Overview

URL: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/

This website is run by The University of Aberdeen. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in (up to 300%) without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’re working to make website text as simple as possible to understand.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use.

How accessible this website is

We are confident that our website is largely very accessible; however, we know some parts are not:

  • some areas may not be fully compatible with screen readers
  • you may not be able to access all content by using the keyboard alone
  • not all media will have a transcript, or be subtitled
  • some text may not reflow in a single column when you change the size of the browser window or use certain levels of magnification
  • some older documents (PDF, PowerPoint, Word) are not fully accessible to screen reader software

Further information on specific services and escalation routes is provided in Appendix 1.

Feedback and contact information

If you need information in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, Easy Read, audio recording or braille, please get in touch:

  • Report an issue online at myit.abdn.ac.uk
  • Email servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk
  • Phone – The University is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions and regrettably we are unable to provide a phone service at present

We’ll reply to reports within one working day and will aim to provide a workable solution as soon as possible and no later than seven days.

You can also write to us at:

University of Aberdeen,
King's College,
Aberdeen,
AB24 3FX

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact us using the details above.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you’re not happy with how we respond to your feedback, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Visiting us in person

Please note that visits are currently suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions.

You can arrange to visit the University (for example to visit a Disability Advisor) using the contact details above. We can provide audio induction loops or a text relay service for people who are D/deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment. If you require a British Sign Language interpreter, please contact us in advance. You can use contactSCOTLAND-BSL to do this if you prefer.

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The University of Aberdeen is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The website is only partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 (WCAG) AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

The following items don’t comply with the WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria. We aim to address the majority of issues by September 2020. We prioritise this work based on volume of traffic (scale) and key user journeys. When we publish new content we’ll make sure this meets accessibility standards.

Text and page structure

Some of our written content and page structure is not accessible. Examples include:

  • Meaningless link text e.g. “click here”
  • Links using only colour as a distinguishing factor
  • Tables without row headers
  • Legacy pages that don’t reflow when zoomed or viewed in mobile devices
  • Insufficient text colour contrast
  • Content which is not semantically structured

We constantly audit our site and address these issues as quickly as practicable when they are identified. Legacy sites that don’t reflow when zoomed will be migrated to new responsive templates by September 2020. Colour contrast is being audited as part of our template review. We've reviewed and revised our training, and will continue to do so, to provide specific guidance to our content editors and developers.

Video

Many videos on our site don’t have transcripts or audio descriptions. We’re reviewing and removing or resolving these based on order of priority. All new videos published from September 2020 will have captions, auto-captions or accessible alternatives.

Keyboard accessibility

We’re aware that some areas of our website may not be fully keyboard accessible. Our main web templates and applications will be reviewed and updated by September 2020; other areas may also be addressed in this timeframe or removed/resolved based on order of priority.

Documents

Many older PowerPoint, PDF and Word documents don’t meet accessibility standards, for example, they might not be structured in a way that's accessible to a screen reader.

We’re reviewing and removing or resolving these based on order of priority. All staff are made aware of accessibility legislation and offered support in the creation of accessible documents, for example via user guides. Guidance on creating accessible documents is included in MS Office training workshops and training materials as appropriate.

Please note that certain documents may be outside the scope of the accessibility regulations.

Images

Many images on our site don’t have alternative content and in most cases this is because they are purely decorative; however, some images don’t have appropriate alternative content, and others represent text as images. We’re addressing these issues through regular auditing and by providing specific guidance and training to our content editors.

Forms

Some forms are not correctly labelled and/or are not keyboard accessible. Our forms are being audited and identified issues are addressed; we have raised some of these with our third party supplier, Gecko, as noted in Appendix 2.

Other issues

Further information on specific technical and content issues is provided in Appendix 2.

Disproportionate burden

We’re not claiming disproportionate burden for any of our services at present.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

The accessibility regulations don’t require us to fix documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. Our policy is that any new documents we publish will meet accessibility standards. Any documents essential to providing our service will be fixed or replaced with an accessible HTML page.

We don’t plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

We ensure online maps are as accessible as possible by, for example, providing addresses and geolocation information in an accessible form.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We’ve an ongoing University-wide project to improve accessibility and put in place governance and support to establish a permanent culture of accessibility and inclusion. This project is overseen by a working group comprising representative members of all parts of the institution.

The University also takes the following measures to ensure accessibility:

  • Accessibility is an objective of our Strategic Plan
  • Accessibility is integrated into training given to all Content Management System editors
  • Accessibility is integrated into training given to all designers and developers within the University
  • Accessibility is part of our internal policies
  • Accessibility is integrated into our procurement practices
  • An accessibility officer will be appointed; at the time of writing this recruitment is paused due to COVID-19

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 31st March 2020. It was last reviewed 18th August 2020.

This website is tested on an ongoing basis; manually by staff and also via automated testing using the tool Siteimprove. We prioritise work on conformance of our website based on two factors: volume of traffic (scale) and key user journeys.

We use this approach to decide areas for comprehensive testing.

