Accessibility  How we tested the digital estate for accessibility and what we tested

How we tested the digital estate

The University of Leeds hosts over 2,000 websites and applications. To test our compliance with the WCAG 2.1 Conformance Level AA Guidelines, we chose a sample of these websites and applications by asking these questions: 

  • How many people use the website / application, and how often?
  • How important the website / application is to a person’s work or study?
  • Do the websites / applications cover every stage of the student journey, from applying to graduating?
  • Do the websites / applications tested include those used by staff, students, and members of the public?
  • When was the website / application created? Was it created after 23 September 2018?
  • Is the website / application in use, and can it be accessed? 

Between 5 August and 6 September 2019, we tested:

  • Our main website platform,
  • A range of websites, applications, and mobile applications. Read a more detailed list of tested websites and applications at the end of this page. 

Our testing process

We assessed each webpage against the WCAG 2.1 AA Standard based test model. We supplemented this with additional testing using automated tools where possible.

For large, third-party applications we have sourced their accessibility statements that document their compliance levels.

We have also assessed websites and applications with assistive technologies including JAWS (Job Access With Speech), Dragon NaturallySpeaking and ZoomText.

We selected 61 applications, and tested a subset of pages (two, three, or four) from each application. 

We selected 82 websites. We tested each website’s home page and a subset of pages within each website. 

We also tested seven mobile applications. 

We tested them against the WCAG 2.1 AA Guidelines, and using three assistive technologies:

  • JAWS (Job Access With Speech) – a screen reader
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking – voice recognition software
  • ZoomText – a screen reader and magnifier 

We used these tests to make an overall assessment about the University of Leeds’ websites and applications and to prioritise how we make them compliant.

Which sites and applications did we test? 


We tested a range of applications from within the University’s online estate, including student and staff portals, our student information applications, online repositories, training systems, and library services. We have not provided a list here because many of these are not open to the public. If you have a specific question about an application, please contact IT Services:


We tested our main website platform, available at, and a range of our sites as listed below.

Some of these websites have been updated, closed or merged with other sites since being tested. The following list is a record of the sample of sites that were assessed between 5 August and 6 September 2019. We have noted where there is a substantial difference between what was tested and what is live.

Further testing

A digital accessibility audit of the main University site was conducted by Shaw Trust and delivered in July 2022. Any non-compliances on the main University website will be addressed as soon as possible or as described in this statement.


A combination of automated evaluation tools and pan-disability user testing with assistive technologies was used to conduct a comprehensive accessibility audit. Testing was performed to WCAG 2.1 AA conformance.


A representative sample of the website was tested along with some specific pages requested by the University.

Technical Testing

A Technical Consultant who possesses knowledge and experience of accessibility and web technologies conducted technical testing using one or more automated tools. These tools were used to scan pages for technical accessibility issues such as HTML/CSS parsing errors. The Technical Consultant then analysed and interpreted the results.

Manual User Testing

The website was manually tested by a team of experienced pan-disabled testers, many of which use assistive technologies. The team was made up of individuals with different disabilities to cover the widest range of accessibility barriers as possible. The testing team consisted of the following:

  • Keyboard Only User: The user has a motor impairment that limits he or she to using only a keyboard to operate a computer or device. To make operation easier, the user may utilise an adaptive keyboard.
  • Voice Activation User: The user has a motor impairment that limits him or her to using only voice commands to operate a computer or device via assistive technology such as microphone and dictation software.
  • Screen Reader User: The user has a visual impairment that limits him or her to using assistive technology such as a screen reader to operate a computer or device via keyboard control and feedback via synthesised audible descriptions of visual elements.
  • Low Vision User: The user has a visual impairment that limits his or her access to content presented at 100% magnification. The user utilises system/browser controls or assistive technology to increase screen magnification.
  • Colour Blind User: The user has a visual impairment that limits his or her access to content within a certain colour spectrum. The user utilises system/browser controls or assistive technology to change the content’s colour spectrum.
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing User: The user has a hearing impairment that limits his or her access to audio content.
  • Learning Difficulties User: The user has a learning disability that limits his or her access to content that is presented in a way that requires a high level of literacy.

Manual auditing consisted of each member of the team performing tests and/or completing user journeys based on criteria relevant to their individual disability and accessibility guidelines. The testers used multiple browsers, browser tools and assistive technologies in an aim to locate issues. They then reported their findings and provided constructive feedback to help pinpoint and provide solutions to accessibility barriers.


The pages tested include the following:

Page updated: 22 January 2024

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