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Interpreting the Accessibility Guidelines for UK Government Web sites

This is a subsection of Tinhat UK Accessibility, see menu on the left.

Other pages in this subsection:

These pages explain the accessibility guidelines created by the UK office of the E-envoy. Unfortunately, the guidelines are not particularly useful and hardly any government Web sites follow them (in fact none, as far as I can see). The information given in the main Tinhat UK Accessibility section is more realistic.

Because the guidelines are not used in practice, the pages in this subsection tend to discuss them rather than presenting a step by step guide to their implementation.

For reference, here is a link to the official Accessibility Guidelines for UK Government Web sites. They have nomadic tendencies and tend to move to a new address every year or so - my apologies if the link is out of date.

Please note, the material that follows has no official status, it is simply an interpretation by a UK accessibility specialist.

About the guidelines

The government Web document ironically demonstrates one important accessibility issue - if you structure the material on your pages badly, then even intelligent people with no disabilities will find it hard to use.

To be fair, the second half of the guidelines, starting around section 2.4.4, is very good, but the first half is about as accessible as Grimpen Mire in The Hound of the Baskervilles. There's also a lot of repetition. For example, we receive three separate sets of instructions on how to deal with 'alt' tags.

About this interpretation

What I've attempted to do is present material extracted from the official document in an entirely different manner, though I fear I haven't fully disentangled the spaghetti. The first half of the guidelines is covered in Overlap with WAI Guidelines, and Other First Half Elements. The remainder in Guide to the Second Half.

I've also added a section called Questionable Elements, which looks at some of the scratch-your-head stuff included in the official guidelines.

And here's a less technical briefing, Overview for Managers, which considers the implications of the guidelines for non-technical users rather than Web developers.


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