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2. Accessing The Inaccessible - Adapting the Web Browser

This page explains how to adjust the web browser. It is one of the series of pages which contain self-help advice to help people who have poor but useful vision to access web pages more easily. Some of the advice may help people with other needs.

The examples are based on Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or 6.0 (MSIE5.5) running on Microsoft Windows 98se.

Pages in this series:

  1. Introduction to Accessibility.
  2. Adapting the Web Browser.
  3. Introduction to User Style Sheets.
  4. Introduction to HTML.
  5. How to Write a User Style Sheet.
  6. Using Special Software Tools.
  7. Internet Glossary and Guide.

Disclaimer

This information is supplied "as is". Neither Curlew Communications Limited nor the author take responsibility for any loss or damage caused by use of the information.


Page Contents

Introduction

Web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer are software programs which allow the user to "browse" the Internet. When the PC user requests a web page, the browser fetches a copy of that web page from the appropriate "server" computer on the Internet and then displays it on the user's PC. The visual appearance of the web page depends largely on the design of that page but can be modified by the settings in the browser.

When first installed on a PC, the web browser is programmed to provide a default (standard) interpretation of the HTML tags. Although this default setting may suit many people, most web browsers permit users to customize (modify) the appearance of web pages. In MSIE5.5 the settings can be altered at any time. Any change in the settings has an instant effect and alters all subsequent web pages until the settings are changed again.

Note. Changing the basic setting of your web browser only changes the appearance of pages displayed on your PC. It does not change the original pages on the Internet. Changes should not damage your PC and are easily reversible - provided that you remember what you have changed! It is best to make only one change at a time.

Some badly designed web pages can be read only using the web author's settings. Sometimes small changes of the background or text colours can make text invisible. Similarly, increasing the text size can make lines overlap. Adapting these pages is possible but takes more time and effort. User Style Sheets and special software tools can help.


Text or Font Size

Most web browsers allow the user to increase or decrease the size of the text. This will usually affect all text on the page including the menus and headings.

In MSIE5.5, text size is controlled via the 'View' menu:
  Alt + v ..... text size


Text and Background Colours

In MSIE5.5, colours are changed via the 'Internet Options' section of the 'Tools' menu:
  Alt + t ..... internet options ..... general tab ..... colors button

You can choose to use your normal 'windows' colours for text and background, or select special colours.

The right hand side of the form controls the colours of hyperlinks. The hover colour is used when the mouse pointer is over a link. This can be useful to highlight which link is about to be selected.


Font or Type Face

In MSIE5.5, font styles are changed via the Internet Options section of the Tools menu:
  Alt + t ..... internet options ..... general tab ..... fonts button

MSIE5.5 allows you to specify which fonts (type faces) are used. There are two settings:

I normally use Latin Based fonts: Verdana for web page, and Courier New for plain text.


Underlining of Hyperlinks

In MSIE5.5, underlining of hyperlinks can be switched on or off via the Internet Options section of the Tools menu:
  Alt + t ..... internet options ..... advanced tab ..... browsing section

Links can be underlined:

Note. The advanced tab gives access to a wide variety of important settings which can have a drastic effect on the operation of the browser. You need to be careful, and normally change only one setting at a time. Some of these settings will not be reset to their original default even if the program is re-installed.


Enforcing the Settings

Sometimes the design of the web page will override these simple settings, and ignore them. MSIE5.5 allows you to force the web browser to ignore the web author's settings. This option is in the Accessibility part of the Internet Options section of the Tools menu:
  Alt + t ..... internet options ..... general tab ..... accessibility button

Three check boxes are provided to force the web browser to ignore the author's settings for:


Next Page:


Pages in this Series:

  1. Introduction to Accessibility.
  2. Adapting the Web Browser.
  3. Introduction to User Style Sheets.
  4. Introduction to HTML.
  5. How to Write a User Style Sheet.
  6. Using Special Software Tools.
  7. Internet Glossary and Guide.


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