Govt web compliance deadline; for January, read about June

Government website managers will not be unduly pressured to achieve compliance with accessibility and usability standards

The notional deadline for government agencies to comply with website standards passed on January 1, but the State Services Commission is being flexible about the requirement.

Real pressure won’t be applied to website managers until the middle of

the year, Computerworld understands.

The degree of compliance that agencies have achieved is still to be determined, says commission spokesman Jason Ryan. “We put up a compliance check-list last year [Computerworld, December 5] and agencies are assessing themselves against that list. We expect that process to run from November [2005] to about March,” he says.

The commission will then prepare a report on agencies’ compliance, which will be presented to Cabinet “about mid-year”, Ryan says.

The January 1 deadline was set “some time ago”, he says and there has since been a more realistic appreciation of the demands it places on agencies, particularly in the light of existing work schedules.

The government standards are based extensively on those devised by international body W3C and relate to usability and accessibility of websites, as well as consistent practice allowing reusability of components and a familiar look and feel for users across government sites.

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