Imperial standards for digital accessibility

Accessibility is not just about disability; it is about universality and inclusivity.

Everyone who uses the web should get the same information be that from a webpage, a document, online course or a video - that is why we aim to meet WCAG 2.1AA compliance when complying with the Accessibility Regulations 2018.

We are not doing this to just meet legal requirements, but because we should. These standards will ensure that you are providing the best experience for all your students, staff and visitors and will help you with creating accessible digital content for all.

The College’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy commits us to providing an inclusive environment for work and study; to do that effectively we need to identify and remove barriers to information. 

Follow these standards to ensure your websites and content are accessible:


You must provide an accessible alternative way of presenting the information in a video.

Videos published before 23 September 2020 are exempt from the accessibility regulations. However, it is advisable that any videos created before this date that are viewed heavily, promoted in marketing campaigns or popular on social media sites should have a text alternative provided, even if this means post-editing.

Video captions

Captions are a great alternative way of presenting the information in a video.  

Most captions are automatically generated by the video player (e.g. YouTube) or supporting software during or after the video has broadcast so you should check them after the video has been recorded and correct any mistakes with the subject matter expert.

Auto captions are not 100% accurate so there is no guarantee that the same information is being relayed back to your audience. It is very important as content creators to check and edit the captions or provide transcripts to ensure accuracy, especially for course materials.

Live videos

It is advisable, when the systems allow, that live video or audio have text alternatives provided.

(Although live videos are exempt from the Accessibility Regulations.)

Teaching and learning videos

Read this page on the Imperial digital accessibility standards for online teaching and learning videos, like online lectures.


Any new published documents and documents that users need to download or fill in to access services that Imperial provides should be fully accessible.

It is best practice and an Imperial standard that any old documents on websites or intranets that are still heavily used should be made accessible even if they are exempt from the Accessibility Regulations.

Website documents which were published before 23 September 2018 are exempt unless such documents are needed for active administrative processes relating to the tasks performed by Imperial (such as a form for students to fill out for Imperial to provide a service).

Find out about making accessible documents.

Intranets and extranets

If you manage intranet content that was published before 23 September 2019 it does not need to comply with the Accessibility Regulations unless any major revisions are made to the intranet page after that date.

If the content is still heavily used by your audiences, audiences or if you do make any substantial revisions to the intranet content you manage, Imperial expects content owners to ensure accessibility compliance.

Password protected pages on the College’s Content Management System - t4 are expected to comply with the Accessibility Regulations.

Read the glossary page for a definition of intranet and extranet.

Working with external partners / affiliations

All Digital platforms, including (websites and apps) that are hosted or supported by the College must comply.

Digital platforms, including (websites and apps) that are not hosted or supported by the College, but that meet all the affiliation criteria must also comply:

  • The website is managed by College staff and
  • The website uses the College branding i.e. logos / the College name and
  • The website has contact details for staff in an official capacity i.e. Imperial email address

If you work with a team that has a digital platform where the Imperial logo or name is use, please contact the site owner to highlight our Imperial standards for digital accessibility.

Affiliated sites also include any personal web pages that are not hosted on the College PWP platform. If you own a personal webpage outside of College PWP please ensure you do an accessibility review and add an accessibility statement to your site. You must also update the content in line with Imperial’s accessibility guidance.

The legislation applies to all public-sector body websites regardless of where they’re hosted, therefore it is an Imperial standard for any website that is co-managed by Imperial and external partners, for the Imperial content owner to conduct an accessibility review of the website and make best efforts to ensure content is inclusive and accessible for the widest possible audience.

As a general rule, Imperial will be legally responsible for websites meeting accessibility requirements, even if the management is outsourced to a third party supplier or external partner. If you are responsible for any website that is outsourced to a supplier, you’ll need to work together to make sure your website meets the Accessibility Regulations (to the extent that these changes would not be a disproportionate burden).

The only exception to this would be if the third-party content is neither funded by nor developed or under the control of anyone from Imperial.

Accessible content

If you publish content on any of the College's websites or other online platforms then you have an important role in ensuring you provide accessible content, meaning it can be used and interpreted by everyone that accesses it. It is very easy to make some small changes that will really help your audiences, and it will mean they come back to your website again and again.
Here are some great ‘how to guides’ on meeting the standards expected for making your digital content accessible:

Further help