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DIA wants to make online services easier to use by coaching agencies on how to meet the New Zealand Government Web Standards. These standards reflect the Government’s expectation that public sector websites be usable by all New Zealanders, regardless of their accessibility needs. The added benefit is that websites that meet the Web Standards will also be easier to use for other people, for example, the elderly, people with repetitive stress injuries, and those who have difficulty understanding English.

One of the requirements is that agencies, when asked, follow a self-assessment process and report on their progress implementing the Standards. The 2014 self-assessments are underway, and the results will set a baseline so we can make plans for continual improvement.

What’s involved in completing the self-assessments?

We’ve sent information to agencies recently about the steps to complete the self-assessments, but basically they are:

  1. Identify the homepage, “Contact us”, and other pages that your agency needs to assess. Depending on the number of websites an agency has, this task will vary in complexity and time required.
  2. Assess the selected pages against the Web Usability and Web Accessibility Standards.
  3. Report on your agency’s self-assessment results, identifying the measures you will take to address any outstanding issues and improve your overall web presence.

Need help?

We’ve provided agencies with a few documents to explain what’s involved:

  • a ‘Self-Assessment Methodology’ to guide you through the process
  • two assessment guides, one for each Standard, with practical and easy-to-apply instructions on how to test sites against the requirements
  • a ‘Self-Assessment Spreadsheet’ designed to make organising and recording results easier.

Plus, we’ve set up workshops to go over the details. These will be led by Jason Kiss (Senior Advisor Digital Engagement at DIA) with other experts on hand to answer questions. The workshops are scheduled for:

  • 12 November from 1.30 - 3.30pm
  • 19 November from 10am – noon.

Both workshops are in Poutama Ruma at the Archives New Zealand building at 10 Mulgrave Street in Wellington. Send RSVPs to web.standards@dia.govt.nz.

We’ll offer more workshops if there’s a need. Right now, we’re looking for space to add one in early December and would like to set one up just for vendors since they're likely to have different questions.

Last thoughts

Don’t panic. Agencies will have at least two months to complete their self-assessments.

Ask questions. If you’re unsure about the overall self-assessment process or have detailed questions about selecting your pages to test, or how to test a particular requirement, don't hesitate to email web.standards@dia.govt.nz.

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