Guidance for staff


What do you need help with?

This page includes a curated set of links to digital accessibility tools, guidance, and documentation to help you create accessible digital resources, check for accessibility in your content and resources, and find good tools to enhance your own working experience.

For more information about web accessibility and the accessibility of the Brookes website, please contact webdev@brookes.ac.uk.

If you have a question about digital accessibility or accessibility tools or would like to report a digital accessibility issue (such as an accessibility issue within a Moodle course page), please email digital-accessibility@brookes.ac.uk.

What type of accessibility tools are available?

I need to access content in an alternative format.

The following tools will help you to convert different types of web content to alternative or editable formats.

Alternative Formats Ally

  • All Moodle users can use the Alternative Formats icon to download files in different formats. 
    • How it works: When you add a File or Folder resource to Moodle, the Alternative Formats Ally icon will be automatically added, which all users can see and use. 
    • Information for staff: Alternative Formats Ally (Staff Guide).
    • Information for students: Alternative Formats Ally (Student Guide): this guidance document is designed for student use. Please provide a link to this resource in all of your Moodle courses so that your students know about this feature.

Free to use on other types of content

  • Available on AppsAnywhere
    • ClaroRead: PDF Reader for your mobile device with features to increase readability of documents.
  • Available from Learning Resources
    • Sensus Access: se the Sensus Access service to convert a document from an inaccessible format (eg. image only PDF file, JPEG pictures, Powerpoint presentations) into an accessible format, including e-book, MP3 or DAISY audio book or digital braille. 

Return to types of tools list

I need something read aloud.

The following tools will read the text on a digital resource aloud.

Free to use to have text read aloud

  • ClaroRead: Chrome browser extension offers limited text to speech on web pages.
  • MS Word 365 Learning Tools
    • Use your free Brookes license for Microsoft Office 365.
    • Immersive Reader - includes both a unique text view profile (to adjust colour, line length, and reading rule) and text to speech. 
    • Read Aloud - includes text to speech.
    • Speak - reads text aloud in the language of your MS Office.
  • HelperBird: Browser extension for text to speech conversion for web pages, ebooks and pdfs.

Specialist tools for conversion and text to speech available from the Assistive Technology Suites

  • Dragon: is speech recognition software that allows you to dictate content (and learns your voice profile) but also allows you to command / navigate your computer without using a mouse/keyboard. Available on selected PCs in the AT suites.

Return to types of tools list

I need to change how my screen looks so I can read it better.

The following tools will help you adjust how different resources look on your screen.

Free to use

Available on AppsAnywhere

  • ClaroRead: PDF Reader for your mobile device with features to increase readability of documents, including different options to tint your screen.

Available for short-term loan or through a free trial (for short term access)

  • Supernova-Dolphin: Screen reader for Windows with a 30 day trial version or via USB copies available from the Assistive Technology Suites. Enlarges (up to 64 times magnification) all or part of screen content while maintening sharpness and clarity, can be combined with text to speech or screen reader. 
  • Zoomtext Screen magnifier for Windows: Enlarges all or part of screen content while maintening sharpness and clarity, combined with text to speech.

For more information on how to change webpage settings, please see this guidance document from Inclusive Support.

Return to types of tools list

I need to produce content without using a keyboard or mouse.

The following tools will help you to use voice controlled screen navigation, dictate content and produce content with your voice alone.

Free to use or built-in

  • Voice type: In Google Apps you can use your voice to dictate and format content and navigate within a document.
  • Dictate: In MS Office you can use your voice to dictate and format content and navigate within a document. 

Specialist tools favailable from the Assistive Technology Suites

  • Dragon: is speech recognition software that allows you to dictate content (and learns your voice profile) but also allows you to command / navigate your computer without using a mouse/keyboard. Available on selected PCs in the AT suites.

Available through a free trial (for short term access)

  • Otter AI: Speech to text: A subscription service that provides audio transcription. Automated audio transcription with summary keywords, highlights, and full audio transcripts. If you subscribe you receive 600 mins free every month.

Return to types of tools list

I need help organising my notes and other content.

The following tools will help you to organise your ideas and notes into more accessible formats.

Free to use

  • ClaroIdeas: A free app with a Google Chrome extension that allows the creation and editing of concept or idea maps using visual components.
  • Coggle: A free mindmapping app with a Google Chrome extension with a variety of text and multimedia options.

Return to types of tools list

I need to access a screen reader in order to 'view' a digital resource.

The following tools are screen readers which allow you to access things on your screen including course content, email, applications, and more. Most can also provide Braille output if you require it and have the related digital Braille reader equipment available.

Free to use 

Available for short-term loan or through a free trial (for short term access)

Specialist tools available for purchase

Return to types of tools list

Types of tools that are available (definitions)

  • Alternative format conversion - converts files on Moodle or other sites to other formats (such as from Word documents to PDF format).
  • Text to speech – reading text aloud, articles or proofreading your work.
  • Format enhancement - change colours, font size and spacing, increase or decrease magnification, text only / reflow. 
  • Dictation – of text or voice commanding your PC (rather than mouse or keyboard).
  • Mindmapping – organising tasks and structuring work with visual representations.
  • Screen reader – hotkeys for navigating screen content and reads screen details (links, lists, buttons, images etc). 

Tools for specific operating systems

Tools for specific browsers

How do I check to see if my materials are accessible?

There are many different types of tools that allow you to check for the accessibiilty pass/fail rating for websites, web applications, and other resources. The W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) has a list of evaluation tools that allows you to filter for which web accessibility regulations you need to check for, including our current standard which is WCAG 2.1 AA.

Free and easy to use tools to check websites

  • WAVE Web Accessibility Tool: WebAIM's website where you can input a URL and check a website's accessibility based on the WCAG 2.1 standards, a full report will be provided of the errors and warnings for any website that does not require a log-in.
  • WAVE browser extensions: Web Accessibility Evaluation tools for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers that allow you to check any website, including Google Sites and Moodle courses.

Want to doublecheck that you are using accessible colour combinations on your resources?

Use these online colour checkers to find good 'foreground' colours (i.e. text) and background colours. Most web colours use either RGB or hexadecimal colour codes to identify specific colours (see this article from Digital for more information on web colours)

Want to see what your web content looks like to those with a visual impairment?

Try out these online simulators:

  • Toptal Color Blind Web Page Filter: a website you can input a URL into to check what the page looks like for specific impairments.
  • Vischeck: an online web simulator with a variety of options.
  • SEE: a Google Chrome extension that lets you 'see' a the web as someone with a visual impairment would.

For web developers

  • Lighthouse: deploys within Google Chrome DevTools to improve the quality of web pages.
  • Accessibility Insights: download the desktop tool for Windows, Linux, and MacOS or use the Chrome extension to improve web page and web applications.
  • Safari Web Developer Tools: including the Web Inspector tool that allows you to modify, debug, and optimise websites.

How do I create accessible resources?

Guidance and documentation to help you create accessible content

Accessible templates for presentations and documents.

There are accessible templates available for all Brookes staff for presentations and documents. These templates use Brookes colours and are developed to meet all minimum accessibility requirements.

Templates to download:

Guidance and other resources:

Creating accessible Moodle courses

Alternative Formats Ally provides an accessibility report on critical issues in your Moodle course, these errors can also be seen on the Moodle course page with accessibility feedback gauges icons in red, yellow and green. This report has a more detailed view of what issues you may need to fix and offers the opportunity to do so directly from the screen. This report will provide a starting point when you are evaluating how well your course meets accessibility regulations (a legal requirement). 

Further resources

Guidelines and other explanatory documents

Courses and instructions

  • AbilityNet's My Computer My Way: step by step instructions on how to adapt your phone, computer or tablet to meet your needs
  • Web Accessibility by Google: a free course that is designed to give you hands-on experience making web applications accessible.
  • a11y & Me: a curated list of web developers tools, accessibility checkers, and more.