News & Media
Accessibility means something different to everyone. We all have different experiences, challenges, abilities, and thoughts regarding the world of inclusion, whether at home or in the workplace. Our 'What Does Accessibility Mean To Me?' awareness week will run from the 18th to 22nd of October. This is a time for us to come together and to get everyone talking and learning about accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. Organisations can use this week to reach out to their employees and discover how people feel about accessibility. Giving everyone a voice to share their experiences and knowledge will bring the workplace together, empower individuals, and improve inclusion.
Our 'What Does Accessibility Mean To Me?' awareness week will run from the 18th to 22nd of October. This is a time for us to come together and to get everyone talking and learning about accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. Our resource packs will help you engage, educate, and communicate the importance of accessibility for all. Each pack includes: An awareness brief Blog articles Social media posts and graphics Staff questions Email templates Logos
To shine a light on the importance of inclusive remote learning, The All Inclusive Podcast sees Ross Linnett joined by Will Paterson, CEO, and founder of Ed Place. Ross and Will have an open conversation about dyslexia, discuss personal experiences and the inspiration behind making a difference for others with learning disabilities.
Walsall College is one of the most successful colleges in the UK, with more than 14,000 students enrolling in vocational-technical qualifications, apprenticeships, and higher education programmes, each year. To support each student's needs, Walsall College wanted to provide students with online accessibility and language tools to customise their educational journey to access higher levels of study and jobs.
Distance and remote learning have always been popular. However, in the ever-changing landscape of 2020 and 2021, many education institutions that offer regular attendance programmes have found themselves scrambling to switch to online and remote learning formats. But it’s not as straightforward as simply converting materials, lectures, and workshop plans into a digital structure. It is important to consider that not everyone learns in the same way. Different learning styles and different abilities must be accounted for, so digital materials must be inclusive of everyone, not just available to everyone. Download our Education Report which looks at why digital barriers are a problem for students, why you should provide support online, Recite Me education clients and an overview of our data from the past year.
Everyone Active ensures fitness is available to all with online accessibility and language tools. In the past month (August), over 30,000 people have used the Recite Me assistive toolbar on the Everyone Active website to read and understand essential fitness information and services. Entitled the longest-established leisure operator in the UK, Everyone Active manages over 200 leisure centres, aiming to encourage participation in physical activity 5 times a week. To help achieve their inclusion mission, Everyone Active has removed barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of Everyone Active. Erin Flower, Group Marketing Manager at Everyone Active commented, “Our name is something we truly believe in. When we say, ‘Everyone Active’, we really do mean everyone. Fitness and activity should be open to all and we are dedicated to removing barriers and making it more accessible wherever we can – whether that’s in our centres or on our website. Working with Recite Me to make our website even more accessible was a win-win decision for everyone.” The Recite Me assistive toolbar on the Everyone Active website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Toolbar data shows that in May 2021, website visitors viewed 52,772 accessible pages on the Everyone Active website. The most used feature of the toolbar is the screen reader, with users using the playback feature to understand content in English, Spanish, and Polish. To explore the customisable toolbar on the Everyone Active website select Accessibility. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience book a demo with a member of our friendly team.
