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Archive for October, 2010

British Standard 8878 on Web Accessibility: Complementary Guidance

By Tristan Parker

It’s certainly taken a while, but next month should finally see the long-awaited arrival of BS 8878 – a British Standard on web accessibility.

Developed by IST/45, a sub-committee of the British Standards Institution ( BSi: ), BS 8878 provides guidance on making websites accessible for disabled and elderly users. It has been in the making for some four years, with two public drafts released for comment, of which there was plenty. After further input from a wide range of field experts, extensive user testing, and numerous modifications, the final version of the standard is now expected to be published at the end of November.

Publishers And Campaigners Unite To Boost Text-to-Speech

A call for text-to-speech functions to be included on all electronic book platforms to improve their accessibility has been issued by a group of publishing and literary organisations.

The Publishers Association, The Society of Authors, The Association of Authors Agents and The Right to Read Alliance – itself an umbrella campaign group, whose members include The Royal National Institute of Blind People – grouped together to issue the joint statement. It recommended that speech functions, which help many print-disabled readers access a range of otherwise inaccessible e-books, “is routinely enabled on all e-books across all platforms, at least where there is no audio-book edition commercially available.”

Multimedia Report For World Standards Day

A new technical report on accessibility for audio, video, and multimedia systems and equipment has been published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an international standards body for electronics, as part of activities to mark this year’s accessibility-themed World Standards Day.

The report, IEC/TR 62678, provides information on accessibility and usability terms, activities, completed and ongoing standards, technical reports and projects, and is available as a pdf from:
Short link:

Accessibility Is ‘Opportunity For Business’, Minister Tells EAB

The work of the government’s newly-launched e-Accessibility Forum will include demonstrating to businesses that accessibility is a financial opportunity rather than just a cost, the Minister for Culture, Communication and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, told E-Access Bulletin in an exclusive interview this week.

Led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the e-Accessibility Forum ( ) will bring together more than 60 members from government, industry and the voluntary sector, working to deliver more accessible digital services, content and goods for disabled consumers. Some of the forum’s work is detailed in an e-Accessibility Action Plan which will be updated quarterly ( available as a PDF at: ).