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This website is run by Royal College of Art. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • Heading tags are present with no content.
  • Pages are present with an incorrect or illogical heading structure.
  • There are link tags that do not contain descriptive link text, or any text at all.
  • There are images that have a missing text alternative, or provide a text alternative that does not fully describe the content.
  • There are areas of the website that can only be accessed by mouse users.
  • There are frames used to display external content. These frames do not have a descriptive title.
  • Video content is used that does not provide alternative formats for visual and audible content.
  • Some content is presented with insufficient colour contrast.

Accessibility statement - last updated 8 May 2024

The Royal College of Art is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

This accessibility statement applies to www.rca.ac.uk.

This website is not compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard. The non-compliances are listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

There were empty headings on several of the pages tested throughout the website and there are multiple pages on the website that contain an illogical heading structure. Screen reader and other assistive technology users have the ability to navigate web pages by structure. This means that the user can read or jump directly to top level elements (<h1>), next level elements (<h2>), third level elements (<h3>), and so on. Viewing or listening to this outline should give them a good idea of the contents and structure of the page.

On several pages there are up to 13 "...read more" links. They give no other context as to what the link is for. The text of a link should describe the destination of the link and the link’s purpose. Providing a descriptive link text will allow users to easily determine the function of the link and make educated decisions to click the link or not. If it is not possible to identify the purpose of the link from the link text itself, then this information should be provided in context. 

There are a number of instances where images are missing alternative text. Furthermore, there were a number of instances where images had non-descriptive alt text. alt text should not be an image file name. All images must contain a valid alternative text to allow screen readers to hear the description of the image.  If an item is used for decoration, a null alt attribute should be included (alt=""), to hide the items from Screen Reading software.  It will cause less confusion, while making the website more usable and accessible as a result.

There are frames present on the site that does not contain a descriptive title. When a screen reader user hears a list of frames, the user needs to know the purpose of each one. When frame titles are not present, screen readers look for other sources of information, such as the frame's name attribute or file name. Sometimes these other sources of information are not very helpful at all. If a frame is given a name or filename of "default.htm" (or something equally non-descriptive), there is really no way to know what each frame contains, other than by having the screen reader read through the content.

The website contains embedded videos on a number of pages. To enable users who have hearing impairments understand content in videos, they must have a text alternative. Transcripts or subtitles can be used to convey the information within the video to hearing impaired users. There are a number of videos on the website that failed to provide a text alternative to allow deaf or hard of hearing users to access the content.

Some pages feature poor colour contrast, which makes it difficult for someone with sight loss to see the content properly. The combination of text and background colour should be set to create an easy to read website. Using colours that are similar for the background and foreground can cause blocks of text to become difficult to read. Alternative stylesheets can be used to change the appearance of the page and provide an alternative with a stronger contrast. If the text size is at least 18 point if not bold and 14 point if bold, the minimum colour contrast ratio should be at least 3:1, if the text is less than 18 point if not bold and less than 14 point if bold, the minimum colour contrast ratio should be at least 4.5:1. Throughout the site there are combinations of colours that fall below the minimum contrast levels that make the text difficult to read.

Disproportionate burden statement

We believe that our approach to carrying out accessibility checks is reasonable.

We’ve assessed the cost of fixing all the issues with navigation and accessing information, and with interactive tools and transactions. We believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations.

We have worked with third party accessibility experts Shaw Trust Accessibility Services to audit www.rca.ac.uk. We will commission a follow-up assessment in autumn 2024.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations:

PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value).

Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. By September 2024, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages.

The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services.

Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards.

Live video

Live video streams do not have captions. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.2.4 (captions - live).

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

  • This statement was first prepared on 18 March 2020. It was last updated on 8 May 2024.
  • This website was last tested on 23 July 2021. The test was carried out by Shaw Trust Accessibility Services
  • Shaw Trust worked with the Royal College of Arts and selected 25 high traffic pages to test. In additional, Shaw Trust use automated software that can assess every publicly available page.
  • We tested our main website platform, available at www.rca.ac.uk

Feedback and contact information

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille, email us at [email protected].

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in three working days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact [email protected].

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

  • We provide a text relay service for people who are D/deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment.
  • Our offices have audio induction loops, or if you contact us before your visit we can arrange a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
  • Find out how to contact us at www.rca.ac.uk/contact-us

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’).

If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).