A Canadian discussion on how to use, improve, and share within the larger GovLoop Community (but open to everyone!).
A great place to start when looking to connect with other Canadian Civil Servants.
Is Govloop Accessible? Can We Improve it?
September 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm #81356
September 23, 2009 at 8:36 pm #81378
would be nice to bring Derek Featherstone into the conversation here – great local accessibility expert.
September 23, 2009 at 11:49 pm #81376
Mark – bring in anyone and everyone you know in this area, let’s get this sucker going and get it going right.
September 24, 2009 at 9:11 am #81374
Let me suggest that the accessibility issue we face as Canadians are threefold.
1. The need for both official languages.
2. Canadian Privacy and Crown information law, policy and procedures are markedly different than US laws. How do we share information within these confines? How do we manage differences between provinces, municipalities and the like.
3. Differences in Federal and Provincial information management systems, approaches to collaboration and different technology choices are all barriers to using GovLoop.
September 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm #81372
Govloop is based on Ning and really don’t think that they give you enough access to make it accessible.
Unlike the CLF, with a social networking site like this for accessibility you not only have to deal with WCAG, but also ATAG as it’s not much of a network if you can’t contribute to the authoring of a site.
We could certainly set up a site that emulates this environment, is bilingual and is considerably more accessible using Drupal 6. We’re doing a lot of work bringing in accessibility into Drupal 7 and some of that can be back-ported.
The trouble though is that to set something up that meets these requirements will cost $$ where Ning is free. There’s also the side that people have already joined this network and may not be keen on joining yet another one.
September 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm #81370
Bowen – I actually think that using a site that is not administered by a government body means that we technically do not have to adhere to anything (i.e. the site doesn’t have to be bilingual and neither copyright nor information management policies really have any application). This is a social network like any other, responsible use there of is up to the users.
That being said, I would like to see both a bilingual (actually multilingual would be best) user interface/navigation system and an accessible one. IMO this is just the right thing to do.
That being said, perhaps some guidance could be drafted that governments could adopt and disseminate would be useful.
September 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm #81368
Mike I am by no means a web accessibility guru, I just understand it’s importance. (I also run WAVE) From the other discussions it seems as though people want to use govloop and not create a standalone site, mostly for the reasons you mention.
Does anyone have any insight into whether or not we can ask Ning if they could improve the product’s accessibility? Or perhaps volunteer resources (if we have them) to help with that endeavour?
Do we have resources?
September 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm #81366
It seems to me that we can ask ning. They may be working on it already. (Who know?!)
In the meantime, we can try to post accessible content here:
E.g., don’t use “click here” as link text, don’t use images to convey information that should/could be text, don’t use tables for layout-only purposes…
September 25, 2009 at 11:28 am #81364
Good thread…I’m talking to Ning today and will work with them about accessibility. I’ll work with them and get back to you about their responses and work with them to improve it.
September 25, 2009 at 7:20 pm #81362
Can we define what we mean by accessibility here?
September 25, 2009 at 7:50 pm #81360
September 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm #81358
i especially like the “Principles of Accessible Design”, copied below, but better on the site for the links.
Below you will find a list of some key principles of accessible design. Most accessibility principles can be implemented very easily and will not impact the overall “look and feel” of your web site.
Provide appropriate alternative text
Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content in web pages. It is especially helpful for people who are blind and rely on a screen reader to have the content of the website read to them.
Provide headings for data tables
Tables are used online for layout and to organize data. Tables that are used to organize tabular data should have appropriate table headers …
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