Our Commitment to Accessibility

To achieve our objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education; and as part of our commitment to serving our customers and users, Oxford University Press (OUP) follows the general principles of web usability and universal design and, endeavor to make its platforms and products accessible to and inclusive of all our users, including those with visual, hearing, cognitive, or motor impairments. In North America, these principles are in conformance with the Revised Section 508 Accessibility Standards of the U.S. federal government. For the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., these principles are in conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) as part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an independent consortium producing standards that meet the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.

We are currently targeting adherence to level AA of the W3C’s) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1), in order to help students and professors take full advantage of the accessibility features provided by their chosen device, web browser, or operating system. Oxford Higher Education complies with applicable law relating to accessibility (including with the obligations under the U.S. Equality Act 2010).

A Program of Improvement

Oxford University Press is committed to delivering accessibility now and into the future. This remains an important area of focus so that all OUP higher education materials are accessible to and inclusive of all our users.

This continuous improvement program benefits from expert consultation with a number of universities and institutional partners, including a leading web accessibility expert involved in the creation of WCAG and disability librarians who have validated our approach.

  • Accessibility conformance: Ensuring conformance with the Revised Section 508 Accessibility Standards and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1, levels A and AA). WCAG 2.1, levels A and AA are considered the minimum standard.
  • Alt tags and descriptions: We create Alternative text (alt text) and descriptions for all figures, photos and images. Alt text is used to convey the content and purpose of figures, photos and images for search engines and screen readers. In contrast, the caption is used to describe the image for all users. Alt text is not visible in our enhanced eBook products unless the feature has been “turned on” in the reader. This functionality exists in most commercially available eReaders but may need to be enabled by the user. We also provide Alt text for all the PowerPoint slide decks that accompany enhanced eBooks.
  • Accessibility checking: OUP pre-emptively runs its ePub files* through an accessibility checker to ensure that the ePub files are perceivable, operable, and understandable by users with disabilities (e.g., visual, audible).  Elements tested include the size, color, and contrast of type; organization of the content; and readability with assistive technologies. Supplementary documents created using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Adobe Acrobat are checked using the accessibility features that are native to these programs.
  • Videos: For any videos that we create, we provide closed captioning and an accessible player. Third party videos embedded in our enhanced ebooks often provide these as well.

*ePub is an e-book file format that uses the ".epub" file extension.

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

In North America, OUP is partnering with certified consultants to develop Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPAT) for its technology platforms and products. We have commissioned independent VPAT assessment reports to provide a snapshot of the accessibility profile of our platforms and products. These VPATs enable us to communicate a roadmap going forward for addressing issues. Oxford Higher Education VPATs are available upon request. Please contact Customer Services in North America or the United Kingdom.

Requesting accessible copies of our publications

Your institution’s Disability Resource Center or equivalent department may submit an accessibility request for content in a specific format to suit the needs of your students. Details on how to submit a request can be found on our Accessibility Resources page. We will endeavor to meet any reasonable accessibility request that we receive.

Your feedback

Our commitment to providing accessible and inclusive content is an ongoing activity. If you have any comments or insights on accessibility that you would like to share with us to help us in this mission, please contact Customer Services in North America or the United Kingdom.