Accessibility & W3C Standards

All web pages within have been designed with accessibility in mind for a number of reasons, highest of all is that the pages can be viewed or listened to by people suffering with sight disabilities, or who suffer with the innability to access or use a mouse.

It is also quicker to download and refresh web pages that have been written to strict W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) when viewed by your browser in 'Standards Compliance mode'.

We have tried to design to make it as accessible as possible but still visually interesting. To do this we have included a variety of features which are summarised below. Click on the links to see information on the particular accessibility issues.

Access Keys

The ability to navigate the site using other means than a mouse can be important for those who have difficulties in using a mouse or other pointing device. To help with this we have set up 'Access Keys' (see below) on the site which allows easy navigation to the main pages on the web site.

As well as helping those who have difficulty using a Mouse it also allows quick access to the main pages for anyone who prefers to use the keyboard.

To use the access keys on the site follow these steps

As well as standard UK Government access keys we have added our own, specific to Details are shown below.

Government standard

(Please note Access Keys may not work on all browsers)

Images and Alt Tags

We have avoided using excessive graphics within the web site where possible to ensure quick download times and access to information which cannot be read when in image format.

Where images have been used we have added 'Alt' tags – text alternatives so that you can still see what the image is meant to convey even if it doesn't load or if you've have chosen to browse with the images switched off or you are using something like a screen reader to read the web page rather than view.

Re–sizable Text

We have been careful to make sure that we haven't fixed the size of the textual information on the web site so that visitors who wish to can alter the font size on the screen to make it easier to read. All browsers have some functionality where it is possible to re–size text.

It is also possible to increase the size of the text by holding down the Ctrl key on the bottom left hand row of the key board whilst using the scroll wheel on the mouse to increase (or decrease) the size of the text.

Browser Compatibility

This site has been tested with the following browsers for compatibility:

Coding Standards

Although there is no single definitive standard to use when coding we have tried to make sure our site conforms to those published by the W3C Standards Group for html and css scripts. Adhering to these standards should make our site accessible across browsers which adhere to the same standards, and should make our pages more accessible to those using screen readers and similar devices.

Consistent Navigation

Throughout the site we have tried to keep the navigation consistent and most pages, if not all, are viewable on every single page on the web site.

The top level of navigation to the main sections are available at all times from the top of every web page. We have tried to make the navigation as easy as possible. With large numbers of pages of information, this can be difficult to display on a single navigation pane, so there may be situations where we have had to nest navigation into a deeper tree structure. However, this structure can be easily navigated using our Site Map.

If you have any comments about the navigation on the site please contact our Webmaster on the link in the footer of this page. We have tried to make it as easy as possible, but with large numbers of pages of information this can be difficult.