On june 30th, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Cinnamon Interactive host a barcamp on the Webguidelines and web 2.0. The Webguidelines are a set of accessibility guidelines that are mandatory for Dutch government to implement in their websites before the end of 2010. The barcamp aims to bring government organizations and webdevelopers together to discuss issues, ideas and solutions on creating accessible web 2.0 applications. The barcamp will be held at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam, from 9am to 4pm, and you can sign up at the barcamp website on overheid20.nl.
I haven’t been involved in organizing this barcamp at all, but as a member of thh Webguidelines project I take a special interest in it. The idea for this barcamp probably was born when Cinamon Interactive, a (mostly) Dutch Website builder with a reputation for building accessible sites got the assignment to build a web 2.0 platform for the Ministry of the Interior. Since the application of the Webguidelines is mandatory for state government websites since 2006, Cinnamon wanted to know how to secure accessibility on the platform with all that user generated content, widgets, data sharing and other web 2.0 technologies.
This is one of the known criticisms on the Webguidelines, accessible user generated content. The main question is ‘how to ensure that user’s contributions are accessible conforming to the webstandards and webguidelines, without making it too hard for users to interact with the platform’. This quickly turns into a discussion about what is more important: contributions from people, or accessible government content. While there is a lot to be said about that discussion, there is no clear answer for it, and thus it doesn’t bring us any closer to a solution.
What will? One thing to look at definitely is W3C’s WAI–ARIA standard. If you’re interested, read this excellent article by martin Kliehm on A List Apart titled “Accessible Web 2.0 applications with WAI-ARIA“.
Anyways, I’ll be attending the barcamp, and I hope more people will to. The more people, the better we’ll be able to find creative solutions to a pretty serious problem.
**UPDATE** As of today, june 22nd, there aren’t any more places available for this Barcamp. Thanks everyone for signing up! I’ll keep you posted on the results. You can probable follow the barcamp with twitter. Now to find a decent hashtag for this event.