News & Media
Birmingham County FA has put accessibility at the forefront of their game with the implementation of Recite Me assistive tools on their website. In doing so, diversity and inclusion needs are being met and many communities in the past who may have found it difficult to engage with Birmingham FA can now do so with ease. Birmingham County FA is the not-for-profit governing body for football in Birmingham, that aims to ensure that no matter who you are or how you identify that they will support and guide you every step of the way. By implementing Recite Me assistive technology those with additional needs can interact with their local county FA. We caught up with Kevin Shoemake, Chief Executive of Birmingham Country Football Association to discuss what this partnership has meant for the FA. “We are conscious that we live in a digital world where most people interact online. “The world wide web is a fantastic tool but it creates its own challenges when customers are trying to read and understand our online content due to disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments or if people speak English as a second language. “Launching this fantastic tool will make it so much easier and more comfortable for many participants who require information or support via our website for them to be able to better access and find the content they desire in a format that suits their individual needs. “ 14.1 million people in the UK have a disability that may affect their ability to read and understand online information. In the past 12, months over 25 million web pages have been made accessible with the Recite Me toolbar as we take the steps necessary to ensure an inclusive digital world. Kevin continued, “The unique software, which is integrated into our website, enhances the user experience by allowing them to adjust elements of the web page including text, graphics, colour, language, and navigation.” If you would like more information on the Recite Me toolbar head to our contact page or book a demo with a member of our friendly team.
Recite Me is proud to support Purple Tuesday, as we work together with all partners to drive awareness across the globe to improve customer experiences for disabled people and their families. What is Purple Tuesday? Purple Tuesday is an amazing global movement that is dedicated to improving the disabled customer experience. The initiative inspires leaders and staff from organisations across all sectors and sizes to promote awareness, develop understanding, and implement solutions for better accessibility in their customer environments. Each year Purple Tuesday is celebrated on the first Tuesday of November, this year it falls on the 1st of November. In 2021 the celebration in the United Kingdom reached over 19 million people. This year Purple Tuesday is stepping it up and going global for the first time - events are being held in the UK, USA, UAE, Southeast Asia, and Pakistan. Recite Me is proud to be a Purple Tuesday UK Sector Partner This year Recite Me is delighted to be a Purple Tuesday UK Sector Partner. We have been a big supporter of Purple Tuesday since its launch in 2018 so we couldn’t be happier to be a named sector partner. Improving the disabled customer experience is something we are very passionate about and together with Purple Tuesday partners across the world, we will do just that. Purple Tuesday is running a number of in-person events around the globe for partners, ambassadors and those with lived experience of disabilities to come together. We are very excited to share that on Tuesday 1st November Ross Linnett, Recite Me CEO and Founder, will be attending the iconic Piccadilly lights when they shine bright purple for all to see. Keep your eyes peeled for information and photos closer to the time. "Recite Me is proud to be Purple Tuesdays' sector partner for assistive technology! Together we can open up the conversation about accessibility and inclusion online to a wider audience, faster! Improving the disabled customer experience online is the core mission of Recite Me and Purple align perfectly with our goal. 1.3 billion disabled people across the world need support from organisations and we are here to help drive positive change online for everyone." Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder and CEO. Why support Purple Tuesday? Disable people still face barriers that stop them from doing everyday things like shopping and spending time on leisure activities. According to Purple: The spending power of disabled people and their households worldwide is currently estimated to be worth $8 trillion, increasing by 14% per annum. Only 10% of businesses have a targeted strategy for the disabled market. 75% of disabled people and their families have walked away from a business because of poor accessibility or customer service. 8% of disabled people are wheelchair users, and 80% of disabled people have hidden impairments. Create change and join the Purple Tuesday movement The global Purple Tuesday movement is easy to get involved with. Participation is free, the only requirement is that your organisation must commit to making at least one change to practice each year that will enhance the disabled customer experience. Join the Purple Tuesday movement here.
