About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2427-2440
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

ISSUES RELATED TO ACCESSIBILITY AND USABILITY IN FURTHERING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF E-GOVERNANCE

E. Monaco

University at Albany SUNY (UNITED STATES)
This paper is based on a chapter from a soon to be published book of which I am a co-author titled E-Governance & Civic Engagement. In reference to E-Governance and open government in the US two definitions tend to stand out. One is that accessibility and usability have been from the onset commonly defined as providing universal access for all and working at lessening the socio-economic, and age digital divide that exists in the US. The second and more specialized meaning refers to individuals with disabilities having universal access to and use of information. Section 508 of the United States Department of Health & Human Services has been highly effective in providing those with disabilities both access & usability. Both perspectives are discussed as well as the issues surrounding accessibility and usability as gateways to e-governance.

Another focus is implementation of accessibility and usability in the design and development of government websites. A model for conceptualizing how higher education can influence to what extent usability and accessibility are implemented is presented. Establishing standards for accessibility and usability are critical, and they occur at the intersection of Information Technology (IT) developers, political policy leaders, and citizen-users. Citizen-users and disability advocates are critical to implementation in two ways. First, their feedback is critical to usability testing. Second, they need to hold their government accountable for accessible and usable sites. It is the responsibility of the citizen-user to provide feedback, and for IT to implement changes that are supported by political policy leaders. Studies of accessibility and usability in government websites point to on-going difficulties in meeting legal and professional standards. Standardizing and enforcing practices that enhance usability is difficult to achieve. Since implementation of standards in e-government is ultimately in the hands of the technicians a survey of webmasters was conducted in New York State agencies to obtain a better insight to how standards were set. Interestingly but not surprising, the study reveals that serious tensions exist between IT professionals and agency policy leaders with respect to the perceived relative importance of accessibility and usability, and provision of resources to enhance usability. While IT developers make daily decisions that affect usability and accessibility, it may be concluded from the survey results that there is less interest expressed from those in policy leadership positions.

Notwithstanding, the emergence of e-government has changed what United States citizens have come to expect and even demand from its government at local, state, and national levels. The rapid advancement of the World Wide Web (WWW) into all phases of everyday life has given new meaning to how government should conduct day-to-day business affairs. The notion of open government has spurred the call for transparency, participation, and collaboration, and increased access by the public at all levels of government.

The paper concludes with a discussion of the policy role higher education can play in influencing the implementation of e-Governance in open government.
@InProceedings{MONACO2011ISS,
author = {Monaco, E.},
title = {ISSUES RELATED TO ACCESSIBILITY AND USABILITY IN FURTHERING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF E-GOVERNANCE},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2427-2440}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Monaco
TI - ISSUES RELATED TO ACCESSIBILITY AND USABILITY IN FURTHERING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF E-GOVERNANCE
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 2427
EP - 2440
ER -
E. Monaco (2011) ISSUES RELATED TO ACCESSIBILITY AND USABILITY IN FURTHERING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF E-GOVERNANCE, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 2427-2440.
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