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2003: Accessibility - a Publisher's Perspective (bbc.co.uk)
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2003: Accessibility - a Publisher's Perspective (bbc.co.uk)

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Talk given by Jonathan Hassell - Editor of Standards & Guidelines for BBC New Media - at Association of Online Publishers accessibility event in 2003. ...

Talk given by Jonathan Hassell - Editor of Standards & Guidelines for BBC New Media - at Association of Online Publishers accessibility event in 2003.

Covers: motivations of organisations to be interested in accessibility; initial research into accessibility of bbc.co.uk by System Concepts; examples for where WAI WCAG 1.0 standards didn't do enough to help users (tables) or didn't understand with the needs of broadcasters (video subtitling); recommendations to embed accessibility in bbc.co.uk culture by educating and motivating production staff.

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    2003: Accessibility - a Publisher's Perspective (bbc.co.uk) 2003: Accessibility - a Publisher's Perspective (bbc.co.uk) Presentation Transcript

    • Accessibility – a publisher ’ s perspective (www.bbc.co.uk) Jonathan Hassell Editor of Standards & Guidelines BBC New Media 29/5/03 v1.02
    • What I ’ ll be talking about
      • Motivations for examining the accessibility of bbc.co.uk
      • How we approached the issue - research we undertook to find out how accessible our website is
      • Findings from research
      • Issues for broadcasters – WAI & A/V
      • What we ’re doing to improve accessibility of bbc.co.uk
      • Some examples
    • Motivations for examining accessibility of bbc.co.uk
      • BBCi commitment to making its output as accessible as possible to all audiences to fulfil its public service mandate and to meet its requirements under the Disability Discrimination Act
      • To assess/update existing accessibility features (Betsie, alt-tags etc.)
      • EU communication for Government websites to conform to WAI, Level 1
      • 2003 is European Year of People with Disabilities
      • (and now, of course, there ’s the DRC Formal Investigation into Accessibility)
      • Better accessibility means better usability
    • Let ’ s do some research
      • Desire to unify pockets of existing expertise within BBC New Media
      • Desire to understand issues surrounding accessibility of bbc.co.uk
        • How (consistently) good do we think our website is?
      • Research Focus:
        • Primary focus on accessibility for real audiences at home/office – usability testing
        • Secondary focus on identifying good practice based on previously uncoordinated knowledge inside and outside the BBC – literature reviews etc.
        • Tertiary focus on what other broadcasters or market leaders are doing
    • Process
      • We pulled together a team:
        • Gee Kay Wong - BBC Usability Lab
        • Christina Nsamba - BBC New Media project manager
      • We defined areas of disability/impairment:
        • Visual – screen magnifier to screenreader
        • Hearing – incl. BSL as first language
        • Motor – use of grid navigation systems
        • Cognitive – dyslexia and learning impairments
      • We hired a decent independent company to do the research:
        • Systems Concepts Ltd
      • and put everyone working on the project through BBC Disability Awareness training
    • Findings (1)
      • Accessibility Study of BBCi – report and video of usability testing
      • Avail from: www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/bbci/websites.shtml
    • Findings (2)
      • bbc.co.uk is generally accessible with some bits better than others (results from usability tests) – need more consistency of approach
      • bbc.co.uk is “medium compliance” for accessibility (results from accessibility checklist)
        • it isn ’t most accessible site, it’s not the worst
        • Sites that need users to enter information or need to sell them stuff are generally better
      • You can ’t please everyone all the time - there isn’t one set of best practices that span the range of issues for different disabilities
      • Improvements should be made by specific user-testing
    • Findings (3)
      • Accessibility is as much about content and language as it is about technical accessibility.
      • Try not to marginalise audiences
        • some BBC initiatives, such as “Text only” versions (Betsie), are disliked by the audiences they aim to serve.
        • audiences would prefer not to have a “downgraded” version.
    • Recommendations of study
      • BBC needs to incorporate accessibility thinking into its commissioning and production culture. We need to make use of expertise better, earlier and more systematically.
      • bbc.co.uk should conform to WAI standards, level 1
      • We should deal with content issues. e.g. use simple language
      • We should test accessibility with real users, and provide accessibility instructions
      • About 50 specific detailed recommendations across editorial, design and technical areas
    • Issues for Broadcasters – WAI and A/V
      • WAI level 1 does not always fit ideally with needs of broadcasters, but the BBC will adhere when possible
      • The main problem is with A/V content requiring subtitling
        • For areas such as recorded video, we ’re developing with BBC R&D, a system for subtitling.
        • For live A/V material, we will not be adhering to WAI
      • Another problem is that our websites need to be compatible with browsers pre- WAI standards (those without CSS etc.) to support widest possible audience
    • Steps to improve accessibility of bbc.co.uk
      • Educate & motivate - change the culture:
        • Developing NM Accessibility Awareness training course for New Media production staff – begins June/July 2003, includes demonstrations of use of screenreaders, grid navigation etc.
        • Produced initial checklist to ensure staff are aware of the issues
      • Update our standards:
        • Production staff and panel of advisors (including a user to rep each impairment) sharing their experiences and creating new standards via pan-BBC Working Group
        • WG examining each recommendation from study and reviewing our standards to strive to comply – accessibility not ghettoised into one standard, but pervading all affected standards
      • Be part of wider industry accessibility initiatives:
        • Share what we have: publish research to external audiences
        • Work with and learn from others (RNIB etc.): ask external experts
    • Examples from standards improvement (1)
      • tables…
        • WAI level 1 standards don ’t always produce “better tables” for browsing thru JAWS screenreader
        • It ’s more effective to be aware of one linear, left to right, top to bottom considerations
        • example from BBC weather site (before – being updated in next iteration)
    • Examples from standards improvement (2)
      • accessibility support needs to come from the top, and be cross-disciplinary
      • eg. vocabulary
        • should you use Plain English or the language of your audience?
      • eg. Infoglut - how much should you put on a page…?
        • is this too much?
        • affects users with dyslexia, visual & motor impairments
        • can impact/depend on design of page, visual definition of sections, contrast, editorial proposition etc.
    • e: jonathan@hassellinclusion.com t: @jonhassell w: www.hassellinclusion.com Contact me