Some of the things we have done to make our website more accessible

We have worked hard to make sure that our website can be used by as many people as possible. For instance we have built-in some quick methods to change how you can view our website. We have also included general help on this page for all visitors to our website.

For people who…

Additional help…

For people who 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. We have built this function in to our website so that if a visitor selects a different contrast all our web pages will remain in that view during the same session providing the user has “accepted cookies”.

Contrast buttons 

At the top of our web pages you will see the contrast buttons. They represent different screen views. 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 original (default) 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 and how to change the contrast in your browser on the 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 built this function in to our website so that if a visitor decides to change the size of the text, all our web pages will automatically display the same text size during the user’s session. This will only happen if a visitor to our website has “accepted cookies”.

Temporarily change the size of text on your screen

You can 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 and how to change the size of the font in your browser on the section of the BBC website called “My Web My Way”.

For people who 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.

For people who find it very distracting if images keep changing

Some people find it very distracting to have a set of images on screen which change every now and again. 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.

For people who would rather listen to the text 

Text-to-speech using your computer

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

There are several TTS solutions available and whilst we do not personally recommend any software you may wish to look at the text-to-speech software called NaturalReader by NaturalSoft Ltd. This comes in two versions either for free, with a single voice, or for purchase with a variety of voices to choose from plus additional functionality. It is available for either Windows or Mac computers. Please note that if you decide to download third party software on to your computer you should bear in mind that you do so at your own risk and we do not take any responsibility for any subsequent problems you may experience in this regard.

Additionally, there is built-in screen reading software for Macs called VoiceOver. This is screen reading software which will interpret the coding behind a web page and will read, for example, the alternative text for images as well as list headings and links to a blind user. As far as we are aware, at this point in time, other computer systems only have text-to-speech software available for use with applications and not for reading web pages. For example, people with Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 on their computer can listen to text on their screen using the built-in text-to-speech software for Windows called Windows Narrator

For people who cannot hear very well or are deaf

We have video content on our website and currently the videos have music as backing tracks and there are no spoken words. If we do use video with speech we will make a transcript (with descriptions of any relevant sound) available for the deaf or hard of hearing visitors. Please contact us if you experience any difficulties with audios or 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 an equivalent experience to other users when visiting our website.

Apart from adjusting the size of the text as given earlier under the heading “For people who like to increase the size of the text”, it is possible to magnify sections of the screen where a user is currently focussed. There is specialist software that will enable users to magnify the screen and some systems have this function available. For instance, if a computer is running Windows 7 there is a built-in magnification program which will allow a user to either magnify where they are currently focussed or magnify the entire screen.

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 / the majority of 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 and follow the instructions to install this software.

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 which are in Microsoft Word format. If you do not have Microsoft Word on your computer you may download a free Microsoft Word viewer which will enable you to view the document.

“My web my way”

My web my way is part of the BBC website and provides advice and help on how to get the most of the accessibility features and assistive technologies available for your computer, so that you can view the web in a more accessible way.

There are how to guides which show you how to customise the accessibility features of your computer setup or web browser. Also included are factsheets that introduce the range of assistive technologies that are available.

When things don’t work as they should

We have worked hard to ensure 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 or phone us on 01323 875240 and we will do our best to support you and address any issues you raise.