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Student Support Accessibility Statement

This accessibility statement applies to Open University Student Support websites and describes the process by which we ensure that the sites are accessible. Our Student Support websites, accessed via www.open.ac.uk/students, provide information about your student record as well as providing a source of help to support you through your studies as an Open University student. Note that your module and qualification study sites, as well as those that provide information on the range of modules and qualifications available are separate, although there are links to these from our Student Support sites. If you are not a student, you will not be able to see all pages, e.g. those relating to student records.

Our Student Support websites consist of several thousand individual pages. This statement covers all elements of the Open University’s Student Support websites, which have been tested for accessibility.

Note that mobile applications will be included from 23 June 2021.

If you are concerned about accessibility of other Open University websites please visit the overall Open University accessibility statement.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites, and accessibility is an essential part of our mission. To adapt the content to your needs or preferences in most cases you should be able to:

  • Change colours, contrasts levels and fonts.
  • Resize text up to 200% without impact on the functionality of the website.
  • Zoom in up to 400% without loss of information or functionality, or the need to scroll in more than one direction.
  • Navigate the website using just a keyboard.
    • Tab to ‘Skip to content’ links at the top of the page to jump over repetitive information to the main content.
    • Tab through the content; the current location will be indicated by a clear visual change.
    • Control the embedded media player to play audio and video materials.
  • Use a screen reader (e.g. JAWs, NVDA) to:
    • Listen to the content of web pages and use any functionality on the page.
    • List the headings and subheadings in the page and then jump to their location on the page.
    • Bring up a list of meaningful links on the page.
  • Use transcripts or closed captions with most audio and video materials.
  • Download learning materials in alternative formats (e.g. Word document, PDF, ePub, Kindle eBook).

If you have a print disability we provide SensusAccess to students, which is an automated service that converts files from one format to another, for example, PDF to text, audio, Word or Braille.

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

How accessible this website is

We strive to exceed current accessibility standards. However, we know some elements of our Student Support websites are not accessible, the details of which are highlighted in this statement.

We aim to provide accessible alternative content or activities where we can. For more information please visit What Support is Available and for more guidance please visit Studying on a Screen.

Feedback and contact information

If you find that a certain section of any Student Support website is not accessible and you can’t get access to the information that you need, please use the accessibility support and feedback form and we will ensure that you are provided with the information you require. You will need to provide your contact details, and if you are a student, your Personal Identifier (PI) so that we can get back to you. You should expect to hear back from us within five working days, if you have provided contact details.

Students who have any other queries, not related to website accessibility, should contact their student support team who will provide you with the information you require. If you are not a student, see our general contact information page or telephone +44 (0)300 303 5303.

The Open University is very experienced in meeting accessibility needs for our students. In many cases we are able to provide module and other study support materials in alternative formats for registered students who indicate a need for this when completing a Disability Support Form

In addition, some module materials are available in different formats and can be downloaded from module websites. Students can contact their Student Support Team for advice.

Reporting accessibility problems with Student Support websites

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our Student Support websites. If you find a problem that isn’t already listed on this page or you think we’re not meeting the requirements of the current accessibility regulations (Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018), please use this accessible Feedback Form which is monitored daily.

We will ask you for the web address (URL) of the page and a description of the problem. We will also ask for your name and email address so that we can contact you about your feedback. You should expect to hear back from us within five working days.

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

To contact us by phone, please see the ‘Feedback and contact information’ in this statement. We do not normally support personal visits.

Enforcement procedure

If you are a student, or someone who has had contact with the University before, and have a complaint about the accessibility of our websites, you should raise a complaint via the University’s complaints and appeals 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 are not happy with our response and all our procedures have been exhausted, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), except if you are based in Northern Ireland where you should contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).

If you are neither a student, nor someone who has had contact with the University before and have a complaint about the accessibility of our website, you should go directly to the EASS.

Technical information about Student Support websites’ accessibility

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

Compliance Status

Student Support websites are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed in this statement.

