The UK Higher Education Website Accessibility Report: Q4 2016

10 Feb 2017

UK higher education establishments get their chance to see where they rank

London, 10th February 2017 – Sitemorse, publisher of industry wide indexes in compliance, optimisation and experience, today announced the publication of its final 2016 quarterly report assessing the WCAG 2 web accessibility standards achieved by higher education websites in the UK. The publication lists colleges and universities that are failing A, AA and AAA standards according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The full report, which includes insight into where websites are failing and the top 10 accessibility priorities, can be accessed via the following link:

Accessibility Statistics in Higher Education - 205 of the 344 sites have an accessibility statement, of which: 12% claim to be AA complaint. 17% working towards AA compliance

European Directive 2016/2102/EU has accelerated the need for higher education establishments to broach website accessibility. Under the directive member states must create laws and regulations that apply a set of accessibility standards to EU public sector websites and mobile applications by September 22, 2018. After this date, any websites of public sector bodies published must be accessible. Some education institutions already claim that they are compliant, analysis shows that this isn’t the case, but with independent assessment looming a question mark is raised over the organisations providing the validation.

“Frequently we find that the call for industry compliance comes via legislation rather than guidelines,” stated Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse. “Unfortunately this results in organisations that are ill-equipped to deal with the task that they are confronted with and may well take some comfort from the fact that their counterparts are not moving forward either. Our analysis has shown that with the appropriate guidance, and by applying prioritisation, higher education establishments can make significant steps towards compliance, rather than choosing to ignore an important issue that potentially creates a barrier to engagement,” stated Shaw.

Amongst the key report findings: 12% of the UK higher education sector websites claim to be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant, but in fact less than 1% of pages across the sector adhere strictly to the W3C standard. The sector is recommended 10 priorities that would provide biggest accessibility gains for higher education establishments.

Sitemorse produces quarterly reports for private and public sector industries focused on compliance,
optimisation and experience. Tailored reports based on your industry or organisation can be generated upon
request by contacting Sitemorse via the details below.

About Sitemorse

Sitemorse is an independent organisation with a central London head office and UK based support teams. The company provides automated and scalable, cloud based software analyses of content page by page to ensure  consistency, drive efficiency and monitor. Work projects range from single websites and social pages, through to global enterprises with a full spectrum of digital touchpoints and multiple sites around the world. The Sitemorse INDEX is the only recognised independent sector benchmark; it has provided a trusted source of data for numerous public and private sector organisations, including the UK Government “Better Connected” report and the World Retail Congress.

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