Kent Union sets a precedent for accessibility

A laptop, next to a plant, glasses and a tablet. The Kent Union logo is in the left hand corner of the image.

Making Kent a more accessible place to work and study has been an important process in the lead-up to the legal deadline of September 2020.

With The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations (2018) requiring the University’s digital content to be accessible to everyone, Kent Union has proven to be a leading example of how this should be done.

What Kent Union has done

Kent Union has set a precedent by becoming the first Student Union to publish an accessibility statement, highlighting the accessibility of their website in accordance to defined standards, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA and complying with the public sector regulations.

Created by Lloyd Wilson (Head of Technology) and Christopher Appleton (Front End Website Developer), the statement was published on SearchBOX, – the accessible publishing directory.

As a result of Kent Union’s innovative approach, a new category has being created within SearchBOX entitled, ‘Student Unions’, and has been shared with the National Union of Students (NUS) in the hope other student unions will follow Chris and Lloyd’s proactive style.

Using the third party company ReciteMe, to provide accessibility tools for the Union’s main web pages, the aim is to promote digital access across the Union, including societies and student reps’ interactions.

Fantastic feedback

Ben Watson, Accessible Information Adviser at the University, praises the Kent Union team for their achievement and describes Lloyd and Christopher’s work as a great example of building a service in the right way. He says: ‘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.’

Sasha Langeveldt, Students’ Union President 2019-2020, says: ‘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.’

The University and accessibility

The University is working to meet the regulations as part of the ongoing work to embed accessibility across the University. Led by OPERA (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement) and the KDAWG (Kent Digital Accessibility Working Group).

A great example of digital accessibility being used at Kent is the Digitally Enhanced Education – A Guide to Teaching Online course, launched by the E-learning team. With accessibility woven throughout, this course provides an excellent means of conveying the core information to staff.

For more information on accessibility at Kent go to:

Last updated