Website Accessibility is a term used to describe a site’s accessibility for people with disabilities and impairments.

People who have hearing, visual, and certain other physical and cognitive impairments can find it all but impossible to use many websites. Even though a person may be set up on their end with all the necessary hardware needed to translate content into a format that they can use, if a given site is not set up to be accessible then they will not be able to use the site.

We endeavour to make this website as accessible as possible by ensuring that:

  • Layout and structure is consistent throughout the site
  • All content is clear and concisely written
  • Font sizes are scalable and large enough for most people to read comfortably.
    Press Ctrl + / Ctrl – to increase or decrease font sizes throughout the site
  • The colour contrast ratio with text on background is at least 7:1, with buttons on background at least 4.5:1
  • Purely decorative images do not have ‘alt text’, as this can be distracting for those using screen readers
  • Headings are utilised correctly, with a fully semantic structure that helps screen readers to navigate the site correctly
  • Redundant titles are removed in links to avoid title duplication for people using screen readers and magnifiers
  • All forms are correctly labelled. Each field has a unique ID and is validated
  • If a form field is required then the word ‘required’ is used rather than a little red star, which is not picked up by screen readers
  • All links are made keyboard accessible and have a ‘focus’ attribute where possible so that the user knows which link they have selected
  • All code is validated as far as possible using W3C standards for both HTML and CSS
  • The site works cross-browser and degrades gracefully in older browsers
  • The design never relies on colour alone. All text reads well in black and white
  • We avoid the use of Flash, which doesn’t render on iPads or iPhones

We have installed an accessibility plugin on the website (click orange icon in top left of screen). This provides a quick and simple way of adjusting contrast, colour, text size and fonts across the whole website.

A Google Translate widget has also been added (see drop down menu in top left of screen). This means that the entire website can be translated into any of 60 languages at the click of a button.

Accessibility software

The most popular software that is useful for assisting access to websites is listed below.

Some are free, some are commercial but have free demos.

  • JAWS, a screen reader for Windows. A time-limited, downloadable demo is available.
  • Home Page Reader, a screen reader for Windows. A downloadable demo is available.
  • Lynx browser, a free text-only web browser for blind users with refreshable Braille displays.
  • Links browser, a free text-only web browser for visual users with low bandwidth.
  • Opera browser, a visual browser with many accessibility-related features, including text zooming, user stylesheets, image toggle. A free downloadable version is available. Compatible with Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and several other operating systems.
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