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Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy: Work Plan

Phase 1: Preparation – July 2010 to December 2010

The Preparation Phase will assist agencies to determine their readiness to undergo WCAG 2.0 transition and implementation. Agencies should conduct a systematic assessment of their websites and website infrastructure and of their staff’s skills and knowledge in readiness to apply WCAG 2.0. Many of these activities are considered a normal part of web management practice. Agencies will be required to report on each stage of the Preparation Phase. AGIMO will consolidate agency information to provide a national picture of the size and complexity of the upgrade, and to develop solutions and materials to assist agencies with their transition to WCAG 2.0. The Preparation Phase should be completed by the end of 2010.

1.1 Agency Website Stocktake

Commencing with an assessment and review of their current websites, agencies are encouraged to use the Preparation Phase to begin archiving or decommissioning non-essential or outdated websites and to plan the amalgamation of content or websites where possible. Agencies must identify the critical information and services required to be maintained on their websites. Federal government agencies must have regard for Web Guide’s Online Content Requirements, the Information Publication Scheme12 and other agency-specific content policies. State and territory agencies should comply with the website content guidelines applicable to their jurisdiction. Agencies are reminded to consider future planned technologies (e.g. use of Web 2.0 technologies) for inclusion. Agencies should complete this stage by compiling a list of websites and web services to be upgraded. Agencies will also need to note all out-of-scope websites, and to report as outlined.

1.2 WCAG 2.0 Conformance Check

After establishing the websites and information to be retained, agencies should assess all in-scope websites for the current level of WCAG 2.0 conformance, and identify areas of non or partial conformance. Agencies have autonomy to decide whether they will self-assess for WCAG 2.0 conformance or require independent assessment. Agencies are reminded that automated tools provide incomplete conformance information, and human assessment is also required. As agencies may not have the necessary knowledge or skill set during the Preparation Phase to self-assess WCAG 2.0 conformance, a set of recommended tools and test methodologies will be developed to help them with this process.

1.3 Website Infrastructure Assessment

A review of current and planned websites and web content (and consideration of proposed technologies for future deployment) should identify any infrastructure upgrades required to achieve WCAG 2.0 conformance. This assessment should have regard for the current lifecycle of the website and its associated services, to ensure that WCAG 2.0 is applied during ‘refresh’ procedures. Current and planned content management systems, publishing processes and website content workflows also need to be reviewed, to ensure that the process of creating web content can be streamlined to meet accessibility requirements. In addition, the assessment should cover all web content and applications provided by third parties.

It is likely that agencies will have a considerable amount of externally delivered content and applications that are not WCAG 2.0 conformant. Where vendors and applications that are commonly used across government are identified, opportunities can be explored for centralised negotiations with vendors.

1.4 Capability Assessment

Agencies should assess their capability in order to determine the level of specific WCAG 2.0 skills they currently have available and identify knowledge gaps. This assessment will assist in identifying future training needs. It is likely that staff will need to undertake specific WCAG 2.0 training programs to enhance the skill set within their agencies. Opportunities exist for the development of whole-of-government training packages.

1.5 Risk Assessment

Agencies will be required to undertake a risk assessment of their ability to meet the required conformance standard within the timeframe. Risks will be calculated on multiple factors: the number of websites within the scope and the current WCAG conformance level of websites, along with current infrastructure and skill capabilities. Agencies will also need to assess risk for websites they consider outside the scope for upgrade, noting planned actions (i.e. conformance testing or archival).

Mitigation Projects led by AGIMO

Risk assessments are likely to identify a range of applications, either existing or planned, for which there is no current technical solution to conform to WCAG 2.0. For example, mapping interfaces (the visual representation of spatial data) will require a project or working group to be developed to seek a solution for government. AGIMO, in collaboration with working groups and the community of expertise, will review these issues, identify solutions for agencies, provide guidance and publish results to assist agencies to conform to WCAG 2.0.