Non accessible content

The vast majority of content elements in our websites are accessible. This has been confirmed by internal testing and auditing. However, the content listed in this statement is non-accessible for following reasons.

Non compliance with the accessibility regulations

Non accessible content in StudentHome

The accessibility audit identified 14 groups of defects, 12 of which will have been rectified by October 2020. The outstanding defects will be fixed by the end of 2020.

Navigation

On the module page, each TMA assessment provides the user with an option to submit assignments via paper using the 'Submit via paper' link. Screen reader users cannot distinguish between these links either when navigating or listing as they have identical text (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference 8. To be fixed by October 2020.

On the ‘About you - Your contact details’ page, screen reader users cannot distinguish between 'Edit', 'More Info' or 'View/Edit' links either when navigating or listing because they have identical text (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference 9. To be fixed by October 2020.

On the ‘About you - Identity, needs and circumstances’ page, the link text 'online form' doesn't make the link destination clear for screen reader users (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference 10. To be fixed by October 2020.

On the home page, there are three links to the 'Careers' website and one has slightly different text. Two are called 'Careers' and one is labelled 'Careers and Employability Services’. This may cause confusion because users may not realise that all links go to the same destination (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference 11. To be fixed by October 2020.

On the study record page, the 'Regulations' and 'Qualifications Fee' show/hide toggles hide content by default. Users without JavaScript are unable to activate the toggle and will never see the content. Reference 12. To be fixed by October 2020.

Tables

On the study record page, layout tables have been used for tabular data. For example, the table 'completed modules' is structured as a layout table which means it has no headers and cannot be properly navigated by screen reader users. Each row is read correctly in a linear manner, but there is no explicit link between table data cells and headings (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference 14. To be fixed by October 2020.

Contrast

On the home page, the grey 'Remove [x]' link doesn't have sufficient contrast against the light grey background for small text (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference 20. To be fixed by October 2020.

On the study record page, the white text 'Student Academic Summary' doesn't have sufficient contrast against the green background colour for small text (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference 21. To be fixed by October 2020.

On the tutorial information page, the green text 'Booked' doesn't have sufficient contrast against the white background colour for small text (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference 22. To be fixed by October 2020.

On the study record page, the visually hidden section for 'Scottish Diploma supplements' is read by screen readers and links are tabbable by keyboard users which is confusing (WCAG 2.8.1). Reference 25. To be fixed by October 2020.

Opening PDFs

On the study record page, PDF documents are opened in a new window without warning the user. This can be confusing for screen reader users who may not realise that a new window has opened. Reference 56. To be fixed by October 2020.

Keyboard access

On the study record page, the 'Regulations' and 'Qualification Fee' toggles cannot be accessed by keyboard or screen reader users. The links within these toggles are hidden by default so keyboard users cannot tab to these links and screen reader users cannot perceive these links. Reference 70. To be fixed by October 2020.

General

The heading structure could be confusing to screen reader users (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference 13. To be fixed by end of 2020.

When page zoom is set to 400% on some displays the text can become unreadable (WCAG 1.4.10). Reference 32. To be fixed by end of 2020.

On the home page, links on the left-hand sidebar are unclear to screen reader users (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference 07. To be fixed by end of 2020.

Non accessible content in StudentHome PDFs

There are several PDFs on StudentHome that show a student’s study record in various formats. These ‘transcript’ type PDFs (including the credit transfer statement, diploma statement and student academic summary) also have the following accessibility issues that we have identified and will fix by March 2021.

Adaptability

The document lacks any tagged structure which is fundamental for screen reader accessibility (WCAG 1.3.1, WCAG 1.1.1). Reference D01/C04.

Images in the document have no alternate text to describe them to screen readers (WCAG 1.1.1). Reference D04/C06.

The document does not have the correct tag structure for tables or lists, which means screen readers will struggle to identify and navigate tables and lists (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference D07/ C04 C07-8.

Since PDF documents are not tagged, keyboard users will find it difficult to navigate WCAG 1.3.2). Reference D05/ C05.