Disability-led e-commerce platform Adaptista is bridging the fashion divide, offering a range of carefully selected diverse fashion, beauty and lifestyle products. The platform is tailored to offer options for both plus-sized and disabled people, representing the fashion-forward brands that drive an inclusive industry. Adaptista was founded by a disability advocate Maria O Sullivan-Abeyratne, who has experienced firsthand the frustration of searching for new styles that also work with treatments or examinations. During Maria’s wedding preparation, Maria struggled to find a wedding dress that could be put on with ease and not affect Maria’s arthritis which limits mobility and makes getting dressed extremely painful and uncomfortable causing muscle spasms. This led to the birth of Adaptista. After researching the options within the industry, Maria expanded her search into the options for the disabled community as a whole, including people of short stature, those living with ostomy bags, feeding and breathing tubes, as well as those living with chronic illness and old age and the issues around shopping as a blind person. Maria commented, “I was shocked at two things, the lack of availability with ease for the community, and the lack of support for the brands that currently exist. “There should be no separation between disabled people and able-bodied people, we should all have the same access to beautiful clothes that make us feel empowered.” Adaptista has taken this inclusive approach to its online store, launching Recite Me assistive technology online to support those with additional needs from searching for clothes all the way through to payment. You can see the Recite Me toolbar in action on the Adaptista website. The customisable tools on offer include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 65 text-to-speech, Maria stated, “Recite me offers a much more robust option for people with visual disabilities to navigate the site, and how amazing is the translating option! I also love that the voices used are friendly and less computerised than many of the other options available. I look forward to seeing all the amazing new developments you have in the coming years!” For more information on Recite Me accessibility and language tools, contact a member of our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar.
Dogwood Alliance is an environmental nonprofit organization based in Asheville, North Carolina. Since 1996, Dogwood Alliance has worked to promote forest protection through community-driven partnerships and economic solutions. Driven by the belief that healthy, natural forests are our best defense against climate change, Dogwood Alliance strives to transform forest management across the US.
Recite Me is delighted to announce a new partnership with a creative marketing agency Concept4, who has worked for over 30 years to produce websites, apps, course guides, and much more to support students across their educational journey. The partnership will provide schools, colleges, and universities with the tools they need to create an accessible digital experience for students with additional needs. In the academic year 2019-2020, government statistics revealed that 332,300 higher education students in the UK identified themselves as having a disability of some kind. This accounts for 17.3% of all home students. It is important to consider that not everyone learns in the same way. By providing a variety of ways to read and understand educational materials you are supporting a wide range of students. Join Recite Me’s Founder and CEO, Ross Linnett, Digital Director of Concept4, Alex Buck, and special guest, communications specialist, John Brennan, on Thursday the 29th of September at 2:00 pm BST in our webinar to learn how you can take the steps to ensure your website is fully accessible. Sign-up via our Zoom page here. The webinar will take place on the 10th National Inclusion Week, where we all come together to celebrate inclusion and those driving unity. Alex Buck, Digital Director of Concept4 commented, “We are thrilled to partner with Recite Me to support all students online. In 2022, it is unimaginable that some students do not have the tools needed to learn and drive towards their future careers. I am excited to share my ideas on the considerations and benefits of implementing accessibility into the design and development of a website, which is particularly important and special on National Inclusion Week.” To find out more about our webinar, check out our page or contact a member of our team.
The University of London has implemented assistive technology on its website to support the raising number of distance learning students, the number of students enrolling from other countries, and students with disabilities. Many universities across the country are attracting more and more students from around the world. This increase in the popularity of international students is a key market for universities & higher education organisations. To allow everyone to access course documentation and specific University information their website needed to provide accessibility support. The University of London contains 18 member institutions, central academic bodies, and research institutes. The university has over 52,000 distance learning external students and 161, 270 campus-based internal students (from across the federation), making it the largest university by the number of students in the United Kingdom. To support website usability for all on the University of London website, Recite Me provides an accessibility assistive toolbar. Providing a simple drop-down toolbar this allows visitors to customise their website in a way that works for them. In the past 12 months (Aug 2021- July 2022), the University of London has supported over 45,000 people to read and understand over 128,000 pages of content. This cloud-based accessibility support software gives any user the ability to customise the way they view content. This can be done by changing the styling of the website. For example, changing the site background colour, font type, size colour, and spacing. To support reading visitors can use the text-to-speech functionality or reading aids such as a ruler, reading mask, dictionary, and text-only mode. To support people who may not be able to read in English, the translation tool will translate on-demand into over 100 languages, including 35 text-to-speech voices and many other features. Mark Harrison, Head of Inclusion at the University of London said, “The University of London is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible experience, regardless of how our audiences and stakeholders wish to engage with us – this is just as important in an online capacity. Recite Me is an excellent way for us to be able to provide additional online tools and services for those visiting our website and increase the level of accessibility quickly and easily. "In addition, we have adopted the accessibility toolbar on its intranet and jobs website to ensure that more people can access and modify the content in a way that makes it more useful and usable. These initiatives are examples of the measures we are taking to ensure that we are promoting inclusive academic practices.” The University of London is part of a hand full of UK Universities that are focused on creating an accessible and usable website to benefit from the increase in a diverse audience. According to the sitemorse.com 2019 Q2/UK & IE Universities & Higher Ed report, 80% of tested university websites reported back a score of less than five out of ten for website accessibility. Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “It is great to see that the University of London has made a positive change online to support all their students with online accessibility and translation support. Creating an accessible website benefits organisation from the increasingly diverse global population.”
