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Making the University website accessible

New regulations which affect the University of St Andrews came into force on the 23 September 2018. These regulations state that a public sector body website must meet certain accessibility standards and publish an accessibility statement before the 23 September 2020. This post introduces the accessibility standards that need to be met, provides some basic…

13 February 2019Accessibility

Why to avoid marketese on the web

Marketese is a writing style which favours promotional, self-congratulatory and boastful language over technical and objective wording. At the University of St Andrews, we aim to avoid using marketese on the web at all costs.

7 February 2019Content

Usability testing around the University

The digital communications team has been conducting usability testing since 2015. Usability testing allows us to evaluate the design of a webpage, or more specifically, a particular process such as signing up for a visiting day. Digicomms is keen for other units and departments within the University to consider conducting usability testing on their webpages.…

14 September 2017Usability

Updating the undergraduate pages with HEFCE information

A couple of weeks ago, the content team spent some time going through a ‘Information for Students’ guide from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, but we call it the HEFCE guide (HEFCE stands for Higher Education Funding Council for England, for whom the guide was developed). The guide aims to help universities present…

24 April 2017Content

Making web pages more accessible with WAI-ARIA

We are reviewing our digital pattern library to see how it can be more accessible. This article gives an overview of WAI-ARIA.

1 December 2016Content

Why we don’t use video backgrounds

The release of HTML5 in 2014 introduced a standard way to embed videos directly on a web page, rather than needing to use a plug-in such as Flash. With an easier way to embed videos, using video backgrounds on web pages is becoming a more familiar design trend.

6 September 2016Design

Resources for web writers

When writing for the web, you have to keep a lot in mind: format, accessibility, devices, audience, house style and more. Luckily, there are plenty of useful tools out there to help you make your writing as user-friendly as possible.

4 July 2016Articles and resources

Writing for digital vs writing for print

The advent of the internet has drastically changed the way we receive and communicate information. Previously, written content could only be published as physical print, and was therefore static and unchangeable; today, content can be published online and is in constant flux. As technology has shifted the way information is delivered, readers’ needs have changed,…

30 November 2015Content

The BBC’s accessibility case study

Accessibility originates with UX: A BBC iPlayer case study This is an interesting case study in the challenges of creating an accessible design for the BBC iPlayer. It may not seem immediately obvious, but visual design can have a massive impact on users who cannot see the page. I often find that mobile applications and…

2 April 2015Usability

Accessibility for documents

Creating accessible PDFs We are trying to move towards a standardised way of presenting PDFs. While most (if not all) web content and forms would ideally be published as HTML, sometimes we have to use Microsoft Word or PDF files as an interim measure. But many of the PDFs that are created for the University…

5 November 2014Guides