Sixty per cent of UK government websites contain html errors, while 61 per cent do not comply with World Wide Web Consortium guidelines aimed at making sites accessible to disabled people, the BBC reports.
That's according to a probe by Southampton University's Adam Field, who said of the W3C issue: "There is a big push within government to improve web accessibility. Although 61 per cent of sites do not comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guide, the 39 per cent which do is encouraging."
Field admitted that while the accessibility issues were "difficult to sort out", he expressed his dismay at the html figures with: "It is a very unfortunate statistic. It should be better. It is not something that is difficult to improve upon."
A Cabinet Office spokesman drew the Beeb's attention to "excellent examples of eAccessibility in the public sector" - including the "flagship" Directgov website.
He said: "The Cabinet Office has been active in promoting better accessibility of government websites.
"It has published detailed guidelines for UK government departments and it has raised the visibility of the issue across the EU by sponsoring a detailed study on eAccessibility of EU government websites carried out by RNIB and others.
"One difficulty is that many authoring tools do not generate compliant HTML and make it difficult to edit the coding. This is an issue that the IT industry must address and we are working with them on that." ®
Thanks to reader Richard Williams, who rather agreeably sent a Firefox HTML Validation Result for the BBC story on the UK.gov outrage (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4853000.stm). It begins:
line 39 column 1 - Warning: <form> isn't allowed in <table> elements line 44 column 2 - Warning: missing </form> before <tr> line 47 column 2 - Warning: inserting implicit <table> line 62 column 10 - Warning: <nobr> is not approved by W3C line 72 column 2 - Error: discarding unexpected </form> line 82 column 443 - Warning: '<' + '/' + letter not allowed here line 82 column 592 - Warning: '<' + '/' + letter not allowed here line 82 column 599 - Warning: '<' + '/' + letter not allowed here line 44 column 2 - Warning: <style> isn't allowed in <form> elements...
Readers are, naturally, invited to give our own html the once over, and will find it to be cleaner than a nailbrush-tester's fingertips. That, at least, is according to the El Reg code jockeys who are right now standing over me waving empty pizza boxes in a threatening manner.