This week marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an annual celebration of an important civil rights law that works to ensure all people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. We caught up with Lisa Primm, Executive Director at Disabilities Rights Tennessee to discuss the importance of protecting and advocating for the civil and legal rights of individuals with disabilities. 1. What does Disability Rights Tennessee work to achieve, and what support do you provide for people with disabilities? Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) works to protect and defend the legal rights of people with disabilities to live a life free from harm, free from discrimination, and free to fully participate in their communities. DRT helps a wide range of issues which may include education, barriers to work, long-term services and support, community living, vocational rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, abuse & neglect, residential services, and assistive technology. DRT may provide the following FREE services: Referral and Resource Connection, Investigation of Abuse & Neglect, Advocacy Services, Legal Representation, Education & Outreach, and Public Policy Advocacy. Each issue is unique and will be considered for available services. 2. How is Disability Rights Tennesse providing an inclusive experience for all? DRT is rooted in the values of equality, justice, and inclusion. DRT's services are provided for free to all Tennesseans with disabilities regardless of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or immigration status. Furthermore, our work is driven by an understanding that people with disabilities are complex and unique individuals with intersecting identities whose distinctive needs must be taken into consideration to provide effective services. And we acknowledge that people with disabilities, particularly people of color with disabilities experience abuse, neglect, and discrimination disproportionately to White/Caucasian people with disabilities. This context and vision drive all our work to be rooted in person-first and client-led services and guides our organization's structure and hiring practices. 3. How does accessibility play a part in disability advocacy? Accessibility is essential in advocacy work. DRT strives to make its spaces, services, and communications accessible to all abilities by anticipating the needs of clients, staff, collaborators, and community partners. DRT follows ADA guidelines for physical accessibility, provides effective communication through interpreting services, bilingual staff, licensed ASL staff, the use of plain language in internal and external communications, accommodates the needs of the blind and visually impaired, considers and accommodates the needs of neurodiverse populations, and so much more. DRT prioritizes interpretation of our events and videos into ASL and Spanish. Visit DRT's Youtube. DRT's website also provides the Recite Me toolbar for accessibility and language options that allow visitors to access the information in their own language, and it includes the option to have the text read aloud. Visit our website to learn more! 4. What do you hope for the future of disability advocacy? Disability Rights Tennessee hopes to continue to expand the reach of its advocacy services by focusing on those issues that are systemically rooted and affect large numbers of people with disabilities. DRT hopes to continue to use the human, financial, and legal resources available to influence policies, protocols, practices, and laws for the benefit of all Tennesseans with disabilities and their families.
This week marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an annual celebration of an important civil rights law that works to ensure all people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. We caught up with Hanna Glissendorf, Advocacy Services Representative / Digital Media Administrator at Disabilities Rights South Dakota to discuss the importance of protecting and advocating for the civil and legal rights of individuals with disabilities. 1. What does Disability Rights South Dakota work to achieve, and what support do you provide for people with disabilities? Disability Rights South Dakota (DRSD) is a non-profit legal services agency dedicated to protecting and advocating for the rights and inclusion of South Dakotans with disabilities. We embrace change and envision a South Dakota where people with disabilities have a life of inclusion and dignity; where they are self-directed and without barriers; where all citizens receive equal treatment and respect for their decisions; and where citizens with disabilities and their families can live free from fear of abuse, neglect, discrimination, and exploitation. We provide a full range of advocacy services to individuals with disabilities including information and referral services, individual case services, alternative dispute resolution, and administrative or legal remedies. 2. How is Disability Rights South Dakota providing an inclusive experience for all? DRSD strives to provide an inclusive experience for all by keeping accessibility at the forefront of what we do. We work to provide accessible materials and resources to our clients along with accessible digital content and tools online (including the Recite Me Accessibility and Language toolbar). We also understand how important it is to include individuals with lived disability experience when making decisions about how to best serve the disability community. As such, we continuously seek out public input and encourage the disability community to share their stories, both with us and with the broader community. For example, through our Partners in Policymaking program, we strive to empower individuals with disabilities to advocate for themselves in local government settings, where they have a chance to make a real impact on legislation that directly affects the lives of individuals with disabilities. 3. How does Accessibility play a part in disability advocacy? Accessibility plays a huge role in disability advocacy. Accessibility, including online accessibility, ensures that everyone is able to receive, interact with, and contribute to information and resources. It enables individuals with disabilities to be included in important conversations and have access to the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers. It enables independence, inclusion, dignity, and respect - in short, accessibility is essential to equality. 4. What do you hope for the future of disability advocacy? We hope that disability advocacy continues to grow and that more and more individuals with disabilities will feel empowered to advocate for themselves and the broader disability community.
Happy National Disability Independence Day! July 26th marks the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President George HW Bush. ADA legislation promotes equal opportunities for people with disabilities and makes it a legal requirement that businesses are accessible. Read on to learn more about disabilities in America, what we’re doing to help, and how you too can help, by making your website more inclusive to people with varying access needs. Read on to learn more about disabilities in America, what we’re doing to help, and how you can help too by making your website more inclusive to people with varying access needs. Disabilities in the US 1 in every 4 Americans lives with some kind of disability. This includes both physical disabilities and hidden disabilities like visual impairments, cognitive and neurological disorders, and linguistic disadvantages. In the American population: Over 10% have attention deficit disorders 14 million people have visual impairments Up to 23% have a learning difficulty Around 15% are neurodiverse Over 67 million people speak a language other than English at home Disability Laws In the earlier years of the ADA, accessibility issues were focused more on physical factors, like having access ramps and elevators in shops and office buildings. However, with the advancement of technology and the continuous growth of e-commerce, online accessibility is now a significant factor. Current ADA guidelines state that businesses must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate those with disabilities online. This protects people with disabilities against employment discrimination and allows for equal access to goods, services, and communications. Disability Pride Month July is Disability Pride Month. Inaugurated in 2015 to mark the 25th anniversary of the ADA, this is an annual international event focusing on inclusion. It’s not yet as widely observed or understood as other big awareness months, but the movement is growing in momentum every year. Designed as a platform to promote diversity, share experiences, and celebrate all the big and small wins that make communities more inclusive for people with disabilities, you can expect to see Disability Pride parades in many cities across America throughout the month - and particularly on July 26th. The Importance of Online Accessibility Many businesses are ADA compliant these days, but websites need to be accessible too. The internet should empower all members of society with the same information and opportunities. So more than anything else, it’s simply the right thing to do. “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect…The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability.” Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web Why Create an Accessible Website? Aside from the moral standpoint and feel-good factor, there are numerous other reasons to create an accessible website. Revenue - The total disposable income of the US working-age population with disabilities is $490 billion. Ultimately, users will click away from inaccessible websites and spend their money elsewhere. So there is a clear case that making a business accessible online should lead to increased profits. Branding – Forbes reported that 52% of online consumers consider a company’s values when purchasing. Welcoming people with varied disabilities and access needs allow you to promote your commitment to inclusion and set yourself apart from the competition. Employee Loyalty – Being an inclusive employer evokes feelings of pride that improve staff satisfaction and reduces turnover rates. Being inclusive also allows you to stand out as an employer, helping you attract a more diverse team, gain a wider perspective, and become more innovative. International Guidelines – The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and are the premium standards that should be adopted by organizations globally. The next update to WCAG 3.0 is due in 2022. How Does Recite Me Help? People who face access barriers online struggle for many different reasons, and often, making a singular adjustment is not enough. With the Recite Me assistive toolbar installed on your website, access barriers can be broken down by making single or multiple adjustments to create a genuinely inclusive online experience. Users can: Personalize font size, type, and color options to make web pages easier to read. This is beneficial for readers who have dyslexia, dyspraxia, color blindness, or decreased vision in general. Download content as an audio file, which is helpful for people with vision problems. Access text-to-speech functions in 65 different languages, a fantastic function for site visitors with English literacy issues. Text can be read aloud at varying speeds with either a male or female voice, which is beneficial for autistic users too. Utilize the screen mask and ruler, allowing those with ADHD and other attention disorders to focus rather than being distracted by other content on the page. Convert text content into over 100 different on-screen languages, ideal for people who don’t speak English as a first language. Make use of the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus to check word definitions. This is particularly important for users with conditions like hyperlexia, who can read words but do not necessarily understand their meaning. Switch to “text-only” mode. This feature is favored by those with conditions like Epilepsy, as they can strip away media and graphics that could cause a seizure. mode. This feature is favored by those with conditions like Epilepsy, as they can strip away media and graphics that could cause a seizure. Recite Me Clients Our toolbar has been integral in providing equal