Examples of areas comprehensively tested

Section Sample URL Status Date tested
University Home Page https://www.abdn.ac.uk/ No issues 9th June 2020
On-Demand Learning https://on.abdn.ac.uk/ No issues 23rd July 2020
Aberdeen University Research Archive https://aura.abdn.ac.uk/ Partially conformant 24th June 2020
GeckoEngage Form Builder https://app.geckoform.com/public/#/modern/21FO00fiq9t81700e76n98vbbs Partially conformant 25th June 2020
Website Templates https://www.abdn.ac.uk/about/our-website/accessibility-test-bed-1054.php Partially conformant 25th March 2020
Legacy Templates https://www.abdn.ac.uk/research/acreef/ Partially conformant 25th March 2020
News Templates https://www.abdn.ac.uk/news/ Partially conformant 25th March 2020
Events Templates https://www.abdn.ac.uk/events/ Partially conformant 25th March 2020
Staff Pages Templates https://www.abdn.ac.uk/people/m.mcconnell/ Partially conformant 25th March 2020
Exam Papers https://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/support/exam-papers-180.php Partially conformant 25th March 2020
Postgraduate Applicant Portal https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgap Partially conformant 9th November 2019
eAccommodation https://www.abdn.ac.uk/eaccommodation Partially conformant 8th October 2019
ePayments https://www.abdn.ac.uk/epayments Partially conformant 17th September 2019
Agents Portal https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgap/agents Partially conformant 9th September 2019

Other sites within our domain

The University website consists of many related sub-sites and systems. The University is responsible for the accessibility of these; some will have their own accessibility statements. If you encounter an issue with any system or site, please contact us using the details above.

Accessibility resources

Appendix 1 – Specific services

MyAberdeen Virtual Learning Environment

MyAberdeen utilises the Blackboard Learn VLE, which was developed in accordance WCAG 2.1 Level AA. For further details on the accessibility of the platform see Blackboard’s pages on Accessibility in Blackboard Learn and their statement of commitment. The University also incorporates Ally as an integral part of the VLE which produces content in a number of alternative formats including audio, electronic braille, and ePub formats.

If you wish to raise an issue or need information in a different format which has not been provided via Ally, please get in touch with your course tutor in the first instance. If they cannot resolve the issue, please contact the eLearning team at elearning@abdn.ac.uk or +44(0)1224 273765.

Content in MyAberdeen may only be partially compliant with the standard, due to the following:

  • Tables without row headers
  • Insufficient text colour contrast
  • Content which is not semantically structured
  • Videos without closed captions, transcripts or audio descriptions
  • Areas which are not fully keyboard accessible
  • Many PowerPoint, PDF and Word documents are not compliant
  • Images without ALT tags
  • Some forms may not be correctly labelled and/or are not keyboard accessible
  • Handwritten lecture material.

To address these issues, we’re running MyAberdeen training sessions for staff throughout the year. All staff are made aware of accessibility legislation and offered support in the creation of accessible documents. Guidance on creating accessible documents is included in MS Office training workshops and guides as appropriate.

The University has been looking at introducing video captions for videos to help make learning material more inclusive. Some courses may use automated speech recognition closed captions for videos, where the quality of these is deemed “good enough”. However, some videos may not use these if staff feel the accuracy would be detrimental to the student experience (e.g. in languages and STEM subjects). In such cases accessible alternative materials will be made available. Other courses may have quality assured captions for video in place. The University is committed to expanding the use of video captions and is introducing new processes and guidance to enable this to be provided more widely.

MyAberdeen has integrations with the following systems:

The University is responsible for the accessibility of these systems. Should you encounter an issue, please email elearning@abdn.ac.uk or phone +44(0)1224 273765.

Dental and Medical Virtual Learning Environments

MyMBChB

MyMBChB is an in-house developed virtual learning environment used by the Medical School and built by the Medi-CAL team. We are continually improving the user experience for all users of the application and are applying the relevant accessibility standards throughout.

MyMBChB is partially compliant with the WCAG 2.1 AA standard.

MyBDS & MyPA

MyBDS and MyPA are legacy virtual learning environments used by the Dental and Medical School and supported by the Medi-CAL team. We aim to move MyBDS and MyPA to the same platform as MyMBChB by September 2020 and January 2021 respectively. This move will resolve many of the accessibility issues currently present on these sites and will give our team greater flexibility in addressing accessibility issues that are found.

Non-accessible content

These environments may only be partially compliant with the standard due to the following:

  • Meaningless link text e.g. “click here”
  • Links using only colour as a distinguishing factor
  • Tables without row headers
  • Pages that don’t reflow when pinched or zoomed on mobile devices
  • Insufficient text colour contrast
  • Lack of visual focus when using keyboard navigation
  • Videos without closed captions, transcripts, or audio descriptions
  • Teaching assets in PowerPoint, PDF or Word documents which may have accessibility issues

Please note the list above is not exhaustive. We regularly audit our site and are addressing these issues as they are identified. For new video assets, auto-captioning will be used to provide captions. Staff have been provided with documentation and training in providing accessible assets, as elsewhere in this statement.

