An umbrella specification for website standards, including references to usability and accessibility standards, has been published by the British Standards Institution (www.bsi-global.com).
The Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 124, entitled ‘Defining, implementing and managing website standards,’ covers 11 separate categories of website quality, of which accessibility and usability are two. It was commissioned from the BSi by website content management software provider Magus (www.magus.co.uk).
The BSi had already produced a more focused specification on website accessibility, PAS 78, which is now being developed into a full British Standard number BS8878. Julie Howell, Director of Accessibility at Fortune Cookie which commissioned PAS 78, has been appointed to chair the technical committee tasked with developing the standard (see story 01, E-Access Bulletin Issue 98, February 2008).
Howell told E-Access Bulletin this month that people looking for accessibility guidance should look to PAS 78, which “contains all the guidance site developers and owners should need on how to ensure disabled people can use their sites. PAS 124 references PAS 78 but does not seek to build on it.”
And according to Simon Lande, founder and CEO of Magus, PAS 124 references PAS 78 because the intention of PAS 124 was not to “reinvent the wheel”. It is the first complete set of website specifications of its kind in the world, he said, and was created after Magus’ research found many large companies either do not have or fail to stick to formal technical standards governing their websites.
The specifications are available for download from the BSI website for £85: