Learn how to create and implement a digital accessibility policy at your college to ensure learning is accessible for everyone.Find out more about 'Implement a Digital Accessibility Policy'
Implement Accessibility From Beginning to End
Delivering an accessible learning experience is everyone’s responsibility. All staff must be supported to play their part in making this happen.
Learning platforms and materials should be accessible from the beginning: accessible-by-design.
Anyone creating content should ensure what they create is accessible, including teachers/lecturers when producing lecture notes, presentation slides and class handouts and IT staff when creating content for the website or a virtual learning platform.
College’s accessibility policies should support staff to deliver content which meets basic accessibility standards. This means:
- Web content should be compliant with applicable content success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). There is updated guidance on how to publish accessible documents to help meet the needs of all users under the accessibility regulations.
- Documents should at minimum, have no issues flagged by the Microsoft or Adobe Pro accessibility checkers, as highlighted in our Assess and test your systems and resources for accessibility guidance.
Find out more about creating an accessibility culture at your college:
Making documents accessible
The good news is, it is simple to make documents meet a basic level of accessibility, use the helpful resources below to make sure you never produce an inaccessible document again!
Top tip: We would recommend that learning materials such as lecture notes, handouts, etc. should be provided to blind and partially sighted students in Word document format, rather than PDFs. Word documents are more customisable and can be reformatted more easily. If PDFs are used, it is vital they are tested for accessibility before being given to the student.
Useful resources for making documents accessible
Microsoft Office documents
- Make your Word documents accessible
- Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible
- Make your Excel spreadsheets accessible
- Make your SharePoint site accessible
- Create accessible Office documents (Office Support)
- Create accessible PDFs (Office Support)
- Video: creating accessible documents (Office Support)
- Video: create more accessible slides (Office Support)
- Accessible PDF – a reference guide to create accessible and PDF/UA compliant documents.
- Create and verify PDF accessibility
Other useful resources
External publishers and platforms
Accessibility issues with core documents such as exams or reading material are not purely the domain of the college to fix. Exam boards and academic publishers should be doing more to make exams accessible-by-design. You can find out about the accessibility of publishers in the ASPIRE publishers list.
This guidance has been created in response to research from All Able Ltd and commissioned by Thomas Pocklington Trust that looked at blind and partially sighted students’ access to information and assistive technology in mainstream FE. This showed a lack of inclusive practice creating a barrier to accessibility. Read about this research
Use the other sections of this guide...
We outline how to assess and test the systems and resources used by students at your college for accessibility and producing accessibility statements.Find out more about 'Assess and Test Your Systems and Resources for Accessibility'
Our handy checklist will help your college ensure new systems and resources are accessible-by-design.Find out more about 'Procuring Accessible Systems and Resources'