We just wanted to inform of the recent re-establishment of the NZ Government Web Standards Working Group to help agencies with the NZ Government Web Standards and accessibility.
In 2011, the Department of Internal Affairs reviewed the NZ Government Web Standards (NZGWS) programme. This review involved assessments of agency websites against the Web Standards, as well as consultations with disability communities, government web practitioners, and third-party vendors.
The review made it clear that agency knowledge and skill regarding web accessibility and the NZGWS are quite variable. Agencies need more focussed guidance, training, tools and techniques to help increase their knowledge and skills in these areas. There is equally a need for regular assessment of the Web Standards to ensure that they remain fit-for-purpose and practicable.
More accessible and standards-compliant websites will help improve interaction with government online information and services, thus contributing to the Directions and Priorities for Government ICT and Better Public Services Results 9 and 10.
Reviving the Web Standards Working Group
In 2008 and early 2009, a working group made up of government and industry representatives developed the existing NZ Government Web Standards 2.0. That working group was dismantled following the Standards' release.
To meet current needs and help agencies build better websites, DIA revived the Web Standards Working Group in December 2012. With 11 members representing various government agencies and disability communities, the new Working Group meets fortnightly.
Purpose and Objectives
The Working Group exists to improve the accessibility and Web Standards compliance of government online information and services. Another reason for the Working Group is to provide agencies and disability communities an opportunity to guide the direction of the NZGWS and align the development of Working Group deliverables with the actual needs of agencies, government web practitioners, and disability communities.
The Working Group aims to deliver a Web Standards programme that, among other things, contributes to a cost-effective approach for increasing the accessibility of government online information and services in light of a shifting fiscal environment and technological landscape. Part of this involves improving communication and the collaboration and sharing of knowledge, skills, and resources among agencies.
In pursuit of the above objectives, some of the Working Group's activities include:
- annually review the NZGWS and recommend any changes necessary to ensure that they remain fit for purpose;
- identify NZGWS- and accessibility-related issues of concern to the government web community and among third-parties, including disability communities;
- create and share guidance, as well as accessible tools and techniques, in response to identified needs and concerns of the web community and third-parties, leveraging where possible work intended or already undertaken by agencies;
- present to the web community and third-parties on the NZGWS and accessible web authoring/design/development/management; and,
- advise agency and cross-agency governance groups as required on matters of NZGWS compliance and accessibility.
Get in Touch
Whether you work on or visit New Zealand Government websites, if you have questions about the Web Standards or suggestions for the Working Group on how best to meet its broader goal of more accessible and standards-compliant websites, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.