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London City Airport support thousands of visitors online with Recite Me assistive technology

09 Dec 2019 | news

To support people from all over the world and people with different disabilities London City Airport implements Recite Me assistive technology on their website with the aim of revolutionising the way passengers can read and understand content online. Currently, one billion people, about 15% of the world's population, have some form of disability. With this number increasing and estimated that 21.5 % of the global population will be aged over 65 by 2050 travel accessibility is a serious priority. A report published by travel technology company AMADEUS entitled ‘Voyage of Discovery’ highlights the inaccessibility of information via websites as a major barrier for people with disabilities who want to travel. This study found that nearly half (49%) of people with disabilities surveyed booked transport and accommodation at the same time online. Nearly one quarter (24%) of travellers surveyed reported that they had problems searching/ shopping/ booking travel and accommodation online during their last trip due to inaccessible websites. The importance of online accessibility is greater than ever. Effective online communication is critical and being able to provide personalised assistance online gives everyone the ability to research and book holidays and travel arrangements in a way that works for them. London City Airport is leading the way in the UK travel industry by making information and services on its websites accessible with assistive technology. The Recite Me’s assistive toolbar sits at the top of the London City Airport website which lets travellers with a wide range of disabilities and impairments, from dyslexia to sight loss and colour blindness, to easily access their content. Recite Me works across all mobile and desktop devices to enable support through a traveller’s full journey. Dorota Zielinska, Digital Marketing Manager, London City Airport said, “We’re always looking to improve the visitor experience at London City Airport, whether at our airport or on our website. Recite Me allows us to provide all of our visitors with the same amazing service on the website as they would in person” The accessibility assistive toolbar text provides a wide range of customisable features such as text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for website visitors. To find out more or to book your free trial please contact the team.

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London City Airport

09 Dec 2019 | case-study

London City Airport opened its doors in 1987 with the aim of giving passengers quick access to the financial district int the city. Charles, Prince of Wales laying the foundation stone of the terminal building, on 2 May 1986 and in November 1987 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened London City Airport.

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Understanding public sector digital accessibility

09 Dec 2019 | news

Ross Linnett, Founder and CEO of Recite Me, looks at what public sector bodies must do in 2020 to comply with the UK’s web accessibility laws. Why is website accessibility so important? Here in the UK one in five people have a disability and this figure is rising because the UK has an ageing population and most disabilities are acquired with age – the older we get the more likely we are to develop a disability. However, research shows that too many public sector websites don’t meet accessibility standards and are inaccessible for people with disabilities. For instance, a study published earlier this year found that 40% of local authority websites’ home pages weren’t accessible to people with disabilities. Understanding WCAG 2.1 The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into force for UK public sector bodies in September 2018. The regulations set new website and mobile app accessibility standards that public sector bodies including local authorities, universities, NHS bodies and housing associations must follow. In order to comply with the first deadline in the regulations, new public sector websites (published on or after the regulations came into force in September 2018) needed to follow the principles of World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 accessibility Level AA by 23 September 2019. The Web Content Accessibility guidelines and success criteria are organised around four principles that form the bedrock for anyone to access and use web content. The four principles are: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. WCAG 2.1 also includes 13 guidelines that form the basic goals web designers and content creators should work toward to make content more accessible to users with different disabilities. Testable success criteria are provided for each of the 13 guidelines to allow WCAG 2.1 to be used where requirements and conformance testing are necessary such as in design specification and regulations. In order to meet the needs of different groups and different situations, there are three levels of conformance: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). For each of the guidelines and success criteria in WCAG 2.1, there are a variety of informative techniques that fall in two categories: those that are sufficient techniques for meeting the success criteria and those that are advisory techniques. How to comply with public sector accessibility laws in 2020 The government recommends that you ensure your website or mobile app meets accessibility standards by making sure your design team or external agency responsible for your website and/or mobile app understands WCAG 2.1. It also recommends ensuring the content is accessible and running basic accessibility tests before publishing any new website or app. The next deadlines of the new UK public sector accessibility laws state that existing websites (published before the regulations came into force in September 2018) must meet the new accessibility standards by 23 September 2020. Every existing website must also publish an accessibility statement by 23 September 2020. However, you may not need to meet the standards for the entire website if it would be a disproportionate burden to your organisation. Also, there are some types of website content and websites that are exempt from the new regulations. The government recommends that: You should act now to ensure any new content you publish is accessible You should create a plan to meet the standards by the deadline that includes identifying anything that will be disproportionate to fix If you’re unsure sure what would be a disproportionate burden for your organisation, you should talk to your legal adviser For websites, you should publish an accessibility statement as an HTML page and ensure the statement is linked to from a prominent place like the website footer. For mobile apps, you should make the statement available to users where and when they download the app. Your accessibility statement must say: Which parts of your website and online service don’t meet accessibility standards, and why they don’t How people with access needs can get alternative, accessible formats of any of your web content that isn’t accessible How to contact your organisation to report accessibility problems The new regulations also require your organisation to respond to requests for information in an alternative, accessible format within a reasonable amount of time. Key points to make websites and apps accessible There are a wide range of elements to consider to make your website and mobile app accessible by following the principles of the WCAG. Some of the key points include using alt text tags for all images and video, using high contrast between the text and background, and adding web accessibility software. You should also make documents (e.g. PDF’s Word documents) and online forms accessible, use web page headings correctly, and ensure people using screen-readers can easily navigate around your website. Ultimately, public sector bodies must act now to ensure their websites and apps comply with the requirements and deadlines set out in the new public sector accessibility regulations. If they don’t, not only will they face possible enforcement action from the Government, they will also run the risk of costly damage to their reputations.

