Recite Me: New Accessibility Toolbar

Posted 25 June 2020
Abi explains the new website toolbar.
Abi explains the new website toolbar.

Written by Abi.

Views are Abi's.

Throughout this year, accessibility has been something of a priority for me. Despite attempting to bring things to the University’s attention previously, the publicity at the start of the year gave them the reality check that they needed. Since then, I have been working closely with the University and with students to address a number of issues of accessibility around campus. In lockdown, the University have taken this opportunity to address some of the issues raised, so I hope that we will be seeing some positive change on their side very soon.

Multiple students have spoken to me about the colour pairings used on our newsletters and Students' Union website, making the material difficult for people with dyslexia to read. Therefore, we wanted to find a way to make our website more accessible for everyone.

Yesterday, we installed an accessibility toolbar to our website. This bar allows you to change the colour. size font and spacing of the text on the page. It also has elements to make it easier to read with a magnifier tool, dictionary, ruler and screen mask to help those who experience challenges with reading. For those with visual impairments, a screen reader tool will read out the website text you wish to hear. To use the new accessibility toolbar, simply click 'Accessibility Tools' which now appears in the top right corner of the website.

Another important aspect this toolbar has for us is the ability to translate the text into over 100 languages, and read aloud in 35 different languages. Pre-COVID, 15% of our students were international students, and the University only want to increase this further. As a Students’ Union we want to make ourselves as accessible as possible for anyone who wants to get in involved or receive support and hopefully with this translate element, we will be able to communicate with our International Students much more effectively.

This toolbar is an excellent step forward for Hull University Students’ Union, and I am so pleased that it was able to be installed before I leave tomorrow! 

When you return to campus please remember that if you find any issues of accessibility you can report them directly to the estates team here.

If you have any further ideas or campaigns around how we could be more accessible, then please contact [email protected]

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