online access for people with disabilities across America and beyond. Here’s what some of our clients have to say about the results. Awin Specialists in a range of retail, telecommunications, travel, and finance verticals, Awin generated over $12 billion in revenue for its advertisers and $901 million for its publishers last year. "At Awin, diversity and inclusion is not an initiative but core to who we are as a company. Recite Me allows us to ensure an inclusive online environment and positive user experience for all our partners and employees. We couldn’t be more thrilled to provide this tool. " Alexandra Forsch, President of Awin US SNC Lavalin A world-leading engineering and project management company with over 50,000 employees in offices in 50 countries. "Recite Me goes to the very heart of our values. It's helping us build a diverse, inclusive environment where we respect, understand, and value different people – starting with how we recruit them. " Victoria Jones, Head of Recruitment Orlando International Airport MCO is the busiest airport in the state and the tenth busiest in the country, welcoming over 29,000,000 passengers per year. "We have a long history of innovative solutions to spearhead focus on customer service. Recite Me is a more cost-effective solution for delivering web content in foreign languages and also adds many more accessibility tools to improve the user experience for visitors to our site." Jerry Harris, Assistant Director of Marketing & Air Service Development Recite Me Data Our software is already installed on over 4,000 websites, and every day we help thousands of internet users to enjoy accessible and inclusive online journeys. Our most recent 12 months stats show that: We supported over 4.3 million users Over 11 million pages were accessed with the Recite Me toolbar enabled Our accessibility features were used over 86 million times to create unique user experiences How to Improve Online Accessibility Here are the steps we recommend you follow to improve your website’s accessibility scores. Check that your web design conforms to best practices and principles for accessibility. Make sure your website meets all relevant ADA legal requirements. Familiarize yourself with current WCAG standards (version 2.2) and make any required adjustments to get your site updated. Look into assistive technology software to add further layers of usability to your website. Here’s wishing you a wonderful Disability Independence Day from the whole team at Recite Me. If you’d like more information on how your organization can improve inclusion by utilizing assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together, we can make a positive difference and provide equal opportunities online. Article Sources: CDC, DiverseAbility Magazine, Forbes, Accessible 360, WHO, United Nations
Staffmark Group is a family of specialty staffing and recruiting brands with a mission to align people and companies to create opportunities. Made up of three independent divisions including administrative and light industrial staffing services, technical and professional staffing services, and process outsourcing services, Staffmark Group connects over 250,000 candidates with clients each year.
FTSE 250 recruitment company, Michael Page is breaking down accessibility barriers by calling on the recruitment industry to do more to help people with disabilities to get into work. To do this, Michael Page has partnered with Recite Me to offer a suite of customisable digital online tools to remove recruitment barriers for those with visual impairments, learning difficulties, who speak English as a second language, and neurodivergent. Established in the UK in 1976, Michael Page has grown to become one of the world’s best-known and respected recruitment consultancies. Operating in 37 countries, Michael Page has taken responsibility to lead the way in providing inclusive recruitment to diversify talent pools across the globe. Michael Page CEO, Steve Ingham, is paving the way for this change within the recruitment industry. This follows a survey of over 1,000 UK business leaders which highlighted that almost three-quarters (74%) feel that there are barriers to hiring people with disabilities. Job seekers can access the Recite Me toolbar in action in eight markets on the Michael Page and Page Personnel websites to support those with additional needs online. The customisable tools on offer include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 65 text-to-speech. Michael Page CEO, Steve Ingham said, “For the past six months we’ve seen job vacancies skyrocket, with many suggesting that the market is ‘candidate short’. But the fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of thousands of disabled or neurodiverse candidates who are unable to access roles due to inaccessible recruitment processes. “With most job searches taking place online, the Recite Me toolbar opens the door to diverse talent to grant everyone access to their dream career, increasing the number of candidates applying for roles. “At PageGroup, we are determined to create change. Whether that’s the industry-leading work our award-winning DE&I team does internally, the support we give our clients through our DE&I Client Solutions team or our new accessibility resources for businesses across the country - this is a priority that runs through the very core of our business.” In the last 12 months over 25 million web pages have been made accessible with the Recite Me toolbar. If you would like more information on how your organisation can provide inclusive recruitment by using assistive technology, contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar, together building a more inclusive digital world for all.
