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Accessibility

Accessibility standards

Our website has been designed to conform to Level AA of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, complying with all Priority 1, 2 and many Priority 3 checkpoints as defined in the Guidelines.

We also strive to create web pages that validate as XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

Using the website

We aim to:

  • Create websites that are available to everyone including those with sight, hearing and motor impairment restrictions
  • Use an appropriate web font so all text is easy to read
  • Have appropriate alt tags for images to convey information
  • Ensure that navigation through our websites works in a coherent and consistent manner
  • Avoid relying on colour as the sole way of giving information
  • Avoid the images of text wherever possible, and provide equivalent text links

The following paragraphs provide some tips on how you can use the website and take advantage of features in your browser.

Access keys

Access keys are keyboard shortcuts that provide quick links to common website features, without the need to use a mouse.

To navigate with access keys:

  • Windows (Internet Explorer) - Hold down the 'Alt' key and the access key, followed by the 'Enter' key;
  • Windows (Mozilla Firefox) - Hold down the 'Alt' and 'Shift' keys, followed by the access key;
  • Windows (Opera) - Hold down the 'Shift' key and press 'Escape', release both keys, then press the access key;
  • Macintosh - Hold down the 'Ctrl' key and the access key.

The pages on this website comply with the recommended UK Government access keys standard:

S - Skip navigation

1 - Home page

4 - Search (where applicable)

7 - About us (where applicable)

8 - Copyright and disclaimer (where applicable)

9 - Contact us

0 - Accessibility statement

Text size

Content and navigation text has been designed to be easily resized for ease of reading. This can be changed within your browser, usually from within the ‘View’ menu.

Using Internet Explorer (IE7/IE8)

On the browser menu select ‘View’

  • Click ‘Text Size’
  • Choose the size of text

Using Firefox 2.0/3.0

On the browser menu select ‘View’

  • Click ‘Text Size’
  • Choose to ‘increase’ size of text

Chrome

In the Chrome browser you can adjust the size of everything on the web pages that you visit, including text, images and videos.

On the browser toolbar:

  • Click the spanner icon 
  • Select Options (Preferences on Mac and Linux; Settings on Chrome OS).
  • Click Under the Bonnet.
  • In the "Web Content" section, use the "Page zoom" menu to adjust the zoom.

Text colour

To change text and/or colour on the site.

Using Internet Explorer (IE7/IE8)

On the browser ‘Tools’ menu select ‘Internet Options’

  • On the General tab, select ‘Colors’
  • Deselect the ‘Use Windows Colors’ tick box
  • Select the box next to ‘Background’ and choose a colour
  • Click on ‘OK’

Using Firefox (2.0/3.0)

On the browser menu

  • Click the 'Tools ' menu
  • Click 'Options ' display the 'Options' dialog box
  • Click the 'Content' tab
  • Click on 'Colours’

To use your Windows colour scheme settings in Firefox click on the 'Use system colours' checkbox

  • Next click on 'Allow pages select their own colours, instead of my selections above’
  • Click 'OK' or press 'Enter' to return to the options dialog box
  • Click the 'OK' button, or press 'Tab' until the 'OK' button is selected and press 'Enter', to return to Firefox.

To change the colour of links displayed on a screen

Using Internet Explorer (IE7/IE8)

On the browser Tools menu:

  • Select ‘Internet Options’
  • On the General tab, select ‘Accessibility’
  • Click on ‘Select ignore colors specified on web pages’ (should contain a tick) – Click ‘Ok’
  • Still on the ‘General’ tab, click on ‘Colors’
  • Make sure the ‘Use hover colors’ tick box is not ticked
  • Tick the ‘Use Windows colors’ box
  • Select ‘Visited’ and choose the colour that suits you best, Click OK
  • Select ‘Not Visited’ and choose the colour that suits your best. Click OK

Using Firefox

Click the 'Tools ' menu

  • Click 'Options ' display the 'Options' dialog box
  • Click the 'Content' tab
  • Click on 'Colours’
  • Click on ‘Unvisited Links’ and select your chosen colour. Click OK
  • Click on ‘Visited Links’ and select your chosen colour. Click OK 

Chrome

There are a number of steps you can take to configure Chrome to run with custom contrast and colors:

  1. Install a Chrome Extension which allows you to specify your own custom colour combinations, for instance the ‘Change Colors’ extension.
  • Quick page action to apply/remove styling overrides on a per page, per domain or global basis (overriding Web page colours)
  • Optional background, text, links and visited links colour configuration
  • Option for showing/hiding images
  • Option for showing/hiding Flash objects
  1. Use a Chrome Theme for some control of the colour scheme of the Chrome user interface. As an example, the BitNova Dark theme offers white text on a black background. The Chrome Extensions Gallery offers many other themes, with a variety of colour combinations.

Navigation

Our main site navigation is a series of drop-down tabs from the main menu at the top of the page. This provides access to the major sections of the website and links to dome individual pages. Within the site, lower level navigation is provided by menus located in the left-hand column of the pages. The navigation system has been constructed in a consistent fashion to provide clear navigation pathways throughout the site.

Our web pages make use of access keys (see above). All pages contain a link to the home page (access key 1) and search box (access key 4).

Skip navigation (access key S) is available to users of screen readers and speech browsers, to bypass repeated page elements - such as the top and side navigation links - and jump directly to the page content.

PDFs

All links to PDFs on the website are clearly labelled using a file-type icon.

Links to PDFs will also include the download size.

You can download Portable Document Format (PDF) documents using Adobe Reader – available free of charge.

If you would like to use a screen reader to read PDF documents you can find out more at the Adobe accessibility site

More accessibility help

For more help about changing your browser, operating system, or computer settings to view websites in a more accessible way, go to the BBC’s My Web My Way.

Contact

We periodically review web standards guidelines and improvements in the functionality offered by browser to improve the accessibility of our website.

If you have difficulty in accessing the content of this site, please contact us and we will provide the information in an alternative format.