Our goal is to make this website informative and useful to the widest possible audience, regardless of ability, computer device or browsing technology and including anyone who may have visual, hearing, motor or cognitive impairments.
We have put a lot of time and effort into making the website comply with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA. This is a requirement defined by the UK government for any public sector organisation.
By following these guidelines, you should find that assistive techologies such as screen and braille readers, work well with the website to help you navigate through the site and find the information you need.
It might also be helpful to visit My Computer My Way. and the BBC's My Web My Way. These are both free websites with information and resources that provide advice on how to change the settings on your computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone to make it easier to use our website, and other sites across the internet.
We have tried to:
- Use clear and simple language across the website.
- Use semantic and valid HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), to help screen readers and other assistive technologies to better read and interpret the website for you.
- Use headings in a logical and hierarchical order.
- Use descriptive text when creating links to other resources and avoid using unhelpful text such as "click here".
- Use descriptive alternative test for content images (those not used for purely decorative purposes).
- Add subtitles to videos.
- Avoid using any blinking or flickering elements.
- Avoid putting text inside pictures where a screen reader would not be able to read them.
The following steps have been taken and functionality introduced to help make the website more accessible:
- Navigation - The menu and navigation of this site is designed to be accessible and uses clean, structured code. Each area of the site has a specific purpose and reflects a level of the website’s hierarchy.
- Site map - This site has a hierarchical site map and is available from the footer on every page of the site. The site map provides an easy to read list and quick access to all the pages on the website.
- Search - The search facility of this website provides an alternative route to finding information across the whole site. The search results pages are designed to work well on desktop and smartphone web browsers and assistive technology. Together with a link to the result page, additional information is provided, such as the date the page was last updated.
- Breadcrumb mrail - The breadcrumb trail can assist with orientation when inside the site and with navigation to pages higher in the structure, when you are deeper in the website.
- Prominent contact information - We have tried to provide prominent contact information on the site, so you can easily and quickly get in touch with us if you have any questions.
Buttons are placed at the top of every page, which allow you to change the contrast settings of all the pages in the website. We have three website styles, two of which are high contrast but we aim for all styles to comply with AA contrast requirements of the WCAG 2.1
When you select a different contrast style, your selection is then saved in a cookie on your device, so that your preference is remembered ready for the the next time you visit the website.
If you prefer, there are also free high contrast plugins available for browsers such as Chrome.
Zooming in and out and changing text size
The website is designed to work with popular web browser zoom and magnification features. For instance, in most web browsers you can hold down CTRL and move the scroll wheel on a mouse to increase and decrease the zoom level of a page. Alternatively, you can hold down CTRL and press the + (plus) and - (minus) buttons on your keyboard to do the same thing.
This website has been created in a way which allows you to easily make the text size larger or smaller via your browser settings. Please follow the instructions below to change the text size depending on your web browser.
- Click ‘View’ to open the View menu or press ‘Alt’ and ‘V’
- Select the ‘Text Size’ option or select by pressing ‘X’
- Choose your preferred text size using your mouse or use the up and down arrow keys
- Click to select the text size or press ‘Enter’
- The text size should change to reflect your choice
- Click ‘View’ to open the View menu
- Select the ‘Text Size’ option
- Select ‘Increase’ or ‘Decrease’
- You can also press Ctrl– or Ctrl+ to decrease or increase text size
- The text on our site should change to reflect your choice
- Click ‘View’ to open the View menu
- Click on ‘Make Text Bigger’ or ‘Make Text Smaller’ or to use the keyboard shortcuts select ‘Apple’ and ‘+’ (plus) or ‘Apple’ and ‘-‘ (minus)
- If your mouse has a scroll wheel in the centre of the right and left click buttons, hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key on the keyboard and scroll it up and down, the text size will then increase and decrease. This works in both Internet Explorer and Firefox.
- Select the "..." settings button in Chrome's title bar.
- Select the Zoom + and - buttons to adjust the zoom level of the page.
- Press the CTRL and + keys on your keyboard together to increase the zoom level.
- Press the CTRL and - keys on your keyboard together to reduce the zoom level.
You may already have a preference if you need to use a screen reader, but in case it is useful, here are some popular pieces of software. Many are free and some come already installed on your computer device.
Supported by the likes of Google, Microsoft and Adobe, NVDA is a free screen reader that has been in existence for several years and is being actively developed.
"Empowring lives through non-visual access to technology"
Windows 10 Narrator
Windows 10 comes with a free in-built screen reader called "Narrator". Here is a complete guide as well as a short video on Get Started with Narrator screen reader in Windows 10.
Apple Mac and iOS VoiceOver
Apple Mac computers, iPhone and iPad devices all have built in assistive technologies. For example, VoiceOver is Apple's built-in screen reader and Hover Text gives their users the ability to magnify text, while Display Accommodations provides support for colour blindness.
ChromeVox is a screen reader Chrome extension that is available for free to visually impaired users.
Android TalkBack and Select to Speak
Your Android smartphone and tablet has lots of accessiblity features built into it. Screen readers such as TalkBack are available, as well support for Braille displays and hearing aid support. Here is some Android accessiblity advice from Google.
If you have any comments regarding the accessibility of this site or you require information in large print, braille or an audio recording, please complete the form below and you request will be considered.