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Making Accessible Pages
Why is accessibility important?
Accessibility is a requirement of UK law. The University's Web pages, as with the Websites of other public and private bodies across the UK, are subject to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the extension to education in September 2002 by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA). The University has an Accessibility Standard comprised of the baseline requirements to comply with this legislation, and local-level standards reaching over and above this legislation towards best practice. The University's Accessibility Standard must be upheld (along with the other Rules) in all Web publishing.
The SENDA law refers to some of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as part of their overall Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). This document is widely regarded as providing the definitive guidelines on accessibility for Web publishers, and is referred to for the University's own Accessibility Standard.
The University's response
The University of Oxford is committed to providing an accessible Web presence that gives members of the public and members of the University community full access to University information, courses and activities offered through the Web. It is also committed to a minimum Accessibility Standard for Web pages, and to encouraging Web publishers to exceed the minimum accessibility standard.
In 2004 a company called DMAG carried out an Accessibility Audit for the University's Website. A list of Web accessibility technical checkpoints were produced to help Web Managers achieve accessibility standards and gain an understanding of the issues involved.
The Resulting Standard
Following the recommendations contained in the DMAG Audit reports, the University produced its Accessibility Standard, outlining the University's commitment to providing an accessible Web presence and highlighting the minimum standards for accessibility compliance.
Each site under ox.ac.uk should produce an accessibility statement detailing standards met and measures taken to increase accessibility on websites. This statement should link to the University Accessibility Standard.
The University does noes not currently use Access Keys. This situation is under review.
Accessibility and Usability Testing
A variety of Web browsing software (including text-only browsers), various workstations, validation and evaluation tools, and end-user testing should be used to assess the accessibility and usability of your website.
OUCS currently runs general web publishing training, which includes web accessibility as an element of the course.
If you have any queries about the audit reports or information on this page, please email Webmaster.