Website standards are developed to make websites search engine friendly, cross browser and platform compatible and accessible to the 8 million disabled users across the UK.
The W3C Consortium is an international community where members, full time staff and the public work together to develop common standards for the internet. These standards are designed to enable human communication, commerce and opportunities to share knowledge over the internet to everyone regardless of hardware, software, network infrastructure, language, culture, geographic location, physical or mental ability.
Some of the types of standards that the W3C Consortium address include:
- Web design and applications
- Web architecture
- Semantic Web
- XML technology
- Web services
- Web devises
- Browsers and authoring tools
DDA (Disability discrimination act)
The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) came into force in 2002 and specifically mentions that when anyone offering products or services to the public, there must be reasonable measures put into place to also make these products or services accessible by disabled people. A copy of the Disability Discrimination act 1995 can be downloaded from the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
Website that are not DDA compliant that are offering services or products to the public, are unlawful and organisations can be prosecuted. The RNIB have in the past been a body that has enforced this act.
W3C Web Accessibility
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) sets three levels of compliance guidelines to the DDA, each of which provide progressivly a more advanced level of compliance.
Priority 1 or A standard - This is the minimum standard for any website to comply too.
Priority 2 or AA standard - These standards should be met and are the recommended standards set by the European Union.
Priority 3 or AAA standard - These are designed for websites that are aimed at users with disabilities to ensure the site is easy to use with the help of special aids such as speech readers. Enabling a website to comply to Priority 3 or AAA standards may require additional development and, therefore, cost.
At GAV Internet services we recommend that sites are built to Priority 2 or above as we often find that high accessibility standards create efficent search engine optimisation (SEO).