Guidelines for Swedish public sector websites updated

Many countries have their own guidelines that complement and expand on WCAG and other guidelines to ensure that public sector websites are accessible and usable to the entire population. In Sweden, those guidelines are published by Verva (Swedish Administrative Development Agency) and are called Vägledningen 24-timmarswebben.

Vägledningen 24-timmarswebben, 2 MB PDF

A new version of the guidelines has just been published (currently only available in Swedish - an English translation will be available in early 2007 at Guidelines for public sector websites). Vägledningen 24-timmarswebben is available online in HTML format and as a 2 MB PDF download. This edition is of special interest to me since I have written parts of it and am a member of the expert group that has written, edited, and improved the guidelines in the document.

The expert group consists of a number of people whose names many of you will recognise: Funda Denizhan, Tommy Olsson, Peter Krantz, Tommy Sundström, and myself. Working on this project with such skilled people has been a very good experience, and we’ve had plenty of fun during our meetings in person and over Skype.

I’m obviously hoping that this set of guidelines will be found useful, especially for anyone involved in building websites for the public sector.

What I would like to see happen, preferably without Verva having to enforce it by law, is that all Swedish public sector organisations take this document to heart and actually require their Web developers, designers, and editors to follow the guidelines it contains. It is incredibly frustrating to see brand new or completely redesigned websites created by “professionals” who apparently don’t know or don’t care about accessibility, usability, or Web standards. Still. In 2006.

Posted on November 14, 2006 in Accessibility, Usability, Web Standards

Comments

  1. November 14, 2006 by Alejandro Moreno

    Thanks! Please let us know when the English version is online =o)

  2. I have to say that I’ve got the highest respect for you guys, these guidelines are great. Some things do come naturally these days (although as you point out in your last paragraph, not for everyone it seems…), but everything is relevant and should be taken into consideration when developing a new website. Thanks!

  3. Thanks, I’m going to try to use this to educate some people at my agency (a rather big web agency in Stockholm) about accessibility. The general opinion among the people who work here (and of many of our clients aswell) is that accessibility is a secondary objective to looks. Either that, or our front-end code gets mucked up by the backend coders after we hand it over, and the client doesn’t care.

    Hopefully this will help explain why we front-end devs take our time to make sure everything is nicely structured and why we don’t want to use Flash for everything :)

  4. Good work. I knew that you guys where on the team so I had great confident that this version would be really super. I´ll have it by my pillow ;)

  5. November 15, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Alejandro: I will :-).

    Fredrik: Some of the guidelines come naturally to those of us who have bothered to keep our skills current since the dotcom crash. Unfortunately it seems that most web developers working at the big IT consultancies either haven’t done that or are ordered by project managers not to use their updated skills.

    Johan: That battle is a tough but very important one. What I find interesting though is that sites created by people with that kind of attitude often don’t even look good. It could be my personal taste of course, but it’s quite common to see sloppy or cheesy design go hand-in-hand with sloppy coding.

    Jens: I hope it meets your expectations!

  6. Finally I hope, even the worst designer gets to know what he is doing when ignoring “accessibility, usability and web standards”. However, what about the users’ side? More and more often I am confronted with people, who

    • never ever heard that there is something like web standards,
    • did not know that you can change the fontsize of a website,
    • are lost in confusion when they see the forms of navigation “modern” designers use…

    And so the list goes on and on. I would be interested on how to communicate all these features of websites to the users while not disturbing them in their usability of the website…

  7. November 20, 2006 by Thomas

    Just a quick note to help Alejandro,

    There is a small english summary of the main points over at http://www.standards-schmandards.com

  8. November 20, 2006 by Eugen Bunen

    If someone see a german version, please holla back at me. i need it for PCMasters.de and i would be very thanksfull.

  9. A! How nice to see a new version of the guidelines. I haven’t had the time to really read it yet but it sure looks like a better publication this time around. More in-depth info, which is good.

    Since I work at Linkoping university I will definitely print the little sucker out and hand it to my colleges tomorrow! Even though I think we do quite well when it comes to standards! if not, blame me! :)

  10. November 23, 2006 by Svante

    I´m new in my job as web-coordinator. I think this guide will support me in my job. Also a perfect example when upgrades on our site is on the agenda.. Thanks!

  11. In german or russian aviable?

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