Accessibility

Font size and colours

In your web browser you can change various settings to make website more accessible for you. You can specify the font type and size and the foreground and background colours that are used to display webpages. You can also specify the colour used for links in webpages. You can also zoom in on any webpage for better readability.

From the keyboard, you can increase or decrease the zoom value in 10% increments. To zoom in, press Ctrl+. To zoom out, press Ctrl-. To restore the zoom to 100%, press Ctrl0.

You can change the default colours for text, background, or links, and change the default font styles to make the content easier for you to distinguish and read. Several web browsers provide simple options for defining such colour and font schemes, including options to reuse the colour schemes of the operating system, in case you already defined custom settings. Some web browsers also provide high colour contrast schemes or allow you to override the presentation style of the website using custom "style sheets". While this is approach is quite powerful, it is not easy to set up and may require guidance or assistance by someone with technical skills.

Listening Rather than Reading

There are several tools that will read out loud the text on websites for you, some of which may already be installed on your computer. Talking browsers (sometimes also called "voice browsers") are web browsers that read aloud the text on websites. Screen readers and some screen magnifiers are specialized software that read aloud any text on the screen, including that in your web browser. Screen readers and magnifiers often provide a variety of functions such as summarizing the contents of web pages, highlighting the text being spoken, or providing the text on a refreshable braille display. Setting up and learning how to use such tools effectively may need some initial guidance and training. Vendors of such tools usually provide detailed documentation for the customization options and may sometimes provide training and support directly or through third-parties.

As standard we only use Alt text where an image conveys essential information for the meaning of the page - for example a diagram about how to do something. Where an image is purely decorative we don't add alt text as this is superfluous information, and extra 'noise' that someone using a screenreader will have to get through before reaching the essential information on a page. Any images which don't have alt text have an empty alt tag which is indicated using "".

Further information

  • W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Better Web Browsing Guide
  • BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) My Web, My Way
  • Microsoft Accessibility
  • Apple Accessibility
  • JAWS: a time-limited demonstration version of this Windows screen reader software
  • Lynx: a free text-only web browser