Accessibility Statement

Read our accessibility statement for this website and its blog subdomain and discover our work on digital access.

This is the accessibility statement for the Historic Environment Scotland sub-domain websites: and We are dedicated to accessibility and want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites. The statement below outlines how accessible our ‘Edinburgh Castle’ website and blog are and where any issues may be found.

Using these websites

We want as many people as possible to be able to use these websites and access Scotland’s history and heritage. We built these websites so you can:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 200% without the text or images spilling off the screen
  • navigate 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
  • watch videos with subtitles and captions

We’ve also made the website text as simple as possible to understand.

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

How accessible these websites are

While we work hard to make our platforms and content accessible, we know some parts of these websites aren’t fully accessible yet.

Here is a brief list of content that is not currently accessible:

  • many documents are in PDF format and are not accessible
  • some parts of the websites, including images, website language, online forms, page titles, headers, buttons and links may not be fully compatible with assistive technologies due to missing alt text, labels and missing information in the website code
  • repeating links, images or menus may be inconsistent across the websites
  • colour contrasts of website content may not be high enough and some text spacing may not match the minimum requirements, causing difficulties if you have a visual impairment
  • during keyboard navigation, the focus indicator (a box around the item) may not appear

A full, technical list of currently inaccessible content and areas of the websites can be found in the section of this accessibility statement titled ‘Non accessible content’.

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

If you need information on these websites 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 within 5 working days, or if your request is more complex, please allow us up to 20 working days for a full reply.

When contacting us please make sure you provide:

  • the service area, document name and/or the web address (URL) of the page the content is on
  • a description of the format you need. For example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print

Find out more about our customer services in our service standards.

Reporting accessibility problems with these websites

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of these websites. If you find any problems that aren’t listed on this page or think we’re not meeting the requirements of the accessibility regulations, contact the digital team:

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 submit a complaint and you’re not happy with how we respond, contact the EHRC.

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

You can also visit us in person for more resources. Find us at:

Longmore House
Salisbury Place

For directions, please call 0131 668 8600 or view our location on Google Maps.

Our Access Guide is also available for visitors to the historic places in our care.

Let us know about any requirements you have in advance of your visit and we will endeavour to accommodate you:

Technical information about these websites accessibility

HES is committed to making these websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

These websites are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non accessible content

Noncompliance with the accessibility regulations

Buttons and labels

Some of the buttons on the websites are not labelled with a name that describes their purpose. Some of the buttons are also not labelled descriptively in the mark up of the websites. This may impact on you if you use a screen reader or voice control. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content: controls).

Some of the forms on the websites have labelled fields but do not have labelled buttons. This may make it difficult to determine the purpose of the button used to submit the information and does not warn the user of a change of web page context. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.3.5 (Identify input purpose) and 3.2.2 (On input: UI components and context).

For items on the websites like links and images that are repeated consistently and in the same order across multiple pages of the websites, we have not used standard or identical labels and alt-text for said repeated content. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criteria 3.2.4 (Consistent identification).

Some buttons may be missing labels or instructions. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 3.3.2 (Labels or instructions).

Non-text content (media, tables, and text alternatives)

For some videos on the websites, there may not be alt texts that descriptively identify the content. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text Content: time-based media).

Some images are used as decoration on the websites and should be marked as such.  People using a screen reader may not be notified that these are non-essential images and may worry they have missed some information. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content: decoration, formatting, invisible).

Sensory characteristics and colour contrast

Some instructions provided on the websites may rely solely on sensory characteristic components such as shape, colour, size, visual location, orientation, or sound. Some users may be unable to engage with, navigate, and access this content. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criteria 1.3.3 (Sensory characteristics) and 1.4.1 (Use of colour).

Some information and items (like links) on the websites are only distinguishable by colour. This means users might not be able to see or recognise the information and/or function of the item. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criteria 1.4.1 (Use of colour).

The colour contrast of large-scale text, images of text, and graphical objects on the websites may not be high enough to display content clearly (except for logos which are a contrast exception). This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.3 (Contrast minimum) and 1.4.11 (Non-text contrast: graphical objects).

