Meeting WCAG

Meeting the WCAG 2.X guidelines in time for the introduction of Accessibility Regulations in September 2020 was a great opportunity to confirm that the organisation was ensuring digital equality as standard.

I was actively producing a compliant statement and met at least AA standard across the website several months prior to this deadline, working closely with key stakeholders from the University of Kent Project OPERA (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement) Team.

Working with the University of Kent

As part of the project to meet the required standards, myself and the Union’s Head of Technology met with OPERA on multiple occasions where they offered advice on best practice, how to change the workplace culture towards thinking accessible-first and discussed the intricacies of the WCAG guidelines. In August 2020, the University wrote a highly praising news article on their website in which Ben Watson, Accessible Information Adviser at the University, praised us for our achievement and described our work as “a great example of building a service in the right way”.

A union is meant to make you feel like you belong, and the team’s hard work on accessibility perfectly demonstrates that their services are designed for everyone.

Ben Watson | Accessible Information Adviser at the University

The Students’ Union President at the time also provided a positive statement for the article:

I am very proud of the work done on the accessibility policy – as someone who is dyslexic I know the importance of making documents accessible to all. As a Students’ Union, it’s important to make sure all students are given equal and equitable amount of support to help them find and read through important documents. People have the right to feel independent and I hope this policy allows students with accessibility needs to feel like they too matter, because they do.

Sasha Langeveldt | Students’ Union President 2019-2020

At the suggestion of OPERA, I submitted the accessibility statement I produced for Kent Union to the free and comprehensive directory of access statements called searchBOX, whose aim is to “help librarians and disability service officers source accessible content [and] find the accessibility statements of their third-party suppliers” and “contains over 7,000 publishers, platforms, universities and digital suppliers”.

In submitting, I was contacted by their team to explain they produced the “Student Union” category because of us, being the first to join the crowd-sourced network. I later added the GKSU accessibility policy too and have actively encouraged others in the industry to add to the collection.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2021

During Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2021, I celebrated our successes surrounding digital accessibility with accessibility-toolbar provider ReciteMe on social media. For this event I liaised directly with the ReciteMe marketing team and produced a GAAD news article using some resources they provided to share on our website.

In the article, I mention the “positive pressure” that our students put on us to improve our services and make them accessible to all as well as how “by creating awareness on an individual or organisational level and helping others to understand the opportunities presented by inclusion, we can all make a positive difference together”.



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