Archive for the 'call to arms' Category

Fresh01’s redesign: more questions for the DTI

Dan Champion and I remain unhappy with the Department of Trade and Industry’s answers to why they spent a quarter of a million pounds on a Clarkian failed redesign.

Our unhappiness is due to their wasting public money on a site that does not meet the level of accessibility required in their own spec, and the fact that the DTI have said that “if further changes are to be made to the website the cost will be met by DTI”, so presumably, Fresh01 (the suppliers) will not be required to put their mistakes right at their own expense (if indeed, the DTI’s answers show that it’s the supplier’s fault).

We want to know why this shoddy procurement, development and supplier monitoring happened, and what will be done to prevent it reoccurring. Therefore, we’ve sent further questions to the DTI as a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Stupid government websites

Dan Champion has an excellent post with information accessed under the Freedom of Information Act about the brand-new oh-so-1997 website of the Department of Trade and Industry, built by Fresh 01 and Fujitsu for a cost of £200,000, yet fails to meet a reasonable level of accessibility, even though it is clearly required in the specification (specification – PDF, 120K, specification – .doc, 89K).

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Letter to the MS Society on Accessibility

Web Accessibility is a human rights issue rather than a technological problem. And history shows us that human rights issues are never resolved until the people who are losing out become vocal in demanding their rights. In the USA, disability lobbying groups have pursued AOL, Southwest Airlines and most recently, Target.

But in the UK, nothing much has happened. It could be that most websites here are perfectly acceptable. Ahem. More likely, it could be the case that going to the law is stressful, complicated and expensive. I doubt I’d want to initiate a court case, and I’m pretty able-bodied and solvent.

It could be that people with disabilities may not know their rights to the Web.

So when there was an article in the magazine for the MS Society about using a computer accessibly, I wrote the following letter which was published in the May/ June edition.

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