Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2022

Today (19th May) is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments. When we make our digital content more accessible, we remove barriers and ensure that all our users can get the most out of that content.

Why not take part in GAAD by checking and improving some of the content that you are responsible for?

CMS users could use our Web Content Accessibility Checklist to audit their content and then take a look at the Fixing Common Accessibility Issues document to help them to improve their pages.

If you create documents for teaching or for sharing on the AU website, how about you work through the Digital Accessibility Checklist to see if there are ways you could improve the accessibility of your documents?

All CMS users should have already completed digital accessibility training, but if it’s been a while, why not have another look at the online training and remind yourself of how you can ensure your pages are accessible.

And if you provide CMS users with content to put on the website, you can make sure that you’re helping them to make the content as accessible as possible. We have a specific online training for that: Digital Accessibility for Managers.

Remember, making our content accessible is not about ticking a legal box, it’s about making sure that everyone can find, read and understand our content, and not excluding anyone.

If you have any concerns about digital accessibility or any questions, please contact us on

Website Improvements

We’ve rolled out some changes this week to improve the accessiblity of our website.

We’ve improved our image sliders to reduce distractions. The sliders can now be paused with a pause button, so you don’t have to keep your mouse on them to make them stop. This means that users who find them distracting can pause them and continue to use the page.

We’ve also stopped our image sliders from interfering with screen readers. Previously the words on a slider would be read out when the slide image changed. This would happen regardless of where on the page the screen reader was reading content. The text would come in the middle of other sentences the screen reader was reading out, so it was very confusing. This no longer happens 🙂

Sliders were also a problem for users who were navigating using their keyboard. It was hard to see where you were on the page when you tabbed onto a slider, and you couldn’t stop the animation of the slider using the keyboard. Now you can see where you are and can tab onto the pause button and activate it to stop the slider moving.

We have made big improvements to ‘accordions’. These are the bars containing headings which expand to show additional text when you click on them. Our original accordions weren’t accessible to keyboard users and were also difficult to access using a screen reader. The new accordions are much more accessible. You can tab onto them and open and close them, and it is much simpler to have your screen reader to read out the contents of the accordions.

As part of our changes we have switched all pages using tabs to use accordions instead. At this point we’re considering whether there is a need to bring in an alternative way of creating tabs where they are needed. To make our tabs accessible, we would like to start from scratch with a new CMS content type rather than trying to have one content type doing different things. We’ll let users know when this is finalised.

There are still some accessiblity issues around our site, but we’re delighted to have fixed some of our most widespread and serious issues.

You can see more details of improvements that we have made so far as part of our Accessibility Statement.