About our website

Accessibility statement for University of Edinburgh (EdWeb)

Website accessibility statement inline with Public Sector Body (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018

This website (which we call EdWeb) is run by the University of Edinburgh and is on the www.ed.ac.uk domain.

Please note: sub-domains, such as site-name.ed.ac.uk, should have their own accessibility statement that will be referenced locally to that site. 

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • Zoom in up to 500% with reflow and without loss of content
  • Using your browser settings, change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • Use the website without encountering any flashing, scrolling or moving text
  • Listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of Job Access with Speech (JAWS), NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) and VoiceOver)
  • Navigate to most of the content by keyboard only
  • Navigate most of the website using speech recognition software (including Dragon NaturallySpeaking)
  • Use the website without encountering any time limits

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

Customising the website

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability. This is an external site with suggestions to make your computer more accessible.

AbilityNet - My computer my way

With a few simple steps you can customise the appearance of our website to make it easier to read and navigate.

Addtional information on how to customise our website appearance

If you are a member of University staff or a student, you can use the free SensusAccess accessible document conversion service:

Information on accessible document conversion service - SensusAccess

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • Some text size is small 
  • Some colour contrasts could be improved 
  • Spellcheck options are not offered in all browsers
  • Tabbing via keyboard is not always logical and/or consistent, and does not always meet contrast focus requirements
  • Some parts may not be fully compatible with screen readers
  • Not all media will have a transcript or be subtitled
  • Some older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software

Feedback and contact information

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, audio recording or braille, please contact the Information Services Helpline or use their online contact form. We'll try and respond as quickly as possible but this will be no more than 5 working days. 

Information Services online contact form

Get support

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in 5 working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements please let us know: 

Report an accessibility problem

We'll try and respond as quickly as possible but this will be no more than 5 working days. 

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) directly.

Contact details for the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)

The government has produced information on how to report accessibility issues:

Reporting an accessibility problem on a public sector website

Contacting us by phone using British Sign Language

British Sign Language service

contactSCOTLAND-BSL runs a service for British Sign Language users and all of Scotland’s public bodies using video relay. This enables sign language users to contact public bodies and vice versa. The service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

contactSCOTLAND-BSL service details

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The University of Edinburgh is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

The full guidelines are available at:

 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1

Non accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Noncompliance with the accessibility regulations

The following items do not comply with the WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria

  • It is not possible to use a keyboard to access all the content

    • 2.1 - Keyboard accessible
    • This content has been significantly reduced. We are running accessibility workshops during 2023 to help address this issue further. 
  • Information is conveyed as an image of text rather than as text itself so that it's not compatible with screen readers and other assistive technology. We have been working to eliminate these issues and there are now very few occurrences of this problem. 
    • 1.4.5 - Images of text
    • This content has been significantly reduced. We are running accessibility workshops during 2023 to help address this issue further. 
  • Most tooltips disappear as soon as the cursor moves. Also tooltips are not always present for all icons and images.
  • There may not be sufficient colour contrast between font and background colours especially where the text size is very small.
  • Not all prerecorded audio-only or video-only media will have alternative media that presents equivalent information e.g. audio track with description of the action in a video with no sound
  • Not all video will have subtitles or subtitles that identify all speakers as well as noting other significant sounds e.g. laughter
  • Not all our PDF’s and Word documents meet accessibility standards. From May 2020 onwards we are running a series of workshops and campaigns to highlight this issue and train users in how to audit and then improve the accessibility of these documents. 
  • It might not be possible for all form fields to be programmatically determined. This means that when using auto-fill functionality for forms not all fields will identify the meaning for input data accurately

  • Google reCAPTCHA causes an accessibility error due to a missing label. We have researched and explored ways to fix this but have unfortunately not found a solution. We have tested with a screen reader and different browsers and it is still possible to interact with and solve the reCAPTCHA. Also using the audio test to solve additional verification works with a screen reader. It worked especially well using the Chrome browser. We have tried to leave this out completely but some forms get repeatedly attacked so it's not possible to run this without the captcha in place. 

  • While we have a 'Skip to content' link on every page when new users access the website they will receive our cookie consent banner at the top of the page. This can't be skipped over as it's important to get consent for cookies to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations. We do not believe this to be an accessibility issue but it does mean that the site will fail some automated accessibility tests. Once a user has chosen their level of consent they will then be able to access the 'Skip to content' link. 

  • The 'Search the degree finder' search field does not have a label associated with the field. 