Join us and UK creative marketing agency Concept4 on Thursday the 29th of September 2022, for our webinar that discusses the importance of putting accessibility and inclusion first across the digital landscape of educational organisations. Want to know how you can build an inclusive and diverse digital platform that supports students with disabilities and additional needs online? This week marks the 10th National Inclusion Week, where we all come together to celebrate inclusion and those driving unity. A child begins their journey to adulthood in school, and without inclusive schools, and universities, students with additional needs may suffer the repercussions when moving on to their future careers. This year's theme for National Inclusion Week 2022 is to progress our unity into action, ‘Time to Act: The Power of Now’. Learn how you can kick start your organisations approach to accessibility and inclusion in our upcoming webinar - Creating an Inclusive Online Experience for Students. Online Accessibility Webinar Join us & UK creative marketing agency Concept4 on Thursday the 29th of September at 2:00 pm BST to learn about how you can take the steps to ensure your website is fully accessible to students with additional needs. There will be an opportunity to submit questions to our expert panel and we will provide you with our key takeaways at the end of the webinar. Register below to save your spot.
Even before the global pandemic, a digital revolution was underway. However, COVID-19 has changed the education sector forever. From school, college, and university courses to language apps, video tutorials, and online training software, the entire industry has repositioned. The spike in demand for remote learning courses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic led to exponential growth in the e-learning market. According to Business Wire, the value of the online learning industry is projected to pass $370 billion by 2026. For savvy organisations, their potential market share in this booming market should be incentive enough to encourage maximum uptake of their courses. But when it comes to website accessibility, not every everyone understands the scale of the impact that accessibility updates can make. The Digital Evolution of Education in the COVID-19 Era Lockdown restrictions and closures impacted the vast majority of brick-and-mortar learning institutions. UNESCO estimated that as of April 2020, over 1,500,000,000 students worldwide were unable to attend lessons. The obvious answer was a transition to remote learning models. After all, remote learning is not a new concept. Institutions like Open University have been offering remote learning for decades. However, organisations not used to operating on remote learning models experienced significant growing pains and setbacks, including how to make their content accessible to students with a range of different access needs. The principal challenge was providing equal access and the same level of inclusion online compared to in-person teaching. For example, according to Education Data Initiative, 43% of academic institutions offering higher-level education courses in 2020 invested in additional resources to aid remote instruction. Yet, 76% still believed that online learning platforms needed to be more accessible to students. This is still a vital consideration in today’s marketplace, because statistics show that around half of all remote students plan to stick with online post-pandemic. That’s where accessible website technology comes in. Why is an Accessible Website Important for Students? For students with access to the appropriate technology and materials, evidence suggests that online learning is both more efficient and more effective than learning in a traditional setting: Students retain 25-60% more information online compared to in a classroom. Because students learn at their own pace, online course progression is 40-60% quicker. Online training is flexible and more convenient for students balancing work and family life with learning. However, not every student learns in the same way, and online learning is not as straightforward as simply converting materials, lectures, and workshop plans into a digital structure. Different learning styles and different abilities must be accounted for. That means digital materials must accommodate people with varied access needs and be customisable to their unique style of learning. What Accessibility Problems do Students Face? Students at every level of education face accessibility barriers. Because access to education and skills training is vital to achieving economic growth and personal success, students need to be supported from early childhood through to tertiary and corporate training levels. Statistics show that in the UK alone: Approximately 351,000 people under the age of 17 have a learning disability (Mencap). More than 40,000 children and young people under the age of 25 have vision impairments (Royal National Institute for the Blind). At least 10% of the entire student population is dyslexic (The Reading Well). Over 332,300 higher education students in the UK identified themselves as having a disability of some kind (UK Parliament). In 2020-21 there were 605,130 international students studying in the UK, most of whom speak English as a second language (Universities UK). How to Make Your Online Learning Content More Accessible The business benefits of being more inclusive are clear: The more students you attract and retain, the more profitable your organisation becomes. By supporting a more diverse range of learners, you can attract the best students, develop a diverse and inclusive online campus, and enrich the learning environment for everyone. By welcoming and supporting international students, your organisation stands to gain more in tuition fees and government funding. But, exactly how do you create an inclusive online learning environment? The key lies in developing a platform that enables students to create personalised learning environments where they can: Access course materials and upload work. See their grades, gain feedback, and contact tutors. Keep a library archive of their coursework and projects. Watch online videos and lessons. Use messaging services and