I knew it was a good omen when, the night before last Thursday’s conference, a guy in the hotel lift asked me if I’m The Great Duckano.
The day’s events went very well indeed; our presentations gelled well together, and good questions were asked.
Here are my take-homes about the state of the UK’s public sector accessibility, synthesized from questions and coffee-break conversations.
Accessibility is often seen as a problem of technical compliance rather than a human rights issue. Therefore, content producers see it as some techie’s problem rather than their problem. But they’re not called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for fun…
Further compounding the box-ticking attitude of senior management is the artificial competitive attitude brought on by predatory companies’ so-called “league tables”, which are assessed by robots.
The distressingly-rampant leprous elephant in the corner of the room is PDF. The public sector likes PDF, as it allows a document to be “put on the web” easily. These documents need to go “on the web” because of the need for transparency and freedom of information. It is possible to make accessible PDF, but it’s very very hard.
There are a lot of unscrupulous companies who prowl the public sector selling the snake-oil of “triple-A compliance”. Anyone claiming “triple-A compliance” is lying and should be completely ignored, and preferably thrown out of the building before being reported to Trading Standards Officers.
The people at the coal-face genuinely care about accessibility, but there’s so much bullshit and ballyhoo from vendors and snake-oil salesmen that people are confused. Or deliberately hoodwinked. Hopefully, we were able to cut through some of the smoke and mirrors.
If you attended the event, or work in the public sector, does that seem an accurate summary?
Thanks to the PSF chaps and Dan Champion for a delicious meal and well-organised conference (Photos).