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Recite Me and dania software announce partnership to provide enhanced accessibility compliance

06 Dec 2019 | news

Recite Me has partnered up with Danish company Dania software, a leading developer of innovative document accessibility and template software in Scandinavia. This partnership will strengthen the focus on improving accessibility from document creation on Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to hosting documents online. By offering dania software’s PDF and document accessibility software, accessibilityfixer, alongside Recite Me’s advanced Assistive Toolbar solution, public institutions and businesses can now take all necessary measures to fully comply with the WCAG standards and significantly improve online services for their users. Ross Linnett, MD and owner of Recite Me, says: “We see dania software’s unique accessibility tool as a good complement to our assistive software, which will greatly enhance our clients’ ability to ensure document accessibility and follow the requirements of WCAG”. Kim Erbo Christensen, Country Manager UK at dania software, comments: “Recite Me has extensive knowledge on web accessibility and has been a frontrunner in creating an easy-to-implement, intelligent toolkit, that makes it easy for everyone to increase accessibility on their websites. We look forward to bringing the obvious synergy benefits between our solutions to the clients” About dania software With more than 15 years of involvement in the digitalisation of the Danish public sector, dania software is an experienced supplier with unique insights into the inner workings of public organisations. With this knowledge, they are able to develop highly specialised tools to improve outbound communication and simplify work procedures in councils across the UK and Scandinavia. For more information, visit www.daniasoftware.com

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Making the future of work accessible

