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Accessibility standards benefit all
First and foremost Bury Council is a public service provider and so we have to provide information that is accessible to all sections of our community, regardless of ability.
The Equality Act (and the Disability Discrimination Act which it replaced) has brought about new rights for disabled people. Employers and service providers must not discriminate against a person for a reason connected with their disability. They must also make reasonable adjustments to the way in which they offer their services. This applies as much to web sites as it does to ensure that that wheelchair access to council buildings is possible.
But accessibility is not just about ensuring that disabled people can access information. It is also about ensuring that the wide variety of users and devices can all gain access to information, thereby maximising the potential audience and letting users experience the pages the way they choose to.
An accessible site is one that accommodates the full range of users. Designing for accessibility therefore means accepting that, for online information, there is:
- no standard information user, and,
- no standard device for browsing information;
- information is available in alternative formats.
An accessible web site does not exclude anybody due to:
- their abilities, or
- the method they choose to access the web.
Accessible web sites prioritise clear content, structure and ease of navigation over frilly aspects of design, however they also need not be visually unattractive, nor are they prevented from using the latest web technologies, provided that all information is still accessible to users.
Ease of use
We have made every effort to make this site accessible and easy to use for everyone, no matter what browser you choose to use, and whether or not you have any disabilities.
We are working towards making all our web pages conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Level "AA".
The site's layout takes into account users who are visually impaired or have difficulties using a mouse. It is compatible with popular screen reading software and can be navigated using only a keyboard.
Links on the website should open in the same window, unless stated otherwise in the link.
We aim to make this site easy to understand. If you have difficulty understanding any of the content, please contact us.
Navigating the site without using a mouse
We have decided not to use access keys on this site. On all pages, you can move between links using the 'Tab' key on the keyboard. To tab through the links in the opposite direction, key 'Shift+Tab'. Once a link is highlighted, key 'Enter' to follow the link.
Access keys are keyboard shortcuts which allow users to navigate around a website without using a mouse or other pointing device. For the following reasons, we do not use access keys.
- Access keys can override keyboard shortcuts for screen readers and other assistive technology.
- There is no convention on access keys, so the few sites that use them do so in whichever way they choose. Users are unlikely to spend time getting used to a particular set of access keys.
You can change the text size on the Bury web site using one of the three Text size options available in the top left of each screen.
Alternatively, you can increase the size of the text on all web sites by using tools built into your browser.
- Internet Explorer users: select the 'view' option at the top of the page, choose 'text size' and pick either larger or largest. On later versions you can zoom in and out by holding down the control (Ctrl) key and moving the mouse wheel or pressing the "+" or "-" keys on your number pad.
- Mozilla and Firefox users: select the 'view' option at the top of the page, choose 'text size' (in Firefox version 3 and above choose 'Zoom') and use the 'increase' function until the text is a satisfactory size.
You can change the text size in other browsers in similar ways.
Our web site can be viewed in high contrast by clicking on the High contrast link at the top of each page. Once you are in high contrast mode, you will be kept in that mode until you reset it.
Also at the top of the screen is a button which takes you to our Browsealoud page. 'Browsealoud' is free software that reads back the content of web pages to you. A voice reads out the words as you point your cursor to the text on the screen. The software is useful for people with a vision impairment or those who have difficulty reading English.
You will need to download the software but it only takes a couple of minutes to install and you are ready to go. Versions are available for both PC and MAC. Your computer will need to have suitable speakers or headphones to listen to the voice.
As well as HTML web pages, this site includes files to download mainly in Adobe PDF format and occasionally in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. We are trying to make these files as accessible as possible for everyone.
The website has a number of electronic forms that can be completed online. These forms can be navigated by using a mouse or by keyboard.
The forms work best with Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Safari and AOL users may need to use an alternative browser to get the most of of the forms. Please contact the web team if you are having problems completing a form.
Making your computer work for you
There are many ways you can change your browser, computer, keyboard and mouse settings to make the web more accessible for you. The web sites (links on the right) offer useful advice and help on how to customise your computer in a way that suits your needs.
We are continuously seeking to improve the accessibility of the website. If you have any difficulties using this site that you believe we could address, please let us know. It would be helpful if your e-mail contained the following:
- the URL(s)(web address) of the page(s) that you are having difficulties with,
- the nature of your disability, if any,
- a description of the problem.
If you have a solution to suggest, please feel free to do so.
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