PAS 78

It's a big day for web accessibility in the UK with the launch and publication of Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 78 (external link) in London. The specification was developed by the Disability Rights Commission in collaboration with the British Standards Institute, providing guidance to those commissioning websites to help them to understand the issues around web accessibility, and to ensure that the work they commission results in accessible sites.

It's attracted plenty of publicity today, including a good piece on BBC News (external link), so here's hoping that it makes a material difference in the months and years to come.

Updates:

Comments

Great stuff! I wonder if it will make much difference in the web design market. Still doesn't seem terribly great that BSI's accessibility statement is in a Word Document though - hardly accessible for people without Word on their machine :/

Posted by: Dave at March 8, 2006 7:12 PM

Hmm, yes, I was trying to be positive and avoid panning their site but what the heck! It is a shame they didn't produce a dedicated, accessible site for PAS78 to show a commitment to the very accessibility they're punting. And it's not as if there wasn't time.

But it would be a shame to let it detract from the importance of the guidance. A case of "do as we say not as we do" I suppose.

Posted by: Dan at March 8, 2006 7:31 PM

Here's my take on it all, for what it's worth

http://www.osirra.com/post/1/457

Concerned about the cost, mainly. Any cost (even 5 quid) becomes a barrier most aren't willing to get past...

Posted by: Dan at March 12, 2006 1:54 AM

Dan, I agree that the cost is an issue. Requiring payment for the specification means that the audience will be reduced. On that basis alone it's disappointing that a mechanism for free distribution wasn't worked out before the project started. I appreciate that the BSI hold the copyright and don't publish standards and specs for free, but negotiation can always bring exceptions to rules.

But again this shouldn't detract from the message PAS 78 is carrying, or the importance of its content. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before electronic copies are in the wild, or the contents are so widely quoted as to make it effectively freely available (and no, I'm not condoning breach of copyright, I'm just being realistic about the nature of information).

Posted by: Dan at March 12, 2006 7:42 AM

There is some discussion - at times heated - about the charge for this document (which is not 30, as stated in publicity, but 30+VAT) at: http://www.accessifyforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=4798

Posted by: Andy Mabbett at March 16, 2006 11:43 PM

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