and my reason for being on this list. 

Come on Julian, from our short discussions in the past I know that none of the accusations that I have levied at you are just not true. I remember a post recently where you were pleased to have learned something when previously you did not know it - is that not the purpose of providing guidelines, so that you can learn something from those who have the knowledge rather than continually making the mistakes again and again.

I think that the government's stance on this subject is great, whether they have got it wrong or right is still up for discussion once the full and proper guidelines have been produced. Until then, it is all rhetoric, and quite frankly that is something that helps no one in this situation.

I'm up for continued discussion on this topic, but I think that it would be better if we took it out of the list, considering what has gone before when topics get personal. Any takers?


-----Original Message-----
From: Scarlett Julian (ED) [mailto:Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 11:48
To: Simon White; Tom Gilder; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: UK Government Web Guidelines


I am in local government and therefore this doc is aimed directly at me. I
wholeheartedly echo Tom's derision but out of a sense of frustration more
than anything else. Yet again, we are given guidelines by people who either
don't know what they're talking about or don't seem to really care. The fact
that there is no html version of the doc is laughable and sets a really bad
example to all developers/designers to whom these guidelines are addressed.
Fyi, I have mailed the address given with a comment to that effect but
without the sarcasm or derision.

I don't know what the situation is in the States but I'll warrant that the
508 guidelines make sense and are presented in an accessible format. I
applaud the government's accessibility drive but it does seem that they're
paying mere lip service to it at the moment. The fact that they seem to say
all that is needed is single A compliance is a bit off too. Stick some alt
attributes in and pretend you read the user checks and you can claim an
accessible web site - is that the sort of activity that they should be
encouraging. Most local government sites are so far developed that to make
them fully accessible would involve immense amounts of work that most senior
managers will see as unnecessary. Going for single A doesn't really make a
page accessible it just means that the images are informative (maybe).

name withheld for fear of Persecution

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Simon White [mailto:simon.white@jkd.co.uk]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 11:17 AM
> To: Tom Gilder; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: RE: UK Government Web Guidelines
> Dear All,
> This document has been out to consultation to those who 
> contacted Tom Adams at the E-Envoy's office of the UK 
> government. I am one of those. I think that it is a good idea 
> that these types of guidelines have been put together, 
> proving that at least the UK government is getting behind 
> accessibility for its own websites. I would suggest that 
> instead of mocking the guidelines here (as it seems some 
> have) the "suggestions" that have been made should be 
> forwarded to the relevant people so that your comments can be 
> evaluated and used to drive this type of guideline forward. 
> Better to be proactive than comedic, I think...
> Simon White
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Gilder [mailto:w3c@tom.me.uk]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 11:05
> To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: UK Government Web Guidelines
> On Wednesday, January 30, 2002, 3:08:09 AM, you wrote:
> > The UK Government has a draft set of guidelines for UK
> > Government web sites
> Er, is it just me - or did these guidelines not used to be followed
> exactly until MS took over development of the sites?
> > There is no HTML version.
> "Use HTML as the default information format"
> That's a classic :)
> > One alarming extract from the accessibility section
> > 'All important images must have an 'alt' attribute and
> > value'
> I'm guessing they mean <input type="image" />...
> > Feedback goes to
> > webguidelines@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk
> Good that they've at least got some document up - and in all it isn't
> that bad. Clear, easy to follow and quite practical - might point a
> few people at it.
> -- 
> Tom Gilder
> w3c@tom.me.uk
> _____________________________________________________________________
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Received on Wednesday, 30 January 2002 07:46:05 UTC

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