Website accessibility

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

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 are not fully accessible.

For kew.org

Keyboard / Voice input

  • The plant profiles expandable cannot be operated with a keyboard
  • The Cookie Preferences content cannot be scrolled and the submit buttons can’t be activated with a keyboard
  • Modal dialogs, ‘Load More’ and ‘Clear filter’ buttons do not have an intuitive focus order
  • Several elements do not include a visible focus indicator

Zoom/low-vision

  • The main navigation, plant filter and ‘On this page’ navigation are difficult to use when the interface is zoomed
  • Some text and controls have low colour contrast
  • The date picker and help popovers are not easily dismissible

Screenreaders

  • Some images are missing, or have inappropriate, alternative text
  • Screen reader navigation by headings and landmarks is not fully optimized on some pages
  • Some links are missing descriptive link text
  • Some videos rely on sight to understand what is going on in them
  • Common names that are in a foreign language are pronounced in English
  • Form error messages and controls are not automatically announced
  • Some controls are announced as links when they act like a button
  • The disabled and current state of some elements is not announced
  • Custom controls, such as accordions, toggle buttons, switches, tooltips, date pickers and tabs are difficult to use
  • Dynamic page updates on the Plant Profiles and What’s On pages are not announced.

Cognitive

  • Newsletter signup forms do not autocomplete your email address

For support.kew.org (membership and donate journeys)

  • When using a keyboard and navigating from one page to the next, the focus does not start at the top of the new page
  • There is one missing focus indicator, for the CVV field
  • Entering an address is quite tricky at high levels of zoom due to text wrapping
  • A few bits of text lack contrast
  • The focus states and indicators lack contrast
  • Several form fields do not have the correct markup
  • Some pages have duplicate page titles

Feedback and contact information

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 as part of a large programme of work to improve visitor experience at Kew. 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.

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).

Visiting us in person

We want everyone to have an enjoyable time in our gardens, and provide additional information on accessibility support at Kew Gardens and accessibility support at Wakehurst

Technical information about the accessibility of kew.org and support.kew.org

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.

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.

    Non-accessible content

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

    Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations on kew.org

    • The plant profiles expandable filters do not work without a mouse/pointer. The content in the Cookie preference cannot be scrolled using the keyboard alone and the ‘Save settings’ and ‘Allow All’ buttons cannot be activated using the keyboard. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion Keyboard (2.1.1)
    • A logical keyboard tabbing order has not been implemented for Modal dialogs and the ‘Load More’ and ‘Clear filter’ buttons. Some content that is not visible is keyboard focusable. This fails “Focus Order” (2.4.3)
    • When the mobile menu close button receives focus the menu closes and focus moves. This fails “On Focus” (3.2.1)
    • On checking a checkbox on the filters on Plant Profiles page the filter closes and keyboard focus is lost. This fails “On Input” (3.2.2)
    • Several elements do not include a visible focus indicator, failing “Focus Visible” (2.4.7).
    • Content and functionality is lost when zoomed into an equivalent of 320px width. This includes the main navigation, plant filter, ‘On this page’ navigation, newsletter input label and date field.  These fail “Reflow” (1.4.10)
    • A few areas of text do not meet the minimum contrast threshold, failing “Contrast (minimum)” (1.4.3)
    • Several controls do not meet the contrast threshold, failing “Non-Text Contrast” (1.4.11)
    • The date picker and help popovers are not easily dismissible, failing “Content on Hover or Focus” (1.4.13)
    • Some key icons, controls, and other images are missing alternative text, failing “Non-Text Content” (1.1.1)
    • Some content and page structure are not marked up using the most appropriate markup meaning that screen readers users miss out on some meaning and functionality. Some headings are used incorrectly. A search landmark is missing. Several form controls are not correctly structured. These fail “Info and Relationships” (1.3.1)
    • Entering a past date in the date inputs and moving keyboard focus away causes the date to change to the present date, failing “Error Identification” (3.3.1)
    • At least one video does not have speech and communicated through embedded text or imagery and does not have an alternative in the form of a transcript or a synchronized audio track. This fails “Audio-only & Video-only” (1.2.1)
    • Some links do not clearly describe the purpose of the link or which page would be reached if someone followed the link, failing “Link Purpose” (2.4.4)
    • Content written in different languages (common names of plants) was not identified in the code of the page, failing “Language of Parts” (3.1.2)
    • Several buttons and controls do not use the appropriate roles. Disabled and current states are not programmatically communicated. Custom controls, such as accordions, toggle buttons, switches, tooltips, date pickers and tabs, have not been implemented in a way that makes them easy for assistive technology users to use. This fails “Name, Role, Value” (4.1.2)
    • Dynamic page updates on the Plant Profiles and What’s On pages are not announced to screen readers,  failing “Status Messages” (4.1.3)
    • The HTML code of the pages is not always nested according to the specification, failing “Parsing” (4.1.1)
    • The email input in the newsletter forms does not include the required autocomplete attribute, failing “Identify Input Purpose” (1.3.5)

    Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations on support.kew.org (donation and membership journeys)

    • When moving from page to page, the focus tends to stay at the bottom rather than start at the top of the page. This fails “Focus Order” (2.4.3)
    • The help icon for the CVV field does not include a visible focus indicator, failing “Focus Visible” (2.4.7)
    • Some content is obscured with increased text-spacing. This fails “Text Spacing” (1.4.12)
    • A few areas of text do not meet the minimum contrast threshold, failing “Contrast (minimum)” (1.4.3)
    • A few inputs do not meet the contrast threshold, failing “Non-Text Contrast” (1.4.11)
    • An image and icon had inappropriate alternative text, failing “Non-Text Content” (1.1.1)
    • The selected state of the price selector is not available to screen readers and error messages are not associated with form fields, failing “Info and Relationships” (1.3.1)
    • All pages have the same title, failing “Page Titled” (2.4.2)
    • The PayPal and CVV help buttons do not have an accessible name and ‘Enter your address manually’ and CVV tooltip were not marked up as expandable content. This fails “Name, Role, Value” (4.1.2)

    We plan to resolve the issues on kew.org and support.kew.org over the next 12 months and will update this statement when progress has been made.

    Disproportionate burden

    Adopt a Seed

    Adopt a Seed is a fundraising initiative that allows members of the public to ‘adopt’ a seed in the Millennium Seed Bank. As part of an organisation-wide programme to improve visitor experience, we are in the process of replacing the majority of our ecommerce platforms, including Adopt a Seed. This programme is underway and we expect Adopt a Seed to be migrated into a new platform by 2023. 

    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 are in the process of re-developing this platform and it will be re-launched in November 2021. 

    Grow Wild

    Grow Wild is an outreach programme, encouraging communities to engage with the natural world and transform areas with seed kits and other community-based activities. The website is currently being rebuilt and will launch in November 2021. As such we consider the existing site a disproportionate burden to fix.

    prints.kew.org

    Prints.kew.org is used to sell prints-on-demand of images held within RBG Kew’s collections.  As part of an organisation-wide programme to improve visitor experience, we are in the process of replacing the majority of our ecommerce platforms, including our Prints on Demand offer. This programme is underway and we expect the new platform to be functional by 2023. 

    Tickets sold via See Tickets

    We sell tickets to Kew Gardens and Wakehurst via a third-party supplier, See Tickets. We have just undergone a procurement for our online ticketing services, and have made WCAG 2.1 AA compliance a requirement of the procurement. An updated ticketing service is due to launch In December 2021, and as such we believe the current service to be a disproportionate burden to fix.

    Tickets sold via 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 is currently being upgraded to reach WCAG 2.1 AA standards. This site will re-launch in January 2022, and as such we believe the current site to be a disproportionate burden to fix. 

    Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

    Temperate House microsite

    We believe that our Temperate House microsite, that was created for the launch of our renovated Temperate House is exempt from the Public Sector Accessibility regulations as it is a legacy site and has not been updated since 2018. In time, we plan to migrate the content contained within this site to kew.org.

    What we’re doing to improve accessibility

    In the next 6-12 months we are making significant improvements to kew.org and support.kew.org to address the issues outlined above. We are also rebuilding or significantly updating the following websites:

    In addition, we are undergoing a major programme of work to improve the accessibility of our Scientific Data and Digital Services

    Preparation of this accessibility statement 

    This statement was prepared on September 19th September 2019. It was last reviewed on 6th Sept 2021.

    This website was last tested on 3rd September 2021. The test was carried out by Nomensa.

    We took a sample of pages that represented the templates and types of content available on the website and tested the donation and membership journeys. We also ran an automated scan of the website to find areas that might have different issues.