03 Dec 2019 | news

The future of work is accessible. That’s the theme for the latest event by the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (aka RIDI). RIDI creates disability confident recruiters and helps remove the barriers faced by the millions of people with disabilities who are looking for work. Today’s RIDI event, which is being hosted by DWF in London, is entitled ‘The Future of Work is Accessible’, to coincide with International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD). It will involve sessions by speakers including Sarah Charlesworth, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, DWF, Sheri Hughes, UK Diversity and Inclusion Director, PageGroup, and Kate Headley, Director, The Clear Company & Chair of RIDI. This will be a great event and we are happy to spread the word about the work RIDI do as we continue to support RIDI by donating the Recite Me assistive toolbar for the RIDI website. It’s a digital world now This event by RIDI draws attention to the fact the digital transformation is sweeping through our society – and that includes in our workplaces. No matter what the task is these days, it seems there’s an app for that, the options are infinite. Relatively new web-based software such as service tools performs a huge range of tasks in modern workplaces. These range from an intranet system and instant messenger to software for mind mapping, project management, internal communications and operations, training and professional development. However, technology can be a great enabler, or a huge barrier, depending on how accessible it is. It can either be used to help people with disabilities to overcome barriers they may have otherwise faced in the workplace. Or it can stop people with disabilities from taking a fully active part in the workplace. Technology can either hinder or help accessibility The WebAIM Million study of one million website homepages found that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are the globally accepted guidelines to follow for web accessibility. The study also found that 85.3% of homepages (852,868) failed to comply with WCAG due to low contrast text, whilst 68% (679,964) of homepages failed to comply with WCAG due to missing alternative text for images. This means the homepages of these websites aren’t accessible for some people with disabilities, so imagine they need to access one or more these sites for work? Yes, that is a classic barrier. On the flipside, the Recite Me assistive toolbar can help make your website (or intranet site) accessible for people with a disability and translate your site’s content into over 100 different languages at the click of a button. This is great for ensuring existing staff who are disabled can use your website to do what they need to do at work, and it can also help you to ensure that any recruitment you do via your website is accessible for people with disabilities. To mark the RIDI event and IDPWD today, isn’t it time you thought about how to ensure all your organisation’s digital technology is accessible for people with disabilities? 100’s of organisations around the world already use Recite Me to help make their websites accessible for people with disabilities . To find out more contact the team or book a demo.

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Taking a global approach to digital inclusion

03 Dec 2019 | news

Today (3/12/2019) International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) is being celebrated across the world. IDPWD exists to help identify the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from taking a fully active part in society and to help everyone to work together to overcome them. According to Wade Lange, Managing Director of International Day of People with Disabilities, it’s not just a celebration, it’s an opportunity to plan for real change that helps people with disabilities to achieve their potential. He said: “International Day of People with Disabilities is more than just a day-long celebration. It is a platform to create strategies which support the employment of people with disability and to assist them to reach their social and economic potential.” IDPWD is a global campaign that takes a global approach to physical and digital inclusion because it’s a global issue. Too many inaccessible websites The scale of disability across the world can be surprising to some. But according to the World Health Organisation about 15% of the world's population has some form of disability. However, this global estimate for disability is rising due to population ageing, the rapid spread of chronic diseases, plus improvements in the methodologies used to measure disability. In fact, people with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the world, yet evidence shows that many people with disabilities still face digital exclusion. For instance, The WebAIM Million study of one million homepages found that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are the globally accepted guidelines to follow for web accessibility. The study also found that 85.3% of homepages (852,868) failed to comply with WCAG due to low contrast text, whilst 68% (679,964) of homepages failed to comply with WCAG due to missing alternative text for images. A global approach to digital inclusion Taking a global approach to digital inclusion reminds us that people with disabilities live and work right around the world, meaning that people have very different, language and accessibility requirements. Research by GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, highlights how mobile phone use in developing nations is crucial for helping people with disabilities to access digital communications and the internet. When you consider that 80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries, it also underlines the fact that global brands need global accessibility and language solutions to reach people with disabilities across the globe. The Recite Me assistive toolbar can help make your website accessible for people with a disability and translate your site’s content into over 100 different languages at the click of a button. The translation options make it ideal for people who don’t speak English as their first language, including those with disabilities. And because the cloud-based software works on any mobile device it’s ideal for helping brands to make their websites and web content accessible for people with disabilities across the globe. Ultimately, IDPWD is the perfect time for all global brands to ensure your website and web content is fully accessible for everyone across the world, regardless of their language or accessibility requirements. 100’s of organisations around the world already use Recite Me to help make their websites accessible for people with disabilities . To find out more contact the team or book a demo.

