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Change to Technical Standard 2.2: Technologies Which May Be Used but Not Relied On

For all documents published online, a HTML equivalent remains the preferred accessible format. Accessible means that all users, not just people with disabilities, can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the web, and that they can contribute to the web.

Read the update to Technical Standard 2.2 below.

View a flowchart for publishing documents online.



The W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (level AA) have been adopted for the New Zealand Government Web Standards. These include New Zealand-specific requirements, as described below.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Websites must meet WCAG 2.0's five conformance requirements.

Note that two of these, "1. Conformance Level" and "4. Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies", have been pre-set for agencies in the following points (the latter being re-named below as the "New Zealand-specific requirements").

1. WCAG2.0 Conformance Level

Agency sites must meet all WCAG2.0 success criteria, level AA (including level A).

2. New Zealand-Specific Requirements

The following requirements adjust WCAG 2.0 for the New Zealand government and comprise the second part of the Technical standards. They equate to the "Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies" conformance requirements in WCAG 2.0.

2.1 Technologies and Techniques Which Must Be Used

2.2 Technologies Which May Be Used But Not Relied On

  • Scripts, applets and other programmatic objects. Information or services in webpages or applications must be available without scripts, applets and other programmatic objects. This includes Flash, Silverlight, Java and Javascript. See the guide to Applications and Accessible Alternatives.
  • You may publish your document in any format only if you provide an accessible alternative. However, do not provide content in document formats other than HTML except when:
    • the document is already provided in HTML format (preferred), or another accessible format
    • the document originates in software formats for which there are no accessible alternatives (eg, CAD, some financial and economic modelling tools), in which case you must provide a summary, file format and file size and a method by which the user can contact your agency for assistance in accessing the content
    • the document was created before 31 October 2009, in which case you must provide a summary, file format and file size and a method by which the user can contact your agency for assistance in accessing the document
    • the document is a form that requires printing and physical signature. Note that all guidance material and explanatory notes relating to the form must be published in HTML, even if they are also included in the non-HTML document. This includes providing a clear description in HTML of the purpose of the non-HTML document.
    • the document was created wholly by third parties. Agencies should encourage creators of such documents to provide them in accessible formats. This exception does not include documents commissioned by an agency and produced by third parties, which must still be published in an accessible format
    • time or resource limitations preclude the production of an accessible format within publication deadlines. Documents may be published without an accessible equivalent, as long as a date on which an accessible equivalent is published or a reason for not providing an accessible equivalent is published. In addition, on the same HTML page as the original document is linked, agencies must provide:
      1. a summary of the content, key messages and conclusions and other material required to comprehend the nature of the inaccessible content
      2. relevant details on a "Content that may be inaccessible" section included on, or linked from, the "About this site" page on the agency's website. This must include a date on which the accessible version will be published, or a reason for not publishing an accessible version. In either case, contact information must be provided to assist users who cannot access documents but wish to obtain access to the document.

      and should:

      1. publish the source document, e.g., the original document from which the PDF was created; and clearly identify which version of the document is the authoritative version.
  • Stylesheets. Sites must work properly (be navigable, present information intelligibly) with stylesheets disabled.

2.3 Technologies and Techniques Which Must Not Be Used

  • The Frameset doctype must not be used.
  • Underlining must not be used for headings or non-link text.
  • Mark-up redirects must not be used to mark-up (META or scripting) to automatically redirect pages. Instead, configure the server to perform redirects.
  • Server-side image maps must not be used.

2.4 Browser Testing Standard

All new or significantly redeveloped websites must be tested against all browser and operating system combinations identified as A grade by Yahoo! Graded Browser Support.

Agencies must also test against at least one browser not graded A, on a platform of their choice. Agencies might choose a non-A grade browser by considering their website statistics.

Update (20 November 2012): Yahoo! Graded Browser Support no longer identifies browser/operating system combinations as “A grade”. For guidance on how to handle this requirement, see the blog post, “Meeting Web Standard 2.4 on Browser Testing”.