As a result of the Public Sector Web Accessibility legislation, UK universities need to “meet the accessibility requirement” on all their websites by 23 September 2020. They also need to provide an accessibility statement outlining what works, what doesn't work, what alternatives are available and what reporting and complaints procedures are in place. This is proving challenging to many organisations, not least because digital accessibility is often seen as a specialist technical skill set possessed by a few people.
However, this is a huge misconception because accessibility is an emergent property of high quality teaching and learning. When teaching and learning is responsive to student need and incorporates practices that minimise barriers and maximise engagement, accessibility is already in play. To better understand this holistic view of accessibility, McNaught consultancy and AbilityNet created a model of Accessibility Maturity for Education.
This is a simple framework that recognises the importance of all stakeholders (from lecturers to librarians, disability support to study skills) and helps organisations view accessibility through different cultural lenses. With no technical jargon and recognisable examples from academic life, this model is an effective tool for developing a holistic and sustainable approach to accessibility. You can download a free static version of the model as a Word document from the AbilityNet website or read Alistair’s blog post on the thinking behind it. An interactive version with personalised feedback will be available shortly.
Alistair is leading the BISA webinar on the Wonderful World of Webinars – how to develop inclusive online learning on Tuesday 2 June, 2-3pm.