Screen readers do not understand that the asterisk character (*) is used for footnotes / referencing the small print in the PDFs. Reference D08.

Navigation

There is no page title for screen reader users, which means that they cannot see any content to describe the purpose of the page (WCAG 2.4.2). Reference D03/ C03.

Headings in the document are not nested so that screen users can’t find the information they seek easily and so cannot understand the document structure (WCAG 2.4.6). Reference D09/ C03.

Readability

No default language is specified, so screen readers don’t always know how to read text (WCAG 3.1.1). Reference D02.

Non accessible content in the Help Centre

We believe that the Help Centre is fully accessible. Note that there are some forms that have minor accessibility issues and these will be replaced by fully accessible versions by the end of 2020.

Non accessible content in Student Policy and Regulations

The accessibility audit identified four groups of defects, two of which have been fixed. The target date to fix the following two is February 2021.

The 'yellow' visual focus indicator doesn't have sufficient contrast against the white page background (WCAG 1.4.11). Reference P02.

When search results are returned there is no message to indicate that any results have been returned (WCAG 3.2). Reference P06.

Non accessible content in Community pages

The accessibility audit identified 24 groups of defects, none of which have been fixed as priority was given to sites with a heavier usage. These outstanding defects will be fixed by September 2021.

Text and spacing

When text is resized to 200%, two of the layout boxes (i.e. 'Your OU Community', 'Students Association') overlap and become unreadable. The top portion of text in 'OU News', 'Twitter', 'Student Hub Live' and 'Open Learn' is cut off. (WCAG 1.4.4). Reference C20.

When page zoom is set to 400% (1280 x 1024 display) the bottom portion of text in 'OU News', 'Twitter', 'Student Hub Live' and 'Open Learn' is cut off. (WCAG 1.4.10). Reference C29.

When a user adapts text to increase the spacing between lines, words, letters, and paragraphs the 'Twitter' layout box the text is cut off at the top. (WCAG 1.4.12). Reference C30.

Audio and video

Student shadowing page: The video-only 'Student Shadow - Ron' uses text within the video to provide useful information about the library. This text is not available for screen reader users as there is no transcript or audio description. Also, the default size of the text would be too small for many users. (WCAG 1.2.1). Reference C37.

Student shadowing page: The video 'Student Shadow - Amy (March 2019)' doesn't have a transcript or audio description for blind users. Screen reader users won't see important text content like the introduction, questions or the Social media contact links at the end. (WCAG 1.2.1). Reference C39.

Navigation

Student Voice Website Online Feedback page: Lack of descriptive labels for screen readers means that none of the form fields are displayed in the screen reader navigation list. When a screen reader user navigates form fields the radio buttons are identified but have no associated legend or label (e.g. 'radio button 1 of 3'). (WCAG 3.3.2). Reference C58.

There is a 'Skip to content' link which appears when tabbed to. Although it is never missed by keyboard users, when the link is activated, the focus doesn't move into the content area. When a keyboard user tabs again, the focus starting point returns to the top navigation, forcing the user to tab through all the navigation links before reaching the page content. (WCAG 2.4.1). Reference C06.

Meaningful link

Community Home page: displays several layout boxes with content. Each layout box has a title 'heading' and a description which looks good visually. However, the links include the description making the link text long, complex and verbose. A screen reader user is forced to listen to the entire description to determine the purpose of the link (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference C07.

Student Voice: The 'View more' text description is used to link to the 'You said, We Did' page. The link doesn't provide any context for screen reader users when they are tabbing links to skim pages or listing all links on a page. There are two links to the 'You said, We Did' page and each one has slightly different text e.g. 'You said, We Did' and 'View more'. Users may not realise that both links go to the same page (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference C08.

Our Panels and other initiatives page: The 'Find out more' text description is used to link to pages within 'Our panels and other initiatives'. The link doesn't provide any context for screen reader users. These links go to the same destination as those within the right-hand navigation. Users may visit the same page unnecessarily because differently named links go to the same destination (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference C09.

