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 this website

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website and access Scotland’s history and heritage. We built this website 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 this website is

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

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

  • some button and link labels aren’t fully descriptive of the link or button's purpose
  • not all buttons and graphics are colour contrast compliant
  • some images don’t have alt text image descriptions
  • in some parts of the website, navigating the website relies solely on colour, specific movements or actions, or other sensory characteristic
  • some parts of our forms aren’t compatible with assistive technologies
  • not all website content is listed in one place
  • some text spacing may not match the minimum requirements for text spacing
  • when navigating with a keyboard, the focus is not clear in some places
  • some of the structure and metadata of the website is not clearly or uniquely labelled

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

What to do if you can't access parts of this website

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 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 this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. 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 this website's accessibility

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

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non accessible content

Noncompliance with the accessibility regulations

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


Some of the buttons on the website are not labelled with a name that describes their purpose. This may impact on you if you use a screen reader or voice control. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

Some of the forms on the website, don’t have buttons which explain what will happen when you submit or select part of the form. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 3.2.2 (On input: UI components and context).

Images and text alternatives

Some images are used as decoration on the website and should be marked as such. Our website does not label these images as decorative and many images don’t have alternative text. This means that the information in them isn’t available to people using a screen reader and they can’t skip past the decorative images. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

Website metadata

Because some of the information, structure and relationships of items on the website aren’t coded, labelled or grouped properly, assistive technologies may get confused. This can result in parts of the website not being accessible to people using assistive technology. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.3.1 (info and relationships).

Website navigation and sensory characteristics

Some links, buttons, and other interactive content are only identified as being interactive through sensory displays like colour, shape, size, location and orientation. This applies to the following criteria:

Without alternative text or more than one distinguishing characteristic (shape, colour, sound, movement, etc.), some users may be unable to navigate and access this content. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criteria 1.3.3 (sensory characteristics) and 1.4.1 (use of colour).

In some places, the focus of the keyboard navigation is only indicated by one characteristic such as colour or a box around the focused item. As a result, if you use a keyboard to navigate, you may be unable to easily navigate the website. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.4.1 (use of colour) and AA-level success criterion 2.4.7 (keyboard focus indicator visible).

Text spacing

In some areas of the website, increasing text size causes loss of content or functionality. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.12 (text spacing).

Webpage titles

One webpage has multiple title elements or no title element. This may lead to a user missing information or direction because a screen reader may not have a page title to read. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.4.2 (page titled).

Links and colour contrast of graphics

Some links are only distinguishable by colour and might not have a label or a title. This means you might be unable to recognise something as a link or know where it leads. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criteria 1.4.1 (use of colour) or 2.4.4 (link purpose: in context).

The colour contrast of graphics on the website may not be sufficient to allow you to understand the content (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).

Website language settings

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

Website code, structure and naming

Some of our website code used to create content isn’t properly nested, might be missing start and end tags, have duplicated information or inconsistent labelling. 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 website. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.1 (parsing elements and content) or WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 3.2.4 (Consistent identification).

By September 2020, we plan to update the website to:

  • fix link text and titles
  • include alternative text labels for all links and buttons
  • include additional distinguishing characteristics to clarify if something is a button or link
  • improve the colour contrast ratios of graphics
  • define the keyboard focus by more than one characteristic
  • improve how the website handles increased text size and spacing
  • update webpage titles
  • include buttons and labels to our forms where needed
  • include the language settings for the site and its pages
  • fix and differentiate identical labels
  • set names, roles, and values of components correctly
  • correctly parse coded elements

Disproportionate Burden

There’s no way to skip the repeated content in the page header (for example, a ‘skip to main content’ option). This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.4.1 (bypass blocks).

Our videos created before 23 September 2020 may not have full audio descriptions or text transcripts that describe the events and content of the video or repeat the dialogue. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.2.1 (pre-recorded video).

Some components of the website are not accessible due to incomplete markup (not coded efficiently). This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).

We’ve assessed the cost of fixing these navigational and mark up issues and to providing alternatives to video content. We believe that meeting these criteria now would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the accessibility regulations. We will reassess this in September 2021.

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 2020, we plan to either fix these or replace them with accessible HTML pages.

Any new PDFs or Word documents we have published after 23 September 2018 meet accessibility standards.

Pre-recorded Video (before 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. This doesn’t meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.2.1 (pre-recorded video), 1.2.2 (captions pre-recorded), 1.2.3 (audio description or media alternative pre-recorded) and 1.2.5 (audio description pre-recorded). However, we don’t plan to add these alternatives because pre-recorded video from before 23 September 2020 are exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

How we tested this website

The website is tested automatically for most WCAG 2.1 A-AA accessibility requirements every 5 days. These tests are carried out by a web crawler hosted by a third-party company called Siteimprove. They reveal accessibility issues that might develop over time or require attention. We analyse and act on these tests to update our accessibility on an both a regular basis.

Siteimprove’s software does not test for some accessibility requirements outlined by the WCAG 2.1 A-AA. However, HES manually tested a sample of 19 pages of the website for these requirements and will test manually 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 19 September 2019.