The University's obligation is to comply with WCAG 2.1 Level AA.

This section aims to improve the general awareness about web accessibility, our responsibilities and obligations as a university.

Maintaining a high standard of accessible sites requires commitment from all website owners, content creators, website coordinators and editors and developers.

Web accessibility

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. The most widely-recognised standard for web accessibility is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 (WCAG 2.1).

Our obligations

Any organisational unit publishing content on the web or creating websites needs to be aware of their obligations regarding web accessibility, and take measures to ensure they meet the web content guidelines or offer alternative ways for impaired users to consume content being published, so as to not disenfranchise.

The University’s obligation is to comply with WCAG 2.1 Level AA. This has two sources:

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA)

First, the University must comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which are supported by the Disability Standards for Education 2005 and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Advisory Notes on Web Access.

The Advisory Notes specifically recommends an organisation “should achieve a minimum of Level AA conformance [with WCAG 2.0] in order to be consistent with the Aims and Objects of the DDA”.

It is a key principle of the DDA that people with disabilities have the right to equal access, without barriers.

Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO)

Second, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) published a Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy in 2010 which mandates compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level A by December 2012 and compliance with WCAG2.0 Level AA by December 2014 for government and government funded organisations.

The University was advised by the Legal Office in May 2012 that the University is required to comply with this mandate.

Additionally, the University has submitted a Disability Action Plan for the years 2011-2014 to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Among the strategies listed is:

“Ensure UQ physical and virtual infrastructure is compliant with relevant legislation, observant of best practice guidelines, and provides for optimal outcomes in terms of use and access.”

Additional benefits to following web accessibility guidelines

  • Better search optimisation
  • Better compatibility with a range of devices
  • Makes for better user-friendliness for all users
  • Future-proofs content for things like CMS migrations
  • Websites load faster
  • Catering for accessibility becomes easy once it is part of your routine
  • Facilitates better engagement with the community
    • Ageing population
    • Disabled users

Checking accessibility

There are a range of ways to check if your website or web content is accessible.

It's important to note that there are two main types of checking, automated checks and human checks, and that you need to do both in order to check the accessibility of your content.

Automated checks

A software program, website or browser plug-in can detect some types of accessibility errors. For example, a program can check if an image has alternative text, or detect that headings haven't been used in the correct order.

Human checks

For many aspects of accessibility, it is not possible to do an automated check. For example, an automated check can tell you that an image has alternate text, but it can't tell you whether the text provides the same information as the image. A human needs to check that the alternate text is appropriate for the image. What you'll need to check depends on your site and content.

Getting started


Types of disabilities relevant to web accessibility

Understanding how people with disabilities use the web can help us understand how to improve accessibility. However, the abilities and requirements of people with disabilities vary widely, and each person with a disability will have their own combination of techniques and technology.

When we are talking about web accessibility for people with disabilities, we usually need to consider four types of disabilities: visual, auditory, motor and cognitive, as well as seizure disorders.

Accessibility guides and documentation

Video guides


  • WCAG 2.1 checklist: How to Meet WCAG 2.1: A customizable quick reference to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 requirements (success criteria) and techniques.
  • WebAIM WCAG 2.1 Checklist: a comprehensive checklist which covers web content, web design and development


These check a single page at a time, but give you detailed information about the page

  • The Accessibility Engine: aXe is a free, open-source accessibility testing tool that runs right in your web browser.
  • WAVE: a website which checks your page and shows you the accessibility features and errors within the page. Not as comprehensive as HTML_CodeSniffer, but helps you do some human checks such as reviewing alternate text. There is also the WAVE toolbar for Firefox which runs the same checks as the website, but also enables you to check additional aspects such as the content structure and order.
  • Juicy Studio Accessibility Toolbar: a Firefox toolbar which helps check some more advanced areas including colour contrast, ARIA landmarks and tables.


  • NoCoffee: a Chrome extension that allows you to see your website as if you had visual impairments.
  • NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access): a free screen reader by NV Access, an Australia-based not-for-profit. In addition to giving tens of thousands of vision-impaired and blind people across the world access to computers, it is an excellent tool for developers to experience their website as a visually impaired person would.