Recovery.gov, a heavily advertised government-run transparency site that relaunched on Monday after criticisms about it's actual content, still fails to meet the federal government's accessibility standards or and practices. The non-compliance issues relate mostly to display of data tables -- an essential point given the site's motto of "Data, Data & More Data." This is despite claims of complete compliance which are obviously untrue. Navigation maps, a feature of the site that actually does meet standards, are extremely poorly designed.
The site faces very high expectations, specifically because of its high price tag. A Maryland contractor called Smatronix, is making $9.5 million for its overhaul and is more than likely to receive an additional $8.5 million for keepang the site running through 2014. The site is having trouble complying with its most baseline expectations, that being Section 508 of the Federal rehabilitation Act, a long-standing government requirement for information-systems accessibility for persons with disabilities. To make matters even worse, the site's shortcomings are extremely obvious.
Smartronix claims it has reached ISO 9001 quality certification as well as recieving a CMMI level 3 rating for systems and software engineering, which apparently didn't save them from design and process flaws that ultimately led to the launch of a site with very basic, and for the government, embarassing accessibility issues.
In all fairness, the U.S. government has put together many usable and accessible Web interfaces. Butrecovery.gov is a public-data system for an important government-transparency initiative, making it laughable that this is the arena in which they fail. Courtesy of intelligent-enterprise.informationweek.gov