[LINK] Online Availability of Government Entities' Documents Tabled in the Australian Parliament

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Thu Jun 4 09:26:38 EST 2009


At 11:51 AM 3/06/2009, Antony Barry wrote:
>Begin forwarded message:
>
>>From: "Missingham, Roxanne (DPS)" <Roxanne.Missingham at aph.gov.au>
>>Date: 27 May 2009 10:01:02 AM ...
>>...The ANAO recommends that entities review the accessibility of 
>>their  online documents against the requirements of the web 
>>accessibility  standard endorsed by the Australian Human Rights Commission. ...

The ANOA's report would have more credibility if not provided as a 
hard to read, monolithic 75 page PDF file 
<http://www.anao.gov.au/download.cfm?item_id=5C8EEC091560A6E8AA8605E0B76F630A&binary_id=750D4AE11560A6E8AAD1B6C7A288377E>.

There is an easier to read web based summary, but the relationship 
between this and the full report is unclear. I could find no link 
from the web brochure to the full report, nor any mention of the 
brochure in the full report 
<http://www.anao.gov.au/director/publications/auditreports/2008-2009.cfm?item_id=5C8EEC091560A6E8AA8605E0B76F630A#750A2FC61560A6E8AAFB8ADB2443AF14>.

Rather than emphasis on accessibility for the disabled, what might 
appeal to the agencies, and which I have found an effective pitch to 
marketing/media people, is to suggest the information should be in a 
format suitable for a smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry). There is a 
lot more interest by corporate executives in making information 
available to trendy influential rich people with smart phones, than 
to unfashionable poor blind people.

The one version of the material can then be made compatible with a 
smart phone, accessible technology for the disabled and ordinary web browsers.

This would also encourage agencies to restructure the information 
they provide in a format which is useful to the reader, rather than 
convenient for the author. Reports to parliament are mostly not 
narratives to be read from cover to cover, but compendiums of 
information which will be randomly accessed. The Parliament might 
like to think about providing templates for the agencies to fill in, 
so that information can be compared across agencies. Perhaps the 
agencies should fill in forms on the Parliament's web site and the 
Parliament publish the information.

Google's "Wave", assuming it is not just hype, might popularize more 
flexible, readable, accessible document formats.

Of course the Parliament and the agencies could simply hire my 
students to fix the documents. ;-)

See: "Teaching Web Accessibility at an Australian University": 
<http://www.tomw.net.au/technology/it/webteaching.shtml>.



Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  



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