Future Media Standards & Guidelines

Standards & Guidelines Glossary


The key words MUST, MUST NOT, SHOULD and SHOULD NOT and MAY in bbc.co.uk standards & guidelines are to be interpreted in accordance with the following definitions:

  • MUST means an absolute requirement. Example: if you own a TV you must buy a TV licence.
  • MUST NOT means an absolute prohibition. Example: if you do not have a TV licence you must not own a TV.
  • SHOULD means a recommendation that may be ignored in particular circumstances but the full implications must be understood. Example: you should eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.
  • SHOULD NOT means not recommended although acceptable in particular circumstances but the full implications must be understood. Example: you should not drink too much alcohol.
  • MAY gives permission to perform a particular action, it should not be used to express a possibility, where you should use 'can' or 'might'. Example: you may choose which route you use to get from A to B but this route should be chosen to enable the shortest travel time.

Top of page

2. Other definitions

Best practice

Definition: a process which has been agreed as the most effective and efficient way of doing that action, but has not been officially accepted as a guideline.

Clickable content

Definition: content items that can be clicked. Examples: menu items, buttons, interactive elements of a game.

Core content

Definition: the fundamental reason for a web page, without which there would be no point to the page existing. For example, the core content on the CBBC Games page is all the games – if there were no games there would be no point to the page being there.


Definition: please try not to use this technology/tool/process in the future (NB. does not imply that existing items depending on the deprecated technology will no longer work). Example: use of vote.pl has been deprecated; recording on audio cassettes has been deprecated.


Definition: this will not work any more if you are using it (after decommissioning date). Example: use of exec cgi has been decommissioned; analogue TV broadcasting after 2010 proposed switch-off.


Definition: a guideline is something you SHOULD do, for the good of yourself and your colleagues. Example: Healthy Eating guidelines.

Progressive enhancement

Progressive enhancement is a strategy for web design that emphasizes accessibility, semantic HTML markup, and external stylesheet and scripting technologies. Progressive enhancement uses web technologies in a layered fashion that allows everyone to access the basic content and functionality of a web page, using any browser or Internet connection, while also providing those with better bandwidth or more advanced browser software an enhanced version of the page.


Definition: a standard is something you MUST do, for the good of yourself and your colleagues, which can be monitored and enforced. Example: UK Law.

Top of page

3. Symbols

Internal BBC document This symbol indicates that a document is not currently directly available to those outside the BBC. If you are working for the BBC and wish to see this document please contact your relevant BBC Product lead.

Restricted access - post NDA only This symbol indicates that a document is in the password-protected part of the Standards & Guidelines site because it contains sensitive technical information about bbc.co.uk. Those organisations who have signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with the BBC can request a password to access these pages. Please contact your BBC Product lead. Details of the product leads for the BBC's Online products can be found at the BBC's Commissioning site.

Vital information This symbol indicates vital information.

Top of page

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.