Local governments often rely on best practices of comparable agencies when developing new, or enhancing existing, business processes that support public service programs including Web site design and development. Comparability between agencies is most often multi-faceted requiring considerable study and analysis to determine which best practice partners are most likely to maximize public service capabilities in the adopting agency. In recent years, Web site design and development best practices have been identified and readily adopted as templates by many local governments throughout the United States. This article reports on an evaluation of the official home pages and corresponding subordinate employment listing Web pages, for the top 10 cities recognized by the National Organization on Disability (NOD) as the most accessible American cities in 2006. The purpose of this evaluation was to identify the level of digital inclusion available to people with blindness or low vision in the virtual space of electronic government for each of the NOD’s recognized cities. The evaluation used the Web development guidelines found in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. Based on the findings, years after passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 with specific Web accessibility guidelines, challenges remain for digital inclusion to achieve an equivalent standard of adoption and practice when compared to physical world accessibility mandates in such public service areas as job seeking, transportation, and facilities.
|Keywords:||Web Site, Accessibility, Local Government, National Organization on Disability, Electronic Government|
Assistant Professor of Public Administration, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Western Michigan University, Olivet, Michigan, USA
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