Bruce Lawson’s personal site

PAS 124 – too many standards?

I must admit, my heart sank a little when I read that another web “standard” is being written—this time it’s PAS 24:

British web compliance expert Magus Ltd, has commissioned BSI British Standards to develop a Publicly Available Specification (PAS 124) for web standards. Web standards govern the effectiveness, function and appearance of a website, and include: brand, legal, accessibility, search engine optimisation (SEO), usability and technical standards.

I don’t know that the world needs another standard—but if there must be one, I’d like to do my best to make sure it’s a good one. So I offered my services, along with the ever-accommodating Patrick “Herb” Lauke (the Web Standards tubgirl to my accessibility goatse) and we’re now on the review panel, along with other standards luminaries like Shell, Unilever, Institute of Directors and Interbrand.

8 Responses to “ PAS 124 – too many standards? ”

Comment by Andy Hume

Is there any way to follow the proceedings for those outside the review panel? An equivalent of the W3C’s mailing lists which are accessible to all via the web perhaps?

Comment by bruce

I’m afraid I don’t know. Neither Patrick nor I have had any participation in the process so far and have no power to influence other than to comment upon the draft PAS.

If my experience with PAS 78 is to be repeated, there is a steering group who write the document. This takes months and I’ve no idea who was on the steering group. I don’t know if anyone from the world of Web Standards (in our usual definition of the term) was on it—no-one’s written about it, to my knowledge.

Once the document is finished, it is sent under non-disclosure agreement to the reviewers. There’s no way to know who your fellow reviewers are. Each reviewer sends his/her comments in by a deadline. The comments are considered by the steering committee and accepted or not, and the draft is recirculated for final comments and then published.

According to the BSI, the document is to be sent to the reviewers on Dec 7th.

Comment by Karl

Something else for the snakeoil salesmen to not read when it comes out, but with some big corporate names involved and educated this can only help push standards out into the mainstream. Good luck to all involved.

Comment by Simon Lande

Bruce – agreed that the world does not need another standard. But what it does need is an effective way to make the most out of all the standards that currently exist. That’s why we commissioned PAS 124, which will be a best practice document giving clear guidance to organisations about how to make the most of their websites by using standards. It will set out what to look at as you define the standards that matter to you, how to implement them, and how to monitor and manage compliance.

Also can confirm that, as you mention, document is going out to Review Panel at end of next week.

Also, in response to JackP’s comment, would be happy to have representation from PSWMG, so just let me know who would be the appropriate person.

Comment by Simon Lande

Steering Group is: Shell, Unilever, Interbrand, Institute of Directors, Institution of Engineering and Technology, The Localisation Industry Standards Association & SDL/Tridion.

Review Panel is about 40 organisations covering the spectrum from end-users through to web/brand agencies, and industry specialists (usability, accessibility etc).

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