Phase 2: Transition – January 2011 to December 2011

The Transition Phase will provide agencies with the time to acquire the skills and foundations to underpin implementation of WCAG 2.0. It also allows time for infrastructure upgrades to follow an agency’s regular refresh cycle, or to deploy new technologies and content management systems if necessary. Agencies are expected to complete the Transition Phase by the end of 2011, to allow for implementation of WCAG 2.0 Single A conformance by the end of 2012.

2.1 Training and Education

AGIMO is liaising with agencies and jurisdictions on the viability of a whole-of-government WCAG 2.0 online training module. A number of training needs are anticipated, ranging from the business benefits of WCAG 2.0 for business managers, and basic WCAG 2.0 accessibility information for web content authors, through to more technically specific applications of WCAG 2.0. Agencies are also encouraged to attend specific WCAG 2.0 training courses in addition to any planned packages from AGIMO.

2.2 Procurement Review

Agencies are encouraged to review all procurement policies to ensure that they are updated to require all ICT procurements (especially those relating to websites) to include web accessibility criteria. This work will include revising public procurement documentation and selection criteria to contain specific references to universal design principles and WCAG 2.0 conformance as necessary.

2.3 Infrastructure and Capability Upgrades

Depending on the size, complexity and current level of WCAG 2.0 conformance, a website’s upgrade to WCAG 2.0 may be either straightforward or complicated.

All content management systems associated with agency websites should be upgraded to ensure their outputs can meet WCAG 2.0. Through the use of effective content management systems, agencies may be able to rollout technical solutions across multiple websites in a simplified process. Agencies need to self-assess this potential outcome.

Agencies should ensure that their staff are adequately trained on the requirements of WCAG 2.0 and, where possible, that business managers gain an understanding of the business benefits of accessible websites. A number of commercial WCAG 2.0 courses are available, and AGIMO will consider establishing a panel arrangement of service providers.

Progress Reporting

Similar to federal reporting requirements for Internet Protocol version 6, AGIMO will maintain oversight of conformance to ensure agencies are progressing to WCAG 2.0 implementation within approved timeframes.

Phase 3: Implementation – Complete by December 2012 and December 2014

The Implementation Phase should commence as soon as agencies have in place the enabling factors: education and training completed for web authors and website development staff; all procurements reviewed and revised to ensure that new websites and web service developments will meet WCAG 2.0 conformance from launch; and all existing infrastructure and web publishing processes upgraded to ensure outputs will meet the appropriate WCAG 2.0 conformance level.

3.1 Agency Implementation

Agencies are encouraged to develop their own implementation plan that specifically addresses their needs and their web environment, paying particular attention to their level of risk, as identified in the Preparation Phase. For example, some agencies may be commencing WCAG 2.0 assessments from a basis of no conforming websites; others may already be largely conforming to WCAG 2.0. AGIMO will provide guidance on the development of implementation plans to assist agencies.

An agency implementation plan should address, at a minimum, the following issues:

Where agencies already have website management strategies in place, these should be reviewed and updated to ensure they include specific references and tasks relating to the National Transition Strategy.

3.2 Conformance Testing

Under WCAG 2.0, conformance with the guideline is deemed to exist when all the success criteria are satisfied at the appropriate level (Single A, Double A or Triple A). Agencies must ensure each web page meets WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements. To establish conformance, agencies will need to implement their own testing regime, and in some cases employ external professionals to assist with testing.

AGIMO will investigate whole-of-government automated conformance testing tools. It must be borne in mind, however, that automated testing tools can only interpret a limited range of criteria, which means that human judgment will also be needed in carrying out the tests. This will require staff skilled in web accessibility who can understand and apply the guidelines.

For federal agencies, conformance reports should be provided to AGIMO and may be subject to independent validation. Once validated, an agency may apply a conformance statement to its site and /or display the W3C conformance logo for the level of conformance it has attained, in accordance with the W3C requirement.

In early 2015, AGIMO anticipates reporting to government through the Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board and the Online and Communications Council on the successful completion of the strategy at all levels of government.

WCAG 2.0 National Transition Strategy – Work Plan Summary

Image is described in the Work Plan section of this document.

Work Plan Summary - image is described in the Work Plan section


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Last Modified: 30 June, 2010