Web Accessibility

Introduction  

"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web.

The University provides a growing number of web-based services including the provision of news, information and learning resources to an increasingly diverse group of users. It has a legal duty to make its sites accessible.

The Digital Marketing Team is committed to making the University's websites accessible in accordance with the Equality Act (2010) and the Special Education Needs and Disability Act (2001). In order to meet the requirements set out by the two Acts, the University is developing its sites in accordance with W3C's Accessibility Initiative Guidelines, up to Priority 1 or Single-A (A) standard which complies with SENDA, as well as Priority 2 or Double-A (AA) and Priority 3 or Triple-A (AAA) where possible.

Our web accessibility guide will help you to:

  • change your text size and magnify the screen
  • create a plain layout version of our website
  • tailor the font and background colours.

Legislation

  • The University's Disability statement states that "Nottingham Trent University is committed to providing an effective service to all students, whether they have a disability or not".
  • The Equality Act 2010 came into force in October 2010, replacing the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in England, Scotland and Wales.
    • It makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities:
      Section 29(1): "A person ... concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public (for payment or not) must not discriminate against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service."
    • Service providers must make "reasonable adjustments" to ensure disabled persons can access their services:
      Section 20(6): "the steps which it is reasonable for [an information service provider] to have to take include steps for ensuring that in the circumstances concerned the information is provided in an accessible format."
  • The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)'s Code of Practice came into operation in Autumn 2000 and was integrated into the QAA audit scheme in late 2001 and seeks to ensure that 'students with disabilities have access to a learning experience comparable to that of their peers'. (see appendix for further details)
  • The Special Education Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) came into effect on 1 September 2002. Discrimination against disabled students in the provision of education, training and other related services is unlawful. Institutions will be expected to anticipate disabled students' needs and make 'reasonable adjustments' to core activities of teaching and learning. Students who feel they have been discriminated against could seek redress through the courts.
  • Section 508 1998 (US standard)

Policy Statement  

It is the policy of the University to make reasonable adjustments in order to make all web-based information and services on the University web site accessible and equally effective to all users, regardless of their disability.

It is the aim of the University that all web pages should meet conformance Priority 1 standards (A).

While the University will make every effort to ensure all areas of the web site constructed in the new templates are accessible we can only guarantee the core structural elements of the site are accessible. These areas are illustrated below:

Landing pages

An NTU website Landing page

All aspects of a landing page will conform to Priority 1 standard (A).

Core content pages

An NTU website Content page

In a core content page the area highlighted in yellow is not guaranteed to conform to Priority 1 standard (A).

Each department, school, centre and service that publishes information on the web is responsible for being conversant with accessibility issues, auditing its web material and taking reasonable steps to ensure its sites comply with these requirements.

Any third party contracted to design web pages for the University, whether hosted within or without ntu.ac.uk will be required to comply with these guidelines. Sites will be checked periodically.

The Digital Marketing Team reserves the right to remove any content from the site that is deemed to have failed to meet out accessibility guidelines and policy.

All web pages should be measured against the guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

The University requires that:

  • All web page structure should be designed to follow the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. to at least conformance Priority 1 standard (A), but to conformance Priority 2 (AA) and 3 (AAA) standard where possible.
  • All web pages will use HTML 5, which validates using the W3C Markup Validation Service.
  • All web pages will use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) stylesheets, which can be read by CSS compliant and non-compliant browsers, for presentation and these similarly validate using the W3C CSS Validation Service. We are committed to using web standards where possible, and the avoidance of browser specific hacks (what ever technology you use to view the NTU website, you should be given exactly the same information). Our stylesheets will deliberately use relative sizes where possible to allow the reader maximum control over a website's presentation.
  • All web pages will be designed to be readable on the following browsers at a wide variety of screen resolutions on various devices:
    • Chrome
    • Safari
    • Edge
    • Firefox
  • All web pages constructed will also been designed to be compatible with text only browsers by default and all key content should be accessible regardless of the type of browser or operating system. The use of colours on a site has to be carefully chosen to ensure their accessibility, and can be replaced by readers if necessary.
  • A consistent navigation menu will be provided at the beginning / top of every webpage throughout the website constructed in the templates. This allows easy access to all the major sections of the website through text links. In addition to this, each webpage will contain a classification path / 'breadcrumb trail' showing the location of the current webpage within the website architecture. A navigation menu (left-hand side column) is also provided throughout the website with standard content / section-specific navigation links and skip / shortcut style navigation links. External links and links to non-standard resources will be clearly marked as such with an icon and link title. The NTU website will not principally use images as a means of providing navigation links or page / site location information, and where these are used the navigation / location information will be replicated in plain text. Other navigational aids will include a search facility and a site map / directory listing tree available from every page.
  • For all colour combinations in new web pages constructed in the new templates we aim to provide brightness contrast >= 125 and colour contrast >= 400 (Hewlett Packard colour contrast standard). You can check the colour contrast between two colours, by using the Vision Australia colour contrast analyser or the Juicy Studio analyser. Where this is not possible we shall make every effort to ensure web pages have suitable brightness contrast and colour contrast.
  • PDF icon Portable Document Format (PDF): PDFs will be principally used to provide documents formatted for printing. Where accessibility issues arise with respect to these files an alternative format will be provided.
  • Excel icon Microsoft Excel documents: The NTU website will generally avoid providing information using Microsoft Excel documents, but may use them where necessary to provide formatted versions of spreadsheets and tabular information. Where accessibility issues arise with respect to these files an alternative format will be provided.
  • PowerPoint icon Microsoft PowerPoint files and slideshows: The NTU website will generally avoid providing information using Microsoft PowerPoint documents, but may use them where necessary to provide formatted versions of presentations (e.g. recent lectures and seminars). Where accessibility issues arise with respect to these files an alternative format will be provided.
  • Word icon Microsoft Word documents: The NTU website will generally avoid providing information using Microsoft Word documents, but may use them where necessary to provide formatted versions of forms (e.g. application forms) that can be completed electronically. Where accessibility issues arise with respect to these files, an alternative format will be provided.
  • RTF icon Rich Text Format documents (RTF): The NTU website will generally avoid providing information using RTF documents, but may use them where necessary. Where accessibility issues arise with respect to these files an alternative format will be provided. Unlike the other forms of documents, RTFs can be read in the browser and do not necessarily require downloading a program.

Review  

The policy will be regularly reviewed by the Digital Marketing Team to take into account continually evolving technologies.

Appendix  

Guidelines
The University’s Web Accessibility guidelines have been developed based on W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 . Following these guidelines when creating new web content or when updating existing content will ensure that all University web pages are accessible.

What is W3C WAI?
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organisation which develops standards for the Internet. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is a working party set up by W3C to set standards for making web pages accessible to as many people as possible. The first major output from this group was a set of guidelines which are seen as a standard all over the world.

There are three WCAG priority levels. Compliance with the recommendations of each level ensures greater accessibility of web pages.

  • A - The site incorporates all the "must-have" checkpoints of the WAI guidelines. This gives basic access to most groups of disabled users. This is considered to be the minimum level of compliance.
  • AA - the site incorporates all the "should-have" checkpoints. This brings down all of the significant barriers to users. This is considered to be the preferred level of compliance.
  • AAA - the site incorporates all the "may-have" checkpoints. Needs significant levels of planning and investment. This is considered to be the optimum level of compliance, although it may not be of practical merit for commercial organisations.

Are there any other important standards?
The Royal National Institute of the Blind offers its own accreditation - the See It Right mark. It draws on some of the same WAI guidelines described above. RNIB describe it as sitting 'between the WAI "A" and "AA" standards'. Winning the mark also gets you inclusion on a list of "approved" companies on the See It Right website - a resource for blind and partially sighted Internet users.