The sport and fitness sectors are well known for creating strong community vibes and are recognised as an important means of promoting social inclusion. While actively participating in exercise has clear physical advantages, there are also several mental health benefits - and you may be surprised to learn that many of these apply to being a spectator too. Simply being included and feeling part of a team environment can have significant positive impacts, including: Boosted mood and reducing mood swings Reduced depression, stress, and loneliness Better sleep patterns Increased confidence Improved concentration But more than anything, sport brings people together. Whether it’s hitting the gym, going to a football match, taking part in a fitness class, or watching the Olympics, sport unites people across geographical boundaries, cultures, generations, and abilities. So why should it be any different in the online world? Why is Website Accessibility Important to Sports Businesses? The vast majority of fitness centres and sporting venues have already made their premises accessible to those with physical disabilities. But online, there are still many people who can’t access the information they need. People look to the internet for many services, including: Finding a gym or sports club Accessing results/scores Checking dates and times of upcoming fixtures Buying tickets to events Purchasing or renewing memberships Accessing online chats with fellow fans Hidden Disabilities Organisations need to remember that it’s not just physical disabilities that need to be accommodated. Websites need to be accessible so that people with hidden disabilities like cognitive and neurological disorders, visual impairments, and language barriers can easily access the information they need. This involves making adjustments for internet users with a range of conditions, including: Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Autism Epilepsy Deafblindness Colour blindness Speaking/reading English as a second language Online Access Barriers People who struggle with any of the conditions listed above may have problems accessing, reading, processing, understanding, and navigating information online. Specific access barriers include running into problems with: Focusing on relevant sections of text Readability due to the font, text size, or spacing of the text Poor colour contrasts between background and foreground Distractions presented by graphics and image carousels Web copy that's not in their first language How Many People Are Affected? To get an idea of scale, let’s have a look at some global statistics: 2.2 billion people suffer from visual impairments On average, around 20% of the population has a learning difficulty Approximately 15% of the population is neurodiverse Millions of people speak English as a second language About 2% of the population is Autistic Over 1 in every hundred people have epilepsy Sources: WHO, United Nations Create an Inclusive World to Unite Members and Fans Sports clubs and facilities normally generate an incredible family atmosphere and can often form the heart of a community. The sector has a longstanding tendency to support the underdog, and sporting communities are well known for standing up for those who are discriminated against or whose voices cannot be heard. Being inclusive isn’t just the right thing to do though. There are significant benefits for your business including improved brand image, increased traffic and sales, reduced legal risk, and enhanced customer satisfaction scores. Just Think… People could be joining other gyms, clubs, and societies over yours because the information on their websites is easier to read. There may be hundreds more people wanting to buy a membership to your sports club, but the application forms on your website aren't accessible to them. You could fill all of the empty seats at your next event. But people can’t navigate your website to find all the details they need to attend. People want to get more involved and feel included, but neither your website’s chat functions nor chat forums are optimised for inclusion. Which Companies Are Leading the Way? We are proud to work with numerous organisations in the sport, exercise, and fitness sector already. Our client list includes: Everyone Active HFE Newcastle United Watford FC Leicester City FC Southampton FC Middles Cricket Lords Cricket Kick it out Basketball Ireland American Baseball Coaches Association "We want to give all supporters easy access to the information they want. We are committed to offering the best online experience to readers worldwide and giving our supporters control of how they view and navigate our website. Investing in Recite Me has brought the accessibility of our sport to the next level." Paul Carr, Sports Inclusion Disability Officer, Basketball Ireland "Our collective aim is to create a culture as varied as that of the great city we are honoured to represent. This toolbar is a tremendous step forward in ensuring that people can access news and information about our club more easily, which will undoubtedly increase our reach and engagement. " Lucy Oliver, Head of Inclusion, Newcastle United Football Club How Does Recite Me Work? Once the Recite Me assistive toolbar is installed on a website, access barriers can be broken down. By making single or multiple adjustments to create a genuinely inclusive online experience, users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Access text to speak functions in 35 different languages. Have text read aloud at varying speeds. Utilise a screen mask and ruler for better focus. Convert text into over 100 different on-screen languages. Make use of the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus. Switch to “text-only” mode to strip away graphics and page clutter. Sector Data Over the last 12 months, Recite Me made thousands of sports-related website pages accessible. Our sector data shows that: The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched over 290,000 times Over 1.1 million sport and fitness web pages were viewed using the toolbar Just under 3 million individual styling changes were made by users accessing sports-related sites. You can find details of all the sporting organisations that use Recite Me software on our sector pages. Learn More Now is the time to embrace online accessibility and make your website more inclusive. Together we can make a positive difference. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website and can usually be installed in under an hour. Our software is already active on over 3500 websites, and every year we help millions of people to enjoy inclusive journeys online. We invite you to read more about who needs assistive technology, what people say about the Recite Me Assistive Toolbar, and how you can start goal setting for inclusion in our previous news articles. In the meantime, if you’d like any further advice or information, please feel free to contact our team for more details or book a live demonstration of our toolbar.
