We have tried our very best to make this website usable by as many people as possible. Some people with disabilities find using the web difficult and many sites do not accommodate those with visual or other disabilities.
While we know that it is impossible to design a site that everyone can use, we hope that designing this site with accessibility in mind means that more people can access its content.
We strive to obey the spirit of the UK Disability Discrimination Act 1995 with respect to the provision of services online, as required by the Disability Rights Commission, and have designed the site so that it can take advantage of the technology that assists users with disabilities, including screen-readers and the use of access keys to access areas of the site.
The WAI guidelines are divided into three main priority groups according to their importance for accessibility.
This website aims to comply with all guidelines in all groups as far as is practicable.
However, in order to ensure compatibility with older browsers and devices and due to some technical constraints, the following design decisions have been taken:
- Most width and height units in the site are relative but some, in order to ensure consistency on different user agents, are absolute. (see checkpoint 3.4).
- The site complies with the HTML 4.01 standard (see checkpoint 11.1).
Access keys are keyboard shortcuts that provide links to important areas of the site.
Windows users can press ALT + an access key (followed by RETURN for those using Microsoft Internet Explorer).
Apple Macintosh users can press CONTROL + an access key.
This website uses the following UK Government standard access keys:
- S - Skip navigation
- 1 - Home page
- 3 - Site map
- 9 - Feedback form
- 0 - Access key details
If they don't work for you, your browser may have hijacked the key combinations for other purposes.
Specific actions taken
The following is a list of some of the specific actions which have been taken to improve accessibility of this website:
- avoidance of frames in the site design
- use of alternative text (alt tags) to describe the content of images
- standards compliance
- all pages validate as HTML 4.01 Transitional (tested using the W3C Markup Validation Service)
- all pages pass Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Priority 2 which are endorsed by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (tested via Bobby and the HiSoftware Cynthia Says Portal)
- all pages use structured semantic mark-up and validate as CSS2.1, tested using the W3C CSS Validation Service
- provision of 'skip navigation' links for text only browsers
- provision of 'Top of Page' and 'Main Navigation Bar' links on every page for quicker access to these important features
- provision of a 'site map' feature
- use of Access Keys
Do you need help in making the web easier to use? These BBC web pages explain the many ways in which you can change your browser, computer, keyboard and mouse settings to make the web more accessible for you.
Though this site is monitored on a regular basis and accessibility is an important part of every new development, it is not possible to predict every possible difficulty a user might have in accessing information on the site. If you have any difficulty and require further help or have suggestions to improve our accessibility, please contact the webmaster.