British web compliance expert, Magus, joins forces with BSI to raise online standards


1 November 2007

BSI British Standards commissioned to create a new standard for websites

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.

Websites are increasingly the key communication vehicle for a company, its brand and products.  Despite this, research from Magus shows that many of the world’s leading organizations don’t have formal brand and technical standards defined to govern their websites.  Even those that do are failing to effectively implement or enforce them, achieving full compliance with less than 20% of their own web standards.  The websites of these organizations significantly under-perform or damage the brand as a result.

PAS 124 will help to protect the significant investment organizations are making in their web presence and online brands, by establishing best practice for “defining, implementing and managing organizational web standards”.  It will provide a clear framework to help organizations apply standards effectively to significantly improve online performance and protect the integrity of their brands.

Simon Lande, CEO, Magus commented: “The average global corporation spends millions of pounds on its global web presence, then does little to protect its investment.  If you don’t effectively manage your website to the same stringent standards you would apply to other offline communication, you will not benefit fully from your brand online.  You may even significantly damage it.  Everyone understands this in principle, but few are doing anything about it in practice.  The perceived complexity of managing and enforcing standards, in a dynamic and fast changing medium like the Internet, can seem like an overwhelming challenge.  But, it doesn’t have to be difficult.”

He continues: “We have commissioned this independent specification to give clear guidance to organizations about how to take control of their websites.  It will tell you what to look at as you define the standards that matter to you, how to go about implementing them across your web presence, and how to monitor and manage compliance on an ongoing basis.  It will help organizations take control of the situation quickly.”

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, comments: “BSI British Standards is delighted to be working with Magus on this important first step towards a framework for best practice in web standards.  The PAS will enable organizations and their suppliers to better understand the need for web standards and consequently provide more structured web solutions.”

The specification will be developed using a two-stage stakeholder consultation.  A BSI steering group of independent stakeholders representing a cross-section of the industry will review and provide feedback on the best practice specification before it is put out for public comment.  Organizations on the steering group include: Shell, Unilever, Institute of Directors, Interbrand, SDL, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Digitas, and The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA).

New and existing best practice work in this area will also be considered in the PAS development.  The final PAS will be publicly available in early 2008.

About Publicly Available Specifications (PASs)

A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a sponsored fast-track standard driven by the needs of the client organizations and developed according to guidelines set out by BSI.  Key stakeholders are brought together to collaboratively produce a BSI-endorsed PAS that has all the functionality of a British Standard for the purposes of creating management systems, product benchmarks and codes of practice.  After two years the PAS is reviewed and a decision is made as to whether it should be taken forward to become a formal British Standard.