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Supporting digital learning in further and higher education

25 Nov 2019 | news

Further education colleges and universities in the UK are increasingly expected to look out for the welfare of their students beyond what was previously required of them. For example, former health minister Sir Norman Lamb’s recently called for universities to be bound by law to meet the mental health needs of their students. University can be hard enough for young people, many of whom will move away from home for the first time, and face new social, educational and financial pressures. Supporting the mental health needs of students is a complex issue, however, getting the right support for students to be able to learn effectively should be part of the solution. This includes supporting people with disabilities, who represent around 20% of the UK’s population. Digital accessibility is a legal requirement Recent figures show that 94,120 new students with a disability enrolled at university in England in 2017/18, but without effective support, they can still face barriers that hinder them. Student intranets are now at the heart of university and higher education college courses, offering students access to university and college systems as well as information like course documents and reading materials. It is essential for students to be able to access intranets and all their content, whether that’s to access timetables or to study reading materials like exerts of text saved as pdf files. This means it’s crucial for universities and colleges to guarantee that intranets and their content are accessible for people with disabilities. Universities, colleges, and other public sector bodies are also required to comply with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. These laws set new website and mobile app accessibility standards that public sector bodies must now follow. Supporting digital learning The Recite Me assistive toolbar can help universities and colleges to make their intranets more accessible by offering a unique range of features the user can tailor to suit their needs. Organisations like Brunel University London, which is recognised as a leader in improving the student experience for people with disabilities with its award-winning disability and dyslexia service, already offer Recite Me. The Recite Me cloud-based assistive technology toolbar allows web visitors to customise your digital content so that they can consume it in ways that work for them. It can work on any website and has features like a screen reader that helps website visitors to perceive and understand your digital content by reading website text aloud. It also allows people to change the way a website or intranet site looks. Users are able to customise the site’s colour scheme as well as the text font style, size, colour, and spacing. This means students with disabilities can easily access things like exerts from text shared as pdf’s. Supporting digital learning for people with disabilities is just as important as supporting students’ mental health needs, now is the time for all universities and colleges to make both a top priority. 100’s of organisations including universities and colleges already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities. To find out more contact the team or book a demo.

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Children in Scotland

22 Nov 2019 | case-study

Children in Scotland gives all children in Scotland an equal chance to flourish is at the heart of everything we do. By bringing together a network of people working with and for children, alongside children and young people themselves, Children in Scotland offer a broad, balanced and independent voice. They create solutions, provide support and develop positive change across all areas affecting children in Scotland.

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Middlesex Cricket

22 Nov 2019 | case-study

Middlesex Cricket was founded in 1864 and is one of the most successful and well-respected first-class counties in the English domestic game. The club plays at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground, in St John’s Wood and has done since 1877.

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Leading the way in Cricket - Middlesex Cricket become the first club to offer accessibility support online

22 Nov 2019 | news

Middlesex Cricket is the first cricket club to support fans online with assistive technology. Middlesex now supports all fans who may have a disability, learning difficulty or who speak English as a second language, to easily access club news, fixture dates and buy match tickets and merchandise online. In the UK there are over 11 million people who have some form of disability, 15% of the population are neurodiverse and 1.5 million people have a learning disability. Unfortunately, inaccessible websites are a big issue for many people. To allow everyone to engage with their favourite club content websites need to be inclusive by providing accessibility support. Middlesex Cricket who plays at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground, has built on their fantastic accessibility work to support people with disabilities with the introduction of Recite Me assistive technology online. Recite Me is an award-winning software that allows Middlesex Cricket’s website visitors to customise their website in a way that works best for them. This also includes translation options which is vitally important for people who speak English as a second language. Middlesex Cricket is also proud to announce that Gary Hamilton, a Middlesex member who is passionate about inclusion has been duly appointed as the club’s Disability Consultant. Gary’s role will work closely with Middlesex Cricket, reviewing and improving all aspects of the club’s accessibility and inclusion offering, whilst ensuring that the wider cricketing community is aware of Middlesex Cricket’s work in this area. Rob Lynch, Middlesex Cricket’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “We are delighted that Gary has accepted our offer of a consultancy role with the club, which will guarantee that we maintain a strong focus on improving accessibility and inclusion moving forwards. “Since offering disabled categories of membership, it’s clear to see that there is an increasing need to offer greater accessibility to our fanbase, and that’s why we’ve committed to be the first county cricket side to integrate Recite Me’s software into our web platform. “It’s an incredible piece of software that will transform how many of our followers interact with the club. Our thanks go to everyone at Recite Me for their support and expertise in this field. It will greatly help our supporters to connect with the club in a way that best suits their individual needs”. Ross Linnett, Recite Me founder and CEO says, “Recite Me are proud to partner up with Middlesex Cricket to provide online assistive technology to support people with disabilities. “Allowing people to easily access information about their favourite club online is a key goal for Recite Me. By providing a wide range of accessibility tools such as the screen reader and on-demand live translation, fans of all ages, regardless of their disability or differences can engage with cricket news and events online hassle-free. “Our partnership will also create awareness across the whole game of cricket to develop their online presence, in order to better support fans who can often face barriers accessing online content.” 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me assistive technology to make their websites more accessible for people who have disabilities and people who don’t speak English as their first language… To find out more contact the team or book a demo.

