Our websites and the information on them are designed to be as accessible and usable as possible: we want everybody to be able to find what they need, regardless of any disability or impairment.

If you are experiencing difficulties using our website, or if you feel we could improve anything, please tell us about it: email and we will do our best to help.

The BBC's My Web My Way website provides information on configuring your computer and browser to make the web more accessible for you.

Use our 'listen to page' option

If you have trouble reading text online you can use our ReadSpeaker tool to have the text read out loud to you. It is really simple to use and you don’t have to download anything. 

Listen to the main content

To listen to the content on any of our pages, you simply click the 'listen to page' link in the page footer.

  • You can also use the Access Key: Alt + L

An audio player appears (see image below) and ReadSpeaker starts reading the text of the web page out loud.

Readspeaker player

In the player you can:

  • Adjust the volume
  • Pause/ restart the reading
  • Stop the reading
  • Restart the reading
  • Choose the settings icon if you want to customise the settings
  • Click the download icon to download the audio file
  • Close the player

Listen to selected text

You can also select a part of the text that you want to listen to. Once selected a pop-up listen button will appear next to the mouse pointer. When you click the pop-up listen button, an audio player will appear and ReadSpeaker will start reading the text you have selected. You will have access to the same controls as described above.


In the settings menu you can:

  • Choose whether you want to have the text highlighted while read
  • Choose whether you want the text highlighted on a word and sentence basis, sentence only, or word only
  • Choose style and colours for the highlighting
  • Choose whether you want the reading speed to be slow, medium, or fast
  • Choose whether you want the page to scroll automatically to follow the highlighted text
  • Choose whether you want the pop-up Listen button to be shown when text is selected

For more information please visit ReadSpeaker's text to speech website.

Download and open documents

Most of our downloadable documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF) and can be read in a range of software including the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

In some cases we have provided a Rich Text Format (RTF), which can be opened by any word processing software.

If you have any problems downloading or reading the documents on this site, please contact the web team at

Standards and technologies

We aim to make all our websites meet the AA standard of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). The guidelines are designed to help make content accessible to a wide range of people with disabilities, but following them often makes content more usable to all users.

To meet the WCAG standard we do our best to produce content that is written in clear, semantic HTML. We use CSS and JavaScript where necessary to control presentation and behaviour respectively, although we try to make sure these are non-essential and do not affect the page contents if turned off or unavailable.

In some cases we use software or web functions provided by third parties to run our websites or present web content. In these cases we do our best to make sure the content is accessible.

Where we cannot guarantee content is accessible, for example when we use Google maps to present information, we aim to provide the information in an accessible format as well.

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