University of Leicester Accessibility Statement


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Accessibility statement for le.ac.uk

The University of Leicester’s Accessibility statement is a live document, providing an open account of our current position. This statement applies to all content available on the le.ac.uk domain.

Our websites (including le.ac.uk) and Digital Learning Environment (DLE) are run by the University of Leicester. The largest part of our DLE is our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); a service provided by Blackboard. We are currently using Blackboard Learn SaaS.

Our VLE contains the majority of our learning and teaching resources and activities and has a user community of 5,498 people who can create content (as at August 2020). There are over 8,000 Blackboard course sites provided for teaching, containing 1.38 million content items.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use these websites. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • Magnify the page to 300% or more without the text spilling off the screen;
  • Navigate most of the website using only a keyboard;
  • Access alternative text for images and other non-textual content;
  • Listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver).

We have been working with our suppliers to review the accessibility of third party content on our website and phase out use where these are inaccessible. We will make another assessment when the supplier contracts are up for renewal, and check third party content for accessibility at that time.

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • Some of our colour combinations do not have sufficient contrast;
  • Some link text does not make sense when read on its own (for example, ‘Click here’ and ‘More details’);
  • Some of our Portable Document Formats (PDFs) and Word documents that are essential to providing our services do not meet accessibility standards;
  • Some of our content such as interactive elements and tables do not have enough information to work with screen readers;
  • Some images on our website do not have appropriate alternative text;
  • Some videos and audio on our website do not have the required caption controls, or transcriptions available;
  • The Blackboard platform is accessible (except for Blackboard Collaborate live video automatic captioning), although we cannot guarantee that all VLE content is fully accessible.

We are providing ongoing training and support for staff to improve the accessibility of content on le.ac.uk and Blackboard, including the implementation of Blackboard Ally to provide guidance for staff and access to alternative formats for students.

Feedback and contact information

Please email webteam@le.ac.uk if you need information on this website in a different format such as accessible PDF, large print, easy-read audio recording or Braille. We’ll consider your request and respond. We are committed to ensuring all users can access our web services.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of our websites. Please email webteam@le.ac.uk if you find any problems not listed in our statement or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, providing as much information as possible. We will always review, investigate, communicate our findings, and work with you to resolve issues affecting your use of our services.

Enforcement procedure

If you need to escalate your issue with the public website further, please contact the Director of Human Resources, Emma Stevens, or our Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer, Kerry Law.

PA to Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer: jacqui.harley@leicester.ac.uk

PA to Director of Human Resources: sharon.kirkham@leicester.ac.uk

If you need to escalate your issue with VLE further, please contact the University Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, Professor Graham Wynn.

PA to Pro-Vice Chancellor Education: nicole.hamilton@leicester.ac.uk

You can expect an acknowledgement within six working days and a full reply within 20 working days. If your complaint raises complex issues that cannot be answered within 20 working days, we will keep you informed of progress until we can fully respond.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the accessibility regulations. If you are not satisfied with how we respond to your complaint, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due the non-compliances listed below:

  • Some forms;
  • Staff profiles;
  • Module and programme information;
  • The English Association;
  • Some aspects of our student and staff intranets;
  • Some online assessment contextual feedback.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons:

  • Some forms;
  • Staff profiles;
  • Module and programme information;
  • The English Association;
  • Some aspects of our student and staff intranets;
  • Some online assessment contextual feedback.

There are active projects to migrate these areas of content and features to new, WCAG 2.1 AA compliant platforms.

Disproportionate burden

Alongside le.ac.uk we have two other large website platforms that are considered legacy systems but remain visible to host older content (www.le.ac.uk and www2.le.ac.uk). We have an active project to decommission www2.le.ac.uk and migrate valuable content to accessible platforms.  One of the first actions of this project has been to ensure any new content created is accessible.

www.le.ac.uk will form part of our digital estate review, but with an ambition to repurpose or remove the platform. We therefore consider both platforms would be a disproportionate burden to make accessibility compliant, given the content will either be migrated or removed by the project.

2019/20 Blackboard courses

Students retain access to their Blackboard courses from previous years, including 2019/20. Following analysis, we estimate it would take approximately 76,712 person hours to bring this content to full compliance. We feel this work is disproportionate compared to the resulting benefits, for the following reasons:

  • These courses are an archive, for reference only, as of the start of the 2020/21 academic year (28 September 2020). They will no longer be used for active teaching;
  • It is important for staff to focus on making the new, 2020/21 Blackboard courses accessible. These are the courses that will be used for active teaching;
  • Blackboard Ally is enabled on the 2019/20 Blackboard courses, giving students the ability to download files in alternative formats without any action from staff.

