Information Services Division


Digital Accessibility in Action: UCL Accommodation website improvements

19 March 2024

The Communications Team within Campus Experience & Infrastructure supported by the Digital Accessibility Team updated the UCL Accommodation website to improve the user experience and make the content more accessible.

Bright and sunny desk with a laptop open at the centre, showing the UCL Accommodation webpages.

Accessible Content 

To make the website content more accessible, we converted PDF files to HTML. Updates are made directly on the live website, with each page date stamped. 

General Regulations were previously only available as PDFs on the Fees, Guidance and Payments webpage. Growing in complexity, we now have multiple versions to support offers with different providers, so we needed a way to share them, depending on who we are communicating with. 

To solve this problem, we converted General Regulations documents to their own HTML webpage and created a new General Regulations landing page, where we display multiple versions of General Regulations.  

Similarly, the Flourish calendar, our residential life programme, was a JPG on the website. The calendar’s layout was cluttered and difficult to read. On the same webpage, students could download a Word Document as an accessible version.  

Flourish calendars are now available in HTML, removing the need for an accessible version. We also reformatted the printed calendar, which are displayed in Halls, with a design that is easier to read and is consistent across sites.   

Home Booklets and Table Toppers are in student rooms when they move into UCL Accommodation. These materials provide residents with essential information about living in Halls. Previously, the digital version was available on each Hall webpage as a PDF document.  

We created a new Welcome information webpage to host all the information in an accessible HTML format, which allows us to communicate this information with residents before they move in. We know for many this will be a comfort. 

Poppy Hill, Senior Communications Officer, said: “UCL Accommodation are very proud of what we have achieved. We focused on integrating accessible content into our existing resident resources. With the initial work now completed, the team will continue to review the website and make updates in line with accessibility best practice.”  

Condensed webpages  

There was also a focus on the user journey and how information is shared consistently within different types of communications. The team audited the UCL Accommodation website, and identified two main areas where the information could be grouped and condensed.  

From this work, we created two strategic landing pages: Alternative Accommodation for students and Students with Additional Requirements. The webpages were built with the user journey in mind, and created single sources of truth that could be shared more widely through comms. Both areas have been added to the main navigation menu. 

By October 2023, the Students with Additional Requirements page had 10,866 visits since the page was created in February 2023. For context, the 2 webpages we replaced received around 200 page views per year each.  
Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of students that are informing UCL Accommodation of additional requirements during the application process. This showcases the impact of making the essential information as prominent as possible on the student experience. 

UCL Accommodation continues to optimise the content on the website for increased accessibility, work with students to gain insights and use data to make informed decisions.