Page structure

Student Voice: Headings don’t follow a logical structure so that screen reader users can understand the document hierarchy. Screen reader users may not realise that the 'H2' heading 'Latest opportunities' has subheadings because they are at the wrong hierarchical level (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference C11.

Your Voice in Our Future: There are duplicate 'H1' headings 'Your Voice in Our Future' which is confusing for screen reader users (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference C13.

Colour contrast and images

Community home page: The white 'Student Hub Live' text content doesn't have sufficient contrast against the transparent orange background for small text (minimum 4.5:1 contrast) (WCAG 1.4.3). C17.

Community home page: The light grey ‘breadcrumb’ indicator doesn't have sufficient contrast against the white background for small text (minimum 4.5:1 contrast (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference C19.

Student Voice page: The light blue 'Twitter' icon doesn't have sufficient contrast against the white page background (minimum 3:1 contrast) (WCAG 1.4.11). Reference C31.

Your Voice in Our Future page: The latest update stories each have an image next to them. These images have no 'alt' attribute meaning screen readers will read the entire filename which provides no useful information (WCAG 1.1.1). Reference C34.

The National Student Survey page: The 'National Student Survey' video audio and transcript include strange characters which are confusing and make the text more difficult to read. The captions don't stay on screen for long enough and when they next appear, they repeat the dialogue from the previous screen. (WCAG 1.2.2). Reference C38.

Surveys page: Images of text are used to display the links 'Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey' and others. It is more difficult for the user to adapt the text in these images to meet their needs (e.g. by resizing, changing alignment, font, line spacing, foreground and background colour) (WCAG 1.4.9). Reference C47.

Forms

Student Voice Website Online Feedback: The 'Today's date' and 'Email address' form fields require data to be submitted in a particular format while several other form fields are mandatory. These errors appear as pop-up windows displaying one error at a time. This makes it more difficult for screen reader users because they must navigate each error individually. When the pop-up is opened the screen reader is focused on a blank area within the pop-up and nothing is read out until the user navigates the text (WCAG 3.3.1). Reference C59.

Student Voice Website Online Feedback: The 'Today's date' section provides some instructions for entering the date correctly 'You must enter at least 6 characters for "Today's date"' but does not describe the correct format for the date. It is possible to enter invalid data easily e.g. 'this is not a real date' (WCAG 3.3.3). Reference C60.

Student Voice Website Online Feedback: When the form error message pop-up is opened, the screen reader is focused on a blank area within the pop-up and nothing is read out until the user navigates to the text (WCAG 3.2.5). Reference C62.

Student Voice Website Online Feedback: Some form fields are lacking a 'real' label and so the visible label text has no accessible name. These labels cannot be navigated by speech-input (e.g. Dragon) users just by speaking the visible name. Reference C68.

Student Voice Website Online Feedback: There are duplicate adjacent image and text links to the 'Student Consultation' and 'Student Shadowing' pages. These duplicate links increase the number of tab stops for keyboard users (WCAG 2.1.1-2). Reference C69.

Validation

Community home page: Most of the Community web pages don't validate due to minor errors in the HTML syntax used (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference C64

Non accessible content in Qualification choices tool

Our target date for the following outstanding defects identified by the accessibility audit is the end of 2020.

Titles, headers and links

Qualification pages: The page title on 'course pages' is very unclear ('Qualifications View') and doesn't provide a clear description to help users remember which page this relates to. If a user bookmarked multiple courses, they would not be able to distinguish between identical titles (WCAG 2.4.2). Reference Q5.

Claim a qualification and continue studying: The link 'form' doesn't provide any context for screen reader users when they are tabbing links to skim pages or listing all links on a page. It should be made clear that the link is to a form that will allow students to let us know if their name is incorrect when claiming a qualification (WCAG 2.4.9). Reference Q7.

Qualification pages: There are a large number of 'Show me below' links which link to specific routes to a qualification. However, to a screen reader, these links are identical and they don't provide any context. Reference Q9.

No pages have a 'H1' heading which needs to describe the purpose of the page and provide navigation for assistive technology users and give semantic and visual meaning to the document (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference Q11.

