Making IT accessible for all!

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3 December 2021 - UCISA

Recent experiences have demonstrated that University staff and students expect to use online resources with a variety of devices, making full use of accessibility features such as reflow, captions, and text-to-speech.

Such features benefit everyone, but especially the increasing proportion of university students who self-report a disability.

University Information Technology departments know they must commit to accessibility; indeed, they have a legal obligation to do so, but how can they take this ambition and embed accessibility within their policies and processes?

In this presentation, we will share:

  • approaches to building a digital accessibility policy for university IT departments.
  • techniques for embedding accessibility within IT development processes by ‘shifting left’.
  • examples from within the Higher Education and wider IT sectors.


The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a set of normative standards for assessing the accessibility of web-based content.
The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into force on 23 September. It aims to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps are accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities.
The World Wide Web Consortium is an international community that develops open standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.
Accessibility. The use of a11y is a numeronym for the word accessibility. There are eleven letters between the "a" and "y".
The Central Data and Digital Office (CDDO) monitor public sector bodies’ compliance on behalf of the Minister for the Cabinet Office. The CDDO sits alongside the Government Digital Service (GDS) in the Cabinet Office.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission may be asked by CDDO to investigate Universities who do not meet the standard set by The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template is a document that explains how information and communication technology (ICT) products such as software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation meet accessibility standards, specifically related to the US Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
An Accessibility Conformance Report is a completed VPAT® + all the essential information about the report itself.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Links referred to during the presentation

Further Resources

Pathways to implementing accessibility

Getting buy-in




Beginner guides to accessibility testing and development

More detailed Accessibility Testing guides / plans

Browser Extensions to assist testing

Bookmarklets to assist testing

Commandline tools

Continuous integration

Frontend development

Back to top.

Semantic HTML

For Visual Studio Code


Javascript frameworks


Back to top.

Integration with testing frameworks