University of Leicester Accessibility Statement


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Accessibility Statement

The University of Leicester’s Accessibility statement is a live document, providing an open account of our current position.

Our websites and Digital Learning Environment (DLE) is 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 8,574 people who can create content. There are over 8,000 Blackboard course sites provided for teaching, containing 1.1 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.
  • Users can navigate interactive elements by using a keyboard through a highlighted outline.
  • Use a keyboard to skip to contents on a page.

We plan to work with our suppliers to review all linked tools by September 2020 and phase out use where these are inaccessible. We will make another assessment when the supplier contracts are up for renewal, and check tools for accessibility at that time.

How accessible this website is

We know that 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’).
  • Some of our older 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 fully accessible although we cannot guarantee that all VLE content is fully accessible.

What to do if you cannot access parts of this website:

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, Large print, easy read audio recording or braille:

Email: webupdates@le.ac.uk

We’ll consider your request and get back to you.

Reporting website accessibility problems

If you are a student or staff member having technical difficulties with Blackboard, please send a help request to the ITS Service Desk – ithelp@le.ac.uk

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of our websites. If you find any problems not listed in our statement or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact, providing as much information as possible: webupdates@le.ac.uk

Reporting VLE accessibility problems

Please contact your Module Leader or Student Course Representative, whichever you feel most comfortable speaking to, if you would like to receive resources in an alternative format. Technical difficulties with Blackboard, should be sent to ITS Service Desk, ithelp@le.ac.uk providing as much information as possible.

Escalation and enforcement procedure

If you need to escalate your issue with the public website further, please contact the Director of HR Kate Bradley, or our Chief Marketing Officer, Kerry Law.

PA to CMO:  jacqui.harley@leicester.ac.uk

PA to Director of HR:  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.

Email: nicole.hamilton@leicester.ac.uk

You can expect an acknowledgement within 6 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’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS). 

Website: https://www.gov.uk/equality-advisory-support-service

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The University of Leicester is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

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

The Blackboard platform is fully accessible [link the word ‘accessible’ to: https://uk.blackboard.com/accessibility/index.html

Non accessible content

We have indicated above the types of content which may not be accessible. In addition to this, the content listed below is non accessible for the following reasons:

Content not within scope

  • The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they are not essential to providing our services.
  • All video and audio content published before September 2020 is exempt. This includes recorded videos such as lecture capture recordings and live video streams.
  • We do not plan to create accessible content for VLE archives which are no longer active and haven’t been updated since 23 September 2019, as these are exempt from the regulations.

Disproportionate burden

Alongside our primary website (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 a project to decommission www2.le.ac.uk and migrate valuable content to accessible platforms over the next 12 months and one of the first actions of this project will be to ensure any new content created is accessible. The www.le.ac.uk will form part of our digital estate larger review but with an ambition to repurpose or remove the platform. We therefore consider both platforms would be a disproportionate burden to make accessibly compliant.

How we test our websites

  • We plan to audit our main University website (le.ac.uk) using WCAG 2.1 AA standards and implement the required improvements by September 2020.
  • We will assess the content types, page templates and components that are available to a content editor when populating the site.
  • Once we have a good understanding of the available content types, we will create a series of test pages that cover these different elements. Not all of these pages will be accurate representations of real content pages, as they will use a large number of components on each page. However, they will enable us to efficiently check for technical issues.
  • We will run the Technical Accessibility Audit on the test pages and produce a report on any issues and recommendations with priority rating for the corresponding remedial work.

How we test our VLE

Blackboard’s products are designed and developed in accordance with the internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) Guidelines 2.0 Level AA as well as the Section 508 standards in the United States. A third party conducts regular audits of their software to ensure quality expectations are met and maintained. Accessibility statement can be accessed at: https://uk.blackboard.com/accessibility/index.html

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

By September 2020 we will ensure that:

  • Our colour combinations have sufficient contrast.
  • Link text makes sense when read on its own.
  • All new and essential PDFs and Word documents will meet accessibility requirements.
  • Our interactive elements, widget and tables will have the required descriptive tags to work with screen readers.
  • All images will have appropriate alternative text.

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

We are disseminating a guide on how to make accessible digital content.

Our VLE will use Blackboard Ally, due for release end of November 2019, to audit our content in the VLE. We will endeavour to make all Blackboard content accessible by September 2020, except areas where it would constitute a disproportionate burden.

A full schedule of our programme of support will be published shortly, outlining how we intend to meet the September 2020 and 2021 accessibility compliance deadlines.

We plan to work with our suppliers to review all linked tools by September 2020 and phase out use where these are inaccessible. We will make another assessment when the supplier contracts are up for renewal, and check tools for accessibility at that time.

References and resources

Listed below are the resources we used to inform our Accessibility Statement. This includes draft Accessibility Statements Higher Education Institutes shared to support the HE/FE community. Some of the materials can be used to learn more about Accessibility.

Accessibility statement publication date

This statement was prepared on 20 September 2019. It was last updated on 20 September 2019.

This information is also available to download in Word format in the Links & Files section below.

Links & Files