No user should be excluded on the basis of disability. To do so would breach the Equality Act 2010. Your service must also comply with any other legal requirements, including providing services in accordance with your Welsh language scheme, if you have one.

Accessibility is not an annual accreditation or statement of intention, a box to tick before moving on to something else, an afterthought or something to commit to doing at some time in the future. Accessibility is everyone’s responsibility and needs to be a basic part of your service. You need to follow accessibility guidelines and test what you do with older and disabled people.

Our policy

Usability first

You must develop with a usability first or user experience (UX) design approach. Many accessibility techniques can be avoided by considering usability first.

  • Does the site make sense?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • Is it presented in a logical manner?
  • Are the interactions standard and intuitive?
  • Is the content useful and clearly written?
  • Does the design enhance or detract from the core content and functionality?

The answers to these questions affect both usability and accessibility for everyone, regardless of disability. When designed or restructured for optimal usability for everyone, accessibility then becomes much easier, and is often found to have been addressed entirely in the usability fixes.

Accessibility standard

  • You must aim to meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
  • You should take a 'common sense’ approach to accessibility, using the WAI guidelines to inform your decisions rather than treating them as a box-ticking exercise
  • You must flag and share for discussion any exceptions to this during development

Enhancing accessibility

  • If you develop interactive widgets that use non-native HTML you should use WAI-ARIA to fill the accessibility gaps for screen reader users. Examples include dynamic content and user interface components developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript and related technologies, such as collapsibles, dropdowns, popovers or responsive disclosure.

Find out about rules to follow when using WAI-ARIA.

Accessibility testing

  • Your service should be tested by disabled people, older people, and people who use assistive technologies
  • You should aim to do this at least twice as your service is developed

Find out about how to conduct accessibility testing.

Accessible formats

  • You must use HTML, not PDF, unless no other option is possible. This is because HTML is quicker, easier and more widely usable/accessible than PDF.
  • If you use PDF, you must follow this guidance to create accessible PDFs

Find out about choosing appropriate formats.

Accessible content

When writing content you should consider what information would be useful to people with access needs.

Our pattern library

We’re working to make sure the pattern library follows the policy above. Everything in the library aims to meet WCAG 2.0 AA and is HTML-based.

Assistive technologies

As an outcome of this policy Jisc web projects should be usable by recent versions of these screen readers:

They should also be usable by basic operating system screen magnifiers like:

They should also be usable by: