Local government administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of each department. The public information officer serves as the primary spokesperson and is responsible for the city's image. Finally, the IT manager creates, maintains and enforces standards for implementing technical solutions. But who is responsible for web accessibility? If you think it's just your IT department, then you're wrong.
Remember life before the Internet? Some people have argued that no other invention has been more revolutionary since the invention of the printing press. With almost everything made available online, the entire world is now at your fingertips, and you can get almost anything you need with the click of a button – that is, if you’re able to use a mouse, see the screen and hear the audio.
Web accessibility compliance has changed dramatically in recent years, and now local government agencies must ensure that their websites are compliant with the latest accessibility laws as of January 18, 2018.
Simply put, there are no more excuses – such as “the law only applies to federal agencies” or “I can just wait until the Department of Justice comes after me”.
When it comes to links, using the right words or phrases matters. Have you ever come across a link that simply tells you to “click here”? It can be confusing about what link is or where it will lead you. While this may seem like a good phrase to use to make it obvious for users to click a link or button, using “click here” is actually bad for usability, accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO). Specifically, here are 3 reasons why links that just say “click here” are bad.
There’s a common misconception that compliance with WCAG standards is possible by simply implementing “accessible technology”. While the right tools are a great first step, these standards are largely related to the content of a website. In order to maintain compliance, web editors will need to be familiar with WCAG standards and continually monitor and refine their website content.
To help, we’ve outlined three areas where you can make adjustments to ensure your residents can find and understand your website content.
Counties and municipalities work closely on many fronts, but our recent survey – What’s Next in Digital Communications for Local Governments – reveals several key differences in the way they each approach digital transformation, their missions, and how they interact with their residents.
Valentine’s Day is a great day (but shouldn’t be the only day) for local governments to show love to their communities. Say “I love you” with a usable website that makes it easy for residents to find the information they seek. It’s as easy as LOVE!
When you’ve worked with local government IT and communications leaders every day for more than 20 years, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict the major trends that will impact local government in 2017.
Digital accessibility is important for many reasons. How would you access the Internet if you had difficulty seeing your computer screen, strained to hear sound, or had trouble using a keyboard or a mouse? In the U.S. today, 1 in 5 citizens has a disability and many struggle to visit their local government websites to pay utility bills, register children for Parks and Rec programs, and weigh in on community issues.
Have you ever encountered a website that was difficult to use or navigate? Or a time when you were stopped from completing a task on a website because nothing made any sense? Of course you have, because the Internet is littered with poorly designed websites. The good news is that the trend towards analyzing what users want and incorporating usability into web design is here to stay. But there is still a lot of progress to be made.