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Conference calls on Government to improve its websites

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WWW2006 has called on webmasters from UK local authority and central government to attend the conference tutorials and workshops to increase their understanding of the latest Web standards and encourage them to be adopted.

A survey in the run-up to WWW2006 has revealed over half of all UK government and local authority websites have errors on their home pages and are problematic for disabled access.

Research carried out by academics at the University of Southampton has shown 60 per cent of UK Government websites contain HTML errors. A further 61 per cent do not fully comply with guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium (Web Content Accessibility Guide - WCAG), which could prevent some individuals from being able to access them.

By attending specialised WWW2006 conference tutorials and workshops, webmasters can update their knowledge and see the benefits of adopting the latest web standards and best practices.

An all-day tutorial on Tuesday 23rd May, sponsored by the World Organisation for Webmasters, focuses on the current thinking about contemporary Web development. It will highlight the benefits of adopting web standards and best practices, and show how technical and ROI performance can improve with their implementation.

Internationalising XHTML, HTML and CSS Web Content on Friday 26th May will familiarise developers and designers with the latest internationalisation techniques and concepts. Other relevant tracks include the Web Consortium standards briefing on Web accessibility guidelines and the 3rd International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop on Web Accessibility.

Adam Field from the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) who conducted the survey, said a website may look fine and be error-free but this does not mean it will work with all browsers and for all users and may not always be accessible for visually impaired people. The aim is for websites to function with any browser and any size screen. This is easily achievable if site developers follow the proper guidelines.

The good news for the UK Government is 25 per cent of all home pages are error-free and fully compliant with WCAG.

'There is a big push within Government to improve web accessibility,' commented Mr Field. 'Although 61 per cent of sites do not comply with WCAG, the 39 per cent which do is encouraging.'

The conference, organized by the University of Southampton in association with the British Computer Society and other international organisations, will bring together key players from the international Web community.

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