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BSI Web Accessibility Brochure - accessible version

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Website accessibility for all

A consumers’ guide to the British Standard for web accessibility (BS 8878)

For most of us, the internet has become a part of everyday life. In 2010, 73% of UK households had internet access and it’s estimated that 30 million people use the internet daily for activities such as:

• online banking
• shopping for goods and services
• keeping in touch with friends and family
• job hunting
• booking holidays
• watching TV
• listening to the radio
• and much more.

The internet is a rich source of information and offers access to a wide range of products and services, some of which are only available online. Website customers often benefit from lower prices and special discounts, too. But if you are one of the millions of UK consumers who are elderly or disabled, you might find some websites difficult, or even impossible, to use.

For example, poorly designed websites can be difficult to read or navigate, particularly if you are blind, partially sighted or deaf, have learning difficulties or limited dexterity, meaning that you could miss out on some of the benefits that these websites have to offer.

Easy-to-use websites benefit everyone. Organisations are able to reach more customers, and consumers can take advantage of online information, choice and savings.

If an organisation wants to improve its web accessibility, where should it start and what should it do? That’s where the Web Accessibility Code of Practice (BS 8878) can help.

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BSI Web Accessibility Brochure - accessible version

  1. 1. Website accessibility for all 01A consumers’ guide to the British Standard for web accessibility (BS 8878)www.bsigroup.com/ConsumerStandardsWebsite accessibility for allA consumers’ guide to the British Standard for web accessibility (BS 8878)For most of us, the internet has become a part of everyday life. In 2010, 73% of UKhouseholds had internet access and it’s estimated that 30 million people use the internetdaily for activities such as: • online banking • shopping for goods and services • keeping in touch with friends and family • job hunting • booking holidays • watching TV • listening to the radio • and much more.The internet is a rich source of information and offers access to a wide range of products and services, some of which are onlyavailable online. Website customers often benefit from lower prices and special discounts, too. But if you are one of the millionsof UK consumers who are elderly or disabled, you might find some websites difficult, or even impossible, to use.For example, poorly designed websites can be difficult to read or navigate, particularly if you are blind, partially sighted or deaf, havelearning difficulties or limited dexterity, meaning that you could miss out on some of the benefits that these websites have to offer.Easy-to-use websites benefit everyone. Organisations are able to reach more customers, and consumers can take advantage of onlineinformation, choice and savings.If an organisation wants to improve its web accessibility, where should it start and what should it do? That’s where the WebAccessibility Code of Practice (BS 8878) can help. What are British Standards? The British Standards Institution (BSI) has been developing standards for over 100 years to make products and services safer for consumers. Standards set out good practice and guidelines for organisations to follow. It’s not compulsory for organisations to sign up to a standard, so you can feel confident that those that choose to comply with British Standards take safety and customer service seriously.
  2. 2. Website accessibility for all 02A consumers’ guide to the British Standard for web accessibility (BS 8878)BS 8878 – The basics • Implement the web accessibility policy and keep it up to date.A wide range of organisations and consumers workedtogether to develop the British Standard for Web Consider accessibility at all stagesAccessibility (BS 8878), taking account of other recognised • Where possible, create a web accessibility policy for eachguidance such as the W3C Web Content Accessibility product as soon as it is first thought of.Guidelines (WCAG). • Take the web accessibility policy into account at all stagesThe standard sets guidelines to help organisations make of development – from the first idea right through totheir web products as accessible as possible, to as many its launch.people as possible. In brief, organisations following thestandard should: Justify decisions • Where organisations don’t choose the most accessible• Design accessible and usable websites - all internet option for a web product they should be able to users should be able to get onto websites, and find them ‘reasonably’ justify their decisions for choosing a lesser easy to use option. For example, where the cost might outweigh• Designate clear responsibility - organisations should the benefits. create a written ‘web accessibility policy’ and assign responsibility for its administration Carry out research and testing • Where possible and relevant, web products should be• Look at the big picture - organisations should ensure tested by people with impairments. For example, an that accessibility is included in all stages of web design, organisation with a site that offers career advice to and all decisions are documented and justified in the web teenagers should test it on young disabled people. accessibility policy • Involve real people in all stages of development.