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The experience of an on-line public service : le Grand Chalon

Nicolas Descloux
Le Grand Chalon, France


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The Grand Chalon City Community in Bourgogne means 38 communes, 108 000 inhabitants, situated between Dijon and Lyon by Paris-Lyon A6 motorway.

Information and communication technologies accessibility became mandatory in France following the law enacted in February 2005. Le Grand Chalon, through the impetus given by its president Dominique JUILLOT, wished, in 2004, to make its Web site fully accessible for all the urban area citizens.

Therefore, it had to be easily accessible by all the Net surfers, whatever their situation and/or disability.

Le Grand Chalon has a Web site that is not only fully accessible from an ergonomical point of view but also very pleasant to consult.

Many people were thinking a site would be developed for ablebodied Net surfers and another one for people with disabilities. It was not the philosophy of our administration. Of course, all the Net surfers shall visit the same site, whether they are impaired or not.

The main issue is separating content from style. Whatever browser or Operating System is being used, our Web site actually adapts itself so that it can easily be read in any context or situation.

In December 2004, the City Community Web site was rewarded as first public structure to reach the highest level of the Accessiweb mark, which is the Gold level.

This has shown that a high level of expectations was possible. It is not only a matter of resources, but it also definitely depends on will.

An accessible site is not only useful for people with disabilities. Ergonomical requirements make browsing easier for all the Net surfers without exception.

Unlike many Web sites which only made some of their pages accessible, we manage our Web site using a CMS software which automatically generates accessible HTML code for all pages. Among our 150 pages, 150 pages fulfill the accessibility criteria for the gold level of the Accessiweb mark.

At last, having a fully accessible Web site also allows it to be used on new terminals such as PDA and Pocket PC. Accessibility, while separating content from style, allowed us to answer to different platform used to consult the Web site.

Online speech synthesis: Read-speaker.
It is a dynamical speech synthesis integrated to Grand Chalon Web site. The goal was simple: speech synthesis may not be affordable for everybody. We offer an on-line speech synthesis which dynamically reads the content of our Web site.
Our Web site being accessible, the speech synthesis system reads it automatically, with no need for a third-party adaptation.

Presentation Nicolas Descloux (ppt, 3422.50 Ko)

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