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Accessibility rules

This page lists the features used to facilitate the accessibility, compatibility and interoperability of the content of the Mutual Learning Programme web site.

Standards compliance

All areas of the site comply with Level AAA (the highest level) of the W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 to promote accessibility, compatibility and interoperability.

The Mutual Learning Programme web site follows the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendations for Extensible HyperText Markup Language 1.0 and Cascading StyleSheets 2. In both cases (XHTML and CSS), the code of all pages is valid.

Document structure and semantic markup

The content of each page is contained in structured semantic XHTML. For example, <h1> tags are used for page titles and <h2> tags are used for main page headings. Similarly, acronyms are marked up with <acronym> tags. Emphasis is added using the meaningful <em> and <strong> tags, rather than <i> (italics) and <b> (bold) tags, which are merely visual.

Logically ordered documents make sense when read (by text-only browsers, for instance) in a linear fashion. Markup structured in this way has the advantage of providing some web devices with a quick summary of the content of a page, by listing titles, headings and links, for example. Semantic tags provide alternative browsers (especially screen readers) with the opportunity to add meaning to the content of a page. Using structural markup also improves automated searching, both within the site and by search engines.


All images used on the site have alt attributes to provide alternative text that will appear in browsers that do not support images.


Where appropriate, links are provided with extra information in the title attribute of the <a> tag. In conventional browsers, this detail usually appears as a tooltip when the mouse hovers over a link. Screen readers and other devices also have methods of reading or displaying this information.

Wherever possible, link text is written to make sense when taken out of context. Browsing devices that can extract a list of links from a page will therefore render meaningful content.

There are no javascript: pseudo links to content in the site. This means that browsers that do not support JavaScript and users who have disabled JavaScript are not excluded from any content. It also allows search engines, which do not execute JavaScript code when indexing the web, to access all the content of the site.


Interactive forms on the site make use of several features to improve accessibility. These include:

labelling of form elements
The <label> tag allows text to be associated with a particular form field, assisting screen readers to intelligently announce what a particular input element is by reading the label;

grouping of related form elements
Elements forming convenient groups of fields within forms are explicitly related using the <fieldset> tag. This means that forms can be split into discrete sections, aiding their completion by users with assistive technologies.

Visual design

The Mutual Learning Programme web site uses Cascading StyleSheets for visual layout and design, avoiding the use of HTML tables and frames which can impede accessibility. A web standards compliant visual browser will display the pages as they were intended. However, all the content of the site is accessible using any browser or Internet device.

Font sizes are defined relatively, which means that they are determined by the user’s preferences. Text can be resized using the browser’s mechanism (View»Text Size / View»Text Zoom / View»Zoom). Resizing the text in this way may affect the layout of the page. Using the browser’s own mechanism in this way, however, gives users greater control over the text size displayed, since many users requiring larger text will have set this in their web browsing preferences.