Web Accessibility

The goal of an accessible website is to ensure it can be read, navigated and used, by everyone, regardless of disability, location, experience or technology.

A more comprehensive introduction to Web Accessibility and why it is important is available on the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) website. Bridgwater College aims for full compliance of the guidelines produced by the WAI. The BBC website provides a thorough overview of accessibility issues and ways computer users can make the most of the internet.

This page gives information on how we approach the design of the Bridgwater College website with accessibility and ease-of-use in mind. We make on-going efforts to improve our site and keep aware of the challenges of providing an inclusive experience on our site. If you would like to contact us with feedback or questions please email website@bridgwater.ac.uk.

If you are looking for information on physical access, see our Learner Support page.

Standards

We address accessibility first and foremost by adhering to best practice in web standards. We ensure that our HTML is valid and we keep content separate from presentation by using CSS for layout and style. The information we provide is available regardless of the device or browser used to view it. We aim to support all browsers/devices but focus efforts on modern versions, rather than trying to support older technology that has increasingly fewer users.

Structure

The structure of pages has been carefully considered to optimise the site for the widest possible audience. Sections are organised in a logical way that intends to make finding information simple. Moving around the site should be straight forward.

Navigation

Navigation has been designed to be clear and logical. Menus are prominently displayed with large click targets and are ordered alphabetically. A consistent approach has been used across the site to aid usability. Breadcrumb links show where the current page fits within the site structure and search is prominently displayed in the top right of all pages.

Typography

Text size, spacing and colour are designed to provide an easy reading experience. Relative, rather than proportional, sizes are used to allow text to be easily resized. Headings are used to provide context, breaks in text and allow for scanning. Text links are chosen to describe the destination and are differentiated by being a different colour and underlined. When appropriate text links are also given titles to further expand meaning. Colours used on our site offer sufficient contrast to ensure clear readability.

Performance

We view file sizes as a key consideration when developing our site and use methods and techniques to ensure pages are as lightweight as possible. We optimise the file sizes of photos and other media and try to avoid the use of large files so that our site can be experienced fully on low bandwidth connections.

Images

When we use pictures on our site we include a meaningful text alternative when necessary and leave it blank when not. Where possible we avoid using images for styling and try to ensure that when pictures are used that they provide value.

PDFs and attachments

We sometimes make files available as PDFs (Portable Document Format), a common internet file format. This format allows for electronic distribution of documents agnostic of computing device or browser. We often use PDF documents for digital copies of our printed publications/media.

In order to view PDF files you will need a PDF document reader, of which there are various types available. Adobe Acrobat is a well-known PDF reader that can be installed and used free of charge.

Customisation

Many modern browsers and operating systems provide excellent tools for changing the display of websites or performing tasks such as increasing text sizes or customising fonts. We recommend these, as they provide a better experience than what we could realistically provide by developing our own.

Rather than maintain a list of instructions for accessing these tools in the myriad number of browsers available, we recommend performing a search for these on your search engine of choice. Alternatively contact us on website@bridgwater.ac.uk and we will do everything we can to offer support.