forums to easily communicate with tutors and other students. Top Tips on How to Create an Inclusive Learning Environment Organisations looking to provide the most inclusive online experiences should: Check-in with disabled students - Students with disabilities are likely to have additional requirements relating to online learning. Asking them about their needs and regularly reviewing how things are going is essential. Offer 1-1 support - Students with disabilities will have more questions and pain points than other students. Regular one-on-one virtual tutor appointments ensure everyone gets the support they need, and students don’t fall behind in their studies. Use accessible formats - Making your website and learning materials as accessible as possible by following best practices for font type, headings, colour contrast, keyboard navigation, etc., will reduce student frustration and fatigue. Utilise ‘Live’ Learning - According to the Student Futures Commission, 66% of students want a blend of in-person and online teaching, and 45% want an in-person experience supplemented by online activities. Education providers can satisfy both criteria by incorporating face-to-face sessions in real-time. How Recite Me Can Help Our unique toolbar is an accessibility solution that allows students to customise a website in the way that works best for them, compensating for numerous access barriers, including: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia Autism ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments Comprising several accessibility features that can either be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use, users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Utilise the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Use the ruler tool to make reading easier. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Convert page content into over 100 different on-screen languages. Have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages. Customise PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated. Education Client Spotlight: Birkbeck University of London Birkbeck University has been using Recite Me on its public-facing website since 2017. In 2020, the university improved its accessibility rating further by installing Recite Me on its internal Moodle platform. The results in just a few short months were astounding: The Recite Me toolbar was launched 81,279 times. 11,596 unique individuals used the Recite Me toolbar on the Moodle website. 220,448 individual styling features were utilised. Interestingly for lecturers, our data shows that the most heavily used function was the screenreader, which demonstrates that students prefer having course content read aloud, just as they would in a classroom or lecture scenario. “Adding the Recite Me toolbar has been a great success for our students. It is playing an important part in our goal to make all our digital tools and learning materials easily accessible to everyone.” Brett Lucas, Head of Digital Education at Birkbeck University What the Global Data Says Recite me is now installed on over 4,000 websites, and over the last 12 months, our data shows that: The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched over 4 million times Over 25 million web pages were viewed using the toolbar Over 5 million individual styling changes were made 31.5 million pieces of content were translated into different languages Over 43 million pieces of content were read aloud The Future of Remote Learning As the sector continues to expand and rely on online technologies more and more, experts predict continued growth across all levels and an increased focus on accessibility and inclusion as a strategy of optimising for success. “The interest in distance learning has been growing, but the real boom is still ahead. In the coming years, the education market will adapt to the needs of people born in the digital age, with an emphasis on technology.” John Unger (an author who specialises in education, business, and innovation) School-Age Education – Having learned from the unforeseen upsets of COVID-19, schools worldwide are already developing cohesive plans to help students continue their studies during adverse situations, should the need ever arise again. In doing so, schools will have access to additional teaching tools that are more inclusive and better meet the needs of all students. Tertiary Education – Having become aware of the common challenges students experience, competitive education providers will focus on removing barriers to effective distance learning by applying high-leverage practices (HLPs) that deliver more equitable access to high-quality remote instruction for an increasingly diverse range of students. EdTech – More subscription-based models will emerge, offering personalised and convenient courses where students can curate their own study plans, and education providers can scale their operations to meet demand. Current examples include: Masterclass Coursera Skillshare LinkedIn Learning Kahoot! Udemy Corporate e-Learning – Businesses will focus on online rather than in-person methods to upskill their staff to boost efficiency and revenue. Current research already suggests that: Every $/£ invested in online training results in $/£30 in productivity. With e-Learning, participants learn nearly 5 x more material than in a classroom. Employees who learn remotely consume 90% less energy and produce 85% fewer carbon emissions. Leisure Certifications – Not every qualification can be earned remotely. A certain degree of physical participation will inevitably be required for some activities. However, as consumer demand for flexibility and convenience grows, agencies providing certifications for leisure pursuits like scuba diving, rock climbing, and yoga will continue to develop e-Learning models where students can cover the theory online and complete the relevant in-person training at a later date. Become Inclusive Today! Recite Me can help you provide students with the skills, training, and knowledge they need to succeed. Our software is quick and easy to implement on your website and can usually be installed in under an hour. For more information, please contact our team or request a live demonstration of our toolbar.
