[LINK] another website fiasco - fire alert website

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Mon Jan 11 18:51:09 AEDT 2010

Brenda Aynsley wrote:

> ... Where is the human element consideration in this?
> Where is the thinking beyond the technology? ...

The Victorian CFA web site < http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/> is not as bad 
as some. There is reasonably clear and simple text based information and 
an RSS feed. You don't have to download PDF files. The HTML is 
reasonably compact. However, the web site has some obvious flaws which 
which will be impeding access to information and would take little 
effort to fix.

The CFA "Warnings and Advice" page 
<http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/incidents/warnings_advice.htm> has 51 HTML 
syntax errors. It is not mobile friendly (failing the W3C Mobile Okay 
test) and is twice as large as it needs be. CFA should dispense with the 
two photo montages on the page and just have the CFA logo as the only 

The CFA home page is cluttered and should be simplified, with the 
operational information give priority. However, it has improved slightly 
from when I tested it in December 2009:

In December the CFA home page failed an automated W3C Web Accessibility 
Initative Version 1 test, with 1 error at level one, 36 at level two, 
and 15 at level three. It now scores 1 error at level one, 35 at level 
two, and 14 at level three. The CFA should fix at least the level one 
and level two accessibility problems with the web site.

The page also failed a W3C HTML Validation test in December, with 230
errors and 37 warnings. It now has 229 Errors and 37 warnings. The CFA 
should fix the errors.

The page also failed the W3C mobile OK Checker tests in December. It now 
scores 3 out of 100, which is better, but still a very poor result. The 
web page is overly image heavy with 80.3 Kbytes of the 112.3 Kbytes 
download being 13 images. The CFA should reduce the graphics content of 
the page. There is no urgent need to meet all mobile requirements, but 
many of these changes would also make the page load quicker and more 
reliably for all users.

The CFA should not radically change the design of the web site in the 
middle of the bushfire season, but removing some extraneous material and 
fixing syntax errors should be low risk.

For more on emergency web page design, see the links on the bottom of my 
December 2009 posting: 

Tom Worthington FACS HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/people.php?StaffID=140274

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