Gordon Brown and the labour marketing machine have embraced the web in an effort to reach and engage with a wider audience.
Unfortunately, one of the primary strengths of the internet and social networking, is the interaction with your audience – a fact that seems to have been overlooked.
You can’t even send an email.
On 10 Downing Street‘s contact page there is the following, succinct, explanation in plain English:
“Email Number 10 - We have decided at this time that it is important to take another look at the Email Number 10 service to ensure that it meets the same high standards as the other content and communication measures that the website delivers. Unfortunately, this means that we will be unable to replace the service as quickly as we had hoped, but we aim to have it up and running as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
Even the smallest sites we’ve built for a couple of hundred quid have email. How come the Goverenment can’t manage it?
Ah, that will be because they need to “ensure that it meets the same high standards as the other content and communication measures that the website delivers.”
This Government has also brought in legislation that all commercial websites should comply with standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Number 10 has an Accessibility page which covers all the correct guidelines they should be following – but they aren’t.
1. Number 10 says: it complies with W3C 1.0 Transitional Guidelines. This standard is low and 10 years out of date, and still it fails on 5 points.
2. Number 10 says: it complies with WAI AA. Again, a lower standard than Triple A and still it fails on numerous points.
3. Number 10 says: “all images on this site are accompanied by a brief alternative text which describes the image or its function as appropriate.” Some, maybe 40% have.
4. Number 10 says: you can increase text size and tells you how to do it. Unfortunately, that’s quite out of date and doesn’t apply to 75% of visitors.
5. Access Keys are one of the most basic forms of accessibility you can give a site, so people with mobility problems can navigate without a mouse – this site doesn’t have them.
No wonder this Government isn’t enforcing the legislation they introduced to make websites accessible for all.
Most of Northstar’s websites comply with all of the above standards, not just the home pages, but every page. If we didn’t, we certainly wouldn’t post an Acccessibility page and lie about what we were doing.