Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Flaws in Federal Government Mental Health Website

John Hilvert reported "Federal mental health portal fails web standards" (IT News, Jul 11, 2012 2:00 PM). The site in question is "Mind Health Connect", funded by the Department of Health and Ageing. I ran my own checks on the home page and found problems.

There were 20 errors found with the W3C Markup Validation Service. The page failed a W3C WCAG Version 2 automated test, with 17 Level 2 (AA) errors. Also the page rated 0 out of 100 on the W3C mobileOK Checker (the lowest possible score).

None of these problems are particularly difficult to fix and would be evident to any competent web designer. They do not so much indicate a failure of the technical implementation, but a failure of the management to set priorities. Perhaps the Minister needs to give direct all the Department's senior staff to attend a course on web accessibility and online communication. The Federal Government can't run effectively with senior executives who are not competent with the basics of modern communication.

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