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We recognise the importance of providing a website that is accessible to everyone. This includes people with sight problems, hearing, mobility and cognitive impairments as well as users with dial-up, older browsers or newer technologies such as mobiles and PDAs. This statement outlines the accessibility features of this website. If you have any comments or suggestions about any aspect of the accessibility of this site, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Accessibility features

We have provided the features set out below to improve navigation for screen reader users, keyboard navigation and users of text-only browsers.

Navigation shortcuts

There is a short menu at the start of every page that allows you to jump directly to the most important parts of the page, including main content and navigation. Sighted people who use the keyboard to navigate will see these links appear on screen when using the Tab key to navigate through the page. Each shortcut has an access key assigned.

Access keys

Access keys are keyboard shortcuts that work instead of a mouse for navigation. These shortcuts can be accessed by pressing:

Alt and an Access Key when using Internet Explorer (Windows); and
Control and an Access Key when using Safari (Macintosh)

You then press Enter to activate the link. The following access keys are available throughout the website:

n: Jump to Navigation
c: Jump to Content
0: Jump to Homepage

These access keys have been chosen to follow the UK government website guidelines where applicable. Wherever possible, they also avoid conflicting with commonly used screen reader keyboard shortcuts.

Structured, semantic markup: headings and navigation menus

HTML heading tags are used to convey the document layout. H1 tags are used for main titles, H2 tags for subtitles, and so on. Navigation menus are marked up as HTML lists. This ensures that the number of links in the list is read out at the start and it can be skipped easily.

Images

Where an image conveys important information, alternative text will be provided. If the image is used for a decorative purpose the alternative text will be left blank.

Style sheets, fonts, colours

This site uses software called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control all of the presentation and layout. If your browser or browsing device does not support style sheets, the use of structured semantic markup ensures that the content of each page is still readable and clearly structured.

Font sizes and colours can be changed by using your own custom style sheets or browser settings. The BBC has an excellent guide on how to do this for various browsers and systems.

Scripting

The content on this site has been written and formatted to make it accessible and the site is fully accessible if scripting is unavailable.

Standards compliance

The pages on this site conform at a minimum to Level A compliance as specified by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and endorsed by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB). This site also meets the majority of Level AA and AAA requirements. Most of the pages validate as XHTML 1.0 Transitional and use structured semantic markup [to ensure that the code will work correctly on the majority of web browsers] and our CSS also validates the pages [to ensure that there are no errors that may affect viewing]. We are committed to providing services online in line with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005, as required by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

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