Building accessibility strategy into the culture of an organization: find out more about BS 8878 at CSUN 2012

“BS 8878 is an integral part of Royal Mail Group’s accessibility strategy. It has given us the framework to help reduce the cost and improve the quality when delivering accessible products our customers want to use.”
Rob Wemyss, Head of Accessibility, Royal Mail, UK

When was the last time an accessibility standard prompted someone to say that?

At CSUN 2012 this week, I’ll be presenting case studies of organisations which are implementing BS 8878 – the British web accessibility standard which gives organisations a framework to embed accessibility and inclusive design strategically into their business-as-usual processes.

Accessibility strategy is becoming more and more important: see Jeff Kline’s excellent Strategic It Accessibility: Enabling the Organization, Jim Tobias’ comments on the ‘key role of the accessibility program manager to the success of accessibility in an organisation’, and Debra Ruh’s assertion that ‘for accessibility to be a success it must be built into the processes of an organization and become part of the culture’.

BS 8878 is the first national Standard to address these strategic aspects of accessibility – it enables 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 user-centred production process which identifies the key decisions which impact inclusion that 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

The Standard is already helping organisations across the UK embed accessibility within their culture – see my blog on BS8878’s one year anniversary – the UK web community assess its achievements.

And calls have been made for it to become an international Standard.

So, can a Standard from Britain really be key part of the solution to greater accessibility worldwide?

For those at CSUN: please come to my CSUN session ‘Case Studies of Implementing BS 8878’, Leonie Watson’s CSUN ‘Introduction to BS8878’, or DM me on twitter to arrange a time to discuss this with me around the event.

For those who can’t get to CSUN, I’d love to hear your comments on whether you think BS 8878 should be made into an international Standard below, and I’ll be publishing my interview with Jeff Kline and my CSUN slides on this site later in the week.

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