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Website Accessibility - BS 8878

British Standards Institute BS 8878 (BS 8878)

BSI British Standards has established a new technical committee with responsibility for the development of a British Standard on web accessibility. The standard will enable all types of organizations and individuals to commission and maintain websites which are accessible to all their potential audiences.

The new consensus standard will build on PAS 78, Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites, which has been a great success in terms of demand and application. It will take into account developments in technology and web use since the publication of PAS 78 in March 2006, such as an increase in user generated content and social networking and will consider the accessibility of tools used by web designers.

“Designing an accessible website means you get it right for everyone.”

The benefits of using the new standard, which is expected to be published in Spring 2009, include improved interoperability of web content ensuring compatibility with different devices, such as mobile phones. In addition, businesses which take up the new standard stand to tap into the spending power of disabled people which is estimated at £80bn per annum.

Is BS 8878 the Law?

No it is not. It is again another set of best practice guidelines for people and organisations that want to commission a website to ensure that the commissioner(s) know the basic levels of web accessibility.

What next for BS 8878

The British Standards Institue (BSI) closed the public consultation on 1st February 2009 and is now looking at the findings and comments. We at In Vogue Media contibuted to this process and put forward comments.

It is expected that the British Standard will become part of a wider series of standards as the new committee, IST 45/ Web Accessibility, develops further standards and guidance material in this area.

Contact us to learn more.