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Departmental Website

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what actions he has taken or is taking to ensure that the websites of his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are accessible to partially sighted and blind people; and if he will make a statement. [117351]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's web site (www.odpm.gov.uk) follows the Office of the e-Envoy's Guidelines for United Kingdom Government web sites to provide an accessible web site for partially sighted and blind people.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will soon he replacing its web site. The new site has been developed based on the Office of the e-Envoy's Guidelines but it has also been designed to take into consideration the way screen readers work by conducting rigorous screen reader testing using JAWS for Windows software. It has improved accessibility for partially sighted and blind people through the use of the access key system throughout the site on the most commonly used links. It has been rigorously tested so that the HTML conforms to the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative's AA standard. In addition, the site has been tested using the BOBBY analysing application, a well-known test of accessibility.Agencies and non-departmental bodies are encouraged to follow the Government guidelines.