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Accessibility for all - why your website should work for everyone

21 Nov 2019 | news

Here at the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) we are always looking for new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities, whether that’s online or ‘In Real Life’. So when we heard about Recite Me it certainly piqued our interest. Recite Me is an online accessibility tool that allows visitors to your websites to customise your website in a way that works for them, whatever their accessibility needs might be. We adopted Recite Me in 2018 across two websites – SCLD and The Keys to life which is a website providing an overview of the Scottish Government’s learning disability strategy. Since adopting Recite Me many of our website visitors have told us how useful it is having an accessibility tool that is built into the website they are using, without having to rely on a combination of different software to make a website readable. We also like the fact that Recite Me offers analytics so that you can keep a track of how well the tool is used and which features are the most popular. Although this is only one step towards making our digital presence more accessible, we felt it was an important one to make. As with most accessibility tools, however, the proof is in the testing, so we asked Michael McEwan, a freelance journalist, and disability campaigner how he has found using Recite Me on SCLD’s website... “My name is Michael McEwan, I'm a freelance journalist, and a regular contributor on radio and TV on disability issues. Over the years I've been working with a number of different disability organizations and currently the chair of my local disability group. I have a learning disability and dyslexia, but that doesn't stop me in any way. I think I faced more challenges when I was younger, as there wasn't the technology like today, with things like apps to provide extra support to people who needed it. Now it's easier when I am doing emails as I have an app on my phone called ‘Speech to Text’- if you're not sure how to spell the word then you can say it and the app types it. Back in the day, my word bank was a well-worn piece of paper. I've just tried out the Recite Me toolbar to see how this would work for me, and it's very easy to use. What I particularly like about it, is that I can scroll over text and the words are read back to me, also you can change the language to suit your needs - that really stands out for me because no website that I know of has this feature. I would recommend this software to different organizations and companies for their websites and encourage them to focus more on online accessibility. I reckon many people with a learning disability or difficulty, particularly dyslexia, would get put off using lots of websites as they have too much-jumbled information, especially when trying to fill out forms online. Most of what we access is online - whether it’s shopping, paying bills or applying for jobs. Doing lots of everyday tasks online has really become commonplace, so there is a definite need for websites to be accessible for all, designed around both our needs and our limitations. Simply - if people can't access your website then they won't revisit it, or buy any of your products online, and most importantly may miss out on an important service or job opportunities because of the way your website is presented. Companies have a responsibility to give an equal chance to all, whether someone is using your website to apply for a job, or to buy a product or service. In an equal society, websites should be accessible to everyone. This toolbar is progress towards that, and I would encourage others to try it out.” Michael McEwan, Freelance Journalist Further information: Michael McEwan Michael’s website - https://michaelmcewanmedia.webs.com/ Michael’s CommonSpace profile - https://www.commonspace.scot/authors/michael-mcewan SCLD The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) is the lead strategic partner to the Scottish Government in the delivery of learning disability strategy and policy. We are an intermediary organisation for the learning disability sector in Scotland, and we are committed to finding new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. www.scld.org.uk Twitter - @SCLDNews Facebook - @ScotCommission Insta - @scldnews

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Why translation is key for inclusive enrolment in higher education

