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Adam Turner

UK & IE University website accessibility progress

Index Accessibility Public sector

What progress are Universities making in ensuring their websites are accessible to people with disabilities?

At Sitemorse we published our 2020 Q1 UK & IE Universities INDEX earlier this week. The INDEX has been published quarterly since 2011 and ranks the websites of over 200 Universities for digital compliance, based on User Experience, Search Engine Optimisation and Governance, Risk and Compliance.

There has been a lot of press coverage of late on some of the top universities ensuring they do not discriminate against less advantaged pupils. Since 2010, Universities and further education establishment have needed to ensure they comply with the equalities act– and partly this ensures that pupils, staff and visitors are not discriminated against if they have a disability.

European Union Directive 2016/2102/EU, creating a set of standards for EU public sector bodies, using European standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) was approved on October 26, 2016. It came into force for in the UK on 23 September 2018. The aim of the regulations is to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps can be used by as many people as possible.

This includes those with:

  • impaired vision
  • motor difficulties
  • cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • deafness or impaired hearing

New public sector websites have needed to be complaint since 22 September this year, all other public sector websites need to be compliant by 22 September 2020.

King's College London Maths School have risen to first place in the INDEX, with Manchester School of Architecture and University of Derby in 2nd and 3rd position respectively.

If we focus on accessibility, only University of Derby and Heriot-Watt University scored 7 or above (out of 10). As for the rest of the universities:

  • 25% of universities scored 5 or 6 (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 43% of universities scored between 1 and 4 (out of 10) for accessibility
  • 28% of universities scored zero for accessibility

University of Derby and Heriot-Watt University should be congratulated for taking the lead in this sector on Accessibility.

Top ten websites

  1. King's College London Maths School
  2. Manchester School of Architecture
  3. University of Derby
  4. Easton College
  5. Hull York Medical School
  6. The University of Stirling
  7. St George's, University of London
  8. University of Worcester
  9. London South Bank University
  10. Leo Baeck College

Five Most improved websites

  • HESA
  • Royal College of Art
  • European School of Osteopathy
  • Coventry University
  • Central School of Speech and Drama

The full UK & IE Universities Q1 2020 results can be found here: Sitemorse UK & IE Universities INDEX












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