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Provincial Government Should be Setting the Example for New Website Launches

By Geof Collis
Badeyes Design and Consulting
October 31, 2009

Well it didn’t take long for me to find another so called “accessible website” through an article at http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2009/27/c3016.htmltitled “ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE | OPP launches redesigned website enhancing public access to OPP information
“.

The Author states;

To be inclusive of people with disabilities, the website was designed to meet current accessibility standards.

What standards would that be?

Surely not Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0(WCAG), or even WCAG 1.0!

As I wrote in my article at http://www.aoda.ca/?p=224 the OPP site at http://www.opp.ca/ecms/index.php
I found improperly nested headings, links with same names that pointed to different resources, invalid code, 315 errors and more.

I also found Flash banners with no accessible alternatives, I could see the images changing but had no idea what they were. If you had Flash turned off, which many screen reader users do, you would not get any of the News releases.

If a person had JavaScript turned off functionality of the site is lost such as the search function, still other areas required use of a mouse to interact with the site.

From what I checked I found this site to have a lot of inaccessible Multimedia and PDF documentation.

So again I ask, what current standards was it designed to? Not WCAG 2.0 and as I wrote in my other site check, it wont be the upcoming Information and Communications Standard either.

This is unacceptable, the Provincial Government should be leading the way in web accessibility. WCAG is nothing new, it’s been around for a very long time, if they aren’t ahead of the curve, why should any business in Ontario do any better?

The first entity to be fined under the upcoming Information and Communication Standard should be the Government itself, problem is we will pay for it by way of taxes, as well as the redesigning of all the sites past and present the Government will have to address.

I can see why the Government selected 2025 for full implementation of the Act, it is going to take them that long just to get their own Act together.