Unintentionally Blank

Phil Nash on the Internet, Web Standards and Accessibility

BBC Does Web 2.0 Accessibly And Validly

Mar 12, 2008

by Phil Nash

Just over a week and a half ago the BBC launched a new home page and I just wanted to say how impressed I was with all of it! Not only is it a huge departure, in my opinion, from the previous homepage, incorporating web 2.0 style drag and drop and customisation, it is also a magnificent piece of coding.


Well, please don't call me an asshole, but the page validates as XHTML (even the Flash clock in the top right hand side, more on that in a later post). Not only that, it also, unlike some big websites, works without JavaScript enabled (though it makes excellent use of my current favourite library, jQuery and the effects plugin Interface). With accessibility in mind, the two features above are a good start, also all images had relevant alt attributes, form inputs have relevant labels, there are links for accessibility help for the whole site and display options to change the colour scheme and size of the text. I even visited the site on my mobile, using Opera Mini, and everything worked very nicely.

I Am Impressed

Back in 2003, Molly Holzschlag rubished the BBC for their site's conformance to standards after reporter Andrew Sinclair claimed "Some get it right: the BBC website is considered to be one of the best for people with disabilities". It has been a long time and I don't know what version of the site she looked at then, but the new home page should change her mind now.

The BBC has changed up its home page, the main page and flagship of their whole site, and they have done it very nicely. The rest of the site is still the same, but I would like to think that, after launching the front page, there is a lot of work going on in the background to bring the rest of the site in line. For web standards this is pretty huge, I am sure a lot of sites look up to the BBC for guidance and inspiration. To see such an important, highly trafficked and well respected site come out with a valid, accessible home page shows everyone that it can be done.

What do you think of the new BBC home page?

Unintentionally Blank is Phil Nash's thoughts on web development from 2006-2008. Any code or opinions may be out of date.