[LINK] Re: Australian Government Web Accessibility Audit Findings, Canberra, 18 January 2007

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Mon Jan 22 10:18:13 AEDT 2007

I'll be really picky here and focus on just a few points:

On 21/01/2007, at 4:13 PM, Tom Worthington wrote:

> At 04:40 PM 1/8/2007, I wrote:
>> Recommended:
>>> Seventh Canberra WSG meeting ... 18 January ...
> This was an excellent meeting, as is usual for the Web Standard  
> Group. These are some notes taken during the presentations:
>>> First speaker: Alexi Paschalidis, Oxide Interactive Topic 1: Navy  
>>> web site redevelopment ...


> A feature of the Navy site redevelopment is semantic consistency.  
> They are using Semantic XHTML with structural consistency; for  
> example a second level heading <h2> always has a first level  
> heading above it <h1>.

Why is this semantic? Numerically ordered, perhaps, but not at all  
semantic in language. I can think of many, many publications that  
have pages with subheadings, minor headings, or otherwise which don't  
have this 'level of consistency'. Indeed, in most instances, paper- 
based articles or papers or journals would reverse this into <h2> - 
<h1> - <h3>, or variations on a theme. I'd like to see one reference  
article that states that the first heading is always going to be  
bigger/more important/whatever than the next heading.

And the poor website managers would have to follow suit,  
contradicting those who believe that numerically-ordered heading tags  
are mandatory. Until they started mucking about with CSS and made  
<h1> smaller than <h2> in display, which of course turns the whole  
smenatic argument upside down. One can't always assume that headings  
are either logically ordered, or semantically ordered by importance.

> <snip>
> A little AI on the site's feedback form had allowed 80% of queries  
> to be answered automatically.

I've found sites that claim to use 'a little AI' to 'answer  
questions', and I rarely get an actual answer to my question. Simply  
automating the answers does not therefore mean that visitors are  
either better informed, or that their query is resolved.

> Alexi emphasized the need to educate the customers about the  
> benefits of using standards on web sites and the need to be  
> vigilant about the danger of  graphic designers being brought in to  
> design web sites. This and the frustration with senior executives  
> wanting to make quick changes are problems familiar to IT  
> developers. <snip>

Yes, the last thing that we need is for designers to design - far too  
dangerous. Or to have senior executives having any control - worse  
still. Best leave it to the 'IT developers', who will one day become  
developed enough to better understand their true role in information  
architecture, services, marketing and communications.


Ivan Trundle
http://itrundle.com ivan at itrundle.com
ph: +61 (0)418 244 259 fx: +61 (0)2 6286 8742
skype: callto://ivanovitchk

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