Our website must work for everyone, regardless of any impairment or disability. Read our guidelines on making and keeping our website accessible for all our users. Good design is inclusive design.
Accessibility is about making sure anyone can use our website and that people with diverse abilities can get our information without any barriers. Read an introduction to web accessibility.
To better understand why accessibility is important, and how some users may find it difficult to use our website, read about the diverse abilities of different web users.
Why accessibility is important
We, as a university, are legally bound and committed to meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standard across the website.
If you edit web pages, you should understand our legal requirements. Read the UK government’s web accessibility legal requirements for public sector bodies.
We have a detailed web accessibility statement for users that outlines our responsibilities.
Better web standards
Meeting good accessibility pratices not only makes our website more inclusive but also improves web standards in general, such as improving SEO, usability and cross-platform compatibility.
Following our best practice for web editors and this guidance will help you meet the standards.
When editing pages with our content systems or tools, you must use our standard page components. Do not change the default colours or bring in new components.
If you need advice, email email@example.com.
How to improve accessibility
There are a number of web components and considerations that will improve accessibility.
When using colour and images with text, it is now a legal requirement to make sure colour combinations are at the very least WCAG 2.1 AA compliant and preferably AAA compliant. To achieve this, all work must be checked against the WebAIM colour contrast checker.
Tip: Do not rely on colour alone to convey meaning as some users may see colours differently.
Images should include alt tags if they play a part in the content of the page. Alt tags can be read out loud by screen reader software for users with impaired vision.
An alt tag should be short (no longer than 125 characters) and help users understand the image, its purpose and how it relates to the content.
Here is an example of an image with an alt tag:
<img src="/images/nav_blocks/spotlights/study/left/international-students.jpg" alt="Students enjoying a lecture" />
Page content structure
Some users may be using assistive technology to read a web page so it’s important to lay the page out in a logical structure, breaking content up in meaningful chunks with informative headers, paragraphs and bulleted lists.
See our best practice for web editors to find out about intuitive navigation.
Links are important for accessibility. The link anchor text should be descriptive, telling the user what to expect.
See our best practice for web editors for examples of this.
Tables should only be used as data tables and not to lay out a page as screen readers may struggle to interpret them.
Video and audio
Read about making video and audio accessible.