Accessibility checklist

Accessibility for digital channels

As part of our commitment to making our digital channels as accessible as possible to all audiences, we have summarised a few resources and key pieces of information that will improve usability on our website and social media.


Why is accessibility important?

As a modern and inclusive university seeking to include all audiences, we recognise that our digital channels present the opportunity to reach more people than any other medium. It is therefore crucial that the information published on our website, intranets, and social channels is as accessible as possible to all users. In addition, we are also obliged by UK law to take steps not to exclude users with disabilities or sensory impairments.


Key considerations for digital accessibility

Screen readers

One particularly important factor to consider when seeking to improve accessibility is the use of screen readers. A screen reader is a software application that enables people with severe visual impairments to use a computer. Screen readers use a Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine to translate on-screen visual information into speech, which can be heard through headphones or speakers.

Writing style

It is important to ensure all information on our digital channels is communicated in plain English without the use of jargon. This will ensure that information is easily readable. To learn more about writing accessibly, view the Plain English writing guide. You can also view our writing style guide to learn about how written words can be used to uphold our brand.


Key accessibility tips


Making webpages accessible

  • Ensure pre-set headings (e.g. H1, H2, and H3) are used for subtitles instead of bold text. This ensures that screen readers will be able to identify each subtitle. For example, on the Open Day webpage, the H5 setting has been used for each subtitle within the ‘Open Day FAQs’ section. This allows users with severe visual impairments to easily track through each frequently asked question.


  • Use descriptive link text which tells the user what they are linking to; don’t hyperlink text saying ‘click here’. This is also essential for screen readers as it makes the destination of the hyperlink clearer to the user.
  • Don’t align justified. Justified text proves difficult for some audiences to follow fluently.
  • Don’t set links to open in new tabs – this makes the website more difficult to navigate for several users.


Making PDFs accessible

  • Use meaningful file name titles.
  • Ensure pre-set headings (e.g. H1, H2, and H3) are used for subtitles within the PDF instead of bold text.
  • Don’t align justified.
  • Use alt-text for images.


Adobe Acrobat Pro tools (for staff with access to Adobe Creative Cloud)


  • Test the PDFs accessibility score using Adobe Acrobat Pro’s built-in check.

    1. On the right hand toolbar, choose ‘more tools’ and then select ‘add’ on the Accessibility tool.
    2. The accessibility tool will now appear within the right toolbar and you will be able to use it to run a full check on the document.
    3. In order to be uploaded onto our website, the PDF should pass the full check for WCAG Level AA without any warnings.
  • Export the as a PDF/A archiving format. On Acrobat Pro, click File > Save as other > Archivable PDF (PDF/A).

 Accessibility Adobe

Making website images accessible

  • For non-decorative images, add alt-text to describe the purpose of the image when uploading it to the content management system. Decorative images, those that don’t directly provide value to the user’s journey through the website, do not need alt-text.
  • Don’t put lots of text in images before uploading them – if the text is included within the JPEG/PNG image then it will be invisible to screen readers.
  • Be careful when choosing hero images to ensure they don’t detract from the legibility of the title. Photos that contain particularly detailed imagery will make it difficult for users to read the title when it is overlaid.

Making videos accessible

  • Add subtitles/captions and review automated ones (e.g. YouTube and Facebook video captions).
  • Add audio descriptions if needed.

Accessibility Video


If you have any questions about the course, please contact the Digital team digital@royalholloway.ac.uk