Mathematics and Accessibility

Disclaimer This page is intended to give an introduction to accessibility issues associated with mathematics. It is not intended to be comprehensive and should in any way be taken as legal advice.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 requires public bodies (such as universities) to make their online material accessible. So for example a body may make its documents more accessible for people with visual impairments by making them readable by a screen reader. Details on complying with the legislation Government information can be found here: Understanding new accessibility requirements for public sector bodies

Like much legislation there is some interpretation and the London Mathematical Society cannot give advice on legal questions relating to the Act. However, due to the use of specialist software for typesetting mathematics, in particular Latex, mathematicians and other users of mathematics may need some advice on options available. This page is an attempt to provide some links to useful webpages to help the mathematical community comply with the legislation and, more generally, improve the accessibility of mathematics.

Not all content needs to be made accessible. For example, there is a difference between old and new content. Also, like earlier accessibility legislation, there may be exemptions due to reasonable justification clause; see Understanding new accessibility requirements for public sector bodies. It is important to realise that accessibility extends beyond disability and is helpful for those whose first language is not English and those working in noisy environments.

In dealing with the legislation it is important to consider carefully all aspects of what needs to be done. For example, diagrams produced should be accompanied by a description; see, for example, Accessibility: Image Alt text best practices. Reading the accessibility statement of others can be very useful to determine the tasks necessary for compliance with the Act. Here is the accessibility statement at the University of Leeds.

Making Mathematics Accessible

Possibly the largest hurdle to compliance with the Act for mathematicians is the use of Latex for typesetting mathematics but this is an issue with other software such as Word and Powerpoint. The following list aims to give information on dealing with the problems that are particular to mathematics.

Further links

If you have any suggestions for additional links or any comments on these pages, then please contact the Education Secretary via