Accessibility statement

It is important to us that this website is useful to people, and also that it is used by as many people as possible.

As well as including lots of ways to link quickly to useful information, we have made sure that our website is designed and arranged in a way that makes it as accessible as possible.

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This includes catering for people who:

  • Prefer or need a medium or high contrast of colours on the screen
  • Prefer or need to use their keyboard rather than a mouse
  • Prefer or need to listen to the text on the screen
  • Cannot hear very well or are deaf
  • Cannot see very well or are blind

We have worked hard to make sure that our website meets current accessibility guidelines, and we have done our best to consider all our visitors’ needs.

However, if you are experiencing any difficulty with accessing the content of our website please do not hesitate to contact us for support and we will do our best to help you and address any issues you raise.

What follows is some help and support on how to navigate your way through our website, but if you need any further help to improve your online experience, there is a useful section on the BBC website called My Web My Way.

It provides advice and help on how to get the most of the accessibility features and details of some of the assistive technologies available for your computer.  There are also a range of ‘how to’ guides that show you how to customise the accessibility features of your computer or website browser.

For people who prefer a medium or high contrast

Some people find it easier to read a page on a website if there is a higher contrast between the background and the text. We have built this function into our website so that if a visitor selects a different contrast all of our website will remain in that view during the same session as long as the user has ‘accepted cookies’.  (You will see this request at the bottom of the website if you haven’t already accepted them.)

You can find the contrast buttons at the top right hand side of the website.  If you click on these you will be able to view our website using a different set of colours.

  • The yellow button on the right will give you a high contrast between the background and the text.
  • The brown button in the middle will give you a medium colour contrast between the background and the text.
  • The grey button on the left will take you back to the original view with a standard contrast.

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 unless you decide to change them again.

You can find instructions on how to change the contrast on your computer, and how to change the contrast in your browser on a section of the BBC website called My Web My Way.

For people who 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.

We have not included buttons that can automatically increase the size of the screen, as this may distort the images depending on the different internet browsers people are using.  However, you can increase or decrease the size of the screen yourself easily by using keyboard or the middle mouse wheel if you have one.

The following method will make everything on the screen larger or smaller, including the images and graphics.

For larger screen text and images:
Hold down the Ctrl (control) button with the + key or move the mouse wheel forward

For smaller screen text and images:
Hold down the Ctrl (control) button with the – (minus) key or move the mouse wheel backward

You can also permanently change the size of text in your computer settings, or through your browser so that you have the size of font you prefer for all websites.  You can also change it back any time you wish.

You can find instructions on how to change the size of the font on your computer and how to change the size of the font in your browser in a section on the BBC website called My Web My Way.

For people who prefer to use the keyboard

Some people have mobility issues, or for various reasons they may find using a mouse quite difficult, so we have made sure that our website can be navigated by someone who only uses a keyboard.

Pressing the tab key means you can move forward on each page through the menus, links and text boxes.  Pressing the shift and tab key allows you to move backwards. The menus, links and boxes will highlight when you are on them, and the page links will show at the bottom left hand side of your browser screen.

To go to that content, press the enter button on your keyboard.

When you get to a box with a drop down menu and a series of options you can use the arrow keys to make your selection.

You can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll the screen up and down or left and right.

For people who would rather listen to the text

Screen readers and text-to-speech software using your computer

Screen readers interpret the coding behind a website page and will read, for example, the alternative text for images as well as list headings and links to a blind or visually impaired user.  Mac computers have a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver, and other software can also be downloaded or bought.

The content of our website has been put together in a way that makes sure that it works as well as possible with screen reader software.

Text-to-speech (TTS) software is not the same as screen reading software. It is for people for whom English is a second language, for people who have dyslexia, for people who have mild visual difficulties, or for people who just prefer to listen to the text.

There are several TTS solutions available for both Windows and Mac computers that are free or paid for, and Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating systems have built-in text-to-speech software called Windows Narrator.

Find out more about using audio on websites on the BBC’s My Web, My Way website.

For people who cannot hear very well or are deaf

We sometimes add video content on our website by embedding YouTube codes into our web pages, and wherever possible we will include other versions, including a link to the video transcript.

Please contact us if you experience any difficulties with videos and we will do our best to support you.

For people who 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 the same experience to other users when visiting our website.

Apart from adjusting the size of the text and screen as whole using the keyboard functions as detailed in the section about changing the text size, it is possible to magnify sections of the screen where a user wants to focus.

Specialist software can help you to do this, and some computer operating systems have this function already built in.  For example, Windows 7 has a built in magnification programme that will allow you to either magnify where you want to focus on, or will magnify the entire screen.

For people who may need reading support

Around 20% of the population need reading support. This includes people with dyslexia, learning difficulties, mild visual impairements and those who don’t have English as a first language.

We will soon be adding some extra software to our website that will add extra speech and reading support.

If you are in the sub menus on the left hand side, you can also use the ‘skip to navigation’ link at the top of the page on the right hand side, which will allow you to jump straight to the beginning of the content. This may make the page clearer to help you focus on the content you are most interested in.

Downloading documents from our website

Throughout our website you may find links to our documents that you can open or download onto your computer.

Most of these documents will be in a portable document format (PDF), which 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 free software, and if it is not already installed on your computer you can download Adobe Reader and follow the instructions given to install it.

The latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader has incorporated accessibility features. For example, you can hear a PDF document read aloud or scroll a PDF document automatically. You can access these features in the edit preferences menu once you have downloaded a PDF to your computer.

Other document formats

You may come across other documents on our website that are in Microsoft Word format. If you do not have Microsoft Word on your computer you can download a free Microsoft Word viewer.

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