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“Digital should be empowering in every respect”
Blind participant, Auckland.

Anyone, regardless of physical or cognitive ability, should be able to find and use government digital information and services. We know that making our content accessible makes it better for everyone. As anyone over 40 knows, small font and poor colour contrast is a major barrier to usability. A predicted rise in the ageing population will see 1 in 4.5 million New Zealanders aged 65 plus by 2036, making accessible content more important than ever.

For members of the disabled community it’s not just a case of pinching and zooming to see information on a phone. It’s being able to access the government services they’re entitled to. The message from people with disabilities I’ve talked to this year is clear. No more inaccessible PDFs, images without text alternatives or uncaptioned videos from the government. It’s a clear call to action for the public sector to lift its game. The great news is that this demand is being met by commitment from government. A major accessibility work programme along with an accessibility guide for the creation of information in multiple, accessible formats have recently been launched by Minister Sepuloni.

Additionally, as part of government’s work to make sure we’re delivering accessible content, the Government Chief Digital Officer is proposing an update to the current NZ Government Web Standards. The revisions incorporate the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, and aim to make the Standards easier to understand, apply, and test against. The changes will also make sure we’re keeping pace with technological change, and the full range of people’s needs.

The changes will help:

  • people with low vision
  • people with reading, learning, or intellectual disabilities
  • people who use mobile and touch-based devices, voice assistant and speech recognition software.

Providing feedback

You can comment on the proposed changes to the Web Standards until 5pm on Thursday 31 January 2019.

Provide your feedback by replying to the discussion threads on discuss.digital.govt.nz. Alternatively, you can email comments to web.standards@dia.govt.nz.

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Comments

  1. Kay Jones 19/12/2018 1:03am (32 days ago)

    Great news. Will you be asking Office of Disability Issues and NZ Human Rights Commission to help spread the work to DPOs (Disabled People's Organisations) to get a wider range of input?

    • Jason Kiss 21/12/2018 11:42am (29 days ago)

      Thanks, Kay. I’m with Access Advisors, who have been supporting DIA’s work on the Web Standards. The proposed revisions to the Web Standards are publicly available and open to comment from anyone. We have informed Office for Disability Issues and Human Rights Commission about the consultation on changes to the Standards so that they can spread the word to their stakeholders.

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