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British Standard for Web Access ‘Aimed At Marketers

The forthcoming British Standard for accessible websites, BS8878, is to be aimed at marketing departments of major retailers and suppliers of consumer goods and services, it has emerged.

At an open planning meeting hosted this week by the British Standards Institution (BSi –
http://www.bsi-global.com), the committee charged with producing the standard consulted a range of other academic and technical bodies to ensure the new work will not repeat orĀ  Compete with other guidelines.

Following the meeting, BSi technical committee chair Julie Howell told E-Access Bulletin that given the existence of other technical standards for web accessibility such as the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), it had been decided to shift the focus towards the marketing departments and marketers at major retailers and suppliers of goods and services to consumers. There had not yet been a great deal of information on accessibility targeted at that audience, Howell said.

“There was a strong feeling that we should produce the standard in a language that marketers can understand. So what we’re doing will not be aimed at a technical level – we already have WCAG for that – but it will reference marketing techniques, since the marketing departments at major corporations are usually where the website budgets are.”

The standard will not be aimed at public sector bodies, Howell said, since they were already served by various guidelines including recent ones issued by the Central Office of Information (see E-Access Bulletin, June 2008 and Section Three, this issue). A first draft of BS8878 will be published by the end of August and released for public comment in September and October. Publication of the final standard is due for April 2009.

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