Accessibility Statement

Read our accessibility statement for the PastMap website and discover our work on digital access.


This is the accessibility statement for the PastMap website: We are dedicated to accessibility and want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites. The statement below outlines the accessibility of our PastMap website 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 parts of the website, including images, videos, status messages and bulletins, online forms, page titles, headers, buttons and links may not be fully compatible with assistive technologies due to missing alt text, labels, descriptions, captions and website code
  • some images and links may not be customisable, colour contrasts may not be high enough and some text spacing may not match minimum requirements causing difficulties if you have a visual impairment
  • hovering the mouse pointer over some content does not always work and some parts of the website may require complex mouse movements to use or access
  • content (like menus) that appear identically across the website may not display consistently and the reading order of some content may be incorrect when using assistive technologies
  • our online forms might not work with some assistive technologies, might time you out or not let you review your details before submitting

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 try to get back to you in 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 version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.


Non accessible content

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


Noncompliance with the accessibility regulations

Buttons and labels

Some of the buttons on the website 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 website. 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 website 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. 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).

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

Some images or non-text content do not have alternative text or descriptive enough labels to explain their content. This means that the information displayed by them is not available to people using a screen reader and they cannot skip past the decorative images. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content: sensory content). 

User interface components (things users click on) that include visual text or images of text may not have names that reflect the visual text. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.5.3 (Label in name).

Sensory characteristics and colour contrast

Some information and items (like links) on the website 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 website 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 website text meets the minimum text-spacing requirements. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.12 (Text spacing).

Hovering the mouse pointer over some content does not always reveal hidden content and the hidden content may not be easily accessible. If the content can be seen on hover over, sometimes it cannot be dismissed. Whether content appears on hover over or not, we cannot guarantee content remains visible and can be dismissed by other means. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 1.4.13 (Content on hover over or focus: dismissible content, hoverable content, persistent content).

Website navigation and page timing

The website may require the use of multipoint or path-based motion that is not supported in assistive technologies. This falls within the exemption in Reg 4(2)(d) as these motions are not essential to the website operation as the website is a map based interface. This issue refers to WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 2.5.4 (Motion actuation: supported interface; essential).

Some navigational mechanisms (like links or menus) that are repeated on multiple web pages within a set of web pages may not occur in the same relative order each time they are repeated. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 3.2.3 (Consistent navigation).

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).

Website mark up and functionality

Some of the information, structure and relationships of items on the website are not coded, labelled or grouped properly; therefore, assistive technologies may get confused. This can result in parts of the website 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).

Our website form submissions may not be reversible and there may not be a service that checks, reviews, and confirms the fields before submission. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 AA-level success criterion 3.3.4 (Error prevention: reversible submissions; input check and confirming).

Some of our website 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 website. 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 website) 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).

In the event of a status message being published on the website, the status message may not be programmatically determined through role or properties that make them accessible to assistive technologies without receiving focus. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 A-level success criterion 4.1.3 (Status messages).


By September 2021, we will work to update the website with:

  • more descriptive labels and alt texts for images, links, titles and buttons
  • an option to dismiss content that appears when hovered over
  • menus that appear in the same format consistently across the website
  • more organised name and role tags for user interface components


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 the website in September 2021.


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

PDFs and other documents

Some of our older office file format documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs) were published before 23 September 2018 and are not used for administrative or essential purposes and so may be inaccessible. Due to their age and non-essential status, they are exempt under Reg 4(2)(a).

Prerecorded 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 this website 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 this website 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, we are not liable for their accessibility compliance under Reg 4(2)(e).


How we tested this website

The PastMap website was tested for most WCAG 2.1 A-AA accessibility requirements by a web crawler hosted by a third-party company called Siteimprove. They revealed accessibility issues that require attention. We analyse and act on these tests to update our accessibility on a regular basis.

Siteimprove’s software does not test for some accessibility requirements outlined by the WCAG 2.1 A-AA. However, we manually tested a small sample of pages of the PastMap 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:

This statement was prepared on 11 November 2019. It was last updated on 22 May 2020.