  • Some iframes do not have a title

    • 2.4.1 - Bypass blocks

    • To be fixed by November 2023. This has been updated from March 2023 due to project closure dates changing. 

  • The drop down menu to select a start date for the Degree Finder doesn't have an associated label

  • There are a number of false positives for colour contrast errors which we don't feel are an issue

    • Skip to main content is a hidden link for screen reader users and so is not expected to be visible

    • When an image gallery loads the back button control is disabled and so the control is not very visible. As the button cannot ever by used when the gallery first opens we feel that this will not have any negative impact. 

  • The 'back to the top' link in the Degree Finder is not of a sufficient colour contrast

  • The country of domicile drop down component in the web form does not have a label associated with the field 

  • There are some occurrences of badly formatted links either with text that is not descriptive enough e.g. click here or have the full web address e.g. https://www. rather than formatted link text. There are also some examples of inline links which are not distinguishable enough from surrounding text. Some links are blank due to a bug in the Content Management System that hasn't deleted the links properly in some content. This is rare though. We are currently working to eliminate these link issues. To be fixed by November 2023

We aim to improve our websites accessibility on a regular and continuous basis. See the section below ('What we're doing to improve accessibility') on how we are improving our site accessibility. 

Disproportionate burden

We are not currently claiming that any accessibility problems would be a disproportionate burden to fix. 

Content that's not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

Campus maps

It is unlikely that the map application for the University is fully accessible with all assistive technologies. However maps are currently not within the scope of the regulations.

There is a lot of additional information available in different formats including maps to download and information in the AccessAble - UoE app available for iOS and Android.

Campus maps

PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value).

WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value)

Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. We have commissioned an audit service to assess the accessibility of our PDFs and plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages by September 2020. We will also try to ensure any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards and where we find any that are not accessible we will rectify this as soon as possible. 

The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. For example, we do not plan to fix archive material such as news articles published before 2018.

Regulations for PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018

Example news archive


What we're doing to improve accessibility

  • A project is underway to move all content into a new Content Management System. All content will be moved to the new platform by November 2023 (this has been updated from March 2023). During this time we plan to fix many of our current accessibility issues.
  • A project is underway to replace the Degree Finder. All content will be moved to a new platform. During this move we plan to fix many of the current accessibility issues. 
  • A project is underway to replace our design framework with a more comprehensive design system. During this work we plan to fix many of the current accessibility issues. 
  • A regular monthly central website audit using an automated service, followed by manual prioritisation of issues with key user journeys
  • We use a design framework (EdGEL) which is stable and has been tested for accessibility issues. This cuts down, but doesn't totally remove, the risk of web editors adding design elements that are not accessible
  • A full University web estate audit to assess issues with site accessibility, security and data protection. This has led to over 200 sites being decommissioned since December 2018.
  • Publishing a University web strategy and governance approach
  • A project is currently in place to upgrade the software that runs the University website. During this process accessibility will be one of overarching principles and priorities. Some existing accessibility issues were resolved during this development work.
  • Support, guidance and training process in place for all University staff to increase awareness of accessibility and what our responsibilities are.
    • From December 2022 onwards we are running a series of workshops and campaigns to highlight the importance of Word and PDF accessibility  and train users in how to audit and then improve the accessibility of these documents. 
  • Pilot project started in 2022 to use a website design and development framework for the University where accessibility will be a priority.

Accessibility improvements

Accessibility improvements, bug fixes and development work to fix issues will be recorded to keep a record of work completed.

Accessibility improvements

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 16 September 2019. It was last reviewed on 3 March 2023.

  • Minor updates 23 January 2023
  • Minor updates 24 January 2023
  • Some additional testing and some minor updates added 14 February 2023
  • Automated testing run on 17,500 pages as part of review process 14 February 2023
  • Minor updates 27 Feb

This website was last tested in March 2023. The test was carried out by the Website and Communications team. 

We used this approach to deciding on a sample of pages to test

While the website was last tested in March 2022 there is also a monthly auditing process. Tests are carried out using a set of automated auditing tools. We also run some of our own reports using WebAIM WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. The testing is followed by manual prioritisation of any issues with key user journeys.

Design framework

The central University of Edinburgh website uses a design framework we call EdGEL. This framework was built with accessibility in mind from the outset. All the page and design elements for the website are run from the framework. However a major accessibility review was carried out in May 2017. A number of accessibility issues were found and corrected at that point. There have been no major changes to the design framework since that point.