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Accessibility and Access Keys

Access-Keys

  • 0: Accessibility
  • 1: Skip to Content
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IE Users use Alt + the access-key

This site, like all sites Communis builds, has a range of access features, designed to assist users as they browse.

You can set your browser to apply certain rules about font colour, background colour, font size and font face automatically to all web pages you visit. In Internet Explorer, for example, select the Tools menu - Internet options. Then select the Colours and Fonts of your choice. Once you have done this, select the Accessibility button and check the boxes to ignore font sizes, styles and colours specified on web pages (it will use your defaults instead).

General Access keys

Windows

Windows provides a range of access features that can be turned on from the keyboard.

  • RIGHT SHIFT for eight seconds: FilterKeys - ignores brief or repeated keystrokes and slows down the repeat rate.
  • LEFT ALT+LEFT SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN: High Contrast.
  • LEFT ALT+LEFT SHIFT+NUM LOCK: MouseKeys - use the numeric keypad to control the mouse; use 5 to 'click'.
  • SHIFT five times: StickyKeys - allows you to use the SHIFT, CRTL, ALT and WINDOWS-LOGO keys by pressing them one at a time.
  • NUM LOCK for five seconds: ToggleKeys - makes your computer bleep at you when you press CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK or SCROLL LOCK.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the most commonly used browser, so we have provided some of the shortcut keys here

  • Alt+Left-arrow: Back
  • Alt+Right-arrow: Forward
  • Alt+A: Favourites menu
  • Alt+D: Address bar
  • Alt+E: Edit Menu
  • Alt+F: File Menu
  • Ctrl+F: Find on Page
  • Alt+H: Help Menu

For more shortcuts, see Getting more from your web browser in our Resources section.

Access keys for this site

Access keys are a way of navigating a web site quickly. They are useful for everybody, but are particularly useful if you do not use a mouse, or are using text-to-speech software such as JAWS or HomePage Reader. They are also a way of jumping straight to common links using the keyboard.

If you are using Internet Explorer for Windows, access keys are used by holding down Alt while pressing the access key; on a Mac, hold down Control while pressing an access key. This will move the cursor to that section or link – you will usually have to press enter to select it. On some computers/browsers, you will have your own way of using an access key – check your Help for details.

  • 0: Accessibility
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  • 2: Cycle Through Main Menu Items
  • 9: Contact Us

Extra information

The best access-features are additive, that is that they do not take away from any other users' experience of the web site. We use titles and alternate text for images, links, glossary items and acronyms that provide more information for users that want it. This might be as tool tips, or through screen reader options. If you are a mouse user, try resting your mouse pointer over any word that has a dashed underline to see it in action. This makes the site easier to use for users who do not or cannot download images, PDA users, and for users of screen-readers.

Structure

The site is structured so that it's easy to get around. Headings are marked as such, links make sense when read out of context. The main content of the page is placed early in the code (the contact information, for example, actually appears at the end of each page, and is then positioned to the top-right hand corner). This makes the site more straightforward for users who prefer the keyboard to the mouse, and to users with screen readers. It also makes the site rank significantly higher with search engines such as GoogleTM.

What you won't find

Accessibility is not only about assisting users, it's also about avoiding obstacles. Here are some of the things that you won't find on our sites:

  • Tables used for layout. We only use tables for what they are supposed to be for, tabulating data. This makes life a lot easier for users of screen-reading software
  • Pop-up windows. These can be confusing for users of screen-readers. Also, many users (perhaps as many as 1 in 5) have software to block pop-ups, meaning that even where they are used, you cannot put anything important in them.
  • Reliance on flash javascript or cookies. We might use the technologies, but we don't rely on them. The site works perfectly well with or without them.
  • Fixed widths or sizes. No matter how you size your window or size your text, the site will flow elegantly with it. Give it a try!
  • Flashing or blinking elements. These are not only distracting, they can be a problem for users with movement-triggered epilepsy

If you have any questions regarding the accessibility of this site, please contact us.

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Contact Us

Communis Ltd
Hillmarton House, Ridgeway, Frome, BA11 4NT
Tel: +44 (0)1373 836 476
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