Meeting our accessibility standards
Imperial College London is committed to integrating equality, diversity, and inclusion into our experiences. Since 2014 we have aimed for our main College website to meet a minimum of level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
If you, your team, or your suppliers manage a College website or mobile app you have legal duty and organisational responsibility to ensure these meet certain standards. This page has some information and resources that you can use to get started in meeting our accessibility standards and improving the digital experience for all our users.
Public sector accessibility regulations
The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 means that we also have a legal duty to meet certain accessibility standards. The best way of doing this is to check how far your website or app currently meets the WCAG 2.1 standard. Then, make a plan to fix the problems you’ve found.
What you need to do:
- Carry out an evaluation of how accessible your website or mobile apps is.
- Fix any accessibility problems to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.12.1 level AA standard.
- Publish an accessibility statement saying what’s accessible, what’s not, and how you plan to improve this.
When you need to do this:
- For new websites, or websites created after September 2018 you need to act now. All websites published after 22 September 2018 need to comply with the regulations by September 2019
- For websites created before September 2018 you have until September 2020 to comply with the regulations.
- For all mobile applications you have until June 2021 to comply with the regulations.
The Government Digital Service have published further information on Understanding new accessibility requirements for public sector bodies and a sample accessibility statement you can use.
The College’s ICT Division provides an accessibility review service which commissions a specialist accessibility testing agency to carry out full in person assessments of websites and apps. This is an essential service to use for in-depth assessments of websites and apps, as well as new suppliers and products. There is a charge for this service.
Expert accessibility testing is available on request through the Ask website.
There are many free tools that can help you assess how accessible your website is. These are great for quickly and cheaply assessing your sites
Automated testing cannot replace the in-depth testing carried out by an expert. We recommend using these tools for initial assessments and using the expert testing provided by ICT when you are sure your website meets the required standards, when you are launching new sites, or for assessing new suppliers and products.
WAVE Browser Extensions
The WAVE Chrome and Firefox extensions allows you to evaluate web content for accessibility issues directly within Chrome and Firefox browsers.
For a quick check of your site Lighthouse is a tool for identifying problems with your site and is built into the Chrome browser.
This is a more detailed checker which runs as an extension for Chrome or standalone Windows app.
The A11Y Project
This is a nice overview of the kinds of accessibility tests available, and why they are important.