Accessibility tips and features on the DH website
Q. What is accessibility and why does it matter?
A. To be accessible the DH website must be as easy to use and understand for as many visitors as possible. This website complies with the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Level AA guidelines for accessibility and we are committed to maintaining and improving the accessibility of our site.
Q. Can I change the font size used on the website?
A. Yes. This may be useful for you if you have low vision and need larger font sizes.
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.
Q. Can I change the font colours used on the website?
A. 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.
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.
Q. Do I have to use a mouse to navigate the DH website?
A. 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.
Q. Is the DH website speech enabled?
A. Yes. 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 Browsealoud set up instructions. If you have any problems, there is also 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.
Q. Why speech enable the website?
A. 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.
Q. Can I customise Browsealoud?
A. 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.
Q. Does it work on all pages?
A. 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.
Q. Who BrowseAloud Helps?
A. BrowseAloud helps any website visitor who requires online reading support or simply wishes to listen to the information on this website instead of reading it. BrowseAloud is particularly useful for those with print disabilities such as dyslexia or mild visual impairments and those with English as a second language.
BrowseAloud reads website content out loud, highlighting each word as it is spoken in a high quality, human-sounding voice.
Other features include:
- Dual-Colour Highlighting
- Text Magnification
- Talking Dictionary
- Talking Translator
- MP3 Maker
- Screen Masking
Q. How can I stop it reading?
A. You can stop Browsealoud reading the page at any point by pressing your ‘Ctrl’ key.
Q. Browsealoud does not recognise a particular word, abbreviation or acronym on the page I am reading.
A. 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 Digital Communication team so we can fix the way it reads.
Q. Why does Browsealoud read some PDFs on the DH website, but not others?
A. 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.
Q. Why won’t Browsealoud read the file I have downloaded?
A. 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.
Q. How can I uninstall Browsealoud?
A. Full instructions on installing and uninstalling can be found on Browsealoud’s website.
Q. Is there anything I can do to make PDF documents more accessible?
A. Useful information about services to make Acrobat documents more accessible is provided on Adobe’s website.
Further information can be found on Adobe pages on accessibility
Q. What formats are downloadable documents provided in?
A. Downloadable documents on the DH site are provided in a variety of formats. The most common are PDF, Word and Excel.
Q. What if I don’t have the software to open the document?
A. 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.
Q. How do I save documents to my computer?
A. 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.
Some browsers such as Firefox and Chrome automatically download documents to your computer when you open them.
Q. How can I get an accessible version of a DH video
A. Videos on the DH website are usually accompanied by a link to a text alternative version. If this is not the case, please contact the Digital Communication team to request a text alternative. Don’t forget to let us know which video you are interested in.