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Website Accessibility - PAS 78

Publicly Available Specification 78 (PAS 78)

PAS 78 was developed by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) in collaboration with the British Standards Institution (BSI) and was published March 2006. A number of organisations such as the Cabinet Office, IBM, BBC, Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) and University College London all contributed to the process.

The document shows that 81% of websites surveyed failed to uphold the most basic W3C accessibility guidelines and specifications, even though many website commissioners and developers claimed to be aware of the importance of making websites accessible. The DRC has concluded that there is a need for best practice guidance on the process of commissioning accessible websites.

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

PAS78 has been commissioned to provide guidance to website commissioners on:

  • Steps that should be taken to commission accessible websites
  • W3C guidelines and specifications to be adopted
  • Role of the guidelines and specifications
  • Software tools
  • User testing within the development life cycle

The purpose of the PAS 78 is to meet the needs of website commissioners, not website designers.

Is PAS 78 the Law?

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

What next for PAS 78

The British Standards Institue (BSI) have started to consult more widely on the subject of Website Accessibility and drawn up a draft document BS 8878 a Code of Practice with the intention to introduce accessibility, usability and good practice to an audience that might not know what the subject is about.

Contact us to learn more.