Web Architecture

Users come first. We have designed this web site primarily for communication and accessibility. Its aims are clarity, simplicity and an absence of the visual "noise" so prevalent on the World Wide Web.

As this site is for communication, it has no promotional content.

User control

We seek to give users greater control over the presentation of the web site by using:

  • A 'liquid' layout – it re-sizes with the user's adjustment of the window;
  • Relative font sizes – the user can readily re-size the displayed text;
  • Access key navigation – to enable 'mouseless' keyboard access;
  • Standards Compliant Coding – this site is "best viewed in any browser"!

and avoiding;

  • 'Framed' layouts;
  • FLASH™ and other restrictive proprietary content;
  • Javascript navigation.

Accessibility policy

The design of this web site ensures that the content is accessible to many people with disabilities. It conforms to level Double-A of the W3C Web Accessibility Guidelines and validates against the requirements of s.508 [note 1] of the Rehabilitation Act, 1998 (USA).

Accessibility resources

HiSoftware.Com provides a free facility for the testing of accessibility of web sites in comparision to the W3C-WAG Guidelines and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1998 (USA):

If you have a visual disability, accessing Portable Document Format (PDF) documents in the Projects section may be problematic. Adobe provides a PDF resource site designed to help people with visual disabilities work more effectively with Adobe Acrobat software and Portable Document Format files. Adobe also offer an Online Converter which translates PDF documents into HTML.

All of the content in our PDF documents is also provided in online text and illustrations.

Code validation resources

The site conforms with the World Wide Web Consortium Document Object Model and is written with structured semantic markup in eXtensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML 1.0) with Cascading Style Sheets Level 2. Care as been taken to ensure content and navigation is fully available to early generation or 'legacy' browsers.

The web site's code was validated against the World Wide Web Consortium recommendations for XHTML and CSS.

The W3C provides online and downloadable validation resources for HyperText Markup Languages and Cascading Style Sheets.

Access and the Law

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 imposes a duty on owners of United Kingdom web sites to ensure all visitors can use the web site equally. This is a 'light' duty, yet it is widely ignored. Under the provisions of section 19 of the Act, it is unlawful for a provider of services to discriminate against a disabled person, or to discriminate in the provision of “access to and use of means of communications” or “access to and use of information services”. The Act is enforced by the Disability Rights Commission.

A United Kingdom Government web site provides a guide to the Disability Discrimination Act and the associated Codes of Practice. Among the many online commentaries on the application of the Act to web site services and design Web Accessibility and the DDA, Martin Sloan, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology: 2001 (2), is perhaps the most lucid. [note 2].

We have endeavoured to comply will these obligations. However if you consider that you have been discriminated against in your access to this site or its contents please inform us of your complaint through our contact page, using "Access issue" in the 'Subject' element of the message form.


The web site is not specifically intended for children. Even so, the entire contents are suitable for young children and are validated and labeled by the Internet Content Rating Association.

Restrictive content

Although we use a range of software in the design of web sites, in the pursuit of faster access, greater 'transparency' and universal accessibility the design of this site avoids the use of restrictive proprietary content.

Even so, we find some commercial products invaluable: for instance, Adobe Acrobat™ Portable Document Format (pdf) is used on the Projects section of this site. Where content in this format originates from Pleiade Associates it is also provided in html format.


Javascript technology on the site is limited to the Project Extranet. The disabling of your brower's support for Javascript will have no effect on access to the remaining contents of the site.

Non-compliant and ‘Legacy’ browsers

Users of early generation or 'legacy' browers – for instance Netscape Navigator 4 – which are deficient in standards compliance will experience various degrees of degradation in the rendering of this web site. None of these will disable navigational functions or result in the loss of content: only layout presentation and font rendering are compromised. We recommend that users upgrade to a W3C compliant browser.

Note 1

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1998 requires that the electronic and information technology of all United States Federal agencies is accessible to people with disabilities. The Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA) in the US General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy maintains a Section 508 web site. Through this Federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of the legislation.

Although section 508 is mandatory only for US Federal agencies, and Pleiade Associates is a private company based in the United Kingdom, we have applied this constraint in the absence of any British or European equivalent.

Return to [note 1]

Note 2

Web Accessibility and the DDA. The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT), 2001 (2). Sloan, Martin.

[Return to [note 2]


web site Validator links: | Skip navigation - go to next content - 2 |

| Valid XHTML 1.0! |

Valid CSS! |

External link: Level Double-A conformance, W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines |

External link: ICRA label |

External link: Unicode encoded |

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.

Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Site Design by Pleiade
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