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2009: British Accessibility Standards - PAS-78 to BS8878


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Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Acting Chair of IST/45 - drafting committee for BS8878) at European Accessibility Forum in Frankfurt 2009.

Covers: why we needed a British accessibility Standard (rather than a European one); aims of PAS-78; the reason for updating it into BS8878; the big issues BS8878 will cover

Published in: Technology, Design
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2009: British Accessibility Standards - PAS-78 to BS8878

  1. 1. © BBC MMIX Jonathan Hassell Acting Chair, BSi IST/45 European Accessibility Summit, Frankfurt am Main 27th March 2009 British Accessibility Standards - PAS-78 to BS8878
  2. 2. © BBC MMIX What are the British doing and why? • why did we need a British Standard? – because we have British law around accessibility • and not just for public-sector websites, all sites… – in 2005, research by the British Disability Rights Commission revealed sites weren’t doing well – and no existing standards made it easy enough for site owners to know what to do – so the DRC commissioned BSi to create PAS-78 to try and help
  3. 3. © BBC MMIX Aims of PAS-78 – to give a guide to the whole process of commissioning, producing and maintaining a website from a site owner’s point of view – to not replace other standards, but to provide a non- technical person’s guide to how those standards should be used to help ensure a development project results in an accessible product – it focuses on, advising site owners on: • a quick background in disabled people’s use of the web; • how to create an accessibility policy for the creation of their site • what to look for if they are contracting the work out to a supplier • how to choose technologies to uphold that policy (making much reference to WAI) • how to test the resulting site against that policy – are best-efforts enough cf guidelines, or does it actually have to work with users?
  4. 4. © BBC MMIX Drivers to bring PAS-78 up to date… – Web 2.0’s much wider purposes for websites, including: • the move from informative web content to: – web as tools (“Software as a Service”) – web as rich/media-media entertainment (games, IPTV, eLearning etc.) • the move from Provider-Produced content to User-Generated content (blogs, Facebook etc.) – the increasing use of non-W3C technologies – the use of “off the shelf” tools rather than bespoke development
  5. 5. © BBC MMIX BS8878 – progress and debate – work began early 2008 – a first draft was created by end Nov 2008 (before WCAG 2 was confirmed) • NB. the final version is very likely to use WCAG 2 as the base of its technical guidelines – there were some things which were maybe a bit premature in the first draft – however, the comments on the draft have been very illuminating on its future direction – many of the comments completely disagree with each other on many fundamental issues – it’s already obvious that our standard, like many out there, cannot please everyone – but, from these comments, we know what issues it must cover
  6. 6. © BBC MMIX The big issues BS8878 will cover – whether accessibility is about disabled people or more than that • are we talking about accessibility to users, devices or browsers? • if users: whether we are aiming for “access for all”, access for targeted groups of disabled users, or should include the needs of elderly people – whether the level of access to aim for should be accessibility, usability, or even user-experience – whether the standard should dictate a level of conformance… • or be a best practice guide stating a number of levels which could be aimed for and the implications of selecting each level – what the best way of testing is: how well automated or manual checklist testing based on a standard (like WCAG 2), or task-based user testing with disabled people, can capture barriers for disabled people – how to avoid being too constraining about technology use – when we should encourage best practice in interfacing with assistive technologies and when to encourage sites to provide accessibility features or preferences themselves (personalisation) – how much to include guidance on authoring tools (cf. ATAG)
  7. 7. © BBC MMIX • the full guide on how to transform your organisation to achieve the consistent creation of web sites and apps that are usable and accessible to all your customers, at the most efficient cost • with practical case-studies from leading accessibility experts worldwide, including: • Jennison Asuncion (Canada), • Debra Ruh & Jeff Kline (USA), • Andrew Arch (Australia) • David Banes (Qatar) • Axel Leblois (UN) For information on the book’s publication, free access to video case-studies, and a chance of winning the book… send me your details via the form on the next slide or visit Find out how to implement BS 8878…
  8. 8. © BBC MMIX Training & support for BS8878 Standards Innovation Strategy & research
  9. 9. © BBC MMIX e: t: @jonhassell w: Contact me
  10. 10. © BBC MMIX e: t: @jonhassell w: Contact me