Regelingenbank Stadskanaal

Posted October 31st, 2007 by Phil Smears

Visit Regelingenbank Stadskanaal The Regelingenbank Stadskanaal site sports a liquid layout, a clean, intuitive interface and plenty of navigation options and fallbacks are provided. Serious attention has been paid to accessibility features and it is in this area the site excels. When providing so many accessibility features, it’s not always easy to fit them into the site design but it’s been done neatly and judiciously. The site doesn’t face many challenges in terms of delivering rich media but what it does deliver, it delivers in a rock solid way.

User preferences set by cookies were very extensive and included: font type, size, colour, hide skip links/don’t hide skip links, word spacing and contrast. You could even change the size of the text resize buttons, column breadth and if you screw it up there’s a reset button. Finally you can also use numbers to create keyboard shortcuts to the main site features so no keyboard conflicts. One nice little touch was used to improve the usability of same page links. When a user clicks on a same page link, the section heading they arrive at has a background highlight which slowly fades out — a perfect example of using JavaScript for a little progressive enhancement.

The code was very clean, lean and semantic - hard to achieve on a large site. I liked the options to download legislation in different formats such as a Rich Text File (RTF) doc or a Portable Document File (PDF) as well as listen to an audio clip. Link to audio clip didn’t work however with JavaScript disabled so points lost there. A link to a PDF reader such as adobe acrobat and an RTF reader such as Word Viewer would have been useful too. An A-Z menu would have helped users locate legislation if they knew its name rather than guessing what page number it might be on. Navigation for keyboard users was reasonable with one slight hiccup. There appeared to be two skip links, one hidden and one which appeared, which was slightly confusing.

The only thing stopping this site from achieving a higher award was perhaps the quality of visuals, for example a crisper logo with clearer text. In some ways it’s unfair to expect a lot from a web site which is an archive for a town council’s legislation. However, visual appeal, is still a very important part of our criteria. It’s not so much a case of being penalised but not being in a position to get those extra points to take it up a level. This site, though, seriously raises the bar for accessibility and throws down a challenge to all other public sector sites. Let’s hope more follow suit.

The Regelingenbank Stadskanaal website was crafted by Koen Willems and following review was deemed eligible for an Award Level of: “Quality Universal Design” Congratulations Koen!


4 Responses to: “Regelingenbank Stadskanaal”

  1. Mike Cherim responds:
    Posted: October 31st, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Good job Koen!

  2. Koen Willems responds:
    Posted: November 3rd, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Also on behalf of my collegues at the legal departmant of the city of Stadskanaal I would like to thank you very much for the thorough review of the site.

    It’s a big honour recieving this award!

    I’ve been reading the notes you sended me. They are giving me a broad view to further improve the site.

    Regards,
    Koen Willems

  3. Otto Thors responds:
    Posted: November 7th, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Dear Koen and team,
    Congratulations on behalf of Sdu Information Services!

  4. Monique van der Stappen responds:
    Posted: November 12th, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Congratulations Koen, very good result.

Sorry. Comments are closed.




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