Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… University of Derby: Top Ranked for Accessibility… 17 January 2020

Top Ranked in U.K. for Website Accessibility: University of Derby

University of DerbyUniversities everywhere are striving to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. As you might expect, some have done better at this than others.

Today we highlight the University of Derby, a U.K. university ranked best in the country in 2019 by a Sitemorse review of all U.K. universities. (The review includes

5 areas of compliance…

Derby lists accessibility compliance based on these 5 capabilities:

  • Zoom in up to 500% without the text spilling off the screen
  • Navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • ‘Skip to main content’ using tab on your keyboard
  • Listen to most of the website using a screen reader
  • Navigate our online forms using just a keyboard

And this added “writing right for the web” point: “We have also made the website text easy to understand.” Bless them.

4 areas of non-compliance…

Perfection isn’t easy. The university notes it is not compliant in these areas:

  • You can’t modify the line height or spacing of text
  • Most older PDF documents aren’t fully accessible to screen reader software
  • Some of our older videos don’t have captions
  • Live video streams don’t have captions

To increase the accessibility level there’s a visible link to “Submit an accessibility support request” for people who identify an accessibility problem. A response is promised within 2 days.

The home page search box…

Last week’s Link of the Week featured 3 Canadian universities giving dominant home page space to a “search” box. It was an unexpected but pleasant surprise to find a similar home page feature at the University of Derby.

Follow the Link of the Week

To review how the University of Derby explains website accessibility criteria to the university community and to compare how things actually work with your own website start at the “Website Accessibility Statement.”

Recommend a future Link of the Week

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  1. I’m baffled that a website with so many remaining issues is given the title best. Our college site has also taken the goal of accessibility seriously, and we don’t accept inaccessibility from older pdfs or videos. I use the Site Improve tool weekly to dig into anything that might be causing issue for any visitor, and there is always a to-do list with the technical folks to further improve. I know we are ahead of the curve, but this “best” is not much of an example to strive for.

    • Robyn,,, thanks for your note… and for including a link to your site. No idea on my end of the overall comparison details of Derby with other U.K. universities. I do know a chap in the U.S. working on accessibility issues now who may have another perspective of how Derby compares with other sites. Suspect you are indeed ahead of the curve and congratulations for that. I don’t find many people putting serious staff time into accessibility issues but that’s far from widespread contact. People seem reluctant to hire outside firms to tackle the problems. Bob

  2. A couple of quick comments here. First, this was a review of U.K. universities only. In my experience, the U.K. is behind the U.S. in meeting accessibility requirements. Accessibility regulations in the U.K. have only recently been adopted. Secondly, it is important to look at the methodology used in the review. Were only automated tools used, or was manual and functional testing included? Even the best automated tools will miss the majority of issues.

    Finally, I’d be curious what the regulations in the U.K. are regarding PDF’s. Making PDF’s accessible is much more complex than making a web page accessible and have yet to see any university where all PDF’s are fully compliant.

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