Website accessibility

Accessibility statement for www.kew.org and other websites managed by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Purple waterlilies in the Waterlily House pond

These websites are run by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve also tried to make the text on our websites as simple as possible to understand. Sometimes we use scientific language to explain our work. When we do this we try to offer an explanation in plain English, or link to content elsewhere on our websites that will provide more information.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible are our websites?

We know some parts of our websites aren’t fully accessible, for example:

  • due to the way some of our pages are structured, headings and sub-headings may not always appear in the most logical order if you are using assistive technologies to navigate the page
  • many older PDF documents aren’t fully accessible to screen reader software
  • some of our online forms are difficult to navigate using just a keyboard or via a screen reader
  • there are some contrast issues between the text and background colours on some of our websites
  • some older websites are very difficult to navigate with assistive technology
  • we use a third-party service, See Tickets, to sell some tickets for garden-entry and for events. Some elements of this service may not be accessible to those using keyboard navigation or assistive devices
  • we sell some tickets and facilitate group bookings via tickets.kew.org, which does not currently meet accessibility standards

What to do if you can't access parts of our websites

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

We'll consider your request and get back to you in 3-5 working days.

What to do if you can't book tickets or purchase something on one of our websites

We are working to improve our ticketing websites by September 2020. In the meantime:

  • if you wish to make a group booking please email groups@kew.org 
  • if you wish to book tickets for a member event ticketed through tickets.kew.org or purchase a membership please email membership@kew.org 
  • if you wish to book tickets for anything else via tickets.kew.org or See Tickets please email info@kew.org
  • if you wish to purchase anything from our online shop please email onlineshop@kew.org

Reporting accessibility problems with our websites

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our websites. If you find any problems that aren’t listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact info@kew.org.

Technical information about the accessibility of our websites

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Most of our websites are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard. Although we aim for full compliance, there are some areas of our sites that do not currently meet this (for example our downloadable PDFs are not fully accessible).

Some of our websites are non-compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard.

We explain below the main reasons for non-compliance, and how (where relevant) we are planning to fix these issues. We have also explained where we believe resolving issues would be a disproportionate burden to Kew.

www.kew.org

  • We have not added audio descriptions or provided text transcripts to help those with visual impairments understand what is happening in our videos (WCAG 2.1 1.2.3 and 1.2.5)
  • Due to the modular way our pages are built, headings and sub-headings may not always appear in the most logical order if you are using assistive technologies to navigate the page (WCAG 2.1 1.3.1)

support.kew.org

  • Some non-critical text elements on the page are written in a colour that does not contrast as strongly as it should with the background colour of that element of the page (WCAG 1.4.3)

powo.science.kew.org

  • There are some parts of the site where the ARIA framework has been incorrectly implemented, and some buttons do not have accessible names (WCAG 4.1.2)
  • Some form elements do not have associated labels (WCAG 1.3.1 and 3.3.2)

careers.kew.org

  • Some links in the footer are written in a colour that does not contrast as strongly as it should with the background colour of that element of the page (WCAG 1.4.3)
  • Some images do not have a text alternative, so people using a screen reader cannot access the information. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content)

Disproportionate burden to fix

shop.kew.org

There are numerous accessibility issues with shop.kew.org. including navigation that is not easily tabbed, poorly labelled buttons, form elements and links, as well as poorly formatted lists and contrast issues. This website is being rebuilt in 2020.

endeavour.kew.org and stories.kew.org/endeavour

Endeavour is Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s digital learning platform for schools, built on a third-party interactive platform which does not comply with the WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria. We’ve assessed the cost of fixing these issues and believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations, particularly as the contract with this supplier is up for renewal in November 2020 and the future of this platform will be assessed at this point.

tickets.kew.org

Although we sell the majority of our tickets via third parties, we do sell tickets to some smaller events via the tickets.kew.org website. We also use this to facilitate group bookings. This site is built on a third-party platform which does not comply with the WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria. We’ve assessed the cost of fixing these issues and believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations, particularly as the contract with our main ticketing supplier is up for renewal in 2020.

Legacy science applications and services

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has a number of legacy science applications. Many of these are not regularly updated, but have been maintained to provide the scientific community with access to legacy datasets. These tend to have lower levels of website traffic and are aimed at specialist users. We are currently reviewing our strategy for science data services, with a view to migrating this legacy data onto more sustainable platforms in the coming years.

If you are unable to access data stored within one of these platforms please contact bi@kew.org.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

Within the next 12-18 months we are rebuilding or significantly updating the following websites, and will ensure that they meet WCAG 2.1 AA criteria before release:

This statement was prepared on 19 September 2019. It was last updated on 19 September 2019.