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Firstly, known problems with the website content can be viewed on a page entitled website problems.

However, the main function of the current page you are on is to describe the layout of the website. This should help you navigate around it easily.

Accessibility features

This website has the usual features of an accessible site e.g. using a screen reader it should take you directly to the main content, skipping over the menu if desired.

There are two accessibility buttons shown at the right margin, mid position of the screen that allow:

  1. High Contrast to be toggled on and off
  2. Font size to be increased/decreased

if you are using a screen reader you’ll have already encountered them by now!

There is a third button that isn’t really an accessible feature but I’m going to include here because it doesn’t really naturally fall anywhere else. This is a button in the  right hand corner of the screen that only appears when you have scrolled down the page and lost the top menu. It allows you to jump to the top of the page – a quick scroll button if you like.

Pages and Posts

The website consists of both web pages and web posts – the latter are blog style screens which we use to inform you of the latest news or to write course summary reports. Whats the difference between a page and a post you may ask? Not much is the answer – especially since we’ve turned off the feature that allows posts to be commented upon.

Website layout

The website is mobile and tablet friendly which means that it adjusts in layout and size depending on what medium you are accessing it from. It is even different depending on the device’s screen dimensions!

I’ll start by describing the website as it appears on a desktop – whether it be Mac or PC, and then go on to describe how it changes to smaller screens.

Broadly speaking every page on the site is made up of a header section at the top;  a main content section or panel on the left and a sidebar panel on the right.

The header section description

The header section on the home page has a full width narrow picture at the top. It is a picture of a close grouping of canoes and their paddlers. It’s purely decorative and just sets the scene that we are an outdoor organisation!

Other pages do not have this header picture.

After the header picture comes the social media icons. Currently there is a Facebook icon which links to our Facebook site. There is also an envelope icon allowing you to easily email us.

After that is the main menu which goes horizontally across the page. Some of the items on the menu are drop down menus and hovering over them or selecting them will bring up a list or sub-menu beneath. However, if you select the top item on the list you will just select the page where you are currently at. This may appear confusing – especially using Jaws, etc.

We have already mentioned the social media icons where we can visit VoA’s sites. However, on the left side of every screen are some further social media icons which you can select if you want to share a VoA page to your personal social media account. These buttons float on the screen, so that when you scroll down they are always present. Selection of a button will open a pop up window where you can enter your social media account details.

The main content section description

This is the left panel on the screen where the main content is stored. You are viewing it now.

The sidebar section description

This is the right panel on the screen. However, it doesn’t appear on several of the screens – typically picture-only or posting screens.

Where it does exist, the content of the sidebar is currently identical across all screens. It consists of a search field and a quick link to recent posts. There is also a picture image which alters every time you visit or refresh the screen.

Tablet and phone layouts

When viewing the website on a tablet or phone the first difference you may notice is that the menu is likely to be replaced by a button with 3 or more horizontal lines. Selecting it these brings up the menu but shows it vertically.

The second difference is that the sidebar content, normally on the right, is sometimes shown after or as a continuation of the main content section.

Additionally you might notice that things are slightly reformatted to show pictures and text wrapped around them. The reformatting will appear different depending on your screen size. Rotating your device through 90 degrees will also reformat things.

Pictures on the website

To view larger versions of photographs on the website you just have to click on the picture. However, this feature is not present on header images or those in the sidebar.

Pictures in the gallery section are shown in a slider format. Selecting to the left or right allows all pictures in the gallery to be accessed.

Main content and gallery pictures have accessibility descriptions recorded against them. Unfortunately, header and sidebar pictures don’t. They only have the word ‘decorative’ recorded against them. I’m hoping to change this in the future but for technical reasons it currently has to be this way)

End of description

That’s it. Hope this page has been useful and you enjoy the website.

To return to the home screen you can select the link to home or choose it from the main menu above.