Its becoming increasingly apparent to me that I have been living and, more importantly, working in some kind of bubble for the last couple of years. The great leaps forward in the web that I saw happening around me were actually an illusion and they had failed to take hold in the wider public conciousness (well certainly not the civil service part of it!!) I feel like I am in a particlarly dull and geeky version of Groundhog Day, having the same conversations, facing the same barriers and feeling the same frustrations as I did while at the ESRC five years ago or more!
The slavish commitment to WCAG 1.0 and the hugely outdated WAI-AA stamp of approval seems horribly mis-placed when taken against the Accessibility 2.0 agenda put forward by people like Lawrie, Brian and David Sloan over the last couple of years – plus lets not forget even the WAI realises the problems and has been chugging along on WCAG 2.0 for what seems like an eternity!
The traditional publishing metaphor is rampant as well, layers upon layers of editorial controls, workflows, sign-offs – basically a bureacracts dream! The idea of user-generated content, rapid publishing models, becoming a part of the conversation, social networks as another communications channel – basically anything that gives up control of the ‘message’ is looked on with distrust (to say the least!).
Major web projects are commissioned, project managed and developed with noone with any real strategic level web knowledge involved in the process and considerations like usability, interoperability, future proofing and things like archiving are seemingly completely bypassed.
This obviously a one eyed view of the world at the moment – born out of frustration rather than any kind of in-depth research! Things like the Power of Information report and the fact that there is a eGov BarCamp in the new year proves to me that there are like minded souls working in this environment but I wonder if they are in positions to makeany headway?
At times I complained about the lack of momentum at JISC and the fact that our Communications projects sometimes stalled due to what seemed like an overabundance of oversight and a slow moving committee system – I now see how lucky I was to work in an environment that was always looking to embrace new ideas and models for communications. JISC may not have led the way as often as I would have liked but it managed to stay in the chasing pack. Currently I feel like the chap who did the marathon in a diving suit – finishing days behind!
AArrrrrggghhhhh! Rant over…the thing is everyone is perfectly nice and reasonable and absolutely convinced they are on the right path and to be honest who am I to tell them differently??