BS 8878: Systematic Approaches to Documenting Web Accessibility Policies and Practices

In the early days of institutional Web services Web management teams sought to provide ‘universal accessibility’ by conformance with WCAG, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. However although conformance with WCAG can be important, especially for informational web site, in reality such conformance can be difficult to achieve. Such problems are compounded in the provision of web services which provide more than simple informational services or are reliant on use of third-party services or user generated content. The challenges of knowing what to do are compounded by the reductions in levels of resources available to deliver and support institutional web services which is often accompanied by rising levels of user expectations!

The BS 8878 Web Accessibility Code of Practice has been developed to help institutions develop accessible web services which can take into account contextual factors such as the purpose of the service, the target audience and the levels of resources available. In brief, as described by Jonathan Hassell, the lead authors of the standard, BS 8878  is a process-oriented standard enabling organisations to:

  • understand why digital inclusion and accessibility makes good business sense
  • embed inclusion responsibility strategically across key job-roles, and into key policies
  • follow a standard user-centred production process which identifies the key decisions which impact inclusion which are taken in a web product’s lifecycle
  • adopt an informed way of making these decisions
  • adopt a way of documenting these decisions to provide a log which can be used for assessing accessibility risk and proving conformance with BS 8878
  • synchronise these activities with similar processes for the inclusive design of non-digital products

In this workshop session Brian Kelly will describe the BS8878 standard and facilitate group activities in exploring how the standard can be applied in a number of contexts relevant to the higher education community.

Facilitator: Brian Kelly
Time: Monday 27th July from 16.00-17.30
Session code: A3


The slides are available on Slideshare and embedded below.