About Us

Accessibility

To be accessible, our website must be as easy to use and understand for as many visitors as possible.  We strive to ensure accessibility by complying with or exceeding the recommendations of appropriate industry standards and applicable legislation, and we are committed to continually reviewing and improving our levels of compliance.

Font Control

This website offers the option for it to be viewed in different text sizes. Two icons allow you to select the different size text and are on each page at the top. The font-size will increase or decrease incrementally as you click one of the icons.

The font size tool does not use javascript so you need not enable it if you want to change your font size.

You can also alter the size of the screen fonts using the tools built in to most modern web browsers:

  • Internet Explorer (all Windows versions): Go to the 'View' menu, 'Text Size', and select your desired setting. The default is medium. Alternatively, if you have a mouse with a wheel you can hold the CTRL key on your keyboard whilst scrolling up or down with the wheel to alter the text size.
  • Internet Explorer 5.1 (Mac): Go to the View menu and use the 'Text Zoom' feature.
  • Apple Safari: Go the 'View' menu and use the 'Make Text Bigger' and 'Make Text Smaller' menu items. Alternatively you can use the option key with + or - to increase or decrease the text size.
  • Netscape 7 + (Mac and PC): Go to the 'View' menu and use the 'Text Zoom' feature to change text size. Alternatively you can use the CTRL key with the plus or minus to increase or decrease the size.
  • Mozilla (i.e. Firefox / Camino, Mac and PC): Go to the 'View' menu and either click the 'Increase Text Size' or 'Decrease Text Size' menu items, or alternatively you can use the CTRL key with the plus or minus to increase or decrease the size.

Text Only Version

A text only (high contrast) version of this website is available by clicking the 'Text Only' link (which has a 'T' icon) at the top of the page. You will see a simpler version of the site with larger, brighter text which should be easier to read.  This mode will also be the best option if you intend to use the website using a screenreader.

Screen Reader

The website supports screen reader programs.  We recommend Browsealoud, an application for Mac and PC which can be used with most modern browsers. Once installed, simply click on the logo to switch on the reader and follow the set up instructions. If you have any problems, there is a page which sets out full instructions on installing and uninstalling Browsealoud. When installed, position your cursor at the start of a paragraph and it will start to read automatically. To stop the reader at any point, simply press the Ctrl key.

Print Version

The purpose of this feature is provide the user with a simple link that will convert a page into a printer friendly version (no dark backgrounds, no navigation), retain some of the essential formatting (images, headers) and send a print command to the users printer. Click the 'Print Version' icon at the top of the page to access this function.

Standards

This site fully complies with the W3C XHTML 1.0 Standard and will validate.

The Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) on this site are essentially written according to W3C standards, but we have included additional formatting information which will cause the CSS not to validate. Unfortunately, different web browsers interpret the CSS standard in different ways - often incorrectly - meaning that it is difficult to create stylesheets which both validate against the appropriate standards, but which also allow users to see the website as intended across a wide variety of web browsers and platforms (i.e. Windows, Mac, Linux, etc). We have tried hard to ensure that our users have the best possible experience when browsing this website, irrespective of the sort of browser or computer they prefer to use, but this has meant that we have had to accommodate various browser inconsistencies in our CSS, at the expense of validation.

Plugins

You may notice that this website uses the Flash plugin. It does so only for typographical / aesthetic reasons: if you do not have the Flash plugin installed, you will see exactly the same content.

Browsers

In order to provide good accessibility some compromises have unfortunately had to be made in terms of full support for certain older browsers which do not support web standards, or support them unreliably or unpredictably. We strongly recommend that you use only the following browsers:

Windows:

  • Internet Explorer 6 - available at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.asp. Most people have this on their Windows-based PCs already. If you don't have Internet Explorer, or if you have a version earlier than version 6, you should consider obtaining one of the Mozilla browsers (see below) instead, because they are small and quick to download.
  • Mozilla Firefox - available at http://www.mozilla.org/
  • Netscape 8 (in Internet Explorer or Firefox rendering mode)
  • Opera 8 or above

Apple Mac:

Linux:

The following browsers are not recommended on any platform - they will show the website but may not display the pages optimally:

  • Internet Explorer < 6 (Not supported on the Mac)
  • Opera < v8 (Mac or PC)
  • Netscape < v8 (Mac or PC)
  • Konqueror (Linux, any version)

We appreciate that it might not seem easy or desirable to have constantly to upgrade your browser! If you do have an older browser, or one not on the list above, and you are unable or unwilling to change it, rest assured you will still be able to use the site, but you will not have the best viewing experience. Additionally most accessibility enhancements will not be available to you. Netscape 4 users may only view the site in text-only mode. We therefore again strongly recommend you upgrade your browser. If you'd like to read more about why this is a good idea more generally, visit the Web Standards Project.