We want our website to be as easy to use as possible for everyone, whether you have a disability or not. This page should answer any questions you may have on this issue.
Advice specific to our website is available below, but if you have any accessibility issues, AbilityNet provides guidance on how to:
In addition, my web my way
on the BBC website provides accessibility help, enabling computer users to make the most of the internet whatever their ability or disability.
Most tablets and smartphones have built in accessibility functions, which are normally found under 'settings'.
These functions allow you to change things such as font size, font style, contrast and screen brightness, as well as offering ‘text to speech’ options. Features will vary depending upon the make and model of your device.
Changing text size
Many people find the text on the screen difficult to read. For example, if you are working at a higher screen resolution or using a laptop with a smaller screen you may find the text too small to read easily.
Also, if you have a vision impairment you may also want to increase the size of the text to make it easier to read.
You can increase text size on the desktop version of our website by clicking the text size buttons in the top right corner of every page. They look like this:
Speak this page
We know that many visitors to our website have difficulties reading text online. If that sounds like you, you can use Browsealoud - a program that works with your browser to 'read' out the content of the page. It looks like this:
You may find this helpful if:
- you have problems reading
- English is not your first language
- you have dyslexia
- your sight is mildly impaired
We have Browsealoud installed on the desktop version of our website. Just click the 'speak this page' link at the top of every page to hear the words rather than having to read them.
Translating pages into a different language
All pages on the desktop version of our website can be translated into over 100 different languages by using Google Translate (found under the left navigation menu).
Just select the language you want to translate content into from the drop down menu on the Google Translate tool, which looks like this:
You can use a browser version of Google Translate
if you are using a mobile device. Just copy the section of text, or whole page, you would like to read in a different language and paste into Google Translate.
We aim to use plain language and avoid jargon at all times, so that the content on our site is easy to understand. To help us do this, we follow Plain English guidelines
However, there are occasions where this is not the case:
- we sometimes publish content, such as planning documents, which may contain technical language
- some of the content on this website is older and has not yet been updated to reach these standards, but new content and content as we update it will be written in this way
We have a large number of PDF documents published on our site, many of which do not meet accessibility guidelines. However, we’re committed to preparing all future documents so that they can be read by assistive technologies.
We’re committed to delivering improvements to make our online forms as accessible as possible. The vast majority of our forms already feature form field labels which provide helpful additional context for users of assistive technologies. We're working on making sure 100% of online forms include this field.
If you have visual impairments, you may be interested in the following assistive technology.
Screen enlargers (or screen magnifiers)
These work like a magnifying glass. They enlarge a portion of the screen as the user moves the focus - increasing legibility for some users. Some screen enlargers allow a user to zoom in and out on a particular area of the screen
These are software programs that present graphics and text as speech. A screen reader is used to verbalise, or 'speak' everything on the screen, including names and descriptions of control buttons, menus, text and punctuation
Speech recognition systems
Also called voice recognition programs, theseallow people to give commands and enter data using their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard
Often referred to as text-to-speech (TTS) systems), these receive information going to the screen in the form of letters, numbers and punctuation marks, and then 'speak' it out loud. Using speech synthesisers allows blind users to review their input as they type
This displays provide tactile output of information represented on the computer screen. The user reads the Braille letters with his or her fingers, and then, after a line is read, refreshes the display to read the next line
These transfer computer-generated text into embossed Braille output. Braille translation programs convert text scanned in or generated
Talking word processors
These are software programs that use speech synthesisers to provide auditory feedback of what is typed
Large-print word processors
These allow the user to view everything in large text without added screen enlargement
Please note: the content management system for our website will be upgraded within the next 12 to 24 months, moving to a responsive design. Accessibility will be an important factor in the new version, improving on features that aren’t yet available on our website, such as translating PDF documents.