Occasionally the quality of unedited automatic captions for specialist terminology may be poor and academic staff may decide this is detrimental to students’ learning. In such cases automated captions may not be provided by default and accessible alternative materials will be provided while manual work takes place to provide accurate captioning.

Specific areas of non-compliance

MyMBChB’s student timetable cannot be read meaningfully using a screen reader. However, an alternative accessible version is available via the ‘List View’ link which can be found in the timetable menu or from the tab button quick links.

If you cannot access parts of these environments or wish to report an accessibility problem

We welcome your feedback on the accessibility of MyMBChB, MyBDS and MyPA. If you wish to raise an issue, or need information in a different format such as an accessible PDF, large print, Easy Read, audio recording or braille, please contact the Medi-CAL team via email medi-cal@abdn.ac.uk or phone +44(0) 1224 437032.

Integrations

MyMBChB, MyBDS and MyPA have integrations with the following systems:

The University is responsible for the accessibility of these systems. Should you encounter an issue, please email medi-cal@abdn.ac.uk or phone +44(0)1224 437032.

Library, Special Collections & Museums Collections

Library, Special Collections & Museums (LSCM) provide collections to staff, students and others which are primarily asset based (Word, PDF, PowerPoint and JPG files). We believe these assets are largely exempt as described in sections 3 (2) (a) and 3 (2) (f) of the legislation. However, it is our intent to make our collections as accessible as possible and therefore we note below issues of which we are aware and actions we are taking to address these.

Should you encounter an issue with the collections listed below, please email library@abdn.ac.uk and we will endeavour to help you.

Exam Papers

LSCM make available to students a database of past exam papers. This database can be interrogated using the Library search interface, Primo, or browsed by subject area. A proportion of exam papers available in the database don’t meet the accessibility standard, as they are published in earlier formats of Microsoft Word.

We will ensure that future papers are made accessible via staff training as noted elsewhere in this statement.

Research Archive (Aberdeen University Research Archive [AURA])

The University’s Research Archive is hosted by the University of Edinburgh using the open source solution, DSPace. Archived assets are overwhelmingly PDF assets (c. 11K) or Word docx files (c. 1.5K) with small numbers of other formats such as PowerPoint, HTML and JPG. Many of these assets will not be fully accessible.

It is a current requirement of many research funders and the Research Excellence Framework that papers are submitted as PDF. We will ensure that future papers are made as accessible as possible via staff training as noted elsewhere in this statement. We are considering future use of the Open Document Format to increase the accessibility of this archive.

Theses

LSCM make research theses available online. These may be in PDF, various versions of Word or other asset types, including deprecated word-processed files. Many of these assets will not be accessible.

eBooks and Journals

At the time of writing, certain eBooks and journal articles available via our online library catalogue may not be accessible. We are evaluating this issue and will engage with third-party publishers if necessary.

We will ensure that future theses are made as accessible as possible via appropriate training and support for students.

Archive Collections - CalmView

We use Axiell’s CalmView5 to facilitate access to our archives. Axiell believe the CalmView product is compliant with the regulations, except for embedded Instagram social widgets, specifically:

  • iframe content lacks a title
  • social images lack ALT text

We do not have a workaround for these exceptions at present.

Research

Pure Research Portal

  • The Pure Research Portal is designed to be responsive and work well on all devices.
  • Our software provider continues to work towards making the Pure Research Portal fully WCAG 2.1 AA compliant.
  • The current web accessibility statement can be read at https://abdn.pure.elsevier.com/en/web-accessibility/

Appendix 2 – Specific technical and content issues

We are aware of specific issues on our site which may appear as accessibility problems, or for which there is no straightforward resolution.

Google Search

We use Google services to provide search functionality to parts of our site. We don’t have control over the code used in these results and this may occasionally cause issues. For example, images returned in Google’s custom search results don’t have alternative text attributes. Google commit to making accessibility a core part of their products and typically issues are resolved quickly.

iFrames

We’re aware that some browsers allow the iFrame element to receive focus, but don’t allow for that focus to be styled, so it is possible that for some users, focus may be lost briefly when entering an iFrame element. This is most notable in Firefox.

Generic Link Text

We try to make all link text meaningful; however, parts of our site intentionally use generic link text; for example, "Find out More". We believe that where such link text is used the linked resource is unequivocally inferred from its surrounding context; for example, further information on a news story.

Link Syntax

We’re aware that occasionally the same link text is used for links going to apparently different resources; for example, the word ‘About’ appearing in the page content, menu bar and site breadcrumb is variously linked to:

These links appear to be different, but are the same resource. We endeavour to standardise link URLs to avoid this false positive error, but this is not always possible due to how pages are rendered by the server and the CMS database.

GeckoEngage

We use a form builder solution from GeckoEngage. We’ve reviewed this for accessibility and found minor issues which we have reported to the supplier. The supplier has assesed these issues and is scheduling work to address them. We’ll continue to engage with the supplier.

Last reviewed: 24th September 2020
Last updated: 24th September 2020