Accessibility

We have worked quite hard (in conjunction with the author) to make this site as accessible as possible given the current state of technology and the facilities provided by our web site host. You can also get the Microsoft Reader version of this e-book read to you on your PC. Please look at the downloads page on this web site for further information. If you have any questions or comments about the accessibility of this site, feel free to contact us.

Access Keys

Most browsers support jumping to specific links by typing keys defined on the web site. On Windows, you can press ALT + an access key; on Macintosh, you can press Control + an access key. (For Internet Explorer on PC you also need to press the ENTER key to follow the link.) For other browsers or operating systems please refer your manuals or help files. Where they are applicable we have used the UK Governments' access keys standards. A big document, but the keys are in section 2.4.4 - also the link keeps moving, within and between sites! If this link is not valid try searching:
http://www.e-government.cabinetoffice.gov.uk
for 'UK Government accesskeys standard', yes, that is how it is spelt in the document.

You can use the following access keys on this web site.

S - Skip navigation and jump to contents

0 - Access key details (this page)

1 - Home page (Introduction)

2 - News and updates

5 - Frequently Asked Questions

9 - Contact information

Standards compliance

  1. This web site passes the W3C WCAG WAI-AAA machine tests over at WebXact and complies, we believe, with all of the obligatory subjective qualifications.
  2. We also believe that it complies with all priority 1, 2, and 3 guidelines of the W3 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The same applies to the standards for Section 508 approval, complying, we believe, with all the sections of the U.S. Federal Government Section 508 Guidelines. If you feel that this web site does not comply or if there are things we can improve things further then please contact us.
  3. This site validates as XHTML 1.0 STRICT. The screen CSS is valid.
  4. Known Browser faults. Some Palm PDA's (handheld devices), do not recognise the 'handheld' version of this site.  We believe this is due to incorrect CSS support in those PDA browsers and they display the big screen version of this web site instead. It looks and works fine in other PDA browsers, i.e. those in Pocket PC (Windows Mobile) 2002 and 2003 devices. Of course we have not been able to test every browser, so please let us know if you have a problem.
  5. This site uses structured, 'nearly' semantically correct mark-up. Which is structured correctly even when displayed without style sheets.
  6. We have, where appropriate, marked any language change correctly, however, where a word or phrase we feel has firmly become part of the English language (UK version), for example, cliché, then this has not been marked up as a language change.
  7. This web site has an average Gunning Fog Index in the range of 8-10 (common for popular novels), a Flesch Reading Ease and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade to match, as measured by the Juicy Studio readability tools. Whilst it is hard to generalise, we believe this indicates that this site is easy enough to understand for the intended audience. (For more information on what these figures means refer to the Juicy Studio's web site.)

Navigation aids

  1. All pages have previous, next, and index/content links to aid navigation in text-only browsers and screen readers. Mozilla users can also take advantage of this feature by selecting the View menu, Show/Hide, Site Navigation Bar, Show Only As Needed (or Show Always). Opera 7 has similar functionality. Internet Explorer does not have these features, check your browser documentation for further help on this matter.
  2. We also use Access keys to enable keyboard navigation of this site. They are listed at the top of this page.
  3. At the bottom of each right hand page (if you're using a CSS enabled browser) or at the bottom of the page if not, we have added a 'previous page' link, a 'top of page' link and a 'next page' link to aid navigation.
  4. See also the links section below as we use a nested list of links for navigation.

Links

  1. Most links have title attributes which describe the link in greater detail, unless the text of the link already fully describes the target.
  2. Wherever possible, links are written to make sense out of context. Many browsers (such as JAWS, Lynx, and Opera) can extract the list of links on a page and allow the user to browse the list, separately from the page.
  3. There are no JavaScript pseudo-links. In fact there is no JavaScript at all! All links can be followed in any browser, even if scripting is turned off.
  4. The main menu (a list of nested links) can be skipped if required.
  5. There are no links that open new windows without warning.

Images

  1. All content images used include descriptive ALT attributes where appropriate.
  2. We have tried to keep the number of images to a minimum. Those that are used for decoration are placed in the CSS and not in the XHTML.

Visual design

  1. This web site use cascading style sheets for visual layout. We do not use fixed fonts so the site will scale correctly if you increase or decrease the font size in your browser. For example in Internet Explorer select the "View" menu and then "Text Size" and select an option. Other browser offer greater text size increases and can do this in different ways. Sometimes this can break the design. If you need the text to be really big, then screen magnification software (included free in several operating system - i.e. Windows XP) is probably a better solution. Or use the free Accessible Information Solutions - Web Accessibility Toolbar to turn off the CSS and get back to plain text before very large text re-sizing. Please refer to your browser instructions to see how you can increase/decrease the text size.
  2. If your browser or browsing device does not support style sheets at all, then the content of each page is still structured and readable.
  3. We have used the Colour Filter web sites testing facilities to try and ensure that this web site is usable for people with many forms of colour vision deficiency.
  4. The site works well on 800 x 600 screen sizes and above. PDA's should pick up a special (handheld) style sheet which displays pretty much, a text only version of this web site. (Tested with Pocket PC's with shrink to fit option enabled). Some pda's (Palm's browser and the Opera browser on some phones - currently do not seem to support the handheld declaration for this site - so you get the big screen version - we believe that this is a fault in their browsers - sorry. However it works as expected on SmartPhones based on the MS OS. If you need a text-only version for the big screen, perhaps to enable even bigger font-resizing, then again it would be very worth while getting the Accessible Information Solutions - Web Accessibility Toolbar.
  5. For Browsers without CSS support, then a text version of this site is displayed, (this includes Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape 4 and below, as we hide the style sheets from these browsers.)
  6. There is a separate style sheet for printing from this site which formats for print rather than screen, if your browser supports such a feature.

Accessibility references

  1. W3 accessibility guidelines, explains the reasoning behind each guideline.
  2. W3 accessibility techniques, explains how to implement each guideline.
  3. W3 accessibility checklist, is a technical developer's guide to accessibility.
  4. U.S. Federal Government Section 508 accessibility guidelines.

Accessibility software and services

  1. WebXact, a free service to machine check your web pages for compliance to accessibility guidelines.
  2. Web Page Backward Compatibility Viewer, is a free web tool for viewing your web pages without a variety of modern browser features.
  3. HTML Validator, is a free web service for checking that web pages conform to published HTML standards.
  4. Lynx, a free text-only web browser.
  5. Colour Filter, a free web site that can be used to see how a site looks to people with varying forms of colour vision deficiency.
  6. JAWS, a screen reader for Windows. A time-limited demo is available.
  7. Accessible Information Solutions - Web Accessibility Toolbar, great add-in toolbar for the Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
  8. Juicy Studios web site analysers, readability testing and more.