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The ability to make something bigger or smaller by degrees.

screen magnification software

Software which helps people with low vision by enlarging their computer screen as much as they need. Screen Magnification software runs alongside regular software and takes a section of the screen at a time and enlarges it to the size of the whole screen.

screen reader

A program that runs alongside your other programs and reads what is on the screen using a synthetic computer voice. If a user uses a braille display it can also "read" to the braille display.


A simple program built into a web page that runs on software located on the user's computer rather than on the web server.

search engine

A program which gives a list of web pages that mention a keyword of set of keywords given by the user and which are ordered by how well they match the keywords.

search engine optimisation (SEO)

A set of methods to help explain what your site is about and what is on each page to search engine spiders so that the search engines will list your site correctly. Good search engine optimisation can help your site to rank higher in search engine listings for your targeted keywords.

search engine ranking

The number of the position for which a web page from your site appears for a given search on a search engine. For example, sites which appear on the first page of a Google search have a top ten ranking.

search engine spider

A program which looks at web pages to decide what they are about and follows the links on each page to find other web pages to examine. The spider will read the pages on your web site and send the information back to the search engine which then decides how important each page is for a given search.


Describes the way in which the tags on a web page relate to the content they surround. Tags must make sense for the information inside them. For example, if you have a <h2> heading on a page, you must also have a <h1> heading because the <h2> heading must be a sub-heading of something. Or, if you use a definition list tag the text contained must contain a word or phrase and a definition.


The study of the relationship between words, symbols and their meanings.


A computer which is part of a network where the other computers on the network can store information and which is the central hub for network resources.

sign language

A language made up from hand gestures. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may learn to speak British Sign Language or American Sign Language as a first language and will read English as a second language.

site map

An index or table of contents of a web site.

spacer image

A transparent image used for layout purposes, or a decorative image which is part of the appearance of the layout which has no real meaning or value. Spacer images should always have null alt text since they are unnecessary to understanding the purpose of a site.


Unwanted junk email, usually advertising. In the context of web pages, spam sites are sites that have no real use or value or sites that rank in search engines for keywords that do not relate to the content or purpose of the site.


A program which looks at the code of web pages for specific information which it can collect and return to the server.

spider's report

An Access Keys report compiled by the Access Keys spider. It indicates potential accessibility problems with a web page or web site and shows whether a site has qualified for an Access Awareness Access Key.

static content

Content on a web page which is coded into the HTML and can only be changed by hand when the page is re-written. The opposite of dynamic content.

static page

A static page is just a basic web page of HTML or XHTML content with no multimedia, scripts or plugins needed. Static pages are the most accessible and most search engine friendly.


How a page is organised and laid out.

style sheets

Style sheets describe the physical appearance of a web page. They can be used to create different looks for a site such as a printer version and a large text version which you can allow the user to choose. Using style sheets you can add colour and decoration to text and to the structural elements of a page such as headings.


see "captions."


An input device which acts as an assistive technology. In relation to a computer a switch is, essentially, a one-button access machine where a switch is turned off or on to start an action.


A word which has the same meaning as another word. For example: "create" is a synonym of "make".



To move from one link or form field on the page to another. This can be done using the "tab" key or by using a switch or button.

tab order

The order in which a user moves between objects such as links and form fields when tabbing through a page.

table cell

One piece of information within a table which corresponds to one column heading and one row heading.

table summary

A table summary is read by text-to-speech software to users. It should explain briefly what is contained in the table.


An HTML marker or piece of code that explains to browsers how an element of a page should look. Tags are contained within angled brackets <>.

text browser

A browser that only displays text and cannot show colours, images or any form of multimedia.

text link

A link made up of words only, no images or buttons or scripts.

text-to-speech software

See "screen reader"

time out

When a user has a limited amount of time to read a web page or complete an action before having to start over. Time outs are often used on sites that need to take credit card details or sensitive personal details.


A document which describes all the content of a multimedia clip including dialogue, visuals, etc.


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