Meeting accessibility regulations at Cardiff Metropolitan

Cardiff Metropolitan University had undertaken a small sample of its digital estate and realised it needed some structured expert guidance to help understand where it stood and what it needed to do next. 

Corner of building featuring blue sky above and university crest on side of building

"We wanted to make sure that we weren’t only compliant, but offered both students and staff the opportunity to find and make use of information simply and flexibly," says Annie Horn, Learning Support Manager at Cardiff Metropolitan University. "This wasn’t just a box ticking exercise but an opportunity to provide the best user experience we could." 

The University contacted AbilityNet as it was aware of our work through the Disabled Students Allowances sector. "AbilityNet was very helpful, discussing our primary needs and what would be the best route for our project," says Annie, whose team chose The HE/FE Accessibility Bundle and prepared to start with the sample audit offered within this package…and then Covid struck!

"When we first undertook our institutional project aimed at meeting the new Public Sector Digital Accessibility Regulations we had no idea what chaos would soon disrupt all our plans!" says Annie.

How the project unfolded

"AbilityNet helped us to stay on course and keep to the aims of the project with only slight amendments to our timeline," Annie continues.

The sample audit went ahead during lockdown, and some of this was done via online screen sharing. "It was a fascinating process for our staff who saw first-hand the process and tools used to thoroughly check accessibility. This gave us a valuable insight which we could share and use to inform our subsequent actions," says Annie. 

AbilityNet stayed in touch throughout, offering updates and providing advice to identify what the University should be working on. The HE Accessibility bundle was delivered in conjunction with McNaught Consultancy, who reviewed the University’s digital environment from an inclusion perspective. "This has helped us to focus our work and understand the context behind the regulations better, which has proved very useful when broadening the work of the project to engage the wider University community," says Annie. 

"The information given from AbilityNet was presented in a clear, understandable way that could be offered directly to senior management and gave a great overview of how accessible our content was," says Annie.

The work delivered helped to shape the University's future actions to conduct a more in-depth audit of its content. AbilityNet provided training for this and supported the University team with establishing a straightforward process that incorporated everything the team needed as well as what it wanted. They provided a specific framework and scoring system for our audits that could be used by anyone without prior technical skills in the area, as well as details of helpful tools to conduct the audits.

Creating a roadmap for accessibility

The University has been able to incorporate many of AbilityNet's suggestions into its roadmap for accessibility. "We feel the excellent working relationship formed with AbilityNet gives many more opportunities for enhancing our staff’s understanding and engagement with accessibility," says Annie. "AbilityNet has been instrumental to the progress of our project. They have always been approachable and professional, offering expert guidance and feedback whenever we required," she continues.

"We would encourage others reviewing accessibility to not feel overwhelmed by the amount of materials and requirements. It can seem very daunting, but working with AbilityNet has helped us to contextualise the project and approach it in more manageable steps that ultimately leads to a much better environment for all our users," says Annie.

Speak to our experts

AbilityNet offers tailored accessibility and usability support to clients from all sectors, including further and higher education accessibility support packages.

Speak to our experts about your project and we will advise on a bespoke accessibility strategy to meet your specific requirements.