21 Nov 2019 | news

Consistently growing the numbers of students who enrol is the Holy Grail for university marketing teams and being able to attract a wider audience is key. Opening days can often be the single most effective marketing activity for universities to convert enquiries into student enrolments. On the other hand, A level results clearing is another crucial part of student enrolment and admission for universities. This year more students than ever have obtained places through the A-Level clearing process. To attract this uplift in students going through clearing, university websites act as their shop window to inform and educate students about their university offerings. To attract a wider, more diverse range of students their websites need to be accessible and inclusive. Data from UCAS (as of 27/8/2019) showed that 44,000 out of the 476,000 UK students who gained places went through clearing, which is 4,500 more than the same point last year. Attracting new students in a changing world These figures underline how important it is for universities to get the most of their marketing spend during clearing and reach as many prospective students as possible. But they must do this in a rapidly changing world, as the UK’s population (and university intake) becomes more diverse. Data from the ONS shows this population trend is set to continue for many years, and net international migration will account for almost three-quarters of UK population growth over the next 25 years. So as our population becomes more diverse, there is a growing need for language support. For example, many international students won’t speak English as their first language, so translation options (especially for complex information) will be essential for them to access communications. Also, in 2017–18, there were 458,490 international students studying at UK higher education institutions, which accounts for nearly 20% of the total student population in the UK. All this means that for universities to succeed at attracting students they must ensure that their websites offer language support during clearing and for attracting people to open days as part of their university selection process. Language translation is crucial for digital access Universities like Cranfield University, which attracts students from over 100 countries across the world, use the Recite Me assistive toolbar to let anyone view their website in the way that works best for them. This is a key part of their offering to attract international students (including those who don’t speak English as their first language) to enrol. Recite Me lets people change elements such as the font size, plus the font colour and background colour contrast, as well as giving the option to have the text read out aloud. All of which are great for helping people with disabilities to access web content. Crucially, Recite Me also gives people the option to translate any bit of written web content on-demand into over 100 different languages, including text to speech in over 40 languages. This makes it easy for people who don’t speak English as their first language to easily access all the information they need to on the university’s website. As Amy Simpson, Head of Digital Communications at Cranfield University, explained, this combination of translation and accessibility features is ideal for universities. She said: "We wanted to make sure the content on our website was accessible to as many people as possible. “Recite Me provides us with a translation service as well as an accessibility solution, which is very important for us because it means that our international audiences can easily access our web content. “There are so many different features on the Recite Me toolbar that it covers everything from an accessibility and language perspective.” Ultimately, universities must ensure they meet the language needs of prospective students to flourish in the future. 100’s of organisations including universities and colleges already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities To find out more contact the team or book a demo.

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Capital City College Group

12 Nov 2019 | case-study

Capital City College Group is London’s largest further education college group, providing exceptional education and training for our students, business clients and other stakeholders They comprise of three London’s largest most popular colleges – City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London – as well as a bespoke training provider for employers and apprentices, Capital City College Training.

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Businesses with inaccessible websites are missing out on global consumer spending power of £2.25 trillion

