Accessibility statement for

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

1. Accessibility statement for

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

The website is run by Architecture and Design Scotland. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • use any resolution above 320×256 without needing to scroll to see content
  • zoom in up to 400% 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 website 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.

2. How accessible this website is

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

  • some older 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

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’. 

3. Feedback and contact information

If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact:

The Corporate Services Team:

Call us on 0131 556 6699

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:

Call us on 0131 556 6699

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

Our main office is located in central Edinburgh at 9 Bakehouse Close, 144 Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8DD. Please get in touch with us before visiting as our office hours vary.

4. 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).

5. Technical information about this website’s accessibility

Architecture and Design Scotland is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

6. Compliance status 

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

7. 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).

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).

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).

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).

8. Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Images of text (WCAG 1.4.5 Images of Text)

Images of text cause problems for users who need to adjust how visual content like font size, spacing or colours are displayed. The image quality can be reduced and become blurry when users increase page magnification. 

On the How We Help page we demonstrate our approach through a graphic which includes text on an image, however, we have also replicated the content on the graphic as text. 


We will continue to reduce the reliance on images that feature text, and when we use those - for example in infographics - we will describe the content fully on the main page. 

9. Disproportionate Burden

We are committed to improving the areas that are currently non-compliant, listed above. We undertook a major re-design of our main website in 2022. 

However, the materials subdomain is due to be retired from the website. Its content will be passed to another organisation which will undertake a re-design of the resource. This is planned to happen before the end of the financial year 2023/24.

Architecture and Design Scotland judges that carrying out a new independent accessibility audit for the sub-domain and investing staff time in re-designing this resource represents a disproportionate burden to the organisation.  Please click here to read the Disproportionate Burden Assessment for

Whilst we will remove this part of the website, our most important content related to sustainable design and building materials is provided on our main website, 

We are undertaking ongoing checks of this site and improving the accessibility of our content. We are committed to making the main website as accessible as possible with the resources that we have available. 

10. Content that is not within the scope of the 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

On 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).

11. What we are doing to improve accessibility

Since relaunching the main website in June 2022, we have worked to update the website with:

  • Consistently applied alternative text to images added to the website. It is not possible to upload an image without appropriate alternative text. 
  • Improved colour contrast. When tested in June 2022 there were no textual elements on the site that failed contrast checks to the levels required by WCAG 2.1.
  • Improved fonts: All text content on the site uses the approved web-safe font (Roboto). There were no text content items which failed checks for minimum font sizes and font-weight combinations laid out in WCAG2.1. (June 2022)
  • Providing alternatives to pre-recorded media, such as subtitles and other alternatives. 
  • Reducing the number of PDFs we use on our website. 
  • Improved keyboard navigation and focus order. As of June 2022, the site will be easy to navigate without a mouse and have comprehensive tab-index tagging for back and forward keyboard navigation. When tested all pages on the website were navigable by keyboard tab, enter & space interactions. All content and interactive components were reachable and passed in the correct order. Every page had a valid ‘Skip to Main Content’ link as the first navigable item.

12. Preparation of this accessibility statement

In 2020 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.

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 subdomains for these requirements using assistive technologies, user experience journey testing, and code analyses when necessary.

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

This statement was prepared on 7 July 2023. 
The accessibility statement was reviewed on 12 January 2024.

Headline image: Corinne Kutz on Unsplash