Accessibility and design

Accessibility is the first principle in this site's design. New page designs are tested in the text-only browser Lynx. Any page which works in Lynx ought to work with, for example, a screen-reader program that speaks it aloud.

If you simply want the text to be larger, you can do that - unlike most sites, which break up when you challenge the sacred design decisions. Here are some handy keyboard short-cuts to enlarge the text in various current browser programs:

Browser program Keyboard shortcut to enlarge text
Netscape v.6
FireFox
 Control + 
Netscape v.4  Alt V  then  C 
Opera v.5  0   - zero
MS Internet Explorer v.5 See fix below

We hope that all our "tables" - like the one above - are simple enough not to confuse screen reader programs.


Colour key

This site should work in monochrome. But if you can see it in colour, we give hints on the nature of links:

Note: All external sites will open in a new browser "window". If your browser fills the whole of your computer's screen, this will hide the London Freelance window behind it. And if under these conditions you swap back to the NUJ window, clicking on a further external link may appear to cause nothing to happen (because it's happening in the background). Don't worry: if you're puzzled by this paragraph you're probably one of the majority of users who don't swap windows, so it won't happen to you.

The point of this feature is to stress that neither the NUJ nor London Freelance Branch nor the editor can be responsible for the content of any external site. And to help you avoid that "lost in cyberspace" feeling: as soon as you're finished with that external site, and the links you followed from it, you're back here.


Standards

The key to accessibility is to comply with the standards for Web design thoughtfully developed by the World-Wide Web Consortium - w3.org. Most pages on this site pass the W3C validator tests - though we do allow ourselves a couple of small exceptions that make them work with non-standard browsers.

These standards are more exacting than, for example, those promoted by the Center for Applied Special Technology.

Style sheets

All the newer pages on this site use a "style sheet". This means that they load much faster - your computer only needs to fetch the design once, and after that it only needs to get the content of each new page.

It also means that you can over-ride the design. If we'd designed the site so that you could enlarge the text in MS Internet Explorer, we'd have broken it for the other browsers, which are more disability-friendly. So, instead, we've provided a large-print style sheet so you can make many Web pages accessible while you still use Explorer. The file includes instructions for making it work.


Some pages look so old...

That's because they are. Maintaining archive pages as a "Web design museum" is a quite deliberate decision. We can't reproduce the smell of a musty clipping from the newspaper "morgue", so this is the next best way of reminding readers that all text has context.

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Last modified: 05 January 2002
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web@londonfreelance.org
© 2001 author