• Change with the times - organisations should seek feedback from real users and test websites to make sure • Seek feedback on usability of web products from users that they stay accessible and up-to-date as technology of the site. develops. Publish clear information for consumers In addition to having a full web accessibility policy,BS 8878 – The details organisations should produce a ‘web accessibilityIf you are one of the millions of people who have difficulty statement’ that:using web products, BS 8878 should be able to help. Its aimis to make the Web more accessible for more people. The • Summarises its web accessibility policy in clear,standard aims to help organisations comply with the law and jargon-free language.open up their products and services to a wider audience. • Gives advice on how older and disabled users can best useThe standard is voluntary, but organisations that choose to the website, including any information about how it cancomply with the standard should: be customised to suit their needs. • Tells users how they can get full details of the webAppoint a web accessibility champion accessibility policy.Clearly identify a member of staff to be responsible foraccessibility of its web products. This person should: • Informs users on how to give comments, suggestions and feedback.• Take an overview of the products offered and who the target audience is. • Documents all definitions and decisions made in the organisation’s web accessibility policy.• Prepare a written web accessibility policy for each web product.
  3. 3. Website accessibility for all 03A consumers’ guide to the British Standard for web accessibility (BS 8878)Checklist: What to expectYou can expect organisations to:✓ Have thought carefully about the main tasks that users will want to carry out on their website, for example, buying a book or paying a bill, and to make sure that as many people as possible can use the site for that purpose.✓ Think about everyone who might use their website, including older and disabled users, and anticipate what their specific requirements might be.✓ Have tested their website on groups of older and disabled people to make sure that it is as accessible as possible. It might be ‘reasonable’ to exclude some groups by age (for example, if the site was aimed at teenagers) but it would not be reasonable to exclude any kind of disability.✓ Give you the option to customise websites using one of two approaches: - Non-individualised - where websites are compatible with a wide range of assistive technologies to make them accessible to as many people as possible, or - User-personalised - where people can choose the font, colour and design that suit them best to make viewing and navigation easier.✓ Bear in mind that people access the internet in a variety of ways. They should develop websites that are compatible with as many browsers (such as Google and Mozilla), operating systems (such as Mac OSX and Windows 7), and technologies (such as laptops, smart phones, games consoles and televisions) as possible.✓ Offer websites that are compatible with a wide range of assistive technologies (software or hardware) that people might use at home – such as screen readers, magnification software, speech recognition software and touchscreen monitors.Don’t forget:✓ If you want to know anything about the organisation’s web accessibility policy you can contact it to ask for a copy of its web accessibility statement. USEFUL INFORMATION Abilitynet (a charity helping disabled people to use the internet) 0800 269 545 www.abilitynet.org.uk AgeUK 0800 169 6565 www.ageuk.org.uk British Computer Association of the Blind 0845 430 8627 www.bcab.org.uk British Standards Institution (BSI) 020 8996 9001 www.bsigroup.com/accessibility Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) 0845 604 6610 www.equalityhumanrights.com Learning Disability Coalition www.learningdisabilitycoalition.org.uk Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) 0303 123 9999 www.rnib.org.uk Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) 0808 808 0123 www.rnid.org.uk World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) 01865 332339 www.w3c.rl.ac.uk
  4. 4. Website accessibility for all 04A consumers’ guide to the British Standard for web accessibility (BS 8878) Frequently asked questions Q. Can I see an organisation’s web accessibility policy? A. All organisations that comply with the standard should have a ‘web accessibility statement’ that summarises its full web accessibility policy. Just contact the organisation to request a copy. This statement should also give details on how to get a copy of the full web accessibility policy, if you want it. Q. Can I get involved in feedback/user testing? A. Contact the organisation to ask for a copy of its ‘web statement’. This should give details on how to make comments and suggestions, and give feedback. Q. If an organisation doesn’t follow the standard, is it breaking the law? A. It is not a legal requirement to follow the standard. But if an organisation claims to comply with the standard, then doesn’t, it is in breach of contract and can be reported to Trading Standards. Even if it does not claim compliance, in the event of a serious complaint or incident, the standard could be used in a court of law to provide a benchmark of best practice. Q. Where can I find a copy of BS 8878? A. Your local public library should be able to give you access to a reference copy, or you can purchase a copy from BSI either as a printed document or in electronic form (PDF format), see www.bsigroup.com/accessibility.BSI Group Headquarters389 Chiswick High Road London W4 4AL UKTel +44 (0)20 8996 9001Fax +44 (0)20 8996 7001www.bsigroup.com© BSI copyrightraising standards worldwide™

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