Despite having been in effect since September 1 2006, I had not seen any mention of the Dutch law that regulates the quality of government websites until Peter-Paul Koch mentioned it in his post New Dutch accessibility law.
I read ppk's summary of the guidelines referred to by the law, checked out the actual guidelines (Besluit Kwaliteit Rijksoverheidswebsites–the document is only available in Dutch, but I do know enough Dutch to be able to read it reasonably well), and was stunned.
These guidelines (rules, rather) are amazing. They go way beyond the Swedish guidelines that I've been involved in writing, and government websites are required by law to follow them. How about that.
A few highlights of what is required:
Like I said, this is great stuff.
- separate structure from presentation
- do not use deprecated markup
- when creating a new website, use a Strict doctype
- use progressive enhancement
- create semantic class and id values
- use the W3C DOM when scripting
- do not use the alt attribute to create tooltips
There's been some discussion regarding whether Web accessibility should be required by law or not, and I have been pretty neutral, wanting to believe that things actually can improve without laws.
But as time has passed with not an awful lot happening with regards to the quality of public sector websites, I really think it's about time to step things up in the rest of the world. Governments of the world, translate the Dutch guidelines and make them mandatory for all websites financed by public sector organisations. Just do it, and put an end to taxpayer money being given away to incompetent Web amateurs.
Visit site to read or post comments…Add 456 Berea Street to your Technorati favorites.
Posted in Accessibility, Web Standards.