Founded in 1944, CancerCare is the leading organisation providing free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical, and financial challenges of cancer. By providing comprehensive services, including case management, counselling and support groups over the phone, online and in-person, educational workshops, publications, and financial and co-payment assistance. All CancerCare services are provided by master's-prepared oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts.
Did you know that we are all born colour blind? Our vision slowly improves from birth, and most of us can see the full colour spectrum by the time we reach six months of age. However, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women remain colour blind throughout their lives. That’s an average population percentage of around 4.5%, accounting for over 300 million people worldwide. What Is Colour Blindness? Colour Blindness is also known as Colour Vision Deficiency, and is defined as the decreased ability to see colours or differences in colours. The condition is mostly genetic and is incurable. However, some people develop colour blindness later in life due to old age, head injuries, or diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Colour Blindness is Different for Everyone The most common form of colour blindness involves reds and greens. Blue/yellow colour blindness and total colour blindness are much rarer. But regardless of the type, everyone experiences colour blindness differently. For example, being red/green colour blind doesn’t necessarily mean people will only confuse reds and greens. Any colour containing red or green pigments can be problematic, which means people may also confuse blue with purple because they can’t distinguish the red hues within a purple object. The effects of colour blindness also vary in severity. Research reveals that around 40% of colour blind people leave secondary school still unaware of their condition. However, around 60% experience problems in everyday life such as: Choosing clothing Determining ripe from rotten food Understanding traffic lights Reading information online How Does Colour Blindness Affect Internet Use? Any visual impairment can make online reading difficult because text size, font, and spacing all affect readability. But for those who are colour blind, the most significant factor tends to be colour contrast. Low-quality monitors, bad lighting, and screen glare can influence the clarity of some colours, but even without these, some websites simply do not use combinations that are colour blind friendly. Poor Colour Contrasts Colour combinations to avoid include: green/red green/brown blue/purple green/blue light green/yellow blue/grey green/grey green/black The picture below shows how a regular sighted person would view these colours compared to someone with Protanopia (red colour blindness). Image Source: Smashing Magazine The Perils of Grey Scaling Grey scaling makes websites incredibly difficult to use for people with vision problems. It tends to cause headaches and eye strain because all elements on the page look the same. Plus, usability is impacted because: Calls to action look disabled Links are indiscernible The hierarchy of information is lost Earlier this year in the UK, Network Rail and National Rail hit the headlines when they switched to a black and white version of their website to mark the death of Prince Phillip. However, this gesture backfired as many customers with vision deficits could no longer use the site. You can read the full article here. Colour Blind Inclusive Website Design When making accessibility adjustments to accommodate colour blind readers, web designers should consider the following action points: Text – To be readable, text should be based on accepted text colour, background colour, and text size combinations. The newest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) require a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for normal text (14 point) and 3:1 for large text (18 point +). Images – Where text is overlaid onto images, the opacity of the image often needs to be increased to make the text readable. Links – Links should be easy to identify without relying on colour or hovering over the text with a cursor. Underlining links is a good way to make links easier to spot. Swatches – Use labels or descriptive text, as it is often impossible to differentiate between options on colour picker charts based on visuals alone. Required fields – Some people may not see the difference when colour is used to signify mandatory fields on online forms. Using asterisks or clearly labelling some fields as ‘required’ are better options. Placeholder text – Placeholder text usually has insufficient contrasts, but increasing the contrast causes confusion between placeholder text and user input text. So it’s much better to use labels than placeholder text on forms and login pages. Buttons – Don’t use colour alone to identify primary buttons. The right solutions depend on branding preferences, but alternatives include utilising boldness, icons, borders, and sizing. Graphs – Using patterns rather than single blocks