Text and language

Qualifications pages: When text is resized to 200%, the buttons 'Move to a different qualification' and 'Claim a qualification and continue studying' get truncated and don't make sense without their full text description (WCAG 1.4.4). Reference Q17.

Across all pages, the line spacing is not at the required level for readability (one and a half times the line height). (WCAG 1.4.12). Reference Q22.

Across all pages, there is no default language which means that assistive technologies cannot pronounce words correctly (WCAG 3.1.1.). Reference Q23.

Contrast

Across all pages, when Windows High Contrast is set, the Open University logo disappears, which makes it difficult for users to understand that they can click on the logo to return to the main OU website (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference Q43.

Qualifications pages: When Windows High Contrast is set the first letter of each line of text within a list is partially hidden by the list bullet. This makes text in list items more difficult to read. (WCAG 1.4.6) Reference Q44.

Navigation

Home page: 'Choose a subject' isn't correctly associated with the subject dropdown list. The contextual description 'Qualification type' isn't associated with the group of radio buttons 'Degree', 'Diploma', 'Certificate', making it difficult for screen reader users to navigate (WCAG 3.3.2). Reference Q53.

Qualifications pages: The 'Stage 1', 'Stage 2' and 'Stage 3' tabs are not implemented correctly for screen reader users. A tabbed interface would inform screen reader users that a group of tabs are being accessed (e.g. you are currently on a tab 1 of 3) (WCAG 3.2.5). Reference Q57.

Qualifications pages: For the 'Group 1, 2, 3 etc' sections, the show/hide toggle links are not implemented correctly for screen reader users, which means that they will not realise that the toggles are links which reveal more information (WCAG 3.2.5). Reference Q66.

Non accessible content in Credit Transfer pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is the end of 2020.

Contrast

There is insufficient contrast to meet the guidelines in the following cases: the grey text under the Credit Transfer heading, and ‘Use your previous HE study to help you gain an OU qualification’ doesn’t meet the contrast ratio required. In addition, the use of white link text on a pink background used in multiple places also does not meet the ratio required (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference CT01.

Code validity

The HTML code used does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This will cause problems for those that use assistive technology like screen readers (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference CT02.

Non accessible content in Students in a Secure Environment pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is the end of 2020.

Understanding images

There are three errors where an image has missing alt text. In addition there are two linked images without alt text. This means that the screen reader users will not be aware of the content of an image and will have difficulty in understanding the meaning of the image. When this is missing from the link a user has no context or understanding of the function of the link. It also prevents screen reader users from searching for non-text content (WCAG 1.1.1). Reference SS01.

Code validity

The HTML code used does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This will cause problems for those that use assistive technology like screen readers (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference SS03.

Non accessible content in Degree Ceremonies pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is the end of 2020.

Non text

On both the “Ceremonies” and “After Your Ceremony” pages, there is a linked image missing alternate text on the pictures, which means that screen reader users see this as an empty link (WCAG 1.1.1). Reference DC02.

Contrast

On all pages there is a very low contrast between foreground and the background colours for the location breadcrumb trail, e.g. ‘booking your ceremony’, ‘preparing your ceremony’, ‘on the day’, etc. Adequate contrast is necessary for all users, especially users with low vision (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference DC01.

On the home page, the Covid-19 call to action information has very low contrast between the foreground and the background colours. (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference DC04.

Navigation

On both the “Ceremonies” and “After Your Ceremony” pages, the pages have empty links errors on them. (WCAG 2.4.4). Reference DC03.

Compatibility

On all pages, the HTML code does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This means that users who rely on assistive technology like screen readers may have difficulties when interpreting non valid HTML (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference DC05.

Non accessible content in Widening Access and Success pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issue is the end of 2020.

Compatibility

On all pages, the HTML code does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This means that users who rely on assistive technology like screen readers may have difficulties when interpreting non valid HTML (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference WA01.

Non accessible content in Residential Schools pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is the end of 2020.

