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What we’re doing to improve accessibility

There are lots of staff at the OU working together to improve accessibility and many initiatives underway. These initiatives ensure that we are meeting and responding to the changing digital requirements of our students and staff as well as developing and delivering websites, applications and systems which are as accessible and usable as possible. 

The Open University is committed to accessibility and demonstrates this in a number of ways: 

Digital Governance Framework

As part of our Digital Governance Framework, The Open University has an approved Digital Accessibility standard which is available to all staff members. The standard sets WCAG 2.2 AA as a benchmark and aligns with our legal obligation under the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. As part of the Digital Governance Framework, staff are provided with resources and guidance to ensure they are able to achieve this standard and are following best practice.

As we build new websites and digital services, we strive to ensure that they are accessible and comply with the current legislation. We also review and audit older sites to identify what changes we need to make to improve accessibility.

Accessibility and Usability Evaluation team 

The Open University website development process has stages that test the usability and accessibility of new and updated platforms, activities and services against WCAG 2.2 AA. As well as working with external consultants, an internal Accessibility and Usability Evaluation team helps to offer guidance in this area and to ensure that digital accessibility and usability are embedded in the design and development process for developers and content creators.

Digital Accessibility Compliance group 

This group is made up of representatives from a range of faculties and professional services from across the university. The purpose of this group is to ensure digital accessibility compliance is being adhered to across the digital estate, to assist and support the development of a clear and consistent approach to embedding digital accessibility compliance and to foster a supportive community to share good practice and lessons learned. 

Securing Greater Accessibility team (SeGA)

The Securing Greater Accessibility team (SeGA) was set up in 2010 as a university-wide initiative to promote accessibility and inclusive practice and support students and staff. SeGA offers training and guidance in accessibility in teaching and learning and oversees forums and activities for a wider community of practice and research.

Accessibility champions

The Accessibility and Usability team runs a network of over 100 accessibility champions from around the OU, who act as points of contact on accessibility queries within their respective departments.

Accessibility training

Staff at The Open University are offered on-demand accessibility training in a variety of topics to support them to carry out their roles. This will be complemented in the future by the introduction of bespoke training in accessibility for all staff to complete in order to further embed accessibility good practice.


The Open University uses the digital tool Siteimprove to monitor website quality, accessibility, and compliance across the public-facing parts of the web estate. Staff are offered training for how to use the automated outputs of the tool to identify defects and areas of development and integrate this into web estate management effectively.

Disability support

The Open University aims to make studying as accessible as possible and a range of adjustments and support are available. A well-established disability support team provides guidance for students and arranges for students to have support when accessing digital content online or alternatively, access to a variety of formats. A wealth of resources for information and guidance in enabling students to study as effectively as possible in the digital environment are available via the help centre.

The Open University Library

The Open University Library provides wide-ranging support to students with disabilities and specific requirements. As well as working with students directly to offer guidance in accessible resources, the Open University Library staff work with publishers to help improve the accessibility of their products.

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