This page describes the accessibility and usability standards we aim to achieve to help you get the best out of using this site.

Standards compliance

We aim to ensure that this site complies with relevant accessibility criteria, such as the W3C Web ContentAccessibility Guidelines. We will provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content. We will also ensure that text and graphics are understandable when viewed without color. We will use markup and style sheets,ensuring that tags are used for main titles, tags for subtitles (and so on), with presentation being handled through the appropriate usage of stylesheets.

Visual design

We use stylesheet technology for visual layout. This is an efficient way of working that helps us to organise and update websites in the easiest way.

We ensure that the use of tables for layout is kept to a bare minimum, as evidence strongly suggests that tables are less user friendly.

We use only relative font sizes, compatible with the user-specified “text size” option in visual browsers, to help make sure the text is as easy as possible to read.

Image use

We aim to include textual alternatives for image content. These are known as alt tags. Using these ensures that people using screen readers who are often visually impaired are also made aware of the pages image content.

Font resizing

All pages carry a font-resizing tool to allow users to increase / decrease the size of the font on the pages of this site.

If you have a vision impairment then we recommend that you visit the RNIB website for specialist advice such as alternative screen readers, screen magnifiers and other devices that are available and can make using a computer easier and more enjoyable.

Assistance with files

This site enable users to upload and download files invarious formats. To assist you with accessing these files we have listed below of commonly used file types and linksto the appropriate readers.

Accessibility references

Accessibility software

  • 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, a free text-only web browser for blind users with refreshable Braille displays
  • Links, a free text-only web browser for visual users with low bandwidth, and
  • Opera, 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.

Accessibility services

  • Bobby, a free service to analyze web pages for compliance to accessibility guidelines. A full-featured commercial version is also available.
  • HTML Validator, a free service for checking that web pages conform to published HTML standards.
  • Web Page Backward Compatibility Viewer, a tool for viewing your web pages without a variety of modern browser features.
  • Lynx Viewer, a free service for viewing what your web pages would look like in Lynx.