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sanch3x
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Hey guys,

I just thought this article was interesting since my job last summer basically consisted of me fixing up a government department's website. I live in Canada so this article doesn't totally affect me per se but it's still interesting.

Oh by the way, I'm posting it here 'cause it's you guys who helped me out with the whole accessibility issue. Wink

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4853000.stm

(I know it's old news to you guys but look, it's on the news!)

Seb

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Hugo
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Government sites fail web tests

Nothing unsurprising!
Especially when you take this fatuous quote into account:

Quote:

One difficulty is that many authoring tools do not generate compliant HTML and make it difficult to edit the coding.
<cite>Cabinet Office spokesman</cite>


There is a simple retort to that asinine comment
Oups

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Ed Seedhouse
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Notice that the site the article is posted on doesn't use valid html. The page has no DTD and can't be validated.

:oops:

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Chris..S
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Hugo, to be fair the boxed quote is out of context. The full text of the quote contains in the very next paragraph what I expect you are referring to. The cabinet office is the one pushing this.

/edit

Ed it does have a doctype, just not a valid one. Though you have to ask why would you go to all the trouble of putting a doctype on a webpage and then get it wrong - we're not talking two bit websites here, the bbc website is one of the premier websites in the world funded to the tune of (I believe) several 10's of millions of pounds (thats our currency Wink) every year.

Lorraine
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Aw shucks and that site belongs to the British Broadcasting Corporation 'n all. :oops:
Goodness knows how many page views and return visits every hour.
Accessible
Mobiles/PDAs
Has it's own text parser.
Such tables as there are linearise properly.
It's a huge constantly updated site but derisory, there is an old doctype on that page, acccording to the validation-istas <shrug>
CSS validates on that page but maybe not on others <shrug>

Which aspects of that woeful lack of validation detract from your viewing pleasure and in which browers/platform? I'll let them know.

Validation is good practice, don't get me wrong, but puhlease, it is sooooo easy to overplay lack of it and dilute the message when lack of validation actually has now't whatsoever to do with whatever problems are perceived on a poster's site. Big discussion here. Lots of different views but...

What was the thread topic again :?

oops took too long to calm down to be able to type properly.

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Quote:
Hugo, to be fair the boxed quote is out of context.


Oh you just had to bring fairness into the mix Chris and highlight the fact that I failed to read to the end of the article, curse you.

Auntie Beeb is one of the most respected media organizations in the world and is responsible for much technological research and innovation, it is and always has been far more than just a television company.

The BBC website has constantly been acknowledged as an example of how a complex website should perform and as Chris says has remained one of the major websites of the world (70 million page impressions a month; src: Audit Bureau).

The BBC is also a W3C working group member and publishes architecture white papers:
http://www.w3.org/Architecture/1998/06/Workshop/paper23/

Lorraine points are extremely valid, lack of validated content does not equal an inaccessible site.

Validation from our point of view is a check on whether a page conforms to rules, in that sense it allows people presenting code to avoid silly mistakes that ought not to exist.

Doctype switching is a whole nother story this is not a function of the DTD per se it was a kludge more than anything a means to utilize something that existed for another purpose and is the primary reason we use a DTD otherwise a DTD is actually a non essential item, the primary reason we will bang on about it's use is that it is hopeless attempting to offer CSS solutions when browsers will be doing their own thing and even ignoring certain properties or behavior.

The Beeb have developed their site and it works and is accessible to all? they do actually have a DTD albeit a transitional one.

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A BBC journalist's first responsibility (as it should be for any journalist) should be to report the news accurately and without bias. That includes reporting on the state of Internet standards/accessibility issues regardless of how the author's own website stands up to scrutiny in that area.
To give another example, a journalist should be expected to write honestly and without bias about media monopolisation even if the company s/he works for is guilty of the same thing.

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Chris..S
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Being good doesn't preclude striving to be better.

Two points about that page in particular:
- there is no access to accessibility information directly from that page or via its help link.
- if the doctype isn't valid or correct, why bother with it at all? - this is what seems odd to me. The BBC home page also has an incomplete doctype.

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The same thoughts occurred, I especially do not like inconsistency, of which there is a fair amount between pages as it's just sloppy and there are some clear errors in coding such as style tags in the body.

It saddens me somewhat that the Beeb should demonstrate such errors , I expect more of them than that, they are not amateurs by any means.

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roytheboy
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The BBC site is vastly vast in the way that a huge thing is vast on the day it got bigger than a big vast thing. It grows every day and it has an army of people that look after it. I can't even begin to imagine how anyone can possibly keep control of such a beast, so I for one can forgive them their minor sins.

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If I understand you correctly then , you're saying that in it's vastely vastiness lies a beast that is so vast beyond that which can be expressed in terms of the scope of vastness and which increases in the order of magnitude by it's own vastness daily in an unimaginable expotentional manner that one should be forgiving of some minor errors within that infinite vastness of pages?

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I can´t believe you wrote that

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Do these points occur to anyone other than me as rolling updates to a vast (or how Hugo just described it =D> ) site?
No link to accessibility on that page
Nor on Sports and Weather and probably others. But it appears on the majority of pages.

Lack of consistency - visual and structure
True, but visitors to, say, the Children's pages are not always the same visitors to other pages that cover vastly different subjects, such as Food, News etc. Should they all look and act the exactly the same? Many of the quirkier sections contain information about how the pages are set out.

The age of the sections - just how old are some of them? When are they coming up for review/redesign?
Old or incomplete or mistyped doctypes and the horror of a style tag in the body. Do you really think the Beeb people are not aware? Do you really think they would not do something about these horrendous errors "toot sweet" if they were causing pages to fail?

