SiteMorse supports project to ensure accessibility for all - whilst saving many thousands of pounds

The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website is the official home on the web for all UK Primary and Secondary legislation and one of government’s best used online services (1 million unique visitors per month). Ensuring that legislation is accessible to all online is a key challenge that OPSI, and their contractor, TSO, are determined to meet.

‘We have long addressed accessibility issues with the hard copy version of legislation, for example offering a Braille edition at the same price as the paper copy. The challenge today is to meet the accessibility requirements of our online users too.’ says John Sheridan, Head of e-Services at OPSI.
‘Government websites are generally required to meet W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to achieve Web Accessibility Initiative ratings of ‘A’ and ‘AA’. We are striving to achieve an even better accessibility for the visually impaired and other disabled groups with ‘AAA’ quality standards. For us the process is a complex one as we are literally re-publishing the statute book online.’
He continues. ‘Of course we knew we had some challenges. Firstly we needed a way to audit the current quality of the site to better understand the scale and scope of what needed to be done. We were looking for a benchmark, a place to start from where we can track our progress and measure success. SiteMorse gives us exactly that.
‘Manual testing was not suitable as the project is vast. We are looking to republish 160,000 pages of html. Automated testing was the obvious answer as it can check thousands of pages and site journey permutations in minutes, saving time and resources compared to manual testing. Of course there is still a need for manual testing for areas that cannot be checked automatically, e.g. images matching alternative text tags.

Calculating savings delivered by automated testing
The time needed to manually test 125 pages, as thoroughly as SiteMorse software does, is at least 90 man hours. SiteMorse tools test a site in minutes and produce a detailed error report pinpointing the line of faulty code for the developers to correct. Automated testing is particularly useful for dynamic sites and where different departments or authors upload information.

Manual testing costs
Say £15 per man-hour x 90 hours = £1,350.
Regular manual testing for a year = £65,000.

‘SiteMorse is ideal as it's a solution that the whole development team can use. A project like this has to be a partnership between ourselves and our contractor’s development team. SiteMorse fits comfortably into that equation. It's a tool everyone can use.

‘OPSI researched the automated testing software market and chose SiteMorse automated testing software because it was not only the most appropriate solution for our needs, it was also the best value for money. SiteMorse tells us about:

• Download and response time
• Web and Government standards including eGMS
• Code Quality
• Accessibility
• Function
• Modem and ADSL user simulated speeds
• Meta data.

‘The SiteMorse software helps OPSI build a picture of how the website is performing and focus attention on key areas for improvement.

‘For the development team SiteMorse is wonderful. It lists problems by exact type, page and line of code which enables us to prioritise improvements. Regular web development ‘health checks’ provided by an independent and experienced testing company were what we wanted to help us manage and benchmark the progress of the legislation republishing project and to help us audit the quality of our online services going forwards.’

SiteMorse’s Nicholas Le Seelleur, explains how the software helps non-technical managers to control site development: ‘Frequent testing during site development allows clients to direct contractors and developers to focus on areas that need attention as they arise. Errors can be addressed as the project proceeds rather than being left to the last stages when unpicking them could be very expensive and could delay the project launch. Ongoing checking avoids unpleasant surprises. Clients are increasingly keen to separate development and progress-monitoring activities.’

Last word from John @ OPSI: “SiteMorse is an ideal solution for those, such as ourselves, who are really serious about delivering a high quality, accessible online service”

About the OPSI
The Office of Public Sector Information is at the heart of information policy, setting standards, delivering access and encouraging re-use of public sector information. We provide online access to UK legislation, license the re-use of Crown copyright material, manage the Information Fair Trader Scheme, maintain the Government’s Information Asset Register and provide advice and guidance on official publishing and Crown copyright. HMSO started to publish legislation on its website in 1996. Initially, legislation was only available from that year. In 2000 we took the decision to include older legislation for which we had electronic files. These files dated back to 1988. Prior to 1988, legislation is only available in its original

Editor’s Note
For more information contact Wendy Trollope at The PR Co. at on 01273 737396.

SiteMorse™ - Global Leaders in automated testing and monitoring

About SiteMorse
SiteMorse offers a range of website testing services that require no setup, downloads or technical support to operate. SiteMorse measures performance, tests functions and checks compliance (HTML/eGMS/Accessibility/Metadata).
• Website monitoring - individual pages every few minutes, includes R25 reporting
• Thorough website checking - testing from a few pages to a complete site
• Website user experience - load and stress and user journey testing
We provide an Executive Summary and a detailed Technical Report identifying problems by exact type, page, line, etc to facilitate immediate cost effective corrective action.

Over 340 local and central government entities, numerous FTSE and Bank clients use SiteMorse to help them maintain error-free, fully functioning and compliant (HTML/eGMS/Accessibility/brand) websites. We are in our 4th year working with SOCITM. SiteMorse is also used by Gov. Sector Publishing, Blays Netratings and ISPA for website rankings and awards services.

Published on: 12:00AM on 9th May 2006