Navigation

The website has a ‘skip to content link’, however when the link is activated, it does not focus the user in the content area. Instead they are forced to tab through all the repeated header navigation (WCAG 2.4.1). Reference R03.

Language

The language on the home page has not been identified (the attribute is missing or is empty). This means that screen readers will not be to read the content in the appropriate language and automatic translation of content is also affected (WCAG 3.1.1). Reference R02.

Labels/instructions

On the residential home page, the drop-down menu that allows students to select a module code, to enable them to book a residential school place, has a missing form label. (WCAG 3.3.2). Reference R01.

Non accessible content in Exam invigilation pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is the end of 2020.

Text contrast

The grey text under the Exam Invigilation content box “This website is developed and maintained by Online Services (TLS). This page was last updated on 17th Oct 2016 at 17:44:50”, doesn’t meet the ratio required (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference EI01

Navigation

The website does have a ‘skip to content’ link, but the link when activated does not focus the user in the content area. Instead when a keyboard user activates the link, they are still forced to tab through all the repeated header navigation. Reference EI02.

Compatibility

On all pages, the HTML code does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This means that users who rely on assistive technology like screen readers may have difficulties when interpreting non valid HTML (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference EI03.

Non accessible content in Accessible Module Materials pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issue is the end of 2020.

Compatibility

On all pages, the HTML code does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This means that users who rely on assistive technology like screen readers may have difficulties when interpreting non valid HTML (WCAG 4.1.1).

Non accessible content in Change Log pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is March 2021.

Text contrast

On the Changes to Policy and Curriculum page, while all the links on the website do have visible focus when tabbed, they do not have sufficient contrast with the white page background (WCAG 1.4.11). Reference CL01.

Compatibility

On all pages, the HTML code does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This means that users who rely on assistive technology like screen readers may have difficulties when interpreting non valid HTML (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference CL02.

Non accessible content in Boost Your Business with OU Talent pages

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is March 2021.

Text Contrast

The white link text on the pink background does not meet the contrast ratio required (WCAG1.4.3). Reference BYB01.

Compatibility

On all pages, the HTML code does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This means that users who rely on assistive technology like screen readers may have difficulties when interpreting non valid HTML (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference BYB02.

Non accessible content in Careers Stories, News and Events

The target fix date for the following identified accessibility issues is March 2021.

Text Contrast

On the main page there is very low contrast between the foreground and the background colours for the dates related to each news item (WCAG 1.4.3). Reference CSN02.

Navigation

On the main page, there is an image with an empty link which also has no ALT tag (WCAG 2.4.4). Reference CSN01.

Compatibility

On all pages, the HTML code does not conform to the valid HTML 5 standard. This means that users who rely on assistive technology like screen readers may have difficulties when interpreting non valid HTML (WCAG 4.1.1). Reference CSN03

Disproportionate burden

Webchat

Webchat is a feature available on a discrete number of web pages that allows students, or in some cases those who are considering becoming students, to interact with advisors via text about the subject on the page where the webchat option is available. This service is available during limited hours and only during certain times of the year at present, and will vary by the subject matter of the host page.

Webchat is only ever offered as communication channel in addition to email or telephone contact. Therefore, individuals who may have difficulties using webchat will still be able to use email or telephone to access the same level of service and support. For more details see our webchat disproportionate burden exemption.

Keyboard access

Once a user is in the ‘Type a message’ text box, if they tab forwards, the link ‘Powered by Comm100’ is focused and if they tab again then the cursor disappears. The only way to get back to the ‘Type a message’ text box or links posted in the chat, is to tab backwards (Shift + Tab) which is confusing (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference W1.

The link ‘Powered by Comm100’ link opens a marketing website in a new window (without any warning for keyboard users). This action takes the user away from the chat discussion and makes it difficult for them to return to the chat interface using the keyboard (WCAG 1.3.2). Supplier added fix request to their roadmap: no date given. Reference W2.

There is no way to activate the ‘End Chat’ button by keyboard, so users remain trapped in the interface until the agent finishes the chat. It is possible to close the interface using standard browser controls (Command-Shift-W) but this prevents the user from submitting feedback or requesting a transcript (WCAG 2.1.2). Supplier added fix request to their roadmap: no date given. Reference W3.