They are not amateurs. I think they are doing a much better job in practice than they are given credit for by theorists. And let those who cast the first stone, consider the vastly differing theoretical opinions of the WaSP redesign, ALA and countless other standards flagship sites. :roll:

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Lorraine, have we hit a bit of a raw nerve here Smile

Reputations once won need to be maintained, not rested upon. People will visit the BBC website to see how a good competent website can (should) be done.

If they are being pragmatic, don't have a doctype at all. Plenty of sites don't, including google and yahoo. But if you are going to put one on, you at least should spend the effort to get it right.

fwiw, the whole news.bbc.co.uk site doesn't appear to have an accessibility link. I guess they went for Mobiles/PDAs instead Wink

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Chris..S wrote:
Lorraine, have we hit a bit of a raw nerve here Smile

My nerves are cooked to perfection thank you, just need to heat the fava beans and open a bottle of chianti :twisted:

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Good lunch :mrgreen:
If I may revert to topic a mo'
http://www.webstandards.org/2006/03/31/government-web-site-failure-is-it-so-shocking-2/
Pick 'n Choose whichever view takes your fancy. Of course the comments run off topic - same old, same old then Smile

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Awwwh shucks, do we have to get back on topic on a Friday afternoon. Sad

What would be nice to know, is not only the total number of sites/pages/whatevers that fail. But the number of new/redone sites that still fail. Local government at least, is always strapped for cash, I can't see many in a headlong rush to update websites that don't otherwise need updating.

If the figure was 20% last year and will be 60% next year. Thats a good thing. If its 38% and 42% then I reckon that's a bad thing.

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Statistics, statistics Wink .
What is clear is that "they" have been rumbled. "They" cannot hide behind funding difficulties for much longer. And many accessibility-types are carrying out their own surveys and blogging the living daylights out of "them".

Cue a link or two:
http://www.publictechnology.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3974
http://www.socitm.gov.uk/Public/insight/publications/Better+connected+2006.htm
http://society.guardian.co.uk/e-public/story/0,,1741312,00.html
and a full report on how those poor "Council Workers" are supposed to spend their time
http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/e-government/resources/eaccessibility/content.asp

Can't really say anything intelligent about your percentages. But
<hijack alert> if a toddler learns to walk today and is playing football with Dad tomorrow - I assume that is a good thing. If he is not playing professionally by the following week - I assume that is a bad thing. Or do I misunderstand footie? :oops:</hijack alert>

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<hijack>
Statistics, shamtistics

p -> q doesn't mean !p -> !q
which also doesn't mean !p -> q
</hijack>

Football? Acting? I guess that depends if you are a Chelsea fan or not,

Wink

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Quote:
What would be nice to know, is not only the total number of sites/pages/whatevers that fail. But the number of new/redone sites that still fail.

Quote:
Statistics, shamtistics

Oh... err... umm... OK then.

that was a quick edit.
Or a fan of Rangers, Celtic, Aussie rules Smile

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Given the eagerness of the UK government to uphold the law in all respects - especially where motoring fines are concerned - I have been stumped for years as to why 'they' do not pursue the matter of website accessibility. I mean; the laws are in place and the 'criminals' are there and waiting to be prosecuted in their thousands for not complying with the DDA. I have been truly amazed that 'they' have failed completely to try and enforce this aspect of the law. Can you see where I'm going with this?

All becomes clear ...they've got to get their own house in order first, or they're going to look even more stupid than they do already Laughing out loud So, this means then that as soon as most government sites meet accessibility standards, they'll start prosecuting private-sector companies. There's your time-scale boys and girls - I reckon you've got about one year to get your houses in order Wink

Edit: Further to this, why don't the RNIB take 'them' to court???

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roytheboy wrote:

Edit: Further to this, why don't the RNIB take 'them' to court???

Government Funding Shock Not quite fair, Lorraine. The RNIB don't take anyone to court. Such cases as there have been were private prosecutions ie a visually-impaired individual has been persuaded (well driven really) to sue a website owner. The RNIB gave great support of course, a rep could just about be discerned in a dark corner of the court room Wink
RTB I thought you knew where all the speed cameras were in the part of the country/county you own. :?

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Lorraine wrote:
RTB I thought you knew where all the speed cameras were in the part of the country/county you own. :?

Yes, I'm fed up with the feds that keep putting Gatsos in my back garden ...and as for the mobile camera pointing down my drive - whatever next Wink

It's not the static cameras that worry me - it's the mobile units that park themselves on ridiculously wide roads on the outskirts of town that should be 40mph, not 30mph. Everybody naturally does about 35mph without realising it, and everybody gets caught and fined! Small wonder so many thousands of number plates are being stolen and used on other people's cars :roll:

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Hmmm. Do I sense the need for a check of license and registration? Is the insurance current? Tongue

cheers,

gary

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I've just had this vision of Roy prowling the streets in the wee small hours of the morning, screwdriver in hand Laughing out loud

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It is ridiculous though - all these millions being spent on CCTV with number plate recognition on every major road junction and town entry-point, tied to a central data processor, and all the crims have to do is steel and use a number plate from a similar car ...duuuur! Like, that's REALLY going to help stop terrorism and crime ...my @rse ](*,)

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Lorraine wrote:
Or a fan of Rangers, Celtic, Aussie rules Smile

And what's wrong with Aussie rules?

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Chris..S wrote:
Ed it does have a doctype, just not a valid one.

Yup, I was fooled by the W3C validator and didn't check the actual code.

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Tyssen wrote:

And what's wrong with Aussie rules?

I have no idea, you may have picked up I'm not a footie expert. But I do like the little sleeveless numbers they wear. Cool