We recently completed a large website redevelopment project. The site, when launched, contained nearly 1,000 individual content items. Since launch, that number has grown. We expect it to continue to increase, especially as the departments who took a wait and see attitude start contributing content to the site. If past experience holds true, this site will have close to 5,000 content items within a year or two.
One of the stated goals for the site was accessibilty. Granted, this was not the term used, but as we went through the process of identifying the site’s customers, local senior citizens were mentioned. Because this is a city website, they do not have to comply with Section 508 — however, as many local government agencies choose to do, the city made compliance a goal. Throughout the design process, we kept this in mind, and, because the backend of the site is a content management system, we included “hooks” to ensure things like alt attributes weren’t forgotten.
Okay, fine. Mission accomplished.
Sort of. The day-to-management of the website is handled in a decentralized manner by non-technical staff. The final review before new content is published is done from an an editorial perspective — the webmaster doesn’t know HTML, and the chances of her learning it are slim. When we loaded the original batch of content on behalf of the client, we converted as much as possible to plain HTML. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, not everything could be converted, and there are many documents posted as PDF files.