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. This is because making our website accessible is important to us not only for legal reasons such as complying with the Equality Act 2010, but for moral ones too.
For people who…
- prefer a medium or high contrast
- like to increase the size of the text
- prefer to use the keyboard
- find it very distracting if images keep changing
- would rather listen to the text
- cannot hear very well or are deaf
- cannot see very well or are blind
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”.
At the top of our web pages you will see an 'Accessibility" drop down menu. If you click on this, at the bottom of the list are the options to view our website using a different set of colours. The 'Soft' option will give you a medium colour contrast between the background and the text; the 'High' will give you a high contrast between the background and the text; and 'Normal' 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”.
A lot of users prefer to view the text on websites in a larger size than normal. Your browser will have a setting which will allow you to change the size of text.
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 unless they have been given a defined size.
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”.
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 (the status bar).
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.
We have made our website speech enabled. This is a program called BrowseAloud which will read the text on our web pages out loud.
Text to speech using BrowseAloud
The BrowseAloud button is at the top of the screen on all our web page 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.
Please note: We reserve the right to withdraw without notice third party software such as Browse Aloud which we may make available to visitors of our website from time to time. Any user who prefers to listen to the text may use other text readers which are freely available see additional advice given below.
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 2 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.
We may occasionally place audio or video content on our website and 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.
We are in the process of adding subtitles to each of our videos, and hope to have this carried out very soon.
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.
Throughout our website you will see links to our documents which you can open, or download onto your computer. We have converted 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.
You can also click on the Adobe Reader icon (shown below).
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 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.
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. We have endeavoured to make all the pages on our website conform to Success Criteria Double A of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 published by the World Wide Web Consortium. These guidelines are the internationally recognised benchmark for building Accessible websites.
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 0300 123 1222 and we will do our best to support you and address any issues you raise. As soon as we receive your communication we will endeavour to deal with it as soon as we can.