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Website Accessibility and the Content Management System

As outlined in our Accessibility Statement, Queen's University Belfast is committed to making the websites published by the Content Management System (CMS) accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.  Our aim is to ensure that these websites are compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 - AA standard.

To achieve this aim, the Web Support Team (WST) are currently working on two interrelated projects:

  • Website Accessibility Action Plan: This joint project with Strategic Marketing and Communications (SMC) aims to utilise a number of practices that can be implemented to assist both teams with monitoring, improving and ensuring compliance with website accessibility regulations.  These include the publishing and ongoing review of our accessibility statement.  The implementation of various technical improvements has already been implemented on core website components and assets and the teams have improved system and coding practices.  The Siteimprove platform has being used to identify common content errors made by content creators and editors which has culminated in the creation of this accessible content guidance website.  We have undertaken a content and website review within the CMS and further information can be found in the project outlined below.  We will continue to review our practices and where possible improve them to ensure that accessibility is central to our web and content development processes.

  • Content Reduction & Evaluation Project: This project began in June 2019 and has been very successful in assisting the team with the identification, assessment and review of live websites and content published by the CMS.  We have been in contact with a range of website owners across the University with the aim of establishing whether their websites are still required, and if so, how we can upgrade these websites to meet accessibility requirements.  This project has had many positive outputs and has enabled the team to consolidate resources, bring required websites into the latest responsive and accessible styles, remove legacy content and reduce our digital footprint. 

Designing and Developing for Accessibility

The Web Support Team (WST) have been using the accessibility module of the Siteimprove web governance platform to implement and improve development practices for both current and new solutions within the CMS.  So far the team has made significant changes to Page Layouts, Content Types, Components, Plugins and other assets so that they conform technically to the WCAG 2.1.  Some of these changes may never be visible to content creators or website visitors but we will continue to use the power of the CMS to make these wholesale improvements where identified, to help us comply with accessibility regulations.

We have in place a streamlined and integrated digital design and development environment and we work closely with our colleagues in Strategic Marketing and Communications (SMC) on a range of website projects and initiatives.  Our project practices ensure that we adhere to accessibility regulations for both new and redesigned websites as well as functional components and plugins.

The design and functionality of our latest websites have gone through the necessary University governance and approval processes. Therefore, content creators should not add HTML markup, dynamic code such as JavaScript or any visual styling to content, unless it has been submitted and approved by the Digital Operations Group.  For further information please email: cms@qub.ac.uk.   

 

Accessible Content Guidance

The WST and SMC have been using the Siteimprove platform to analyse the website content currently published by the CMS.  We have identified a list of common accessibility errors relating to content and we have developed some accessible content guidance to empower content creators and editors to develop the practices required to make their content accessible.  The guidance can be accessed using the links in the right column navigation and below:    

This accessible content guidance will be reviewed and updated frequently to provide advice to content creators and editors on how to use the CMS content types and the elements they contain in an effective and accessible way.

Further Reading and Resources