Changing government standards and ‘Common Look and Feel’

Most western governments have in the last decade developed an accessibility strategy for their websites, often based on WCAG 1.0. At the end of 2008, the WC3 announced the final version of WCAG 2.0 and the public sector is now struggling to keep up. In Canada there was a recent announcement about a revised Common Look and Feel (CLF). In the USA the Section 508 is in its first of six revisions, part of which will be to adapt to the new approach to standards. I’m not sure that most citizens will notice the changes to government websites, however for both people with disabilities and the tax payers, it will be a very big deal.

Army launches My.Army.Mil

The U.S. Army is set to launch My.Army.Mil. The site is Army’s “official user-customized homepage featuring Army news, information and media from around the globe.”

From the press release:

After visitors sign-in and authenticate with Google Friend Connect (AIM, Google, Yahoo and OpenID) or AKO (Army Knowledge Online), they will be prompted to add and arrange a series of widgets to suit their specific information needs. Powering these widgets are open source technologies such as JQuery, PHP, MySQL and API integration.

Featured widgets include:

  • An All Services widget with feeds from the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy
  • Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube widgets that sync with many Army organizations
  • My Army News widget with customized feeds from Commands, Corps, Divisions, Installations, and traditional news sections
  • A Features widget highlighting stories of Valor, Army events, history and heritage
  • AKO (Army Knowledge Online) widget to log-in to AKO
  • Video widget with official Army videos, newscasts and raw footage
  • RSS widget that can pull multiple feeds from external sites