New government regulations, to be implemented before 23rd September 2020, require all content posted online to be accessible. This online guide has been produced to support content creators in understanding what they need to do to comply with these national regulations.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has used the web-standard WCAG 2.1 AA as their benchmark for accessibility.
To comply with these, the University is asking that:
1. Documents should be built using Office 365 applications
- Office 365 applications have build-in templates which help with accessibility
- Use the Check Accessibility function before sharing your document (same as you would with spellcheck). This will highlight any issues and give guidance on correcting. This function is also available in Outlook for when you're formatting emails.
- Those accessing the document will be able to change font, text size, spacing and document colours to suit their own requirements. They will also be able to take full advantage of Microsoft's accessibility tools, such as the Immersive Reader
- When building content in Office 365 or Moodle, use headings to structure the content, which will help screen-readers to navigate the information
- Avoid using unsupported platforms, such as Prezi (presentations) and Issuu (document viewer), which are not supported and do not comply with the accessibility regulations
2. Avoid using PDF format where possible
- Viewers are unable to change the formatting of PDF documents
- Owners can convert PDF documents by opening them up in Microsoft Word and saving as .docx, or via Sensus Access
3. Moodle pages must comply with Moodle Minimum Requirements
- Module coordinators to read our guidance on minimum requirements for Moodle module pages
- Moodle pages to have a consistent layout as demonstrated in these example pages; Topics format example, Grid format example
4. All visual information (images/graphs etc) need to have descriptions
- Images and graphs can be set with ALT text which will describe them for those who rely on screen-readers
- Avoid just using icons or colour to convey meaning
5. Video and audio need text/captions for those with hearing impairments
- When recording in Panopto, check the automatic captions to make sure they are accurate
- Most eStream recordings will have subtitles. If you find one without subtitles, please ask your librarian to see if an alternative is available
- Use Microsoft Teams for synchronous online meetings/tutorials/lectures as live captioning can be enabled by individual users
- When adding audio resources, consider whether a transcript is required
- Please make all video recordings through Panopto and avoid pre-recording lectures via PowerPoint as the file size will likely be too large for Moodle, captions will not be generated and viewers will not be able to search the content
6. Make sure documents and links are named helpfully
- When adding documents and activities onto your Moodle page, make sure the name describes it accurately. You can add descriptions and guidance for what you expect the student to do with it
- When creating Hyperlinks, avoid linking terms such as "click here". Instead, use a descriptive name. For example: "Click here to access lecture 3 slides", and not "Click here to access lecture 3 slides".
How to create accessible content?
The Skills Team have produced a number of accessibility guides depending on the type of content you are creating. Please follow the links below to access the specific support materials
- Creating accessible content for Moodle
- Creating accessible Word documents
- Creating accessible PowerPoint documents
- Creating accessible Excel documents
- Creating accessible videos and audio content
- Creating accessible images using ALT text
- Sending accessible emails and calendar appointments
If you know that you are working with a student or colleague with a specific requirement, here are some general tips
- Working with someone with a visual impairment
- Working with someone with a hearing impairment
- Working with someone with dyslexia
- Working with someone with physical or motor disabilities
- Working with someone on the autistic spectrum
- Working with someone with anxiety
Other useful resources:
- Sensus Access: to change the format of documents, for example; text to audio mp3, scanned PDF to Word.
- Contrast colour checker: to check the contrast of text colour and background colour
- Writing well for your audience: Gov.uk guidelines on how to write for web, writing for specialists, knowing your audience, etc.
- Creating clear print and large print documents: RNIB guidelines
- use a clear, sans serif font such as Arial;
- adequate spacing - 1.5 rather than single spacing;
- if printing materials, check the required font size and print on non glossy paper;
- use left alignment (for Word documents).
For more information, please contact Roz Hall (Learning Technologies & Skills Development manager)