Accessibility

We aim to make our website accessible to everyone and are continually working to improve its ease-of-use and the range and quality of our web services and content.

Standards compliance

The site has been built using HTML5 and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and complies with W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA.

The site has been tested by people with a wide range of disabilities and found to be accessible.

Video and accessibility

All video clips have a downloadable transcript of their content. We currently offer video in several ways:

  • We embed the free YouTube player to display video, but are aware that the player has some accessibility issues around the labelling of the player controls
  • We use our own player to display video. Our player has accessible controls, but uses Flash video which cannot be viewed on some mobile devices such as the iPhone. Our player is currently optimised for users of IE7, but there are known issues for screen reader users in IE8.

Javascript and pop-up windows

Javascript enables us to create small programs within web pages to add extra features such as pop-up windows or to check that a form has been completed in the correct way. As not all browsers support Javascript we have tried to ensure that wherever we use Javascript the same content and functions are available whether or not Javascript is enabled in your browser.

If you click certain links and nothing seems to happen, you may need to deactivate this function. Some browsers such as Opera and Firefox have built in features to do this or you may have installed a third party toolbar preventing the pop-up window from opening.

Using the keyboard and access keys

We offer additional shortcut keys that allow fast navigation to important pages. We follow UK Government recommendations for access key assignments:

S Skip navigation
1 Home page
2 News
3 Site map
4 Search
5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
6 Help
7 Complaints procedure
8 Terms of use
0 Access key details

Changing text size

The easiest way to change the size of text that appears on screen is through your web browser.

Internet Explorer

You can zoom in and out of pages to make them bigger and smaller by clicking on the change zoom level button in the bottom right-hand corner of Internet Explorer (magnifying glass with a percentage displayed next to it).

If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse you can zoom in and make a page bigger by holding Ctrl and rolling the wheel away from you (as if scrolling up the page). To make the text smaller, hold Ctrl and roll the wheel towards you.

Firefox

PC users: Hold down Ctrl and press the + or - keys to make the text bigger or smaller.
Mac users: Hold down Cmd and press the + or - keys to make the text bigger or smaller.

Safari (Mac)

Click on the View menu and then select either Make Text Bigger or Make Text Smaller.

Changing colours and fonts

You can also change the text, background colour and fonts that appear in a website.

Internet Explorer

Click on the Tools menu, then Internet Options.
Click on the Colors button to adjust these settings.
Click on the Fonts button to adjust these settings.
Click on the Accessibility button (near the bottom right hand corner). Here you can decide to ignore the colours, font styles and font sizes of the website you are viewing. You can also apply your own style sheet to view websites with your choice of formatting.

Firefox

Click on the Tools menu, then Options. Click on the Fonts & Colors button to adjust these settings.

Screen reader advice

We have tested this site with screen readers such as JAWS, Window-Eyes and IBM Home Page Reader.

Some users access the web using special software that "reads out" the content of web pages.

We have given a few hints for navigating the site and provided some example keyboard shortcuts for the JAWS screen reader. If you are using a screen reader other than JAWS then most of these applications have similar commands and you should check your program documentation to find the equivalent keyboard shortcuts.

Navigating using headings

The site has been set up to use HTML headings where appropriate. The main site heading starts at level 1 and the main content starts at level 2. This provides an easy way for screen reader users to skip to the main content by pressing the shortcut key for headings. For example, JAWS users can press H or Shift + H to move to the next heading, 2 or Shift + 2 to move to the next level two heading and Insert + F6 to display a list of all headings on the page.

Navigating tables

In some places in the site, particularly where forms are presented, we have used tables for general layout. We also use tables for displaying out rows and columns of information also called data tables.

We have tried to ensure that the content will always read in a logical order. In some data tables it may be hard to understand the meaning of each item in which case you can use the table navigation keys in your screen reader to deliver the relevant headers for each item in the table. JAWS users can use the Ctrl + Alt + arrow keys to move around a table and JAWS will read out the headers for each cell. You can also press Ctrl + Alt + Number Pad 5 to read the headers for the current cell.

Data tables have a summary that you can hear in your screen reader to help you understand their meaning without having to read the whole table. We've also ensured that you can easily find data tables using table navigation keys. JAWS users can press T or Shift + T to move between tables and have the summary read out.

Reading special symbols In JAWS

On certain pages we have footnote symbols such as asterisks *, the dagger †, double dagger ‡ to indicate further information available at the bottom of the page. These may not be read out in the JAWS screen reader unless a program option is changed. To read all special characters in JAWS select Options > Voices > Global Adjustment and set Punctuation to "All".

Contact information

Contact Webmanager