The ‘Rating’, ‘Transcript’ and ‘Send File’ buttons are not keyboard accessible (WCAG 2.1.2). Supplier added fix request to their roadmap: no date given. Reference W4.

Once an agent finishes the chat, the user moves to the next screen to submit feedback and request an email transcript. However, there is no way to rate the chat discussion from 1-5 stars using the keyboard. The ‘Submit’ button to submit feedback and the ‘Send’ button to send the email transcript don’t have any visible focus, preventing the using from seeing these buttons and knowing they are ready to activate. Supply agrees that the submit and send button focus need a fix. Reference W5.

High contrast settings (Windows)

Using Windows high contrast settings, the post-chat ‘Rating’ feature is not working because the user cannot select stars nor change their colour to represent ratings (WCAG 2.4.7). Supplier requested more information. Reference W6.

Colour contrast

The introductory text (‘Agent has joined the chat…’) and confirmation text displayed after the chat is completed (e.g. ‘Rating submitted successfully…’ etc), doesn’t pass colour contrast requirements (WCAG 1.4.3). Supplier may be able to provide a fix. References W7 and W8.

Enlarged text setting

When text is resized by 200%, there are some problems with layout, text legibility and horizontal scrolling (WCAG 1.4.4). Supplier requested more information. Reference W9.

When text is resized by 200%, in Firefox the ‘End Chat’ and ‘Close’ buttons are truncated and the user can’t read the text. Microsoft Edge and Chrome display longer text messages as one character per line which makes them difficult to read. In Chrome, the ‘Send transcript’ popup is truncated within the chat window which requires the user to scroll horizontally to enter their email address (WCAG 1.4.4). Supplier requested more information. Reference W10.

Screen magnifier

The ‘End Chat’ and ‘Close’ buttons shown at the top right of the webchat window need to be shown next to the ‘Type a message’ text box. Users may not realise these buttons exist when using a screen magnifier, as they are relatively distant from the ‘Type a message’ text box where the user is focusing their attention (WCAG 1.3.1). Reference W11.

Screen reader

Users can’t access the ‘Rating’, ‘Transcript’, ‘Send File’ buttons using the keyboard. The ‘Rotor’ menu is used to provide shortcuts to lists of useful landmarks on a page like links, form controls, and headings. These buttons are not displayed within the VoiceOver ‘Rotor’ menu either under ‘Links’ or ‘Form Controls’ (WCAG 3.3.2). Requires further assessment by supplier. Reference W12.

The label for the ‘Type a message’ text box is the ‘Submit’ (arrow) button. This button has no descriptive text so when the user navigates to it, nothing is read aloud making it invisible to screen reader users. The ‘Type a message’ text box should have its own descriptive label and the ‘Submit’ button should be labelled appropriately (WCAG 3.3.2). Requires further assessment by supplier. Reference W13.

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

PDFs and other documents

While PDFs and other documents (e.g. those in Word or ePub format) are out of scope, you will find that most PDFs that have been updated since 2018 will be accessible. The exception is that some PDFs found in StudentHome are currently not accessible but we are working to make them so; see the StudentHome entry in the ‘Non accessible content’ section above.

Live video

Live (streamed) video is also out of scope of the accessibility regulations. However there is no live video on the Student Support websites.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

For existing websites that are partially compliant, we have plans to fix those areas that are not accessible. The target fix date is shown above, in the ‘Non accessible content’ section.

For more information about what we are doing to improve accessibility across all the University’s web sites please see Accessibility Statement for the Open University.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 23 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 23 September 2020.

Our Student Support websites were tested between September 2019 and September 2020. The tests were carried out by Open University staff. The tests were based on a sample of pages from each site. The pages were chosen to be representative of different types of content and platform. An emphasis was placed on pages that were either used by many people or would significantly affect particular groups of users, and these pages were tested first. Testing was undertaken mainly by manual methods with some automated testing.