It is not feasible for us to rectify the 2019/20 Blackboard courses; the alternative would be to hide them from students, resulting in a detrimental experience for all students.

If a student needs to use materials in a 2019/20 Blackboard course and is unable to do so, even taking into account Blackboard Ally, the appropriate individual member of staff would work with the student to provide the material in a more accessible way.

Panopto captions

We use Panopto to create and share recorded learning materials. Panopto provides good quality captions through automated speech recognition.  Although, as with any automated system, they are not 100% accurate. Following analysis of the number of hours recorded, and experience from other institutions of the time required to manually correct captions, we estimate it would take 76,225 person hours to edit the captions to ‘human levels’ of accuracy.

To mitigate the fact that captions will not be 100% accurate, we are providing guidance for staff on how to optimise the quality of captions in their recordings.

Staff will direct students to alternative, text-based sources of information in cases where the captions are not of sufficiently good quality. We are establishing a process for students to report problems experienced when using recordings because the captions are not adequate. In addition, we will continue working with Panopto to improve quality over time.

Content not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services. For example, we do not plan to update teaching materials created for use in course delivery prior to 23 September 2018.

Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.

Live video

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

How we test our websites

  • We have audited our main University website (le.ac.uk) using WCAG 2.1 AA standards, and have implemented improvements;
  • We assessed the content types, page templates and components that are available to a content editor when populating the site;
  • Once we had a good understanding of the available content types, we created a series of test pages that cover these different elements. Not all pages were accurate representations of real content pages, as they used a large number of components on each page. However, they enabled us to efficiently check for technical issues.

How we test our VLE

Blackboard’s products are designed and developed in accordance with the internationally-recognised Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) Guidelines 2.1 AA as well as the Section 508 standards in the United States. A third party conducts regular audits of its software to ensure quality expectations are met and maintained. Read Blackboard's Accessibility statement.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

The University has convened an Accessibility Standards Working Group to keep this statement under review, and consider ways in which University accessibility may be improved.

We have disseminated guides to colleagues on how to make accessible digital content and are providing training to content creators.

Our VLE uses Blackboard Ally – released at the end of November 2019 – to audit our content in the VLE. We have worked with our suppliers to review all linked tools and will phase out use where these are inaccessible. We will make another assessment when the supplier contracts are up for renewal, and check for accessibility at that time.

Third-party content

Our website contains links to third-party content and functionality which may direct you to a related service, a partner we work with, or supporting documentation. We cannot always guarantee its accessibility as we do not have direct control over these resources.

Third-party content may therefore not comply with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018. However we will use all reasonable endeavours to work with the third party to improve accessibility where this impacts on our users. We now include meeting the accessibility regulations as a requirement when buying new third-party applications.

To help accessibility compliance across the higher education and further education sectors, the University of Leicester supports searchBOX, a centralised, independent directory of third-party accessibility information.

searchBOX catalogues the contact information and accessibility statements of third-party suppliers, enables the sharing of community-generated accessibility statements, and allows users to map their supplier ecosystem.  The University of Leicester encourages all our partners and suppliers to support this effort by ensuring their accessibility information is included in the searchBOX directory.

Visit the searchBOX directory to view supplier accessibility statements

Digitised third-party content

Where the University of Leicester provides digitisations of published print content (via the reading list system linked to from the VLE, or in departmental course packs), these scans are formatted as PDF files and processed to the following minimum standards using Adobe Acrobat DC:

  • Ensure copyright compliance;
  • Scanned at 600 dpi resolution;
  • All required pages in the correct order and including foot and end notes;
  • Uniform page sizes;
  • Removing blank pages;
  • Selecting black and white and/or colour as appropriate;
  • Appling Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in the original language;
  • OCR to the level Editable Text and Image where possible (to enable search within content);
  • Adding author and title to file properties;
  • Ensuring compatible security settings of PDFs do not interfere with assistive technology.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 20 September 2019. It was last reviewed and updated on 22 September 2020.

This website was last tested on 19 September. The test was carried out by Siteimprove.