12 Nov 2019 | news

Today (12/11/2019) is Purple Tuesday, an international call to action to celebrate the spending power of people with disabilities and their families (aka the purple pound). Organised by Purple, a disability organisation committed to bringing together business and people with disabilities, Purple Tuesday is all about changing the customer experience for people with disabilities. A huge, relatively untapped market According to Purple Tuesday, the global consumer spending power of people with disabilities and their families, known as the Purple Pound, is a massive £2.25 trillion. But fewer than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access this disability market. This mismatch between supply and demand shows the commercial opportunities available for organisations. And it also sadly underlines the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities, when it comes to spending their money. Purple Tuesday aims to make any business or organisation that interacts with customers or clients who are disabled more aware of the opportunities and challenges that exist. It also aims to inspire these businesses and organisations to make changes to improve the customer experience for people with disabilities. Digital accessibility is as important as physical accessibility Purple Tuesday rightly highlights the need to make both physical and online customer experiences accessible for people with disabilities. Click-Away Pound is a research survey that explores the online shopping experience of people with disabilities and examines the cost to business of ignoring shoppers who are disabled. The findings of The Click-Away Pound Survey in 2016 showed how important it is for UK retailers to change their approach to customers with disabilities and improve the digital accessibility of websites and apps. According to the results: 71% of customers with disabilities who have access needs will click away from a website that they find difficult to use. Those customers who click away have an estimated spending power of £11.75 billion in the UK alone, around 10% of the total UK online spend in 2016. 82% of customers with access needs would spend more if websites were more accessible Will the 2019 survey results show a big improvement, a mixed picture or a backward step? It’s an exciting piece of research that’s worth keeping a close eye on! Making websites more accessible with assistive technology If you know you need to make your website work better to claim your slice of the Purple Pound, the Recite Me assistive toolbar is a great resource to add to any website to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. Recite Me is a cloud-based assistive technology toolbar that offers web visitors a range of features to customise your website and its web content, so that they can consume it in ways that work best for them. For example, 285 million people worldwide have a visual impairment, and Recite Me has a screen reader that helps website visitors to perceive and understand your digital content by reading website text aloud. It also allows people to change the way a website looks. Users are able to customise the website’s colour scheme as well as the text font style, size, colour, and spacing. This is a great aid for the roughly one in ten people in the world who have dyslexia. Ultimately, Recite Me can help you improve your website’s conversion rate optimization by increasing the number of enquiries and sales through your website. The use and impact of the Recite Me toolbar can be effectively measured by showing successful sales and other rich insights into your customers' buying behaviour. 100’s of organizations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities… To find out more contact the team or book a demo.

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EqualEngineers, Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering

08 Nov 2019 | news

Founder of EqualEngineers Dr Mark McBride-Wright is an engineer on a mission. A mission to make the UK’s engineering and technology sectors more diverse and inclusive. Traditionally they are known as sectors that fall short on the diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups. We recently spoke to Mark, to get his thoughts on how his sector can become more inclusive. EqualEngineers recently implemented Recite Me onto its website with the aim of delivering a “one-stop option for ensuring our website is accessible to as many people as possible, a web accessibility solution that would quickly and efficiently integrate with the platform our website is built on,” says Mark. The Recite Me toolbar enables visitors to interact with the websites in a deeper way in conjunction with their accessibility requirements. Mark’s primary motive was to ensure that their website is open to as many people as possible to find out about the work that EqualEngineers do and the events they run. He continued, “We need to increase digital accessibility to as many people as possible, and Recite Me provides a way to achieve this. Now, when engineers and professionals in the sector visit EqualEngineers’ website, they can choose whether to enable the accessibility options on the website.” Making the website more accessible is just one part of a wider programme of ground-breaking initiatives that the organisation is running. Most recently, Mark spearheaded the first-ever ‘Masculinity in Engineering Report’, which was launched on World Mental Health Day. The report found that only 31% of engineers feel included in the environment they work in. Improving digital accessibility (including using assistive technology like Recite Me) helps make engineering more diverse and inclusive. Mark says, “Engineering is a traditionally male, white-dominated sector. It can be very lonely if you feel even a little bit ‘different’ to the supposed ‘norm’.” “Not being able to be open about who you are, because of attitudes and lack of diversity around you can lead to mental health issues and decreased wellbeing. We need to create a culture where men can be vulnerable and can understand their own diversity story. We do not have this in our male-majority industry, and we need to work to bring down the psychological barriers preventing it.” The report makes recommendations for the sector, including increased parity between the importance of physical safety and good mental health, modeling flexible working at senior level and highlighting the ‘toxic’ in toxic masculinity. “Men must be emboldened to be able to proudly define their own masculinity, and be reconciled with the idea that masculinity in itself is not negative at all, but that it is specific traits and behaviours, associated with a toxic, hyper-competitive, macho culture that must disappear to make way for healthy, diverse and inclusive work environments for all, “ concluded Mark. As well as highlighting what needs to change, a big part of encouraging change in the sector is rewarding existing and emerging best practices. That’s why EqualEngineers have just launched a brand new awards programme. The Engineering Talent Awards will celebrate the diversity of the engineering and technology profession. Nominations are open now and the winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner on 23 April 2020 in London. Good luck to anyone that enters! To find out more about EqualEngineers, visit https://www.equalengineers.com To learn more about Recite Me, including how to book your free demo, visit www.reciteme.com

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