of colour to denote different sections makes visual displays much easier to understand. Helpful Tools WebAim Contrast Checker – Allows you to check any two colours against each other to gauge contrast suitability. Colour Oracle Colour Blindness Simulator – Provides demonstrations and examples of how people with vision deficits view things differently. Toptal Webpage Filter – Previews what web pages look like to people with various forms of colour blindness. How Can Website Accessibility Technology Help? To support those with colour blindness and other visual impairments, the Recite Me toolbar provides a wide range of customizable options to enable website visitors to tailor their experience. This includes background, text and link colours, remove pictures from pages to minimise styling distractions, and have content read aloud. Users can: Change the colour of HTML coded attributes, including text, background, links, and buttons. Experiment with unlimited combinations, allowing complete control over the colour spectrum to account for all preferences. Choose from 35 text-to-speech languages. What Recite Me technology cannot do is change colours within images. Nor does our technology promise to make your website instantly ‘accessible’ in the form of how a website is built or compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Our software is built with WCAG principles at its core, but the onus is on business owners to make their websites as accessible as possible to begin with. Then, with Recite Me software integrated, you can provide your online visitors with as many choices as possible. Not dictating how someone should view a website creating a unique inclusive experience. “The range of styling features on the Recite Me assistive toolbar massively supports my content reading. Mostly the font size increase button, the colour contrast, and font options”. Martin Lea, Recite Me Sales Executive Is Your Website Colour Inclusive? Inaccessible websites and apps create barriers to use. No matter what sector of business your organisation sits in, this is simply not good for business. Here’s our 5 step process for ensuring your website is accommodating of colour blind users: Take some time to reflect on the difference being inclusive will mean for your target market. By making your products, services, and information accessible to more of the population, you stand to increase traffic flow, sales, and revenue. Check that your web design conforms to best practices and principles for accessibility. Familiarise yourself with the WCAG and ensure your website meets the minimum requirements. Check the disability legislation that applies to websites in your location, and make a plan to complete any necessary updates. Here in the UK, we follow the Equality Act. However, if your business operates further afield in the USA or Australia, you will also need to be familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Look into assistive technology software to add further layers of usability to your website, making it truly inclusive. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website and can usually be installed in under an hour. Our software is already active on over 3500 websites, and every year we help millions of people to enjoy inclusive journeys online. Contact our team today to learn more or book a live demo of our toolbar. Article Sources: Enchroma, Colour Blind Awareness.
GMB Union is the first union to launch Recite Me online accessibility and language tools to serve the diverse needs of UK workers. GMB represents employees from a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, commercial services, and public services. To get the best possible deal for workers when it comes to pay, work-life, and fairness, GMB Union has ensured all online information can be accessed barrier-free regardless of an individual’s disability, learning difficulty, visual impairment, or language. Nell Andrew, National Equality and Inclusion Officer at GMB Union commented, “Equality is at the heart of everything GMB does, inside and outside the workplace. That’s why we’re proud that visitors to our website can customise the GMB web pages in a variety of ways that work best for them, using the Recite Me website accessibility toolbar. “GMB is committed to making every workplace we organise as accessible and inclusive as possible – having the Recite Me website accessibility toolbar for members to access the information they need has brought us closer to our goal and ensured we are led by best practice." The unique and customisable toolbar on the GMB Union website provides users with screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Nell Andrew continued, “Vital Features such as being able to easily have documents read aloud or translated into a whole range of languages have been described by our members as ‘a game changer’ in terms of accessibility and inclusion.” To explore assistive technology on the GMB Union website, select the Aa icon at the top of the website. To find out more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience go to the Recite Me website and book a demo with a member of our team.
