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Digital accessibility and why it's important

Understand what digital accessibility is and why we must all create accessible emails, digital documents, and web content.

Defining digital accessibility

What digital accessibility is and who we need to think about when creating digital content for the University.

Digital accessibility is a measure of how easy it is for users to access, understand, and navigate around digital documents, emails, and web content.

You should aim to make all your digital communications as accessible as possible for people regardless of their physical, mental, or environmental circumstances.

Digital accessibility is essential for lots of people, including people who:

  • have specific learning difficulties like:
    • dyslexia
    • dyspraxia
    • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • are blind or visually impaired
  • are deaf or hearing impaired
  • have physical impairments or mobility issues
  • are autistic
  • have long-standing illnesses or medical conditions
  • have mental health conditions like anxiety

Digital accessibility also helps people with different needs, for example:

  • older people with changing abilities
  • people with slow or expensive internet access
  • people with limitations created by their surroundings (bright sunlight where they can’t watch videos or noisy areas where they can’t hear audio)
  • people with temporary disabilities (lost glasses or a broken arm)

Website accessibility is a legal requirement

Improving and maintaining accessibility on our website isn't just the right thing to do, it's a legal obligation we're all responsible for.

If you add content to the University website, it's your responsibility to make sure it's accessible to all users.

Government legislation

The government's Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Apps) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations make it a legal requirement for the University to make our websites accessible to Level AA of the internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

The Government Digital Service (GDS) assesses the accessibility of public bodies’ websites, like ours, as defined by the WCAG guidelines.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 states that employers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure disabled people are not disadvantaged when at work. This includes digital access to services like websites, apps, and PDF documents.

UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

The EHRC is an independent statutory body responsible for encouraging equality and diversity and eliminating unlawful discrimination.

The EHRC states that businesses:

  • must make reasonable adjustments so disabled people can use their services the same way non-disabled people can
  • can’t wait until a disabled person wants to access their services before making them accessible

Accessibility on the University website

How meets the government's accessibility regulations and how our website publishing platform, Typecase, helps its users create accessible content.

Our accessibility statement

The government’s accessibility regulations require us to publish a Website Accessibility Statement explaining:

  • how we meet the regulations
  • where we have work still to do
  • the steps we’re taking to achieve compliance

We review and update the Accessibility Statement every three months.

Typecase publishing platform

Typecase, the University’s website publishing platform, has been designed to make it easy to create accessible web pages for our site.

For example, Typecase uses:

  • content type templates to help users structure different kinds of information and make it easier for assistive technology to navigate our pages
  • structured content to tell search engines where they can find certain information so they can direct people to the content they need
  • required fields, like page titles and alternative (alt) text, to make sure Typecase users provide the information assistive technologies need to describe certain types of content
  • design elements, like an accessible typeface and colour palette, so people with disabilities like dyslexia and vision impairment can read our content

Accessibility on other digital platforms and channels

It’s important to make sure all digital communication and information is as accessible as possible.

You must make sure any digital content you create is accessible to anyone. This includes:

  • social media and blog posts
  • emails and newsletters
  • Word documents
  • PowerPoint or other presentations
  • spreadsheets
  • PDFs
  • videos
  • podcasts

Assistive technology at Bath

Software and equipment you can use to help you access digital content like emails, documents, and web pages.

Our Assistive Technology team offers resources to improve users’ access to technology.

Assistive software

The accessibility software on offer through the Assistive Technology team includes:

  • NVDA screen readers
  • Essay Writer productivity tools
  • Open Dyslexic fonts
  • Sonocent Audio Notetakers
  • Glean focus study tools

Visit AbilityNet to find out more about assistive software.

Assistive hardware

The accessibility hardware available through the Assistive Technology team includes:

  • ABiSee and Zoom-Ex reading machines
  • Humanware Brilliant refreshable braille displays
  • Ziggi document cameras
  • Geemarc Loop Hear 101 personal induction loops
  • Dolphin keyboards

Contact us

If you have any questions about digital accessibility at the University, please get in touch.