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Access keys

Access keys are an alternative way of selecting specific links if you are not using a point-and-click device like a mouse. Instead, you can use the keyboard to jump to a link:

Note that not all browsers support access keys. A Windows browser which does support access keys is Firefox.

There is a common set of access keys for general options in the Scottish Common Information Environment. Each service has additional access keys for specific options.

Common access keys

Option Key
About a
Using u
Accessibility k
Glossary g
Disclaimer x
Help z


Option Key
Simple search s
Advanced search a
Miniclumps m


Option Key
Collections c
Subjects s
Thesaurus t


Option Key
Titles t
Names n
Subjects s
Locations l
Landscapes d


Option Key
Collections c
Books b
Metasearch m
Subjects s


Option Key
People p
Services s
Locations l

Cascading style sheets

The layout of all pages in the service is controlled by Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

You can use your own style sheet provided you define the same elements and change the style definitions for them. This can improve accessibility for specific tasks; for example, you might want to change or remove the colours of fonts, links and borders. The easiest way to do this is to copy the standard CSS files for the service and edit the style definitions. Note that there is a set of CSS files, rather than a single one.

If you turn off the style sheet, the page remains readable and usable.

Relative sizing

All font and margin sizes are defined in the service style sheet as relative. This means that resizing the browser window does not affect the usability of a page. All elements except graphics will float or resize within the window. This allows you to reduce the window width to half full-size without a horizontal scroll-bar appearing.

Also, resetting the base font size in the browser does not affect the usability of the page. All elements except graphics will resize relative to the base font. You can increase the size of the font to make it easier to read, or reduce the size to display more of the page in the browser window, without impairing the overall layout of the page.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

All pages in the service meet all priority 1 and 2 (and most of 3) checkpoints defined in the Web content accessibility guidelines.


All pages meet the standard XML implementation of HTML (XHTML).


No Javascript is used in the service, so disabling Javascript for security reasons in your browser has no effect on service functionality.


All graphics used in the service have descriptive alt attributes. Images can be turned-off without affecting usability.

HTML standards

HTML header tags (H1, H2, etc.) are used in strict order of hiearachy: H1 is used for the main title of the page; H2 is used for section headings; H3 for sub-section headings; etc.

No deprecated tags are used.


Where feasible, the title of a link is the same as the main title of the linked page. This improves consistency and readability.

Links internal to the service display the linked page in the same browser window, except for help pages which are displayed in a new window for ready-reference.

Links to other components of Scotland's Information Landscape also display the linked page in the same browser window.

External links display the linked page in a new browser window.


Every page of the service has a common navigation bar for instant access to the main facilities of the service.

Every page contains a "Skip to page content" link at the top which allows you to move past the standard service banner, support and navigation bars directly to the specific content of the page. This link is attached to a blank single-space image, and is not normally visible. It becomes visible if you turn off the download of graphics to the page in your browser, when the alt text is displayed instead of the blank space.


Every page in the service is linked to a context-sensitive help page which is displayed in a separate browser window for ready-reference.

In addition, every page has a common information bar with links to generic information about the service. This includes a glossary of terms and acronyms.

Improving accessibility

The service has a policy of improving accessibility for all users. If you have any comments or suggestions which would assist this policy, please contact Gordon Dunsire or Penny Robertson.