Digital accessibility is quite simply the extent to which your audience can access your digital resources – and by access we mean absorb and understand as well as being able to locate and open the resources themselves.

Digital accessibility is a part of our responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to provide equal opportunities for those with disabilities. But it is also in many cases just sensible good practice, which will create a better learning experience for all students.

As an institution, in response to the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018, UWE must ensure that our website and the online tools we use are accessible. However, the requirements also apply to the learning materials themselves, not just the platform they are on. This means all UWE teaching staff need to understand and apply digital accessibility principles to the content they produce.

Tools and resources

Blackboard Ally is a tool that is part of the Blackboard virtual learning environment and will help you gauge the accessibility of your content, as well as providing students with alternative formats on request.

Office 365 applications have their own accessibility tools, such as the accessibility checker in Word and PowerPoint.

From July 2020, captioning of recordings in Panopto will be done automatically. Please read the guidance on the intranet.

Learn how to write alternative text for images to make them more accessible.

There are various tools to check colour contrast in your resources (to make them more accessible to those with visual impairment). See this LIU article on contrast checkers.

Getting started

See the Learning Development Centre’s Blackboard Train resources on accessibility for all the basic information, including information on Blackboard Ally, creating accessible documents, and links to UWE’s accessible branded templates.

See also the LIU’s accessibility guides which include step-by-step instructions and exercises to help you become familiar with creating accessible resources.


The Learning and Development Centre runs training on accessibility.

The Library Digitisation Service should be used if you want to convert printed text into a digital format.

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