Web Accessibility news (Netherlands, Google)

Dutch Minister decides that all national government websites must comply with the ‘government web guidelines’ (which are stricter than the accessibility guidelines) by the end of this year. And Google launches Accessible Web Search.

Dutch (public) web becomes more accessible

Earlier this month, Dutch Minister of Internal Affairs Remkes has decided (see the resolution in Dutch) that all national government websites must comply with the government web guidelines by the end of this year. These guidelines are even stricter than the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines priority 2 of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Since 2002, the government-supported foundation Drempels Weg has strived to convince Dutch organizations of the importance of web accessibility. Tam Tam was one of the first internet agencies with several certified web developers. Over time, we have become more and more committed to deliver accessible websites, especially since we have various customers in the public sector, like the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (which initiated Drempels Weg).

The Minister’s resolution is the first legal step towards an accessible web in the Netherlands. I think the next step will be a European resolution on web accessibility.

Searching accessible websites

Meanwhile on the web, Google has launched Accessible Web Search for the Visually Challenged in its lab. It’s an alternative for Google’s regular search engines, that is ‘designed to identify and prioritize search results that are more easily usable by blind and visually impaired users’.

Google amplifies: “In the past, visually impaired Google users have often waded through a lot of inaccessible websites and pages to find the required information. Our goal is to provide a more useful and accessible web search experience for the blind and visually impaired.”

Curious about the difference between regular and accessible search? Visit Google Blogoscoped’s comparison tool and see for yourself.