UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
University Web Accessibility Policy
"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless
of disability is an essential aspect" Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and
inventor of the World Wide Web
The University of Bristol websites provide a growing number of on-line
services, including the dissemination of news, information, as well as
learning resources, to a wide range of users (existing and prospective
students, staff, parents and carers, etc.).
It is therefore the duty of the University to ensure that these Web-based
resources are accessible to all users regardless of disability.
- The University’s
Disability Statement states “The University welcomes applications
from disabled students, and aims to ensure that their participation
in all aspects of university life is as full and successful as that
of any other student.”
- The Disability
Discrimination Act (1995) Part III states ‘from 1 October
1999, service providers have to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled
people, such as providing extra help or making changes to the way they
provide their services’ - this includes information and services
provided through the web: promotional, recruitment, general student
- The Quality Assurance
Agency (QAA) 's Code of Practice came into operation in Autumn
2000; it has been integrated into the QAA audit scheme in late 2001
and will seek to ensure that ‘students with disabilities have access
to a learning experience comparable to that of their peers’.
- The Special
Education Needs and Disability Act 2001 – which became law on
11th May 2001 and comes into effect on 1st September
2002 – states “The responsible body for an educational institution
must take such steps as it is reasonable for it to have to take to ensure
that […] (b) in relation to student services provided for, or offered
to, students by it, disabled students are not placed at a substantial
disadvantage in comparison with students who are not disabled.”
Disabilities that may restrict people from accessing Web content
include blindness, colour blindness, dyslexia and lack of fine motor control.
People with disabilities may need to use assistive technologies such as screen
readers, Braille displays, voice recognition software, alternative keyboard/mice,
etc, to view web pages; Web content should be accessible to these technologies.
This does not require special techniques or separate resources for disabled
users; following simple principles of usable and accessible design
is often all that is needed. These principles are universal and
thus will also benefit non-disabled users.
It is the policy of the University to make reasonable adjustments
in order to make all web-based information, services and learning resources
on the University’s Web site accessible to all users regardless
of disability. The University requires that all new Web content conforms
to W3C/WAI's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Level “Double-A” with immediate effect, and that existing Web content
be gradually brought into line, as they are periodically updated; it is
the aim of the University that all Web pages will conform to the guidelines
by July 2004.
Each Department, Centre and Service is responsible for taking reasonable
steps for making its own website compliant with the guidelines. Web
information providers will be familiar with the guidelines and apply them
when creating Web pages. Any third party contracted to design a website
hosted by the University will be required to comply with these guidelines.
We will review the policy in the future to consider updating it to an
advanced version of the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines once
The University's Guidelines for Writing
Usable and Accessible Web Content
are based on the W3C/WAI’s Web Content
Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. Following them when creating new Web
content or when updating existing pages will ensure that all University
Web pages are accessible to all users.
Accessibility issues will be incorporated into the programme of Web
training courses and the University’s Guidelines for Writing Accessible
Web Content will be disseminated through the Web and seminars (e.g.
To facilitate the implementation of the Web accessibility guidelines,
the University will provide ready-made templates that Departments,
Centres and Services will be encouraged to use. These templates will be
usable in combination with the adopted Web Content Management System
(CMS) and will make the maintenance and management of Web resources
much easier for Web information providers.