What is accessibility and why is it important?
Accessibility is making information or environments usable for as many people as possible. This is to make sure individuals are not disadvantaged by not being aware of something or unable to access something that may otherwise have a positive impact for them.
Physical spaces and accessibility
How people access campus, laboratories, individual buildings, and the rooms/spaces within these buildings, should be carefully considered. For example, if you are inviting people on to campus to participate in a research study or a PPI (patient and public involvement) meeting, think about how you can create inclusive spaces where everyone feels welcome.
Here are some things you should consider to make sure physical spaces are accessible:
- Is there any accessible parking available near to the location
- Is a ramp available if stairs are required to enter the building
- Is there a lift in a building with multiple floors
- Do the doors have a ‘push button’ to open, or are automatic
- Where are the accessible toilets located
- In the case of a fire evacuation, there should be evacuation chairs and evacuation meeting points on each floor to support individuals to safely evacuate
To help with University accessibility read the Claverton Down campus accessibility guide.
When inviting people, you can ask if they have any access needs. For example, someone might require larger print on any documentation or require closed captioning to be enabled. The best thing to do is ask in advance so arrangements can be made accordingly.
You may also need to consider access needs around catering, if applicable. In advance of sessions, ask individuals if there are any dietary requirements to consider.
Ensure that any signs directing visitors to specific rooms are clear and that the lighting is sufficient.
Accessible content covers the language and message, the structure, and the format of all written content such as documents or websites. Accessible content is content which has been created in a way that ensures all users can access the material in the same way or same amount of time. For example, if a person is deaf and you share a video which does not contain any text alternatives, this would mean that they cannot access the information in the same way. If you were able to provide closed captions on the video or a written transcript, this would mean that a person who is deaf can access the content.
The University’s Disability Service have created a useful factsheet on how to make your work accessible. Access the factsheet.
Microsoft Accessibility Checker
You can run the Microsoft Accessibility Checker to make sure your Microsoft 365 content is accessible for others to read and edit. This is available within Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This will flag any accessibility issues within your documents and suggest how you can fix these. You can also use Microsoft's accessibility guides:
- Make your Word documents accessible
- Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible
- Make you Excel documents accessible
All images with meaning should have alternative text (alt-text) description explaining what’s in it. This is so that people accessing a document or website or tweet using a screen reader will be informed that there is an image, and will be told what is in the image from the alt-text (for example, ‘a group of students stood together talking.’)
Complex images, such as an infographic, should have a text summary to complement the image.
If an image is just for decorative purposes, i.e., it does not add further content, it’s OK to leave the alt text blank.
Always embed links into the text and don’t put the raw URL link in the text (like https://www.bath.ac.uk/). Instead, you should embed the hyperlink within the text with a descriptive name. For example, instead of writing ‘Click here to find out more about the project’ you should write ‘To find out more about the project, see our About Us page’ where the link is hyperlinked when referring to the page where the information can be found.
This is important for someone using a screen reader. If you put the raw URL link in the text, the screen reader would read out the URL instead. By embedding URL links within the text this allows someone with a screen reader to access the link whilst also knowing what it is for.
Use of colour
Do not rely on colour as a navigational tool or as the sole way to differentiate items. If you are using colour, ensure that you use combinations with good contrast. Always use a readable font (such as Arial, Helvetica, Verdana) with a sufficient colour contrast from the background.
To create accessible content, clear and short sentences should be used. Any acronyms (such as EDI) should be expanded the first time they are used (EDI = Equality, Diversity and Inclusion).
The University’s Audio Visual Team have created a useful guide on making accessible video and audio content. To access the guide, see the Making accessible video and audio content guide.
The University make sure all content uploaded to the website is accessible. See the Website accessibility statement.
If you want to create webpages, you must complete Typecase Training. To do this, Request Typecase training.