As part of our Digital Transformation strategy, the University is dedicated to improving accessibility for everyone, and we can all play a part in making the student experience more accessible. For our Accessibility Matters! campaign, we’re marking Global Accessibility Awareness Day on 18 May by asking colleagues to consider the accessibility of their digital content, with the aim of improving the digital experience of all staff and students.
Choose a pathway from the following options to see what you can do to help, and the resources and events that will support you in this process.
What's Global Accessibility Awareness Day?
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is held every year on the third Thursday in May. Its purpose is "to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments." Digital accessibility events such as seminars, conferences, and training typically coincide with the day each year.
What's Fix Your Content Day?
Fix Your Content Day is organised by the company behind the Ally accessibility tool the University makes available in Minerva. It's a global competition always held on Global Accessibility Awareness Day and encourages educators around the world to use that day to make improvements to their learning materials. Fix Your Content Day aims to encourage the creation of more accessible and inclusive digital learning content through use of the Anthology Ally product.
'Accessible online and digital resources starts with design'
"Accessible online and digital resources starts with design. We need to know how our learning experiences are received by our student population and how choice of access supports their requirements. I encourage you to ‘fix your content’ as part of this initiative; however, more importantly, we will not have to fix the content in the future if we design it with accessibility in mind from the beginning."
Dr Margaret Korosec, Dean: Online and Digital Education
'PDFs and accessibility: I learnt the hard way, so you don’t have to!'
Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Jenny Brady, Inclusive Learning and Teaching Manager in the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE), has written about her journey to understanding PDF accessibility. Read her Medium blog to learn some of the pitfalls and useful resources to get you started in more inclusive ways of creating content.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Why do I need to do this?
Although you may be new to digital accessibility, the regulations have been in place since 2018. In general, any documents published after 23 September 2018 should have met accessibility standards, as should all web pages since September 2020.
Following digital accessibility standards gives people with disabilities an equal experience and quite often helps everyone. When we don't do this, we inhibit the learning of thousands of students and make it harder for colleagues to teach, research, and provide services.
Hear how poor digital accessibility affects people across the University community.
- ‘Is it accessible?’ Digital accessibility for staff at Leeds video transcript.
- Audio described version of ‘Is it accessible?’ Digital accessibility for staff at Leeds video.
When should I do this?
For educators, accessibility improvements to Minerva content will be tracked on Thursday 18 May as part of a global competition between institutions. This is what's called Fix Your Content Day. But you can make improvements at another time if 18 May doesn't suit you.
For professional services colleagues who don't own learning materials, Thursday 18 May is the target date - it would be great if you could make improvements on or before this date. But if you miss it, you're more than welcome to make fixes on a day that suits you.
How can I make improvements?
For the best route to getting started, select one of our pathways: 'I'm responsible for learning materials' or 'I'm responsible for website content or digital documents'.
Our digital accessibility checklists cover making improvements to web pages, Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoint files and videos.
For Ally-specific advice, start with the Ally Help for Instructors.