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).
The DTI says that it is
in a unique position to contribute to the wider challenge of globalisation – enabling business and employees to prosper in the UK.
I humbly suggest that they should set a good example to British Industry by upholding the Disability Discrimination Act, and set a good example by commissioning a website from some of the excellent UK-based designers who use Web Standards, rather than the risible old inaccessible crud that they’re currently running.
I also received some information from the DTI to questions I asked about the site. I asked which assistive technologies were used to test the accessibility of the site. The answer, from Catriona Hunter of the Internal and Electronic Communications Team:
No assistive technologies were tested against the site.
Catriona responded to my question “Who will meet the costs of repairing the broken accessibility” with the answer:
If further changes are to be made to the website the cost will be met by DTI.
No they won’t, Catriona; the DTI doesn’t have any money. The money you have flushed down the toilet on this website is the taxpayers’. You are using money taken from my salary to build a website that discriminates against people with disabilities.
Anyhow, Dan and I are working together to get a follow-up set of questions for Catriona – if there’s anything you think we should ask, please leave a comment.
Fresh 01′s right of reply
Meanwhile, it would be interesting to get Fresh 01‘s take on this matter. Did they tell the DTI that the design was AA compliant? Did the DTI and Fujitsu break a genuinely-compliant design by wrestling it into the Content Management System? Has Fresh 01 ever made an accessible site before (their homepage hardly instills confidence)?
The comment form awaits; they are cordially invited to respond.