New Zealand government websites and web standards

Peter Krantz has posted Government Web Standards Usage: New Zealand. In the article, Peter talks about a mass validation of government websites in New Zealand that he has performed.

The result? 280 sites were tested, and 16 of those were using valid HTML. The result is not good – 5.7% valid sites – but still more than twice as good as for government websites in the United States, which Peter tested in Government web standards usage: USA.

It's worth noting that the New Zealand Government Web Guidelines require that government websites use HTML 4.01 Transitional or earlier. Not XHTML:

From New Zealand Government Web Guidelines v2.1, 6 Delivering content:

Agencies wishing to adopt XHTML in favour of HTML must seek an exemption from this requirement from the E-government Unit.

I wasn't aware of that requirement, and it is an interesting choice that some web developers may find a little odd. I personally don't have a problem with the guidelines requiring HTML instead of XHTML.

The only objection I have is that it would be better to require documents to validate to the HTML 4.01 Strict specification instead of opening the door to presentational markup by allowing the use of HTML 4.01 Transitional.

A Transitional DOCTYPE, be it HTML or XHTML, allows lots of sloppy old-school coding habits to sneak through validation instead of forcing the developers to get better at separating content and structure from presentation.

Posted on October 29, 2005 in Quicklinks, Web Standards