Victorian website guidelines updated
Last month the Victorian Government updated its Website Principles and Requirements. The policy highlights four key areas to which all Victorian Government websites must adhere.
Following its initial release in December 2014, this year the Victorian Government updated its Victorian Government Websites Principles and Requirements.
The principles and requirements
Under the principles and requirements, Victorian Government websites must:
- Be identifiable
- Be discoverable and usable
- Communicate their purpose
- Be managed responsibly
Under this section, the overarching requirement is that websites are easy to identify as official Victorian Government websites. More specifically, websites:
- Must use a vic.gov.au domain name
- Must follow the Victorian Government brand guidelines
- Must include an About Us page that includes the nature of the website and its owner.
Discoverable and usable
This section deals with the citizen’s ability to find the website, and the site’s usability. Users should be able to find information through both the navigation and the search feature. The specific requirements under this section are that the site:
- Implements the AGLS Metadata Standard (on all pages)
- Includes a search feature
- Has an appropriate information architecture (IA) in place
- Includes a website map or index
- Includes a ‘last updated/reviewed’ date/statement on every page
- Adheres to Level AA of version 2.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).
This principle also covers search engine optimisation processes (SEO), audience/user research, and accessibility across multiple platforms such as smartphones and tablets.
A user should be able to easily understand the website’s function and its owner. Specific requirements are that the site must include:
- Specific contact details
- Relevant government publications, if applicable
- Information on relevant services and programs, if applicable.
In addition, if the site is a ‘corporate’ site, it must include:
- Details on legislation relating to the agency
- An organisation chart (high level)
- The latest annual report
- A link to the Victorian Government media releases page
- Careers information and a link to the Victorian Government careers website.
Also noted under this section is content (which must be tailored for the web) and an additional note on design and IA (directing that if users come straight into a specific area of the site (rather than via the homepage) they can easily see where they are).
This last section outlines the requirement for Victorian Government websites to be managed responsibly, ensuring the site complies with the law and protects the interests of the users. Specific requirements under this section are:
- The existence of a governance group to oversee all online activity
- Ensuring that all content has an owner, approver and review date
- Ensuring permission(s) is granted when publishing third-party materials
- Ensuring the website conforms to all applicable legislation
- Ensuring a process is in place for removing content quickly
- Participation in the WoVG web analytics program.
Salsa Digital’s take
It’s great to see formal documentation in place that specifically deals with areas important to all web design (e.g. usability and accessibility) and more specifically to the design of Victorian Government websites. We’ve worked on a few Victorian Government websites recently (such as the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’s Emergency Relief and Recovery website, the Victorian Budget and Court Services Victoria) and always ensure all principles and requirements are met.
We’re looking forward to continuing our work with Victorian Government websites and helping these clients meet the Victorian Government Websites Principles and Requirements.