Going Digital

Size: entire (incomplete) site as it appeared on 17 Nov 2010 (pre-launch)

Government status: Government Ministry

My professional status: contractor at Designworks

Website client: Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Dates: November 2010

Categories: Project manager, Govt web standards tester, Writing for the web, CSS-based layout, e-govt/WCAG compliance, Other CMS, Government websites, Small sites

Brief: New Zealand television was going digital, and Designworks was asked by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to create a website providing Kiwis with all the info they would need to be able to watch TV after the switch. Designworks asked me to do an e-government accessibility assessment of the website and to provide them with a report.

My responsibilities included:

  • Testing a representative range of pages and templates pre-launch for e-govt accessibility guidelines (AA-level) compliance
  • Producing a comprehensive report - the WCAG 2.0 Compliance Worksheet (AA) - that listed each of the 43 WCAG 2.0 guidelines, showing success criteria for each, together with a review of the 198 sufficient techniques that can be used to achieve a pass for the various criteria
  • For each guideline, noting which of the success criteria had been achieved, which of the sufficient techniques had been used (yes, no, partly), and, for those success criteria that did not comply, summarising precisely what the designer and/or front-end developer needed to do from a technical perspective (eg colour contrast, HTML/CSS changes and bug-fixes) in order to pass
  • Browser-testing of the templates to provide Designworks with an overview of how the website was performing across the following browsers and platforms, and what needed further testing and bug-fixing (Yahoo! Graded Browser Support Update: Q1 2010):
    • WindowsXP: Internet Explorer IE6, IE7, IE8; Firefox 3, Firefox 3.6, Chrome 4
    • Windows7: IE8, Firefox 3.6
    • Mac OSX: Firefox 3.6, Safari 4

I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to ensuring that websites are accessible. I incorporate as many accessibility techniques into my front-end development as I can, whether or not a website is a government one, because I believe all websites should be accessible. With government websites such as Going Digital, this is mandatory, and I really appreciated the fact that Designworks invited me to test the site for e-govt compliance and that they used my recommendations to improve the website from an accessibility perspective.