August 2006 Archive

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August 28, 2006

United Nations E-Accessibility Day

@ 8:17 PM

3rd December 2006 will be the International Day of Disabled Persons,and this year's theme is accessibility to information technologies.

Read all about it at the UN Enable site (external link). There are few details of what will be happening on the day, but one would imagine that there will be a series of co-ordinated events much like World Usability Day (external link) (which is 14th November this year).

August 17, 2006

Private Eye for the DTI

@ 1:30 PM

A warm welcome to anyone who has been led here by that esteemed publication Private Eye. Just so you don't have to rake around the less interesting corners of the site, you can find the bits about the DTI here:

My co-conspirator Bruce Lawson has a handy category just for the DTI (external link) on his site, clever bloke, which will complete the picture.

For visitors who don't subscribe to the Eye (shame on you) Bruce has a transcript of the Eye piece (external link) on his site.

Current position

At the moment I'm waiting for a response to the internal review I requested after the department dodged our follow-up enquiry. They've told me:

The Department is carrying out an Internal Review into the decision not to disclose the information you request. The review will be undertaken by the Director General within the DTI who is responsible for the policy area within which your original request falls.

The target for conducting an internal review is 20 working days from receipt of your letter. We will write to you again following the review.

I made my request for an internal review on 26th July, so should have a response by 23rd August, which will be published here. If the result of the review is unsatisfactory the final course of action is an appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office.

The tip of the iceberg?

It's probably worth pointing out that the DTI is by no means the only government department to procure and publish such a low quality website, and in doing so ignore the government's own guidelines on web development. There's a fundamental flaw in the current e-government setup at Whitehall, where the eGovernment Unit issues some very good (if now dated) guidance on producing accessible, usable websites, based on best practice, which is subsequently ignored by departments. There's no threat of sanctions from the government itself, so the only risks the departments are taking by ignoring the guidance are of legal action (miniscule) and bad publicity (hello!).

August 2, 2006

RNIB Web Access Centre Courses

@ 7:34 AM

Whether web accessibility is a scary, monsters-under-the-bed-just-don't-want-to-look thing for you, or you've already got an inkling of what it's all about and want to learn more, it seems the fine folks at the RNIB Web Access Centre can help.

They've announced two new courses, the first for people who need to understand the big issues; why accessibility is vital and what happens when sites aren't accessible, the second is a more technical course for people who need to understand the detail of how it's done, includes examples, so that delegates are equipped to rip out the bad practice and bolt in the best, on their return to work.

So if London's an option for you, and you can stretch to the very reasonable £195 for each full-day course, there are few better people to learn about web accessibility from. They know their stuff inside out, and are very nice people to boot. And no, I don't get commission.

Full details from the Web Access Centre Blog (beta) (external link).