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Web Browser Advice

Resizing Text and Images

To zoom on the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and Safari for Windows, hold down the Ctrl key and press +, - and 0 to obtain the zoom level best for you. Other browsers or platforms may use other keys. For example, Mac users usually hold down the Command key, rather than the Ctrl key, in combination with +, - and 0.

Sighted Mouse Users

We recommend using an up to date, web standards compliant browser. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Konqueror are examples and can all be downloaded and used free of charge. For a number of reasons we would not normally advise using Internet Explorer, particularly older versions.

For the best experience most users should have styles (CSS stylesheets), images and JavaScript enabled. However, our site 'degrades gracefully' and should still be perfectly usable with any, or all, of these switched off.

Screen Reader Users

Most screen readers support only one or two browsers, most often Internet Explorer is the best, or only, choice.

Keyboard Only Users

Keyboard users must have JavaScript enabled when using any of the 'webkit' family of browsers (for example Chrome, Konquer and Safari, but not Firefox). This is the default setting for most browsers.

Keyboard users might find the free Opera browser a good choice, due to the ability to move horizontally and vertically between links using its unique (shift) cursor key navigation.

The Safari browser does not tab links by default. Click Cog icon, select Preferences, click Advanced and tick Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage to rectify this

Visually Impaired Users

This section gives general guidance only and is not intended to be exhaustive. We give a little more detail for two of our favourite browsers, Firefox and Opera, by way of example. For more information, please refer to the documentation for your browser, or follow the links provided.

Firefox 12.0

Firefox allows you to set your own font styles, minimum font size and colours by using the Tools, Options, Content, Fonts and Colors, Advanced and Colors dialogs. Remember to untick the checkboxes "Allow pages to check their own..." for your choices to take effect.

Alternatively, Firefox will override all other settings if you choose to use a High Contrast theme in the Accessibility Options feature of the Windows Control Panel.

A third way of controlling the appearance of web pages in Firefox is to use your own CSS stylesheet.

Opera 12.0

Opera allows you to set the zoom, font styles and colours on the Settings, Preferences, Webpages dialog. This will not be used until you have also visited Settings, Preferences, Advanced, Content, Style Options, Presentation Modes and ticked the My fonts and colors boxes and cleared the other boxes.

Alternatively, Opera lets you select from one of a number of user stylesheets it provides (or provide your own). This is done by visiting the Settings, Preferences, Advanced, Content, Style Options, Display dialog and using th Choose button to select a CSS file from inside the user folder of Opera's styles folder. This will not be used until you have also visited Settings, Preferences, Advanced, Content, Style Options, Presentation Modes and ticked the My style sheet boxes and cleared the other boxes.

Internet Explorer 8

IE8 also has good accessibility features, which are well documented.

Safari and Chrome

Our general impression is that these two browser, whilst generally excellent, do not provide quite the level of ease of customisation as the ones previously mentioned.