I’m spring cleaning the site so bare with me while things move about about. This may mean some parts of the site are less accessible and usable than they should be but things will be back on site soon.

Last June the Accessibility Team at BBC launched the BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines. You can find out more about the background of the guidelines in a previous post.

Over the last few months we have taken on board feedback, both internal and external, refined the requirements, revised some techniques and most importantly housed the guidelines in their own prototype HTML app. We wanted to take the standards and guidelines out of their dry Word format so they would be easier to read and use. There’s a lot of information in the document – it covers HTML, Android and iOS techniques after all – plus it has advice relevant to UX, development and editorial so we wanted to find a way to present the information so that it was a bit more targeted to you, your discipline and what issue you are wanting to address.

We’ve added an optional feature of offline storage so that you can access them whenever you want regardless of connection. You can  also search the standards and guidelines by topic (images, forms, structure, text alternatives etc), by discipline (UX, Development, Editorial) as well as focus on just HTML, Android or iOS techniques.

We’ll be tweaking the app, trying new things out, so do let us know if you have any comments either here of via the BBC blog post about the Mobile Accessibility Guidelines.


You can grab a copy of the BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines v 1.0 from  the BBC Future Media Standards and Guidelines site.

Thank you

Big thank you to BBC who unfailingly support accessibility not just in terms of making products accessible but who also strive to make them fun, engaging and usable for people with disabilities. It’s an everlasting journey to try and get this right as technology changes but the BBC are by far the best organisation I have worked with when it comes to commitment.

There’s a small army of people who work hard on this within BBC but big thanks to Gareth Ford Williams who has supported and edited the guidelines and Ian Pouncey who has edited and helped pull together the site alongside IMI Mobile.

The BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines, otherwise known as ‘Are you missing a trick’, featured in .Net Magazine

I asked the following question over Twitter yesterday:

I’m curious to know, who uses subtitles on web content (X device) who’s not deaf or hard of hearing? For example I did when breastfeeding.

It’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves at the BBC as there seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting people use subtitles (closed captions) for all manner of reasons rather than just being deaf or hard of hearing. I used them when breastfeeding my little one and a participant in user testing recently said she did when she was blow drying her hair.

I got alls sorts of weird and wonderful responses but all of them important and necessary for everyday living. Adam Banks very kindly captured the responses on Storify.

Update: 21st April, 2015

I went to pick up my daughter from her friends other other day and noticed that as the noise level from the adults went up the kids switched on subtitles on iPlayer so they could continue watching their show. Brilliant.


7 year old Ella watching iPlayer with subtitles (closed captions) switched on as the adults were being too noisy.

7 year old Ella watching iPlayer with subtitles (closed captions) switched on as the adults were being too noisy.

Multiple ways of inputing and accessing information on the web is standard in accessibility but with the proliferation of mobile, tablets, touch, games consoles, kiosks (you name it) things are changing.

Where we were lucky if websites were designed with keyboard only users in mind it’s necessary to think beyond keyboard and mouse to include voice, movement, gestures, touch, switches, device motion, heartbeats (yes)…the list is, well, infinite. Not least because it will evolve and never end.

For me this is nothing new and something that accessibility has understood and been tackling for decades. With the proliferation of devices however there is now a convergence where access technology, with all its wonderful ways of providing means of input, is now converging with the mainstream. What we traditionally thought of as ‘assistive technology’ is now becoming something that many of us use dependent on context and device, or simply for fun, rather than solely by need.

Luke Wroblewski did a talk at dConstruct this year on Infinite Inputs discussing input types and how our interfaces have to adapt. He only mentions accessibility once (which is a good thing), but the whole piece covers inclusive design and innovation perfectly. Have a listen: Infinite Inputs.

Many thanks to Iain Griffin of Four-I’s who invited me to do a podcast on mobile accessibility and the BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines. In it we discuss how they evolved, how we are working with the guidelines at BBC and some of the principles and approaches to mobile accessibility for web products and native apps.

Have a listen to the mobile accessibility podcast over on the Four-I’s site.

I was interviewed by E-Access Bulletin about how we went about developing the BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines. You can read the story behind the BBC Mobile Accessibility Guidelines over at the E-Access site as well as a blog post on the BBC Internet Blog.

To download a PDF or Word copy of the guidelines visit the BBC standards and guidelines site for mobile accessibility.

Watch this space for some updated mobile guidelines coming soon and for a walk though of mobile accessibility below are slides I presented on an Introduction to Mobile Accessibility at AccessU earlier this year.

WordPress SEO