In a city where you can and frequently do have all four seasons in eight hours the weather web site is regular viewing for those of us who can’t drive and therefore walk to work (and most other places.) We need to make critical decisions like: head to toe raincoat with hood or windproof jacket and woolly hat and scarf, shoes, sandals or weather proof boots, sunnies or not. And that’s just the outerwear.
Then there’s the issue if whether or not you need your merino vest and long johns.
I am not talking about mid winter either. A few days ago I sat next to a young woman on the bus who was wearing woolly gloves! I was envious of her comfort.
The Terrace, where I live and work in Wellington is a wind tunnel, and since it is almost always a southerly or northerly here the decision on wearing dangling or stud earrings may have health and safety consequences.
That’s why I was interested to try the beta version, now live, of the Metservice web site, where I am a regular visitor. The old site left a great deal to be desired in terms of accessibility. Sadly, although there are some improvements, so does the new.
I gave feedback as invited. I even phoned them. The person I spoke to had obviously never heard of web standards or accessibility, and admitted they were not included in the design brief.
Accessibility issues are not being addressed according to the feedback blog post, except they took down or renamed the page called About Accessibility which had information about different browsers but did not mention accessibility or have any content relevant to accessibility.
A few quick observations:
- The new site is still quite busy and cluttered. You need good hand eye coordination to read the ten day forecast on the city page.
- I suspect it won’t work well without broadband.
- Some features seem to rely on mouse hovering only.
- While the site enlarges reasonably I lose information on the right hand side of the page at a certain point. On further investigation I discovered that the information is the weather warnings!
- There is no accessibility statement.
- And the text is grey, which means I have to enlarge it more to make it readable. Grey text is pretty but unreadable, especially on the blog.
- Colour Contrast on the maps is also not good.
Why is it that sites which provide important and most useful public information are sometimes the least willing to do it properly? If people are finding the site difficult to use I suggest they ring Metservice and ask them to read the information they want from the site to them, or email them and ask for a plain test version of the information they need. It might be the only way to get the message across.