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2006: My Web My Way: case study of how to ensure accessibility when you procure a website (PAS-78 launch)
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2006: My Web My Way: case study of how to ensure accessibility when you procure a website (PAS-78 launch)


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Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Accessibility Editor, Digital Curriculum for BBC New Media) at BSI PAS-78 launch event in 2006. …

Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Accessibility Editor, Digital Curriculum for BBC New Media) at BSI PAS-78 launch event in 2006.

Covers: how to select agencies to ensure they deliver an accessible website; what to look and listen for in pitches and proposals; what to ask for; how to get value for money; what aspects of accessibility you should or should not need to pay more for; how Jonathan Hassell used these tips to commission AbilityNet to produce My Web My Way ( and win the 'Best Achievement in Accessibility BIMA 2006'

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  • 1. Case study: Commissioning the Website Dr Jonathan Hassell Accessibility Editor, BBC jam (Digital Curriculum)
      • presentation to How to Enhance your e-Business (PAS-78 launch) programme BSI 8/3/06 v0.03
  • 2. What I ’ll be talking about
    • Selecting agencies
    • What to look and listen for
    • What to ask for
    • Getting value for money
    • Will you have to pay more for accessibility?
    • Questions…
  • 3. The case study: My Web, My Way
  • 4. Selecting agencies
    • Types of agency
      • Service: one agency handles all of site creation, including info design, site production, testing, maintenance/CPS
      • Complete: all except maintenance
      • D-I-Y: you ’ll need to pull together separate agencies to do each part…
    • How to find agencies
      • Good route – find a few websites you like (that are similar to what you think you need), and contact the companies to ask who created them…
      • Better route – same, but ask your target users (including disabled people) for sites they like…
  • 5. Selecting agencies – MWMW Case Study
    • Types of agency - chose service/partnership
        • wanted to learn how to do AAA site
        • wanted user-testing included
        • wanted partnership for maintenance – long term view…
    • How to find agencies
      • Found a site that was similar to what we wanted…
        • AbilityNet ’s My Computer, My Way
      • Asked AbilityNet to partner with us
  • 6. What to look and listen for (1)
    • Do they understand your business?
    • Do they understand your users (incl. disabled people)?
      • Will they help you define your requirements?
        • these are those of your target users – incl. disabled users
      • Do they emphasise tick-boxing or user-testing/UCD?
      • Do they encourage you to ask for feedback? ( “contact us”)
  • 7. What to look and listen for (2)
    • Do they ask about accessibility?
      • Do they ask for your policy / can they help you create it?
    • Have they experience of creating accessible sites?
      • Do they have examples they have created?
      • Do they have references from previous clients?
      • What best-practice do they uphold?
        • PAS-78, W3C guidelines,
        • Knowledge of DD Code of Practice, ATs etc.
      • Are they part of a best-practice body? (e.g. UPA, GAWD)
        • currently no nationally-accepted accessibility accreditation for web developers…
        • see Annex D of PAS-78 – e.g. EuroAccessibility Consortium, supportEAM
      • More useful questions in Annex C of the PAS
    • How do they advise you to maintain the site?
      • CPS: Does it prevent you from making simple accessibility mistakes?
      • Manual: Will they train your staff in accessible maintenance?
  • 8. What to look and listen for – MWMW Case Study
    • AbilityNet understood our target users well
      • they were their users too…
      • they helped us get to know them better:
        • requirements from their users ’ feedback,
        • user-testing
    • They understood our business
      • we had to be non-partisan amongst OSes, ATs etc.
    • They had the right experience:
      • My Computer, My Way has AAA; simple, elegant interface
  • 9. What to ask for
    • Accessibility policy
      • What people should be able to do with the site
      • Who the site is designed to be used by, and how…
    • Production for accessibility
      • What technologies they will use
        • And why…
      • What standards they will uphold
        • WAI v1, v2… - get them to explain the difference between A, AA, and AAA
    • Testing of resulting accessibility
      • You want user-testing results, not just automated testing
      • And sit in on the testing – it ’s the best way to understand
    • Advice on maintenance
      • Keeping the site accessible
    • All of these in terms you can understand
  • 10. What to ask for – Accessibility policy
    • This is the specification for how your site supports disabled access
    • Lots of help in PAS-78 for writing this
    • Two versions:
      • Detailed, technical, binding version for commissioning tender/contract
      • Easy read version for publishing on the site itself
    • To include:
      • Explanation of target users to be consulted in production
      • Explanation of core tasks of website
      • Explanation of how the site will allow target users to do those tasks
      • Cross-ref to W3C accessibility levels (A, AA, AAA…)
      • Explanation of where site will not support users ’ needs and why
        • This is where reasonableness comes in…
      • Contact details, and feedback mechanisms
  • 11. What to ask for – MWMW Case Study
    • Accessibility policy
      • MWMW – full policy discussed, but very brief version published on site
      • For good example of published policy see:
    • Production for accessibility
      • HTML, CSS 2.0 for best “liquid design”
      • Almost AAA (only deviations where standards required)
    • Testing of resulting accessibility
      • Two rounds of (iterative) user-testing of the site, during its production
    • Advice on maintenance
      • Maintenance done by AbilityNet staff, to ensure quality over time
    • All of these in terms you can understand
  • 12. Getting value for money
    • Don ’t throw money away
      • Use PAS-78 to introduce you to what you need (and don ’t need) to do; use agencies to take you on from there
      • Don ’t pay for anything which isn’t backed up by user-testing results:
        • especially “DDA compliance”
      • Don ’t pay for anything which doesn’t actively help your users
        • know when what ’s suggested is much more than “reasonable”
    • Think early
      • Plan for accessibility from the start (cf. lifts in tube stations) not as an expensive add-on
    • Think long-term
      • Think about maintenance and future updates
      • Don ’t just rely on the agency, get them to train your staff, as appropriate
  • 13. Getting value for money – MWMW Case Study
    • Money spent on things which benefit the user
      • User-testing rather than badges
      • e.g. Use of icons for those with learning difficulties
    • Considered accessibility from the start
      • CSS 2.0 formatting allows easy liquid design
    • Internal staff learning to do AAA, CSS 2.0 sites based on AbilityNet ’s work on MWMW
  • 14. Will you have to pay more for accessibility?
    • Yes… but…
      • Know which things shouldn ’ t be more expensive…
        • Cost of creation of an accessible HTML site should be only slightly more than for a non-accessible site
      • … and what should be:
        • Some more specialised accessibility features may cost money – e.g. self-speaking sites, subtitles on video
        • You may be charged a premium for the agency ’s expertise (accessibility still not a universal skill of all agencies)
        • User-testing costs money…
        • And simplicity/good design thinking required for accessibility can take more time
  • 15. Will you have to pay more for accessibility? – MWMW Case Study
    • Accessible CSS 2.0 site was as cheap as less accessible table-based site
    • User testing is expensive…
      • but results from iterative testing ploughed back into site to improve it
    • Considered self-speaking site, video for v2 of site
      • self-speaking useful because we cannot assume users will have screenreaders/TTS when they ’re using the site
      • video would be useful for those with learning difficulties/literacy difficulties
  • 16. Top tips
    • Don ’ t get blackmailed into knee-jerk accessibility, make it a company policy
    • Get the agency to help you get closer to your users
    • Get the agency to explain and justify everything they do for accessibility to you
      • if they can ’t do that so you can understand it…
        • they probably can ’t write an accessibility policy which your users will be able to understand
        • they probably can ’t design the simple, elegant sites which accessibility requires
  • 17. e: t: @jonhassell w: Contact me