Digital accessibility

We are actively working to make our web services accessible to all users.

The UWE Bristol website

Principles and standards

As guiding principles, we:

  • seek to identify and follow best practice for web accessibility
  • aim to support current assistive technologies
  • aim to promote an awareness of web accessibility issues
  • set standards and targets for web resources produced and hosted by us.

Wherever possible, content and services are delivered using a standard set of elements and templates which have been tested to support AA compliance as outlined in W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1. Manual inspections are also made to website content before it is published.

We actively seek opportunities to engage users with specific access requirements in the development of the University website through reviews and testing.

How accessible the website is

We audit our web pages annually using third-party services to ensure they remain accessible and appropriate.

The University’s public facing website was last audited in October 2020 by Nomensa, who performed an evaluation of a broad sample of pages against all level A and AA success criteria of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1.

The outcome of the audit indicated that the website was partially compliant. Remedial work was prioritised to address the accessibility issues raised, which included:

  • improving labels for page features
  • the focus order while tabbing through content
  • more accurate text descriptions for images
  • correcting the order of headings in content accordions.

Some pages on the public facing website use embedded content from other platforms (YouTube, Soundcloud, Twitter, Google maps, Revolution Viewing 360 tours) and while we have tried to implement this in the most accessible way achievable, there may be limitations to the experience supported by those providers.

Due to the large number of documents produced across the University, some PDFs available from the website may not be as accessible as they could be. We are working towards a consistent approach to ensuring the accessibility of these across all areas of the University.

Some of our older video content does not have captions or audio description. We are actively working to add captions and audio description to the most viewed of those videos.

Mobile apps

The University provides a number of mobile apps via Google Play and Apple App Store to support student experiences. We are committed to making our mobile app experiences as accessible as possible.

Third-party systems

Some digital services delivered by the University currently use third-party provided technologies. There may be cases where these systems cannot deliver the same level of accessibility compliance that the website offers and the University is not able to influence the code on those platforms. We are working to strengthen our expectation of suppliers during procurement or renegotiation of contracts to enhance compliance in these systems. Third-party systems used include:

  • job vacancies
  • Summon library search
  • Worktribe project information and management system (PIMS) and research repository
  • myUWE student portal
  • welcome.uwe applicant portal
  • iTrent student vacancies platform
  • InfoHub student platform
  • Wordpress blog platform
  • Gecko Engage online forms
  • Gecko events management
  • Qualtrics survey forms
  • mycpd.uwe applicant portal
  • store.uwe online store.

Digital publications

The University’s key prospectuses are delivered in a digital format using the Foleon platform. These were last audited in March 2021 by Nomensa, who performed an evaluation against all level A and AA success criteria of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1. Moderate and minor accessibility issues were identified across the digital prospectuses. These impacted the link focus indicator, the main menu and the understanding of page structures. We are currently working with Foleon to resolve these issues.

Reporting accessibility problems

If you find any problems not referenced on this page or think we're not meeting accessibility requirements, please send us details about the issue or call +44 (0)117 9656261.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you are not happy with how we respond to your issue, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Digital learning environment

This statement and accessibility plan is for our digital learning systems including Blackboard, Panopto event capture and PebblePad.


Content delivered across our digital learning environment is done so working to the principles of perceivable, operable, understandable and robust as outlined in W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1.


We will commit to raising awareness amongst our staff and students around the importance of creating accessible digital learning content and will provide students with opportunities to highlight difficulties in accessing content through academics and support services.

Our plan to address content that is not yet accessible

The digital learning environment

The digital learning environment is made up of two elements: the systems themselves and the content that we upload into them.

The systems themselves are regularly reviewed by the vendors and the University to meet our accessibility standards.

Content that is uploaded or created by staff is entirely within the University’s control and this plan sets out how we will deal with current, historical, and future learning resources.

Blackboard content

We have been building content (resources) in Blackboard for many years. We know that a lot of this content is not fully accessible. We plan to deal with this content in the following way.

Content that students interact with on a regular basis such as module or programme handbooks and anything related to assessment, will have been made accessible from November 2019.

The remaining content is then being prioritised and improved focusing on the content that is needed soonest or is least accessible.

Historical content

Much of our online content is historical. We intend to continue to make this content available, but will not be making it all accessible unless this is requested. This is because we need to focus our resources on ensuring that content that is in current and high usage is prioritised. We will, however, ensure that where a particular request to make historical material accessible is made, that this is done at the earliest opportunity.

Future content

We aim to make all future content on Blackboard accessible. The University is able to monitor this process and intervene where content is deemed less than fully accessible.

Other systems

Blackboard Ally is available in Blackboard which staff are expected to use to check accessibility of resources before uploading to any other systems.

Event Capture (Panopto)

Most of the resource in Event Capture is video based. This presents its own problems in that captioning of video is either inaccurate if done by machine or prohibitively expensive if done by a human. Our aim is to have Event Capture content captioned, but if accurate captioning is only possible when it is done by a person rather than a machine, this would be a disproportionate burden for the University. We will review this situation regularly.


Most resources in Pebblepad are uploaded and shared by students. While there is no legal requirement for students to ensure their uploads are accessible, it is nevertheless a good opportunity to learn to write accessibly.

This is likely to be a useful skill that students can take with them into future educational and workplace activities. We will make learning resources available for students to help them with this. The accessibility checker in Microsoft Office is an excellent resource and a good place to start.

Where teaching staff make resources available in Pebblepad, these resources will be accessible.

Other learning systems

The University has other learning systems such as polling or voting systems. Generally, these do not have much content as this is largely contained within Blackboard. Where these systems do have content, we aim to make that content accessible. Reviewing our digital learning plans and statement. Our digital learning accessibility statement is reviewed annually each September.

Reviewing our digital learning plans and statement

Our digital learning accessibility statement s reviewed annually each September.

How students can highlight difficulties in accessing content

The first step is to approach your module leader. You can do this in person or by sending them an email.

Alternatively, you can send a more general help request by using the accessibility link in any course site in Blackboard, which will be received by colleagues in the library. You can also raise the issue with a member of staff by emailing, who will support you in getting further assistance.

If you are not happy with our response

We aim to help as soon as we can. Once you have reported a problem with Blackboard or any of our learning systems, or asked for an alternative format, but you are not happy with our response, you can let us know by raising a formal complaint via UWE Student Complaints procedure and we will respond to you.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you are not happy with how we respond to your issue, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).