• Approach

    In June 2010 the Australian Government released the Website Accessibility National Transition Strategy (NTS), which sets out a 3-phase approach to be used by federal agencies to achieve the required level of compliance over a period of 2 ½ years. The Australian Government commenced implantation of this strategy on 1 July 2010 and have set an end date for federal agencies of 31 December 2012.

    Further information

    Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy

    •  Scope  - definition of website and defining your scope for WCAG compliance
    • Work Plan – 3 phases of the NTS and work plan summary

    Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) NTS breakdown:

    The Department of Finance recommends that Western Australian (WA) government agencies follow a similar approach to that set out in the NTS. However, it should be noted that the timelines are different for the WA Public Sector, with the initiative commencing on 1 July 2011 and an end date of 31 December 2013.

    While the Department of Finance recommends taking a similar approach to that set out in the NTS, agencies can adopt their own approach and/or a shorter timeframe, taking into account the amount of work involved, assessment of risk, business requirements and existing plans to upgrade websites and associated infrastructure. While agencies can adopt their own approach and timeframe, they should still consider all the elements set out in the recommended approach.

    The following summarises the recommended approach, which is based around the 3 phases identified in the NTS.

    Phase 1 – Preparation (6 months) - 1 July to 31 December 2011

    Prepare for achieving the aim of the initiative by determining the scope of the work:

    • Identify what websites the agency has.
    • Of those websites/content, are there any that can be potentially excluded from the scope of work because:
      • They will be decommissioned before the end of 2013
      • They will be archived before the end of 2013 and are already compliant with the former version of WCAG (WCAG Version 1.0)
    • Undertake an evaluation of websites currently expected to exist beyond 2013. Are there any that are not really serving any business purpose or delivering any value and could be decommissioned? Are there any websites that could be merged? Is there web content that might better reside in a website owned by another agency?
    • Assess the websites and content to be retained for the current level of conformance to WCAG 2.0 and identify areas of non or partial conformance.
    • Identify any priorities for undertaking work. Are there some key websites or content areas that need to be addressed within an earlier timeframe?
    • Determine what training is required for website developers and business personnel to ensure they have the knowledge and skills required to develop and maintain websites and content that meet the accessibility requirement.
    • Determine if the current website infrastructure is capable of delivering web content that conforms with WCAG 2.0. If not, determine what infrastructure upgrades need to be planned and implemented?
    • Identify any policies, processes and practices that will need to be revised to ensure websites/content continues to meet accessibility requirements. Considerations include:
      • Work flow processes associated with web publishing incorporate steps to ensure accessibility conformance requirements have been met
      • Capability is in place for an appropriate level of testing/confirmation of website accessibility
      • Style guides, web content writing guides and document templates incorporate and make it easier to achieve accessibility conformance
    • Undertake an analysis of the issues and risks associated with undertaking the work required, and identity appropriate resolutions and risk treatments.
    • Identify budgetary and resourcing requirements needed to undertake the work. Are there elements of the work that can be absorbed into upgrades that are planned to take place as part of lifecycle of websites and infrastructure?
    • Produce a scope of works for approval of the agency Executive.
    • Report on progress as requested by the Department of Finance.

    Phase 2 – Transition (12 months) – 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012

    Put in place the capability needed to undertake the work identified in Phase 1:

    • Training of business and technical staff.
    • Plan for and implement any required infrastructure upgrades.
    • Update policies, process and practices.
    • Establish a capability for testing/confirming accessibility conformance.
    • Budget for the work required and plan for the allocation of resources.
    • Put in place risk treatments and issue resolution strategies as appropriate.
    • Report on establishment of capability to agency Executive.
    • Report on progress as requested by the Department of Finance.

    Phase 3 – Implementation (12 months) – 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013

    Undertake the work required to make website and content conform with WCAG 2.0:

    • Implement website and content changes.
    • Verify conformance with WCAG 2.0. Once validated, an agency may apply a conformance statement to its site and/or display the relevant W3C conformance logo.
    • Report on achievement of accessibility conformance to the agency Executive.
    • Report on progress as requested by the Department of Finance.