BS 8878 web accessibility standards (supersedes PAS 78) – all you need to know

Note: On 28th May 2019, BS 8878 was superseded by ISO 30071-1, the international standard that built on BS 8878 and expanded it for international use. More information can be found at ISO 30071-1 digital accessibility standards – All You Need to Know

BS 8878 Web Accessibility Code of Practice 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.

While other web accessibility standards concentrate on the technical, design or testing elements of accessibility, BS 8878 puts those important activities in a framework to ensure all aspects of an organisation’s activities which impact inclusion are covered. These include: procurement and selection of production tools and CMSes; outsourcing production to third-parties; project management of inclusive production; assessment of accessibility risk and impact on budgets; and governance of inclusion across a programme of web production projects.

The full guide to implementing BS 8878

Cover of book

The most accessible way to understand BS 8878, and how it can transform your organization to consistently achieve the creation of websites and mobile apps that are usable for all your customers, at the most efficient cost, is to buy Jonathan Hassell’s book, now also available on Kindle: Including your missing 20% by embedding web and mobile accessibility

The book guides you through BS 8878’s business-aligned framework to work out what your organization has to win from accessibility, how to embed the policies and processes necessary to consistently achieve that goal throughout your organization, and how to measure the return on your investment.

The book includes insights and case-studies from 16 leading accessibility experts worldwide who have embedded accessibility within their organizations, and comes with a free library of downloadable support tools, templates and videos to help you on your journey to accessibility maturity.

Find out more about the book and free videos

Quick summary of BS 8878’s process in 88 seconds

Text transcript of quick summary of BS 8878’s process in 88 seconds

Detailed summary of BS 8878

How BS8878 relates to WCAG 2.0, PAS 78, Mandate 376 and UCD Standards from Jonathan Hassell

BS 8878 training and consultancy

Photo of Jonathan Hassell
While a number of organisations advertise BS 8878 training, we believe Professor Jonathan Hassell is the best person to train you in it, as he is the lead author of the standard and chair of its drafting committee at the British Standards Institute.

He has presented on BS 8878 internationally, is working with numerous organisations on case-studies of BS 8878’s use, and has trained people in the standard from organisations including: BBC, Royal Mail, Post Office, Allianz, AbilityNet, Lloyds Banking Group, DirectGov, HM Revenue & Customs, PWC, UBS, Central Office of Information, Microlink, Ecliptic Labs, Big Lottery Fund, ICT Qatar, and QNB Global.

Find out more about BS 8878 training and consultancy.

Recent BS 8878 news

Implementing BS 8878 blogs

How to join communities of organisations implementing BS 8878

Two online communities exist to support organisations who are interesting in implementing BS 8878:

  • BS 8878 Community of Practice on
    This is a place where people using BS 8878 to help them embed accessibility in their organisations or products can find a community of others like them, and the people who wrote BS 8878 in the first place. It’s a place where questions about how to apply the standard in real decision making can be asked, and for discussion of the issues and thinking behind these decisions. This happens online and via face to face meet-ups, which are arranged online on subjects which community members find most challenging or important.
  • BS 8878 discussion group on linked-in:
    This is another place where you can discuss BS 8878 and related accessibility issues.

Get BS 8878

You can purchase BS 8878 from the BSi Shop or find it in many libraries across the UK.

Note on BS 8878’s link with PAS 78

BS 8878 are the web accessibility standards that evolved from, and replaced, the preceding specification PAS 78, which was the first attempt to provide guidance to non-technical website owners for the whole process of commissioning and producing websites, commissioned by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and published by the British Standards Institution in 2006.

You can find more information on the links and differences between BS 8878 and PAS 78 at British Accessibility Standards – PAS-78 to BS8878.