25% of people living in the North East have a disability and can require additional support when accessing vital housing information via digital technologies. To ensure everyone’s voices are heard, Karbon Homes has implemented Recite Me assistive technology on their website to support residents who are visually impaired or neurodiverse. The service is also helpful for those who speak English as a second language. People visiting Karbon Homes’ website can access support tools by selecting “Recite Me” in the footer of the website. Users can fully customise the site to suit their own needs by translating content into different languages, or requesting for content to be read aloud, or adjusting the colour, font, and size of the text. Di Keller, strategic equality, diversity and inclusion lead at Karbon Homes said “We’ve been working hard to make sure our online channels are accessible and inclusive for all. The Recite Me toolbar and analytics help us to better understand what people are doing on our website and how they are accessing our services. This insight is a key part in our learning journey and is fundamental in helping us to plan any future development.” Karbon Homes builds, manages, and maintains almost 30,000 homes across the North of England, aiming to provide quality housing, deliver excellent customer service and shape strong, sustainable places for its communities. Recite Me assistive technology is quick and easy to implement on your organisation’s website. For more information please contact a member of our team.
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has transformed the way people access online information and services with Recite Me assistive technology. Stockport Council is a local authority in Greater Manchester, England with a responsibility to oversee local services for residents including bin collections, street lighting, libraries, and leisure centers. To support the needs of the diverse range of residents in Greater Manchester, Stockport Council has removed online barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. The digital world can be a daunting place for those who face access barriers, particularly if you cannot receive information on services and resources that affect your life. Kirsteen Roe, Service Director for Citizen Focus at Stockport Council commented, “Stockport Council has a transformation programme focussed on improving customer experience. We are modernising the way people access council services, putting the needs of the people who will be using the service first. Most people in Stockport are online and expect information and services to be available 24/7. Making sure that everyone has equal access to this information and our services, regardless of their ability or disability, is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Our user experience team has focussed on our customers’ journeys, looking at ways that we could make it easier for people to use our website and online tools and removing the barriers that some face accessing online content.” The Recite Me accessibility and language toolbar on the Stockport Council website ensures those with a range of abilities can read content in a way that best suits their individual needs. Features of the toolbar include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech options. Kirsteen Roe continued, “Stockport Council places diversity and inclusion at the heart of our values. We are committed to ensuring equal access to our services and improving access to information about them. We chose to add the Recite Me assistive toolbar on our website because it gives everyone a better website experience and access to digital services that we offer.” To explore the unique customisable toolbar on the Stockport Council website, go to ‘Accessibility’. For more information on providing an inclusive online experience for all go to the Recite Me website or book a demo with a member of our team.
What many people don’t know is that PDFs can be inaccessible to disabled people, particularly those with a visual impairment or a learning disability such as dyslexia. If a PDF is not designed in the right way, someone using a screenreading device or the voiceover command might not be able to access the content. Download our guide to find out our top 10 tips for making PDFs accessible and how the Recite Me PDF reader can help.
Every home needs access to gas, water and electricity. Yet, utility services are not always readily available to all. Throughout the last year, many customers have been homebound due to COVID-19 restrictions and unable to access services and information easily online. We have written a helpful document explaining how utility providers can help customers who face online barriers. Download it now.
