Accessibility, VLES and web sites

Last week we had our first cross-institutional meeting looking at the new European Union (EU) Directive on the Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications and its implications for the RAU. The regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018 and state that websites or mobile apps must be made ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’.

At there meeting there were staff representatives from marketing, digital, IT, the Catalyst programme, student engagement and disability support.

A little background information:

  • RAU has a very high number of dyslexic students (around 250 dyslexic students, or 20-25% of the student body)
  • There is a main page on the website that deals with this area, internally there are several VLE pages that cover disability support and assistive technology
  • There is a generic email address available – dyslexia.disability@rau.ac.uk 
  • IT support a significant number of accessibility tools including: Read&write, Sensus access, Dragon, mind mapping tools

The group agreed a number of actions and areas for consideration and will be meeting again early next year to share our progress.

Jisc online briefing

We also sent (virtually) a few people along to the Jisc online briefing on New regulations, new risks which took place earlier today. There were 209 attendees so definitely a hot topic area!

jisc

The briefing began with some polls that suggested that on the whole the HE sector is beginning to get ready for the regulation but isn’t there yet. It then went on to explore the main recommendations:

  • To make your VLE and website perceivable, operable, understandable and robust
  • To publish a model accessibility statement on your website that details what content is not accessible and the alternatives provided (a model is provided). It should give a single point of contact for problems.

There will be future work to create a Further/Higher Education (FHE) Digital Accessibility Working Group. Questions on the regulations can be sent to the Accessibility regulations Jisc mail group.

 

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