A photograph of a person's hands typing on a laptop keyboard next to a notebook and a green plant

This is the accessibility statement for the Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS) website and its associated ‘Materials’ subdomain. We are working to improve our digital access to better our users’ experiences.

This statement embodies our adherence to the ‘Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018’. Our compliance to the regulations has been measured against the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 – single and double A criteria.

The website and associated subdomain covered in this statement includes:

  • The A&DS main website –
  • The A&DS Materials Subdomain –

We are committed to accessibility and want our users to be able to use our websites comfortably.

Technical information about these websites’ accessibility

A&DS is committed to making the A&DS website and its subdomain accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Using these websites

We want as many people as possible to be able to use the Architecture and Design Scotland website and its subdomains to access information about Scotland’s architecture, design and materials. We built these websites so you can:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • use any resolution above 320×256 without needing to scroll to see content
  • zoom in up to 200% without the text or images spilling off the screen
  • navigate the websites using just a keyboard
  • find what you are looking for in multiple ways (ex. using search bar)
  • listen to most of the websites using a screen reader

We have 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 these websites are

We are working to make our platforms and content more accessible, but we know some parts of these websites are not fully accessible yet.

Here is a brief list of content that is not currently accessible:

  • many documents are in PDF format and are not accessible 
  • some parts of the websites, including images, videos, online forms, and buttons and links may not be fully compatible with assistive technologies due to missing alt text, labels, descriptions, captions and website code
  • the reading order of some content may be incorrect when using assistive technologies like screen readers or keyboard navigation
  • some images may not be customisable, some instructions may only be shown through colour, colour contrasts may not be high enough for some images, text and instructions, and some text spacing may not match minimum requirements causing difficulties if you have a visual impairment
  • keyboard navigation and its focus indicator do not work or appear on every part of each website, and the option to skip to the main content does not work on the subdomain
  • parts of the websites that should be identical across each website page may not be identifiable in a consistent way
  • online forms might time you out or not let you review and correct your details before submitting the information
  • some website elements, interface components (buttons), content, and features may not be coded properly to allow for the most accessible experience

A full, technical list of currently inaccessible content and areas of the websites can be found in the section of this accessibility statement titled ‘Non accessible content’.

What to do if you can’t access parts of these websites

If you need information on this website or its subdomain provided in a different format like an accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille:


We will consider your request and try to get back to you in 1 working day, or if your request is more complex, please allow us up to 5 working days for a full reply.

When contacting us please make sure you provide:

  • the service area, document name and/or the web address (URL) of the page the content is on
  • a description of the format you need. For example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print

Reporting accessibility problems with these websites

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of the A&DS website and its subdomain. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting the requirements of the accessibility regulations, contact the Corporate Services Team:

Call us on 0131 556 6699

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 submit a complaint and you’re not happy with how we respond, contact the EHRC.

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

Our main office is located in central Edinburgh at 9 Bakehouse Close, 144 Canongate. Please get in touch with us before visiting as our office hours vary.

Phone 0131 556 66 99

Non-accessible content

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

Buttons and labels

For items on the websites like links and images that are repeated consistently and in the same order across multiple pages of the websites, we have not used standard or identical labels and alt-text for said repeated content. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criteria 3.2.4 (Consistent identification).

Some buttons may be missing labels or instructions. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 3.3.2 (Labels or instructions).

Non-text content (media, tables, and text alternatives)

Some images or non-text content do not have alternative text or descriptive enough labels to explain their content. This means that the information displayed by them is not available to people using a screen reader and they cannot skip past the decorative images. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content: sensory content).

Some images are used as decoration on the websites and should be marked as such. People using a screen reader may not be notified that these are non-essential images and may worry they have missed some information. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content: decoration, formatting, invisible).

No alternative text or captions are provided for any prerecorded audio-only or video-only media that presents an equivalent of the information represented in said media. This makes it extremely difficult for users with visual or hearing impairments to access the same level of media content as other users. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.2.1 (Audio-only and video-only (prerecorded)) and 1.2.2 (Captions (prerecorded)).

Not all time-based media like prerecorded video or audio have alternative media like audio-descriptions, captions, or text transcripts to describe the content. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.2.3 (Audio description or media alternative (Prerecorded)).

Audio-descriptions may not be provided for any prerecorded video content in synchronised media. This means that individuals with visual impairment will not be able to access any content in videos that are either silent or only have a music overlay. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.2.5 (Audio-description (prerecorded)).

If we are using images of text to convey written information, the user may not be able to visually customise the image of text. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.5 (Images of text: customisable).

Sensory characteristics and colour contrast

Some information and items (like links) on the websites are only distinguishable by colour. This means users might not be able to see or recognise the information and/or function of the item. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criteria 1.4.1 (Use of colour).

The colour contrast of large-scale text, images of text, and graphical objects on the websites may not be high enough to display content clearly (except for logos which are a contrast exception). This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.3 (Contrast minimum) and 1.4.11 (Non-text contrast: graphical objects).

