How to use this website
We have tried to ensure this website is highly accessible and gives a positive user experience to as many visitors as possible.
Please let us know using the Contact Us form if we could further improve it for you or if you come across any issues.
You can order information in large print, audio CD or cassette, other languages or Braille by using the Contact Us form and you can read our Accessible Information Policy here.
We have built-in some quick methods to change how you can view our website, at the top of every page.
If you prefer a medium or high contrast
Some people find it easier to read a web page if there is a higher contrast between the background and the text. If you choose this option pages will remain in that view during the same session providing the user has “accepted cookies”.
At the top of our web pages you will see the contrast buttons. If you click on these you will be able to view our website using a different set of colours. The middle button with a brown background will give you a medium colour contrast between the background and the text; the button with the black background on the right will give you a high contrast between the background and the text; and the button on the left with a white background will take you back to the normal view.
If you prefer to completely personalise the contrast for all websites, you can change the settings in your browser, or on your computer system. These settings will remain until you next change them – should you feel the need to do so. You will find instructions on how to change the contrast on your computer http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/change_colours/computer/) and how to change the contrast in your browser http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/change_colours/browser/) on the section of the BBC website called “My Web My Way”.
If you like to increase the size of the text
A lot of users prefer to view the text on websites in a larger size than normal. If you change the size of the text, all our web pages will display the same text size during the session. This will only happen if a visitor to our website has “accepted cookies”.
Click on the larger [A] / on the plus button [+] to make the text larger and the smaller [a] / and the minus button [-] to reduce the text size.
Temporarily change the size of text on your screen
You can also use your keyboard, or keyboard and middle mouse wheel (if you have one), to change the size of the text when viewing text using most browsers.
Larger text: [Ctrl] and [+] or [Ctrl] and mouse wheel forward.
Smaller text: [Ctrl] and [-] or [Ctrl] and mouse wheel back.
The above method will make everything on screen larger/smaller including images.
Permanently changing the size of text in your computer settings
You can also change the setting on your computer, or through your browser, so that you always have the size of font that you prefer for all websites. You can change it back again any time you wish.
You will find instructions on how to change the size of the font on your computer http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/change_fonts/computer/) and how to change the size of the font in your browser http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/change_fonts/browser/ on the section of the BBC website called “My Web My Way”.
If you prefer to use the keyboard
Some people have restricted mobility and find using a mouse quite difficult for various reasons so we have made sure our website can be navigated by someone who only uses a keyboard.
Pressing the tab key allows you to move forward on each page through the menus, links and text boxes requiring input from you - and pressing the shift and tab key allows you to move back. The arrow keys on the keyboard will enable you to scroll up and down and left or right.
When you land on a drop down box with a series of options you will have to use the Alt key and a down, or up, arrow to make your selection before pressing Enter.
We have designed our website so that when you use the tab key you can easily see where you are currently focussed. You can also check where you have landed by looking on the left at the bottom of your computer screen.
If you find it very distracting if images keep changing
We have provided a pause/stop button next to the changing images on any pages which have a slideshow. You can also use another button to move to the next [>] or the previous [<] image if you would like to see the images one at a time.
If you would rather listen to the text
We have made our website speech enabled. This means that we have installed a programme called BrowseAloud on our server which will read the text on our web pages out loud. It will only do this if you have installed the free user software on your own computer.
Text to speech using BrowseAloud
The BrowseAloud button is at the top of the screen on all our web pages and it will take you directly to the BrowseAloud website where you can find out more about listening to our pages.
BrowseAloud is an online screen reader to help anyone who would prefer to listen to the content on our website rather than read it. It is special software which reads the text on the screen and speaks those words to you out loud. When it is running, you simply need to move the mouse over some text on our web page, click on the icon that appears and the text is read out to you.
Browsealoud is only a text reader and should not be confused with screen reading software for the blind. This is because it requires some degree of vision and the ability to move the mouse pointer.
Once the software is installed on your computer you will be able to listen to any website offering the Browsealoud service as well as our website. See the list of other sites supporting BrowseAloud. http://www.browsealoud.co.uk/page.asp?pg_id=80007)
Text-to-speech using your computer
Text-to-speech software is not the same as screen reading software for the blind. A screen reader will interpret the coding on a web page. It can read the alternative text for images as well as list headings and links to the blind user.
People with Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 on their computer can listen to any text on their screen using the built-in speech function called Windows Narrator. http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/speak_text/computer/) This software has many functions including reading out loud as you type.
If you cannot see very well or are blind
There are many different types of sight impairment including colour blindness and macular degeneration and we have done our best to ensure that users with vision impairment will have an equivalent experience to other users when visiting our website.
Downloading documents from our website
Throughout our website you will see links to our documents which you can open, or download onto your computer. We have converted all the documents on our website to PDF (portable document format). This means you will be able to read these documents if you have Adobe Reader installed on your computer regardless of the software you use to create your own documents.
Adobe Reader is the name of the free software that can open PDF documents. If it is not already installed on your computer you will need to download Adobe Reader http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/) With this you can hear a PDF document read aloud or scroll a PDF document automatically if you go to Edit Preferences.