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Do you use our Passage of a Bill guide? We would like to know your views on our guide and to understand how you think it could be improved.

An independent research agency, TNS-BMRB, is conducting research on our behalf during March.

TNS-BMRB has set up a discussion forum where you can post comments about the Passage of a Bill guide, tell us what you like about it and where you think changes can be made.

You will be asked to contribute to the discussion forum each day for four days.

If you would like to contribute to this research, or if you would like more information, please e-mail Elizabeth or Andrew at TNS-BMRB:

Last year the House of Commons published the Equality Bill in a trial format. The text of the Equality Bill and its Explanatory Notes was published as one document, with the Bill text and Explanatory Note text interwoven throughout the document.

Latest developments

Following feedback from the Equality Bill exercise we have developed the interwoven idea further. We have posted an experimental version of the Digital Economy Bill on a separate website so that we can experiment with the online presentation of a Bill.

This latest version allows you to move from the clauses of the Bill to the section of the Act the clause will affect. (At present some of the links take you to the Act as originally passed by Parliament and others take you to the updated version of the Act. Ideally all links would take you to the updated Act but for now we hope that this gives you an indication of what we are trying to achieve.)

We have also made improvements to the layout of the interwoven Bill & Explanatory Notes, you now have the option to display relevant explanatory text (taken from the Explanatory Note) below or alongside each clause of the Bill.

There are still several formatting and presentational issues on some browsers, for best results try FireFox or Safari.

Tell us what you think

We would like to hear from you:

  • Do you find this version of the Bill helpful?
  • Does it help you carry out your work?
  • Does it help you understand the purpose and content of the Bill?
  • How can we improve the presentation of Explanatory Notes?
  • What else could we do to make it easier for you to work with these Bill documents and to make them serve your needs better?

For those more technically minded, our developers would be particularly interested to know:

  • Is the use of RDFa useful?
  • Should the HTML produced be valid HTML 5?
  • Should fragments of Bills be made available, in addition to the whole Bill?
  • Should a Bill still be readable on a browser without CSS or Javascript available?

Let us know what you think on the blog comments or by email: webmaster@parliament.uk

The House of Commons agreed on 30 March 2009 to a Report from the Procedure Committee recommending that there should be an experiment with the format of interleaving bills and Explanatory Notes in the case of a single bill in the current Session.

As recommended by the Procedure Committee, the House of Commons has today published the Equality Bill in a trial format as proposed by Chris Bryant MP, from the Deputy Leader of the House.

The Bill and Explanatory Notes are available as a:

  • PDF with both texts side-by-side,
  • an HTML with the texts side-by-side, and
  • an interwoven web page (HTML)

All versions are available on the Equality Bill page

The Procedure Committee of the House of Commons is interested in feedback on this experiment, specifically:

  • Do you find the interleaved document more helpful than the 2 separate documents?
  • Which version of the interleaved document do you prefer? The PDF side-by-side, the HTML side-by-side, or the interwoven web page (HTML)?

The Web Centre would like to know your thoughts on this development, do you know of other sites that have this functionality, is there is a better way to present this information.

Let us know what you think on the blog comments or by email: webmaster@parliament.uk

The web team along with a group of usability and accessibility experts have undertaken heaps of user testing recently.  Although the Bill pages received good feedback, testing showed that we hadn’t got it quite right – can you help us get it right?

Our testers didn’t understand the abbreviations and few spotted the key to the right of the bar.  Also for complex Bills the list of debates got so long that the status bar took over the page.

For the next release of these pages we want to improve the progress bar so that it’s easier to understand how a Bill is progressing. However try as we might we can’t find a nice solution to our problems.

The current progress bar can be seen here:
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2007-08/crossrailhybridbill.html

What we’ve done

  • Our developers have come up with the following solution:
    http://services.parliament.uk/bills/beta/
  • We’ve added some tool tips which are supposed to address the confusion with the abbreviations.
  • We’ve used JavaScript code to expand “more sittings” when the user rolls over the text is supposed to deal with the problem of how to display lots of sittings.

The bounce amused the web producers for all of 5 minutes and we liked the tool tips that appeared when you roll over the different stages (see for example 2R, Comm in the Lords) but alas neither of these solutions are accessible and are quite possibly annoying.

If anyone out there can think of a better, accessible solution we would love to hear from you.  All suggestions are welcome.

At the start of the 2007-08 session we launched a new database application to generate our Public Bills pages. This means that staff from our Information Offices now input the data for these pages. The layout of the pages has also been simplified and bill summaries and provisional dates for future bill stages are now included.

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