Visual formatting (zoom, orientation, resolution, and text spacing)

We cannot guarantee that all the website text meets the minimum text spacing requirements. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.12 (Text spacing).

Website navigation and page timing

When using keyboard navigation, the keyboard does not highlight essential information on some parts of the websites. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.1.1 (Keyboard interface).

When navigating the webpages of these websites using a keyboard, screen reader, or other non-mouse method, the user may find that the focus order of webpage navigation is illogical or non-sequential. This can be challenging for individuals who rely on surrounding content for context as it may confuse the meaning or operability of the sites. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.4.3 (Focus order)

In some places, the focus of the keyboard navigation is only indicated by one characteristic such as colour or a box around the focused item. As a result, if you use a keyboard to navigate, you may be unable to easily navigate the websites. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.4.1 (Use of colour) and AA-level success criterion 2.4.7 (Focus visible).

Some navigational mechanisms (like links or menus) that are repeated on multiple web pages within a set of web pages may not occur in the same relative order each time they are repeated. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 3.2.3 (Consistent navigation order).

Web page titling, language settings, and content

The purpose of some links may not be described in the text/title of the link, so it may prove difficult to understand the purpose of the link. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.4.4 (Link purpose: in context).

Website mark up and functionality

Some of the information, structure and relationships of items on the websites aren’t coded, labelled or grouped properly, therefore assistive technologies may get confused. This can result in parts of the websites not being accessible to people using assistive technology. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).

When filling out forms on the websites, there may not be a functionality that recognises input errors and then suggests corrections. This may lead users to miss important mistakes made on forms they are submitting and could lead to their submission of inaccurate information. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 3.3.3 (Error suggestion).

Some of our website code used to create content is not properly nested, might be missing start and end tags, have duplicated information, and IDs may not be unique. This means that the technical computing languages like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS may not be written in the most efficient, accessible way. This can sometimes confuse assisted technologies meaning that such users are unable to properly access the websites. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.1 (Parsing).

The name and role for all user interface components (things the user can interact with) may not be capable of being programmatically determined (verified in the website code); the website states, properties, and values (things used to interact with the websites) that can be set by the user may not be capable of being programmatically set (changed in the code); and notifications of changes to any of these items may not be available to user or assistive technologies. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).

Since September 2020, we have worked to update the websites with:

  • Consistently applied alternative text to images added to the website.
  • Improved colour contrast and text
  • Providing alternatives to pre-recorded media, such as subtitles and other alternatives.
  • Improved keyboard navigation and focus order.

Disproportionate Burden

We are committed to improving the bulleted criteria above and have undertaken a major re-design of our main website However, we are in the process of reviewing and planning a re-design of our web content for the materials subdomain. Therefore, parts of this website are likely to change with upcoming website development projects within the next few years. We have assessed the cost of fixing all other accessibility issues against the planned development and believe doing so would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations.

Content outside the scope of accessibility regulations

PDFs and other documents

Some of our older office file format documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs) were published before 23 September 2018 and are not used for administrative or essential purposes and so may be inaccessible. Due to their age and non-essential status, they are exempt under Reg 4(2)(a).

Prerecorded video (created before 23 September 2020)

Our videos created before 23 September 2020 might not have complete or accurate closed captions, alternative text, audio descriptions or transcripts that describe the events and content of the video in text format. We don’t plan to add these alternatives because pre-recorded video from before 23 September 2020 is exempt under Reg 4(2)(b).

Live time-based media

In rare occasions, we may broadcast or stream live media on our websites. This content will not meet certain WCAG 2.1 criteria due to its incompatibility with some assistive technologies and lack of captions, subtitles and other alternatives. This type of content is exempt from the accessibility regulations under Reg 4(2)(c).

Non-navigational online maps and mapping services

Maps on these websites are not AA accessible but they are not used for navigational purposes and are therefore exempt under Reg 4(2)(d).

Third-party content and technologies

Some types of content and technology used on these websites are provided by third-party distributors (like YouTube or social media sites). We have not paid for, developed, nor controlled these services at any time; therefore, we are not liable for their accessibility compliance under Reg 4(2)(e).

How we tested these websites

The A&DS website and its associated subdomain were tested for WCAG 2.1 A-AA accessibility requirements by web crawler tools hosted by third-party companies like Siteimprove and Axe – Accessibility Tester in 2020.

These third-party programmes do not test for all accessibility requirements outlined by the WCAG 2.1 A-AA. Because of this, we manually tested a sample of pages from the website and associated subdomain for these requirements using assistive technologies, user experience journey testing, and code analyses when necessary.

We will analyse and act on these tests to update our accessibility on an annual basis.

If needed, you can find a list of the pages selected for sample testing by contacting us at

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We’ll continue to update and audit our accessibility regularly to ensure we fully meet WCAG single A and double AA standards.

We are always looking to improve our accessibility services and view accessibility as an essential service for our users. If you have suggestions on how we can improve our accessibility, please contact the. Communications Team or our Communications Manager:


This statement was prepared on 24 July 2020. It was last updated on 9 June 2022.

Headline image: Corinne Kutz on Unsplash