30% Gujarat government websites not disabled-friendly

Monday, 13 January 2014 - 2:15pm IST | Place: Gandhinagar | Agency: DNA
Of 217 websites, 71 don't comply with WCAG 2.0, says study.

A recent study undertaken by the state government has found that 30 per cent of the websites of the Gujarat government and its departments are not disabled-friendly.

A detailed study conducted by the state science & technology department has found that out of a total of 217 websites belonging to government departments and bodies, 71 do not comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, i.e. they are not accessible to people with disabilities. However, 133 of these websites do comply with the guidelines.

The WCAG 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making the web content more accessible to people with disabilities including blindness, low vision, deafness, hearing loss, learning disabilities, limited movement, speech disabilities and photosensitivity, among others.

A senior government official said that the number of websites not compliant with WCAG 2.0 was 82 until recently. However, the number came down after an exercise to revamp the websites was undertaken by the science & technology department.

The state government also undertook an evaluation of all 217 websites based on various parameters such as citizen-centricity, accessibility, cyber security, content, and interactivity. Most of the sites fared very poorly in the overall evaluation, which is why the revamp was undertaken.

According to officials, only 31 of the 217 websites were evaluated as A+ prior to the revamp. However, the number shot up to 122 after the exercise. Likewise, number of websites evaluated as B+ rose from 17 to 39, while the number of sites ranked as C fell from 7 to 0.

The evaluation showed that the state home department, which has 46 websites, is taking its information technology (IT) initiative seriously. Thirty-eight of its sites scored A+ and six websites scored an A. The ports & transport department has 28 websites, of which 27 scored A+ and one scored A. Likewise, 27 out of 29 sites of the panchayat department scored A+.

The revenue department, on the other hand, was among the worst performers. It has 33 websites, of which none scored A+ or A. At least 26 of its sites scored B+ and the balance seven scored a B.

The study said that earlier 116 government websites took less than 5 seconds to load. It increased to 137 after the revamp. Similarly, the number of sites taking 5 to 8 seconds to load went up from 44 to 51.

However, even after the revamp, there are 57 websites which do not have a citizen charter.

This number was 72 prior to the exercise. The study also found that 35 websites do not have a search feature.

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