Octavia believes that accessibility should not be an optional 'extra' but should instead be considered as fundamental at every phase of this site's development. We are committed to ensuring that this web site is as accessible as possible to all audiences (including those with visual, hearing, cognitive or motor impairments) and strives to meet the fundamental requirements under the United Kingdom's Disability Discrimination Act, in accordance with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (1.0).

As a user of this site, if you have any questions or further suggestions about the accessibility of this site, please contact Octavia, as we continue to strive to improve the experience for all visitors.


Octavia can provide information in different languages. Find out more here.

Alternate layouts and large-text versions

Separate layouts are offered to users. Together with the default way of viewing the site, a simple high contrast layout which removes styling and also offers a larger font. This makes it easier for people with sight impairments.

Browse Aloud

To view the electronic version with Browsealoud please download the software by clicking on the link below and following the instructions to install it on your computer.

These layouts can be reached via the link at the top right of the site, entitled 'Accessibility'.

Site map

You can access the site map from any page by selecting 'site map' from either the links at the bottom, or by using access key 'm'.

Access Keys

We use access keys on all main menu items so users can navigate to parts of the Octavia web site without using the mouse. View the table of access keys via the site map.

Access key 's' will also skip the header and navigation, and take the user straight the main content of that page.

Directly following the site header is a Skip to main content link [access key = s]. Users of screen readers can bypass the navigation and skip straight to the main content of each page by selecting this link or by using access key 's'.

Structured semantic markup

All pages on this site use structured semantic markup. H1 tags are used for the page title, H2 tags for main headings within the document and H3 tags for subheadings. Visitors using recent versions of screen readers can navigate through these headings and, hence, each logical section of a page, using the following keystrokes

  • H to cycle forwards through the headings
  • Shift + H to cycle backwards through the headings
  • 1 to navigate to the next level 1 heading (or a number between 1 and 6 to navigate to the next heading on this level)
  • Shift + 1 to navigate to the previous level 1 heading (or a number between 1 and 6 to navigate to the previous heading on this level)
  • INSERT + F6 to provide a list of all headings

Site-wide searching

Visitors can now search the whole of the Octavia web site using the search box at the top of every page.

Style sheets

This easily enables a user to have his/her own preferred style sheet. If your browser or browsing device does not support style sheets at all (eg certain PDA and mobile phones), the content of each page is still readable.


We've designed all pages on this web site so that all information conveyed with colour is also available without colour.

Alternative content

All content images used in this site include a descriptive ALT attribute. Any images which have empty ALT tags are insignificant to the use of the site and/or are purely decorative, such as spacer images or design features. Screen readers will ignore these images to avoid relaying irrelevant information.

Additionally, and where necessary, links have a title attribute which describes the target in greater detail.


This web site uses some JavaScript elements to improve usability and the browsing experience for people with modern Web browsers. However, these pages are also designed to degrade gracefully to ensure all content is still accessible, should Javascript be turned off.

Link phrases make sense when read out of context

To aid users who prefer to scan pages for relevant content quickly, this site uses mostly links which also make sense if read in context on their own, as well as part of a longer sentence. Therefore, instances of 'click here' links are kept to a minimum.

Tabular data are marked correctly

Where tabular data are used, headings, captions and summaries are correctly marked up.

Standards compliance


As much as possible, all pages comply with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to Levels 1 and 2. We have tried to comply with as many of the Level 3 guidelines as possible; your feedback is welcome on further measures which can be taken to improve the accessibility of the site.

At the time of writing, many pages on this web site validate as closely as possible to the XHTML 1.0 Transitional protocol.

Links to resources

There are some excellent resources on the Web which have been thoroughly researched and are likely to grow organically and go into much more detail than we are able to do:

Advice from the BBC, showing users how to make full use of accessibility settings in browsers and operating systems.

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, explaining the reasons behind each guideline.

W3C accessibility techniques, explaining how to implement each guideline.

W3C accessibility checklist - a developer's guide to accessibility.

Contact us

If you have any questions or further suggestions about the accessibility of this site, please contact us here, as we continue to strive to improve the experience for all visitors.

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