The leisure and entertainment industry is worth billions of pounds and covers everything from food and drink to museums, theatres, and attractions. In the post-COVID-19 era, following a time when it was almost impossible for customers to be involved in leisure and entertainment activities at all, inclusion for everyone is something that businesses in the sector should be striving for in order to recoup losses, grow their business, and solidify their future success. Most leisure and entertainment businesses are aware of this, and most have already made their premises accessible to those with physical disabilities. However, to be truly inclusive, organisations must also consider hidden disabilities and the online access issues that occur long before customers arrive at their physical location. Website accessibility barriers exclude millions of people from finding the information they need to visit your business and buy your products and services. So if your company isn’t walking the walk when it comes to online inclusion, you’re missing out on some serious consumer spending. Why Your Website Needs to be Accessible in 2022 The leisure and entertainment sector is in a unique position to capitalise on inclusion as a strategy for success due to the market forces and consumer trends that are already driving change: Access over ownership – Compared to previous generations, modern consumers prefer experiences over purchasing material possessions. They prioritise excellent service and convenience over the ownership of physical goods, and set aside a higher percentage of their disposable income for entertainment, events, and activities. An inclusive consumer mindset – Online consumers consider company values more than ever, particularly millennial and Gen Z generations. If you’re not seen as doing your bit to be inclusive and help everyone equally, people will simply take their money elsewhere and spend it with a competitor that does. On-demand information – The surge of reliance on online information throughout the global pandemic means there is more demand than ever for entertainment and leisure information to be readily available and easily accessible on websites. People rely on websites to: Book tickets online Make reservations Check venue information Purchase memberships Who Faces Online Access Barriers? The World Health Organisation estimates that one in every five people has a disability that can make accessing information online challenging. In the leisure and entertainment sector, where business is bolstered by tourism dollars in addition to domestic spend, that equates to hundreds of thousands of potential customers. Specific access barriers include: Vision problems - 2.2 billion worldwide suffer from visual impairments. In the UK, the NHS estimates that over 2 million people have some form of sight loss. Learning difficulties – At least 20% of the population has a learning difficulty, with dyslexia alone accounting for 15%. Neurodiversity – It’s estimated that one in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, and about 1% of the entire population has autism spectrum disorder. Language issues - Millions of people speak English as a second language. Within the UK, around 4.2 million people speak a language other than English at home. Literacy – Around 1% of the population in developed nations has issues with basic reading and writing. That’s over 65,000 people in the UK alone. How Much Money is Your Business Losing? From a revenue perspective, people with disabilities control $8 trillion in annual spending worldwide, which equates to £24.8 billion in the UK. The spending power of the disabled market is commonly referred to as the ‘Purple Pound’. When you don’t have an accessible website, browsers simply won’t convert to customers. According to research surveys that specialise in analysing the online habits and experiences of people with disabilities: 71% of online consumers will click away from websites they find difficult to use (ClickAway Pound). 83% of participants limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible (We Are Purple). 82% of consumers with accessibility issues would spend more if there were fewer barriers (ClickAway Pound). 81% of disabled users say ease of use is more important than price (ClickAway Pound). 75% of disabled people and their families have walked away from a business because of poor accessibility or customer service (We Are Purple). Only 8% of users with access needs will contact the site owner about any accessibility barriers they experience(ClickAway Pound). Companies Leading the Way We are delighted to welcome businesses committed to providing inclusive online journeys, and we’re proud to work with several organisations in the leisure and entertainment sector already. Our current client list includes: Scottish Event Campus The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) features five interconnected exhibition and meeting spaces, including a 13,000-capacity concert, sporting and special events arena. The venue hosts up to 140 events annually, attracting more than a million visitors, and was home to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. "We are committed to making a visit to the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) an enjoyable experience for everyone, and that includes using our websites. " Ross Dempsey, Digital Marketing Manager, Scottish Event Campus The Inn Collection Group The Inn Collection Group has an expanding portfolio of inns across Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria, and North Yorkshire. The company’s ethos is to provide excellent customer service, quality experiences, and provide customers with the perfect place to eat, drink, sleep and explore. "As a group, we endeavour to be somewhere for everyone. This starts with guests locating us online and having full accessibility to our websites to make informed decisions on where they should stay." Dan Evans, General Manager, The Inn Collection Group Curve Theatre Curve is a state-of-the-art theatre based in the heart of Leicester’s vibrant Cultural Quarter. Over 750,000 people annually engage with Curve through performances and projects in Leicester, across the UK, and internationally. "We believe everyone should be able to access high-quality arts and culture, both on and off Curve’s stages. With assistive technology available on our website, the entire online experience is more accessible and personal for every visitor. " Chris Stafford, Chief Executive, Curve Theatre How Recite Me Can Help The Recite Me assistive toolbar promotes inclusivity by allowing people to access websites in the way that best suits them. Once activated, accessibility features can be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Utilise the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Use the ruler tool to make reading easier. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Convert page content into over 100 different on-screen languages. Have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages. Customise PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated. What the Data Says Recite me is now installed on over 3,700 websites, and over the last 12 months, our data shows that: The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched over 4 million times Over 25 million web pages were viewed using the toolbar Over 5 million individual styling changes were made 31.5 million pieces of content were translated into different languages Over 43 million pieces of content were read aloud Become Inclusive Today! Now is the time to embrace online accessibility and make your website inclusive. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website and can usually be installed in under an hour. For more information, please contact our team or request a live demonstration of our toolbar.