Digital Inclusion: First British Standard to Promote Web Accessibility Globally

By Bsi Group, PRNE
Monday, November 29, 2010

LONDON, November 30, 2010 - Growing dependence on the internet for business and personal use has
introduced a very real challenge to website owners. The internet should help
improve our lives, and yet, how does it benefit those who are unable to
access websites with ease? The need to make the web more universally
accessible has become increasingly urgent.

As a result, BSI has developed the first British Standard to fully
address the challenge of digital inclusion. Building on guidance published in
2006, the new BS 8878 Web Accessibility Code of Practice presents a fully
up-to-date, detailed guide for businesses and organizations to make web
products more accessible to disabled and older users. By increasing the
accessibility of these interfaces, the web will inevitably become more usable
for all.

Most website owners acknowledge the need to eliminate existing barriers
that keep millions from accessing online services. Yet although they may be
willing to implement accessibility, they lack the "know-how" to do so. BS
8878 demonstrates how to create organizational policies and production
processes that identify and remove these digital divides.

The standard's publication is especially timely given that the new
Equality Act 2010 places an obligation on information providers to ensure
their web products are accessible. Both the public and private sector will
benefit from this new standard.

BSI's Director of Standards Mike Low says: "We all recognise that the
digital age promises huge benefits - for organizations and consumers alike.
It's also the case, as noted in the UK government's recent eAccessibility
Action Plan, that too many people are excluded from participating fully in
these. We are pleased therefore that BS 8878 is central to the Action Plan's
aim to update current advice on making public and private sector websites
more accessible. BS 8878 provides guidance on how to remove barriers to
inclusion and highlights a simple truth: if accessibility is built-in, it's a
win-win for site owners and users"

Jonathan Hassell, of the BBC, Chair of the committee responsible for
developing BS 8878, adds: "BS 8878 is designed to be a real-world standard,
talking about real issues which are experienced by users of up-to-date web
products on the devices on which they use those products. It provides an
end-to-end guide which identifies the key decisions web production teams make
which affect whether or not their products will include or exclude disabled
and older people. It advises production teams on how they can best consider
their options in making and documenting those decisions. And it details ways
of embedding such best practices in organizations to assure accessibility of
their web products over time."

BSI is committed to establishing and supporting standards which promote
the availability of products and services to all consumers — regardless of
their sensory, cognitive or physical abilities. For World Standards Day this
year, BSI produced a documentary on web accessibility which can be viewed on
BSI's YouTube Channel.

BSI is running a half-day event on web accessibility on 7 December 2010.
For more information, visit

For further information on the new BSI standard on Web Accessibility and
related opportunities, please contact Chiara Carella, PR Manager, BSI Group,
at, or visit

About BSI Group

BSI Group is a global independent business services organization that
develops standards-based solutions to improve management practices and
promote innovation. BSI can help businesses, governments and other
organizations around the world to raise quality and performance in a
sustainable and socially responsible way. From its origins as the world's
first National Standards Body, BSI Group draws upon over 100 years'
experience to work with 66,000 organizations in 147 countries from its 50
offices. To learn more, please visit

Chiara Carella, PR Manager of BSI Group, +44 (0)20 8996 7248, Mobile, +44 (0)77 6835 8730, chiara.carella at

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