Customising your online experience – Browser tools and functions

This article is organised by function, rather than by web browser, so that you can compare more easily and find the set up that is right for you.

It doesn’t list any add-ons or extensions, though those are available for most browsers if you’d like to experiment with them.

We’ve linked throughout to further information should you want to explore more. Many of these links lead to ‘accessibility settings’ as they can be used to address a specific need, but they can also just improve your experience of working with a system, browser, or app.

Though it’s still usable, Internet Explorer is no longer supported. Its official end was on 15 June 2022 so websites may no longer support it and any extensions won’t be updated.

Compatibility of Aula with popular web browsers

Aula provides access to your learning materials and assessment materials under Journey, as well as connecting you with your learning Community. You’ll get notifications that you can see on the left of either of these pages under your profile icon. You’ll also receive messages and be able to message others using the Message function on the right of either of these pages. Aula runs on all the latest versions of Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Safari but works best with Chrome, Edge, and Safari.

Inbuilt immersive reader

Immersive readers simplify web page layouts, remove clutter, and help you customise your reading experience and so are helpful for helping you focus on the information you need.

Inbuilt text-to-speech tool

Text-to-speech tools enable text to be converted into speech sounds that imitate the human voice. They can be really helpful if you need to work but also need a break from reading from a screen.

Compatibility with screen readers

If you prefer a browser that doesn’t have an immersive reader function, or you don’t like the immersive reader function, you may want a screen reader. Most people use, and have success with, the following combinations depending on personal preference.

  • JAWS with Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Edge. The newer version of Firefox doesn’t work as well as an older version with this reader.
  • NVDA with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Chrome.
  • Voiceover with Safari or Chrome.

Pin function

The toolbar is a useful place to keep shortcuts where they’re visible and easily accessible in a click.

Cite function

The cite function allows you to manage and generate citations directly online as you browse.


There are many ways to zoom in or out or reset using the mouse within browsers but the most common is to use the keyboard shortcut. The standard shortcuts Ctrl + (zoom in), Ctrl – (zoom out), and Ctrl 0 (reset) works on, Internet Explorer, Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

Firefox has an additional feature where these controls can be applied to the text only. View menu > Zoom (to open the zoom menu) > Zoom text only. When this is applied, the Ctrl controls will only work on the text.


Captions show what is being said in videos in text across the bottom of the screen. They can be really helpful in a number of situations including when you are in a noisy environment or have forgotten your headphones. To turn on captions, follow the instructions below.

Changing the text

Changing the text can make it easier to read. The following instructions will help you to change the font style, size and colour of the text in your chosen browser.

Internet Explorer

Font Style: Tools > Internet Options > Fonts.

Colour: Instructions on how to change it are available.

Link to support.


Colour: Settings and more > Settings > Appearance > Change overall appearance to light/dark/default > Change background colours with themes.

Link to support.


Font size: Settings and more > Settings > Appearance > Font size. Keyboard navigation works.

Font style: Settings and more > Settings > Appearance > Customise font size, standard font, Serif font, Sans-serif font, fixed-width font. Keyboard navigation works.

Colour: Themes are available in the Chrome web store.

Link to support.


Font size: Application menu > Settings > General > Language and Appearance > Size (drop down menu).

Font style: Application menu > Settings > General > Language and Appearance > Font (drop down menu).

Colour: Application menu > Settings > General > Language and Appearance > Colour (opens new menu). Can change text, background, and link colours.

Link to support.


Font size: Safari > Preferences > Advanced > Set minimum font size, can also create a style sheet but there is no keyboard navigation.

Font style: Safari > Preferences > Advanced > Can create a style sheet but there is no keyboard navigation.

Colour: Safari > Preferences > Advanced > Can create a style sheet but there is no keyboard navigation.

Link to support.

Further help

Articles on Customising your online experience – Operating systems and Customising your online experience – Microsoft applications have also been created.

If you’ve had a play with these settings and still need help with specific needs you have due to a disability, long-term medical condition or a specific learning difference (SpLD), you can access support at Coventry University through the Disability Team who are part of Health and Wellbeing.


  • Nicola Fordham

    Nicola is a Learning Designer and pedagogy lead in the Content Team at Coventry University Online working with course teams across the CU Group. She has a particular interest in accessibility, inclusion, and belonging.

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