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Accessibility statement for the University of St Andrews website

This statement applies to content published on the domain, run by the University of St Andrews. It does not apply to content on subdomains (for example, Where a website or web application has additional accessibility statements, these will be linked from those individual locations.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver).

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

You can also explore some of our recommendations for tools that can make your online experience better.

How accessible this website is

We are currently redeveloping sections of the University’s website to improve accessibility and usability. We know some parts of this website aren’t fully accessible, such as the current staff and current students sections, among others.

Some areas of inaccessibility include:

  • The content on some pages won’t change to be in a single-column format when you change the size of the browser window.
  • Some pages have poor colour contrast.
  • You can’t modify the line height or spacing of text on some pages.
  • Some pages and document attachments are not clearly written.
  • Some tables may not be fully accessible to screen reader software.
  • Most older PDF documents aren’t fully accessible to screen reader software.
  • Live video streams don’t have captions.
  • Some of our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard.
  • You can’t skip to the main content when using a screen reader on some pages.
  • Some heading elements are not consistent.
  • Some images do not have good alternative text.
  • Some buttons are not correctly identified.
  • Some error messages are not clearly associated with form controls.

Feedback and contact information

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

We will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you can’t view the University map, please contact us for directions.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems that aren’t listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact IT Service Desk:

Enforcement procedure

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’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

We have induction loops in main lecture venues, and we have portable loops that may be set up if requested in advance. We also have a Roger pen to assist visitors who use hearing aids.

We can provide a text relay service for people who are Deaf, deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment who are contacting us by phone.

British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us via the online BSL Video Relay Interpreting service from Contact Scotland BSL. We will also endeavour to arrange a BSL interpreter for visiting individuals that need that support, but this should be requested in advance as availability is limited.

Find out how to contact the University

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

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

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 AA standard due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below.

Non-accessible content

The University has a wide range of websites and web applications located on the domain that have grown organically over many years and sit alongside the ‘main’ University website. Many of these are now very old or are not regularly maintained and do not meet the accessibility regulations. 

Currently, the University of St Andrews ‘main’ website is intended for both external and internal audiences and is managed in two separate content management systems: TerminalFour version 8 (T4v8) and TerminalFour version 7 (T4v7). 

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

T4v8-managed content

The sections of our website managed in T4v8 are classed as ‘external’, and the content within the sections is primarily for prospective students. These sections include:

Web pages managed in T4v8 are built using the digital pattern library (DPL). The DPL is actively maintained by the digital communications team and is designed to make all pages on the ‘external’ website as fully accessible as possible. A sample of these pages is regularly checked as part of a monthly editorial calendar, but there may be periods of time where inaccessible content is published.


The majority of images don’t have a text alternative, so the information in them isn’t available to people using a screen reader. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

We will improve text alternatives over time as we review each page.

Pre-recorded video and audio

Most of the videos on the University website are hosted on YouTube; some of these may be incorrectly captioned and may not include audio description. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterions 1.2.2 Captions (Pre-recorded) and 1.2.5 Audio Description (Pre-recorded).

We do not plan to add captions or transcripts to all pre-recorded audio and video media as this is exempt if published before 23 September 2020, but we will add these to selected media when possible. Any media published after this date will include captions.

PDFs and other attached documents

Many of our PDFs and other documents don’t meet accessibility standards – for example, they may not be accessible to screen reader software.

Some of our PDFs and other attached documents are essential to providing our services. We will review and replace PDFs and documents with HTML page where possible.

Links without meaningful text

Some link text doesn’t make sense when read on its own (for example, ‘click here’), and there are instances where text is difficult to read (Success criterion 2.4.4 Link Purpose - In Context).

We will correct link text over time as we review each page. When we publish new content, we’ll make sure link text meets accessibility standards and follows plain English guidelines.

Issues with navigation

There may be some areas of the University website and its associated web applications which cannot be navigated by only using a keyboard (Success criterion 2.1.1 Keyboard – level ‘A’).

We will improve navigation over time as we review each page.

Non-responsive content

There may be some areas of the website that do not resize with the browser and require scrolling in both directions when zoomed (Success criterion 1.4.10 – Reflow).

We will correct this issue over time as we review each page.

Forms and interactive elements

There are forms and interactive elements such as carousels which do not meet multiple AA success criteria. Some of these may be provided by third-parties. We aim to improve forms and interactive elements as we review each page, including, but not limited to:

  • Orientation (1.3.4)
  • Colour contrast (1.4.3)
  • Resize text (1.4.4)
  • Reflow (1.4.10)
  • Non-text contrast (1.4.11)
  • Text spacing (1.4.12)
  • Headings and labels (2.4.6)
  • Focus visible (2.4.7)
  • Consistent navigation (3.2.3)
  • Error suggestion (3.3.3)

Contrast issues

Some pages contain elements with low contrast between the element and its background. This can cause text to be difficult to read, especially for those with low vision, poor eyesight, or colour blindness (Success criterion 1.4.3 Contrast - minimum).

We will correct the contrast on these issues over time as we review each page.

Issues with focus indicator

Some elements may not always display effective focus indication when interacting with elements (Success criterion 2.4.7 Focus visible).

We will correct focus indication issues over time as we review each page.

Disproportionate burden

T4v7 managed content

The sections that are managed in T4v7 are primarily only for internal audiences such as the current staff and current students websites. However, it also includes public-facing websites such as Saints Sport and the Careers Centre. The majority of these have pages that do not meet a significant number of the WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria.

The University is committed to improving the web experience for all users across the website, and a programme of work is underway to change how internal content is published. We’ve assessed the cost of fixing these issues in the short term but believe that doing so would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the law.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

PDFs and other attached documents

The accessibility regulations don’t require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services.

Pre-recorded audio and video published before 23 September 2020

We do not plan to add captions or transcripts to all pre-recorded audio and video media as this is exempt if published before 23 September 2020.

Live video

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.


Online maps are included in a number of web pages. Where there is a map with one single point of interest, the information being displayed is provided in an alternative format on the same web page. Where there is more than one point of interest on the map, we are working towards an accessible solution.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We recognise that a large amount of content published on the domain is not fully accessible, but the University is committed to improving this through:

  • A programme of work to update all content intended for internal audiences will resolve many of the accessibility issues.   
  • All new features within the digital pattern library are tested for accessibility before being published.
  • Accessibility is a requirement for all third-party services that are purchased for inclusion on the domain.
  • Websites that are no longer required will be identified and removed.
  • Accessibility training courses are available to anyone publishing content on the domain.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 18 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 18 September 2020.

Our website is tested on a regular basis, with a new scan scheduled every five days using an automated accessibility tool provided by Siteimprove. This tool tests a sample of web pages and provides a report on accessibility issues. Manual checks are also performed as part of the monthly editorial calendar on a sample of pages on the ‘main’ University website.

Issues are prioritised according to the severity of the impact it may cause, the number of people that may be impacted and the time involved in resolving the issue.