Recite Me and workers unions are aligned in a mission to provide support and promote inclusion for all. Unions are often the first port of call for employees looking to maintain or improve their working conditions. And in today’s digital landscape, web accessibility is absolutely a part of that. How Do Unions Work? Unions are democratic organisations formed by groups of workers who use their collective strength to lobby managers and employers for improvements to pay, healthcare benefits, safety, unfair treatment, discrimination, etc. There are many unions spanning various industries and sectors, and more often than not, unions are legally recognised by employers. Savvy organisations welcome unions as a way of driving and managing change, and ensuring that their staff have a voice. Unions and Disability While unions support all of their members, some employees are open to more potential bias and discrimination than others. This includes disabled employees. In recent years, unions have developed new Equality Representative and Disability Champion roles with the specific aim of improving disability policies. Disabled Employees What do you think of when you hear the word disabled? Someone in a wheelchair? Someone who uses sign language? Someone who has a lifelong injury? Or something else entirely? Disability can come in many forms, and aside from the stereotypical definitions of a physical disability, several hidden disabilities can cause disadvantages in the workplace. These include: Visual impairments such as poor eyesight, deafblindness, and colour blindness. Learning difficulties like dyslexia, hyperlexia, and dyspraxia. Neurodevelopmental and neurological conditions like ADHD, autism, and epilepsy. Language and literacy issues Sources: WHO, United Nation Legislation and Workplace Best Practices It's not acceptable just to ‘check the box’ on hiring candidates with disabilities and simply hope for the best. Employees need to be supported, and it is expected by law that employers do not treat disabled staff less favourably. Legislation Various national laws prohibit discrimination and require employers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled employees. Examples include: UK – The Equality Act of 2010 Europe – The European Accessibility Act USA – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Australia – The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Best Practices Aside from legal considerations, employers should also consider adopting best practices to avoid union action. Businesses are encouraged to: Create a culture of inclusion that promotes self-identification, authenticity, and drives innovation through disability inclusion. Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help employees resolve problems that are affecting their performance. Conduct regular reviews, make accommodations, and provide the tools each employee needs to contribute and excel. Online Barriers So how does web accessibility fit in? In today’s increasingly digital landscape, employees rely on websites, online training platforms, and staff intranets to stay up to date with company news and perform to the best of their abilities. Without equal access for all, employees with disabilities are excluded because they are unable to: Read the words due to font, size, text spacing, or poor colour contrasts between the background and the foreground. Understand the web copy because it’s not in their first language. (understand the language) Use a mouse or touchpad. Focus on the relevant section of text. Remove distractions presented by graphics and image carousels. Access PDFs or online forms due to missing fields and empty button errors. What is GMB Doing to Help? GMB was the first workers union to adopt our accessibility software. GMB supports over 620,000 workers across various industries and many different walks of life. So it is essential that their website visitors can customise web pages to access the information they need in the way that works best for them. “GMB is committed to making every workplace as accessible and inclusive as possible. We know many members can face barriers when trying to access digital resources. The Recite Me toolbar allows users to pick their own unique range of settings for font sizes, colours, styles, background colours, spacing, and more. Plus, vital features such as translation and text-to-speech in a range of languages has been described by our members as 'a game changer' in terms of accessibility and inclusion.” Nell Andrew, National Equality and Inclusion Officer, GMB How Can Recite Me Help? Assistive technology is one of the easiest and lowest-cost solutions for inaccessible websites. The Recite Me toolbar removes barriers in several ways by: Accounting for differences in vision - Users can adjust the font size, font type, and use a screen reader for better focus and ease of reading. Removing barriers for people with learning difficulties - Toolbar functions include options for changing colours and colour contrasts between background and foreground, the spacing between words, and stripping out distracting graphics. Providing information in clear language - We provide text to speech in 35 languages, on-screen translation in 100 languages, and inbuilt spellcheck and thesaurus functions. Making your website easier to navigate - Keyboard accessibility means users can navigate interactive elements more easily. Providing accessible publications - Our DocReader means PDF documents on your webpage are also accessible. What the Data Says Our software is already installed on over 3500 websites, and every day we help thousands of internet users to enjoy accessible and inclusive online journeys. Our most recent 12-month stats show that: We supported over 2.2 million users Over 12 million pages were accessed with the Recite Me toolbar enabled Our accessibility features were used over 35 million times The Next Steps for Unions Embracing disability can lead to many benefits for businesses, and the job of unions is to push for equality and fairness across the workforce. In modern-day operations, this means advocating for online inclusion as well as physical inclusion. By choosing not to make websites accessible, unions are creating access barriers to the very people many people who need help the most. We recommend unions take following the steps below to ensure web content is fully accessible to everyone: Ensure your website build is up to date for accessibility best practices and the relevant legal requirements. Develop a thorough understanding of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Look into assistive technology solutions like the Recite Me toolbar that combine accessibility and usability to create an inclusive online experience for all users. Encourage all businesses with union members to follow the same steps to increase inclusion and online accessibility. You can find out more about organisations that use Recite Me software on our sector pages. You can also speak to our team or book a demonstration of our assistive toolbar.