Digital accessibility FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about digital accessibility to help support you in meeting the Imperial digital accessibility standards:
Do I need an accessibility statement?
If your College website is in the T4 content management system (CMS) or uses the www.imperial.ac.uk/ domain then the College digital or ICT team will add the statement on your behalf. All other College affiliated sites require the site owner to add the statement. (Read the digital accessibility standards for affiliated sites.)
How do I write an accessibility statement?
If I publish a statement acknowledging the non-compliance of my site, is that sufficient?
No! You can use your statement to highlight content areas that are inaccessible, but you must provide alternative ways users can engage with that content.
College supported platforms and websites
How accessible are College-supported learning technology platforms?
All ICT-supported tools are assessed to ensure they meet the required accessibility standards and will include accessibility statements as appropriate.
Most platforms have in-built accessibility features that enable users to engage with the content, but content creators and editors are still responsible for ensuring accessibility compliance for their content.
You can find Ed-tech tools and their accessibility information linked on the Teaching and learning pages.
Is SharePoint accessible?
SharePoint sites have in-built accessibility features to make it easier for people with disabilities to use them. The College ICT will review SharePoint as part of the Accessibility framework project.
Content on SharePoint classifies as intranet content so only needs to comply with accessibility regulations if the content is published after 23 September 2019. Read the Exemptions guidance.
However, if you have content that is heavily used by staff or students it is an Imperial standard to ensure the content is accessible.
Is the main College website accessible?
The College has an accessibility statement for the College website/s which explains it's compliance to the new regulations.
How do I make my documents accessible?
Find out about making accessible Office documents including Word, PDF and PowerPoint.
How do I create accessible content with mathematical symbols?
The College is working on ways to improve mathematical symbols in the College main CMS t4 using a MathJax plugin. We are also working towards improving captioning for videos that can include maths symbols, but this is not ready yet.
Maths symbol issues should be to accessibility statements as a known issue.
How do I create captions in Panopto?
Panopto does provide auto captions for video recordings once uploaded to Panopto, they are made viewable subject to approval of the recording owner. Find out how to use Panopto.
The automated captioning in Panopto needs to be checked and edited post recording by a human. We can’t 100% guarantee the accuracy of auto captioning and therefore students should ensure they cross reference captions alongside course/lecture notes and speak to lecturer for any concerns/questions. A transcript can be supplied by the course tutor upon request.
Panopto does not provide captioning for live/broadcast videos.
Affiliations / partner websites
What about sites that aren’t hosted or paid for by Imperial?
If you, your team, or your suppliers manage a College website or mobile app, you have a legal responsibility to comply.
If the site is hosted elsewhere and is managed by a partner organisation, responsibility for accessibility lies with the third party. If the third party is a UK or EU university, the site will fall under UK or EU accessibility regulations.
If the website displays a clear Imperial affiliation and if responsibility for the content and updating the site lies with an Imperial staff member operating in an official/professional capacity, the site will need to comply with accessibility regulations.
Speak with your partners about reviewing the accessibility levels of the partner site.
Read the Imperial digital accessibility standards to learn more about affiliations.
Are there any exemptions to the regulations?
Yes, certain sites and types of content don’t need to comply with the regulations. See our Exemptions page for more information.
How much of my content do I need to go back and update?
Anything on archived websites can stay as it is.
You need to ensure the accessibility of anything on an intranet site (SharePoint, Blackboard) published after 23 September 2019.
Any old documents linked from your webpages may not need to be updated if they were published before 23 September 2018. But it is an Imperial standard that any heavily used documents should be made accessible.
All your live webpage content needs to comply. See the guidance on Exemptions.
How do I assess disproportionate burden?
Who enforces the regulations?
The Government Digital Service (on behalf of Minister for Cabinet Office) is responsible for monitoring accessibility compliance. Any complaints are escalated to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to review and enforce any punishments.
They can’t really monitor our intranet sites, but if a complaint was raised by a staff or student they may be able to investigate.
Remember we are not doing this because it is a legal requirement, but because we should!