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 accessibility statement applies to www.ed.ac.uk

This website (which we call EdWeb) is run by the University of Edinburgh.

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:

Information Services online contact form

Get support

  • Email: website.support@ed.ac.uk
  • Telephone: Information Services Helpline - +44 (0)131 651 5151
  • Address: Website and Communication team, Argyle House, 3 Lady Lawson St, Edinburgh, EH3 9DR
  • British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us via Contact Scotland BSL, the online BSL interpreting service.  

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: 

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in 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

Contact Scotland 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. 

Contact Scotland 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 2.2 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

The full guidelines are available at:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 AA standard

Non accessible content

We are working towards solving these problems and expect several improvements by November 2024. The site is fully within our control.

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 2.2 AA success criteria

  • 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. 

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

  • 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
  • There may not be sufficient colour contrast between font and background colours especially where the text size is very small.
  • The 'back to the top' link in the Degree Finder is not of a sufficient colour contrast
  • 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. 
    • 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.
  • 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 2024 to help address this issue further.
  • Some iframes do not have a title

    • 2.4.1 - Bypass blocks

    • To be fixed by November 2024. This has been updated from November 2023 due to project closure dates changing. 

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

    • 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value

    • To be fixed by November 2024. This has been updated from November 2023 due to project closure dates changing. 

  • 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 2024. This has been updated from November 2023 due to project closure dates changing. 

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

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

  • Not all non-text content presented to users has alternative text

  • Colour is used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element

Campus maps has it's own accessibility statement with full details

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 2.2 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

We will continue to address and make adequate improvements to the accessibility issues highlighted. Unless specified otherwise, a complete solution or significant improvement will be in place by November 2024.

While we are in the process of resolving these accessibility issues we will ensure reasonable adjustments are in place to make sure no user is disadvantaged. As changes are made, we will continue to review accessibility and retest the accessibility of this website.

  • Training is available to all staff on: 
    • creating accessible content,
    • manual accessibility testing of websites and applications
    • and accessibility statement writing
  • 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 2024 (this has been updated from November 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 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
  • 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 procurement 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.

See the change log below. 

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.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 16 September 2019. It was last reviewed on 19 February 2024.

This website was last tested in February 2024. The test was carried out by the Website and Communications team at the University of Edinburgh using both automated and manual methods.

The site was tested on a PC, primarily using Microsoft Edge alongside Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

 Recent world-wide usage levels survey for different screen readers and browsers shows that Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge are increasing in popularity and Google Chrome is now the favoured browser for screen readers:

WebAIM: Screen Reader User Survey

The aforementioned three browsers have been used in certain questions for reasons of breadth and variety.

 We ran automated testing using WAVE WebAIM and then manual testing that included:

  • Spell check functionality;
  • Scaling using different resolutions and reflow;
  • Options to customise the interface (magnification, font, background colour, etc);
  • Keyboard navigation and keyboard traps;
  • Data validation;
  • Warning of links opening in new tab or window;
  • Information conveyed in the colour or sound only;
  • Flashing, moving or scrolling text;
  • Use with screen reading software (for example JAWS);
  • Assistive software (TextHelp Read and Write, Windows Magnifier, ZoomText, Dragon Naturally Speaking, TalkBack and VoiceOver);
  • Tooltips and text alternatives for any non-text content;
  • Time limits;
  • Compatibility with mobile accessibility functionality (Android and iOS)
  • Any drag and drop functionality and alternatives
  • Consistent help function
  • No need to re enter data that has already been submitted
  • Any cognitive tests

Our main approach to accessibility testing of the central University website is as follows:

We use an automated testing tool to batch process a sample of pages. This is currently approximately 15000 pages. The sample size is large enough to include every page type and element. This runs frequently and is checked regularly.

We use a second automated testing tool to batch process the pages of the University Website Publishing team and it's demonstration site as this includes all the types of pages and page elements available in the content management system. This is run twice a year.

Once a year we run a significant manual test on a sample of pages including the University Website Publishing team website and a number of key pages that have a large number of website visitors.

Examples of sample pages for website testing

University Website Publishing team

Demonstration site for the University website

University homepage

Events section

Visit the University

Search results for 'University Website Publishing'

We also test large parts of the Information Services web pages:

Information Services

Change log



  • Minor updates to text, layout and structure of statement. 
  • Automated testing evaluation started 17 Jan 2024
  • Checked accessibility feedback form working correctly and correct procedures followed 7 Feb 2024


  • Training workshops running:
    • Accessibility statement writing
    • Manual testing for accessibility issues
    • Update on WCAG 2.2
    • How to interpret automated accessibility testing reports



  • Work to upgrade to Bootstrap 5 and our EdGEL design framework is ongoing
    • Brings in some general accessibility improvements
  • Removed instances of headings or links having no text
  • Improved some visual information to identify user interface components, such as keyboard focus,
    • This does still need improved and will be addressed as part of our Design System project



  • News video playlist didn't have a frame title. This has now been added. 
  • 2 images on the University home page had null alt tags but should have alternative text as they are links. This alternative text has now been added.
  • Undergraduate contact form didn't have a frame title. This has now been added
  • There is a bug in the Bootstrap framework that introduced an incorrect ARIA attribute in mobile view for part of the navigation which could cause some issues for assistive technology users. This has now been fixed.  
  • While we fixed some images that had null alt text some further bugs were found with images that are also links. While they have null alt text attributes they should be either linked to the adjacent link text or should have alternative text. This has now been fixed. 



  • Workshops started to help Editors audit and then improve the accessibility of Word and PDF documents. 


The following fixes have been implemented: 

  • Where the 'Call to Action' button design was used and the button text was very long the content was presented off the page with a loss of information when magnified to the maximum browser level. The text now reflows correctly. 
  • The font colour of the link text and the background colour for homepage panels using the 'Bright Pink' colour theme was not of a sufficient contrast. Colours were adjusted to improve colour contrast. 
  • Align attribute removed from tables. 
  • There are instances of headings which have no content. These will no longer be rendered in page content.
  • Some table headings had no content. This is now highlighted as an error to Editors and the page cannot be published until headings have been added. 
  • There was a bug in the system that left some empty links in page content. The links had no value. These will no longer be rendered in page content.
  • The colour of the ellipsis text and the background colour for pagination controls were not of a sufficient contrast. This has now been adjusted. 
  • Added titles for iFrames that display video. Screen reader users use these to navigate and find relevant content. 


  • The font colour of the heading in the global footer was not a sufficient contrast with the background colour. It is large text but contrast should still be increased.  Fix deployed to live website. 
  • The font colour of the link text and the background colour for the tabs on the search page was not of a sufficient contrast. 
  • The 'Type ahead' feature in the text field of the search page was not of a sufficient contrast. The JavaScript used also created a field without a label. This has now been removed. 
  • Some custom content built outside the Content Management System did not have (or had the relevant attributes stripped out) labels correctly associated with the form field.
    • Custom HTML asset form labels fixed on homepage


  • Empty table headings issue fixed manually on 30 pages. Development work to fix this issue scheduled.
  • Work started to identify other accessibility issues and listed within our accessibility statement