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Accessibility

Accessibility tips and features on the DH website

About accessibility

Question

What is accessibility and why does it matter?

Answer

To be accessible the DH website must be as easy to use and understand for as many visitors as possible. We comply with the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) Level AA guidelines for accessibility and are committed to maintaining and improving the accessibility of our site.

Text size

Question

Can I change the font size used on the website?

Answer

Yes. This may be useful for you if you have low vision and need larger font sizes. You can change your font size easily by using the triple A (AAA) graphics positioned at the top-right of every DH web page. To set your font size preference for the DH website, simply click the appropriate A graphic.

Question

How do I change my font size permanently for all websites?

Answer

On a PC: from Internet Explorer select the View menu at the top of your window, scroll down and select the Text size option.

On an Apple Mac: from Internet Explorer select Preferences from the Edit menu at the top of the window. From there, click on Web content and uncheck the Show style sheets option. Then return to the list of preferences and choose Web browser. Then click on Language/fonts and choose the size you need.

Text colour

Question

Can I change the font colours used on the website?

Answer

Yes. This may be useful for you if you have low vision and need high contrast colours. You can change the style and colour, and choose an alternative colour for links. You can also change background and foreground colours.

Question

How do I do that on a PC?

Answer

To ignore font and background colours in Internet Explorer on a PC, choose Internet options from the Tools menu at the top of the window. On the general tab of the window that appears, click the Accessibility button. This takes you to a menu where you can choose to ignore the way the page is formatted. To set your colour and font preferences, return to the Internet options menu and use the Colours and Fonts buttons.

Keyboard navigation

Question

Do I have to use a mouse to navigate the DH website?

Answer

No. Use your arrow keys to scroll up or down the page. You can use your Tab key to move between links, and press Return or Enter to select one. To go back to the previous page, use the Backspace key.

Speech enabling

Question

Is the DH website speech enabled?

Answer

Yes, follow the link to the Browsealoud site. Browsealoud is a Windows application and can be used with Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape Navigator 4 upwards. 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.

Question

Why speech enable the website?

Answer

Speech enabling is not designed to replace screen readers for the blind. It provides an additional way of accessing our content for other people who may find it hard to read the website. They include those with dyslexia or learning difficulties, those for whom English is not their first language, or those with mild visual impairment. To help those using it, Browsealoud will highlight each word as it reads.

Question

Can I customise Browsealoud?

Answer


Yes. Once plugged it in, look for the Browsealoud icon in your system tray, which is usually at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Right click on the icon and choose 'open Browsealoud settings' from the menu that appears. The speech tab on the settings window enables you to choose a male or female voice, and change the speed, pitch and volume of the reader. To read the entire page from where your cursor points, check the 'Continue reading from pointer' box. Otherwise Browsealoud will only read the individual sentences you point to. Additional voices can be installed from the speech engines page on the Browsealoud website.

Question

Does it work on all pages?

Answer

Browsealoud will read every webpage on dh.gov.uk. It can also read PDFs in Adobe Reader Version 6.0 onwards. This meets the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) Level A guidelines for accessibility.

Question

Is 'Email this page' speech enabled?

Answer

Yes, it is. If you are unable to complete the 'visual Captcha' verification task you can choose to use an 'audio Captcha' verification task instead. Click the 'Get an audio Captcha' button. A word will be read out, simply type the word into the box to send your email link to a friend or colleague.

Browsealoud help

Question

How can I stop it reading?

Answer

You can stop Browsealoud reading the page at any point by pressing your 'Ctrl' key.

Question

Browsealoud does not recognise a particular word, abbreviation or acronym on the page I am reading.

Answer

We can define how Browsealoud reads complicated, abbreviated or uncommon words. As far as possible, we have tried to do this for all acronyms and technical terms across the website. If you find a word unfamiliar to Browsealoud, please contact the Webteam so we can fix the way it reads.

Question

Why does Browsealoud read some PDFs on the DH website, but not others?

Answer

Browsealoud will read documents in Adobe Acrobat Version 6.0, but not previous versions. From November 2004 we will endeavour to ensure that all new PDFs are in Version 6.0.

Question

Why won't Browsealoud read the file I have downloaded?

Answer

What format is the file? If your PDF is not being read, it is probably in an older version of Adobe. Although we cannot update this, all our PDFs will be in Adobe Acrobat Version 6.0 from November 2004. Browsealoud won't read documents produced in other file formats.

Question

How can I uninstall Browsealoud?

Answer

Full instructions on installing and uninstalling can be found on Browsealoud's website.

PDF accessibility

Question

Is there anything I can do to make PDF documents more accessible?

Answer

Useful information about services to make Acrobat documents more accessible is provided on Adobe's website. You can also find more on our Help viewing PDFs page.

Downloading documents

Question

What formats are downloadable documents provided in?

Answer

Downloadable documents on the DH site are provided in a variety of formats. The most common are PDF, Word and Excel.

Question

What if I don’t have the software to open the document?

Answer

Most computers already have the software to open these document formats. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader (for reading PDFs), it is available from the Adobe site.

Question

How do I save documents to my computer?

Answer

If you have a PC, right-click on the link to the document. If you use a Macintosh, hold down the mouse button over the link. In both cases, a popup menu will then appear. Scroll down the menu and click on ‘Save target as’. You will then be asked to choose a folder on your computer where you can save the document.

Additional links

Site feedback

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the accessibility of this site, or if you have difficulty using any part of it, please contact us.

A to Z listings

Alphabetical listing of key DH policy areas and sections of the site.

Access keys