Visual formatting (zoom, orientation, resolution, and text spacing)

We cannot guarantee that all the websites text meets the minimum text-spacing requirements. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.12 (Text spacing).

Website navigation and page timing

In some places, the focus of the keyboard navigation or a box around the focused item does not appear. As a result, you may not be able to easily navigate the websites using a keyboard. Please also note that in certain parts of the websites, the keyboard focus indicator may only appear outlined in colour. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.4.1 (Use of colour) and WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 2.4.7 (Focus Visible).

Web page titling, language settings, and content

The purpose of some links may not be described in the text or title of the link, so it may prove difficult to understand the purpose of the link. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.4.4 (Link purpose: in context).

The language of the page is not set within the settings or mark up of the page. This may be confusing if a user attempts to find out the language or change the language of the websites.  This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criteria 3.1.1 (Language of the page).

Website mark up and functionality

Some of the information, structure and relationships of items on the websites are not coded, labelled or grouped properly, therefore assistive technologies may get confused. This can result in parts of the websites not being accessible to people using assistive technology. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).

Some of our websites code used to create content is not properly nested, might be missing start and end tags, have duplicated information, and IDs may not be unique. This means that the technical computing languages like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS may not be written in the most efficient, accessible way. This can sometimes confuse assisted technologies meaning that such users are unable to properly access the websites. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.1 (Parsing).

The name and role for all user interface components (things the user can interact with) may not be capable of being programmatically determined (verified in the website code); the website states, properties, and values (things used to interact with the websites) that can be set by the user may not be capable of being programmatically set (changed in the code); and notifications of changes to any of these items may not be available to user or assistive technologies. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).

By September 2022, we will work to update these websites with:

  • more descriptive labels and instructions for using buttons and links
  • better, more complete alternative text for all images
  • improved content reflow and responsiveness on alternate devices

Disproportionate Burden

We are committed to improving the bulleted criteria above; however, we have assessed the cost of fixing all other accessibility issues in the next year and believe doing so would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations. We will make another assessment of this when we review these websites in September 2022.

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

PDFs and other documents

Some of our older PDFs and Word documents don’t meet accessibility standards. For example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, role value).

The accessibility regulations don’t require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 but some of these documents are essential to providing our services.

By September 2022, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages.

We aim to ensure all PDFs produced after 23 September 2018 meet WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards.

Pre-recorded video (created before 23 September 2020)

Our videos created before 23 September 2020 might not have complete or accurate closed captions, alternative text, audio descriptions or transcripts that describe the events and content of the video in text format. We don’t plan to add these alternatives because pre-recorded video from before 23 September 2020 are exempt under Reg 4(2)(b).

Non-navigational online maps and mapping services

Maps on these websites are not AA accessible but they are not used for navigational purposes and are therefore exempt under Reg 4(2)(d).

Third party content and technologies

Some types of content and technology used on these websites are provided by third party distributors (like YouTube or social media sites). We have not paid for, developed, nor controlled these services at any time, therefore under Reg 4(2)(e) we are not liable for their accessibility compliance.

Heritage collections

The heritage collections composed of digitised mediums delivered by these websites fall into the accessibility regulation’s description of a heritage collection undeReg 4(3)(c).and; therefore, the collections are exempt from the accessibility regulations under Reg 4(2)(f).

How we tested these websites

The Edinburgh Castle website and blog subdomain were tested for most WCAG 2.1 A-AA accessibility requirements by a web crawler hosted by a third-party company called MonsidoThey revealed accessibility issues that require attention. We analyse and act on these tests to update our accessibility on a regular basis.

Monsido's software does not test for some accessibility requirements outlined by the WCAG 2.1 A-AA. However, we manually tested a sample of pages from the Edinburgh Castle website and blog subdomain for these requirements and will test again on an annual basis.

What we're doing to improve accessibility

We’ll continue to update and audit our accessibility on an annual basis to ensure we fully meet single A and double AA standards.

We are always looking to improve our accessibility services and view accessibility as an ethical and professional obligation. If you have suggestions on how we can improve our accessibility, please contact the Digital Team and our Equalities Manager:



We hope your experience on our websites is efficient and enjoyable.

This statement was prepared on 19 August 2019. It was last updated on 7 November 2022.