We have tried to make this website as accessible as possible.
Our audience is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds — children to adults, different ethnicities and languages, and different social and educational levels and, of course, most of our visitors have one or more disability.
We cannot make a website perfect, as what works for one person will not work for someone else and some adaptations are beyond our limited budget.
However we will endeavour to keep improving the website and welcome suggestions.
Accessibility starts with your browser and operating system
Your web browser (eg Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari) and operating system (Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Linux), will already have many accessibility facilities built in to make using a website easier.
The BBC accessibility guide My Web My Way provides a lot of useful advice about how you can set your operating system and browser to help you with accessibility and there are other links at the bottom of this page.
Microsoft is in the process of replacing Internet Explorer with Microsoft Edge, which is the browser now being supplied with Windows 10.
Google has accessibility features built into its products, see more on Google Accessibility.
Some of the things we’ve done ourselves to make the site accessible are set out below.
Responsive design and web standards
- We’ve used WordPress as our platform — the people at WordPress are highly committed to accessibility and a lot more expert at it than us.
- We’ve used a responsive design ‘theme’, or design template, that adjusts to whatever device you’re using to view the site. This means it will also zoom well for anyone with a visual impairment.
- We’ve set out web accessibility standards for people writing for the website, however we do not employ web staff or a web design agency and rely on volunteers. Accessible web design is an area where technology and knowledge is advancing at a very fast pace.
- We’ve tried to write in Plain English, use meaningful hyperlinks and not write content that takes you up a dead end.
Document downloads in Word and PDF format
Some content may be provided in documents you can download. Where we do this the document may be provided in either Word or PDF (Portable Document Format) or both.
Computers (and often tablets and phones) are usually sold with Adobe Acrobat Reader pre-loaded so you can read PDF formats.
Word documents can usually be opened in Google Docs, which comes as part of a free Gmail account (on Google Drive) or Microsoft Outlook.com Word software which comes part of an Outlook.com/Hotmail email account.
You can also download free readers from these sites:
Some content may be embedded from other services using iFrames. If we do this we will provide a title and/or summary of the type of content that is being embedded and wherever possible a direct link to the original site.
Images and graphics
We’ve tried to add meaningful alternative tags (‘alt-tags’) to images and graphics.
We’ve tried to ensure we’ve not made content completely dependent on an image or graphic — or if occasionally we do, as we know a lot of people like images and graphics — we’ll provide meaningful alternative content wherever possible.
Internal and external links make sense out of context, so it’s clear what content we’re linking to.
We’ve provided a Sitemap so you can see all the pages on this site in one place, as well as providing menus and sub-menus in more context where most relevant.
The site includes a feed from our Facebook page and may include feeds from other social media. Where we do this we will provide a link to the original site content as it can be easier to read the content on the original site. This type of content is very useful for many people but the state of current technology means that we are limited to the accessibility of the original social media sites which are not always as accessible as we would like.
- Facebook accessibility for people with disabilities
- EasyChirp web-accessible alternative to Twitter
See this BBC My Web My Way guide which explains how you can make your computer read text aloud:
Text and background colours
You should be able to change the colour of text and the page background using your browser. See this BBC My Web My Way guide:
Colours on this site are controlled by CSS stylesheets. In a few areas additional CSS inline styling has been used for decoration to help visual navigation but is not critical to understanding of the content.
Text size and font
To increase or decrease the size of text and other content:
- On a PC use Ctrl + and Ctrl – (Control Plus or Control Minus)
- On an Apple Mac use Cmd + and Cmd – (Command Plus and Command Minus)
You can also increase the text size of the page using your browser. See these BBC My Web My Way guides:
We’ve linked to Google Translate in over 80 languages — we know Google Translate sometimes makes some howlers, but it should help a lot of people who don’t have English as their first language.
Some content are videos we have embedded from other sites such as YouTube. This is content produced by other people. Wherever possible we will select content that includes sub-titles but we are limited to the facilities provided by the original video. Technology is moving fast in this area and we will try to ensure any video content is as accessible as possible.
Contact us with your suggestions or for alternative formats
Technology is changing rapidly. There are large range of devices for viewing websites, and what is helpful for one person can be unhelpful to someone else. The experts often don’t always agree on what is best, and technology is also sometimes moving ahead faster than web accessibility guidelines — many of the ‘definitive’ guidelines were written around 2005. So we won’t always get it completely right.
As a small charity with limited resources we cannot always meet the standards of a major corporation — we built and maintain this website using free software and volunteers.
If we have got something wrong, we’re very sorry. Please tell us and suggest any improvements or useful resources you know.
We can’t always promise to implement every suggestion, but we will listen and we will try to do the very best we can for you.
Please also contact us if you need any content we have created ourselves in an alternative format and we will endeavour to provide this or alternative suitable help.
Go to the Contact us page to see the different ways you can get in touch.
Further reading and resources
- Ability Net: Visual impairment and computing
- Accessibility: BBC My Web My Way Lots of useful information and resources, not just for the BBC
- Web accessibility: Wikipedia
- Introduction to web accessibility: Worldwide Web Consortium. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the definitive resource as they set the standards for the whole web across the world, however some of the advice they have is now a bit dated (a lot was written around 2005).
- Chromevox. Chromevox is a free screenreader extension you can download for the Google Chrome browser
- Internet Explorer Ease of Access options. Ways of customising Internet Explorer to improve accessibility.
- Accessibility Features in Firefox. Accessibility features for the Firefox browser.
- Apple Mac assistive technology. Ways of customising Apple Macs and Safari to improve accessibility.
- Windows 7. If you use Windows 7 there are a number of built in accessibility facilities: go to Control Panel/Ease of Access/Ease of Access Center to enable them (this is not a link).
- RNIB built in accessibility features in your computer or tablet
- RNIB free accessibility features
- BBC Webwise: Wider help about using computers including online training
- Inclusive Technology links