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Today is the eighth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The aim of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and inclusion and people with different disabilities. A growing number of people want to learn how to make technology accessible and usable for people with disabilities, but they are often unsure of where to start. That’s why GAAD aims to raise awareness about accessibility, particularly amongst people in the fields of digital design, development, usability, user experience and related areas. Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “The whole team at Recite Me have a passion for digital accessibility. “Around one in every five people in the UK has a disability and they can often face barriers like inaccessible websites that prevent them taking an active part in life. “So we are very proud to support GAAD 2019 and hope that lots of people take this chance to learn more about digital accessibility.” Recite Me helps organisations globally be accessible Being web based, Recite Me can be introduced to any organisation in any country. We pride ourselves for being a globally accessible company and giving other organisations the same opportunity. We thought we’d share some of our UK and International clients on GAAD to promote them as being truly globally accessible. Let us know how you’re marking GAAD 2019 We’d really love to know what you’re doing to celebrate GAAD 2019. Please tweet Recite Me (@reciteme) to let us know and help us get as many people as possible talking about GAAD 2019 and accessibility.
Today is the perfect day to talk about digital accessibility and inclusion. Why? Because it’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2019 and digital accessibility is an area that still gets massively overlooked throughout society. But GAAD is a sign that things are slowly changing for the better, as more people become aware about digital accessibility and inclusion and the subject moves its way up the political agenda. The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. So it’s worth looking at some of the facts around disability in the UK. One in five people in the UK have a disability 19% of working age adults in the UK are disabled 45% of pension age adults in the UK are disabled 10-15% of people in the UK have dyslexia 2 million people in the UK have sight loss 11 million people in the UK have hearing loss The evidence shows that people with disabilities often face digital barriers (e.g. inaccessible websites and apps) that prevent them from accessing information, products and services, and spending their money. For example, WebAIM’s recent web accessibility testing of the home pages of one million websites found that 85.3% (852,868) of websites studied didn’t meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) AA Level because of low contrast text. Whilst 68% (679,964) had missing alternative text for images (aka alt text tags), which are essential for people with low vision/no vision who use screen readers. Overall, the study shows that many of the roughly 13 million people in the UK who have a disability won’t be able to easily access the websites analysed, if at all. And The Click-Away Pound survey shows that people with disabilities often face digital barriers (e.g. inaccessible websites and apps) that prevent them from spending their money online. For example, in 2016 the survey suggested that more than four million people in the UK abandoned a retail website because of the barriers they found, taking their money elsewhere. Yet the spending power of disabled people and their families in the UK is £249 billion (Source: DWP Family Resources Survey 2014/15). This shows the level of digital exclusion that people with disabilities face, and digital exclusion amplifies social exclusion. Quite simply, it’s prevents many people with disabilities from taking part in life and doing normal activities online like shopping or paying bills that many of us take for granted. And so many organisations (e.g the UK Government and its departments, like HMRC) are now growing a ‘digital first’ culture that makes accessing their goods and services inseparable from, and dependent on, digital connectivity and accessibility. So it’s crucial that all websites and digital and social media content and platforms are now accessible and inclusive, in order to make a fairer society, with equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Making all digital content and services accessible and inclusive will also help all organisations to comply with the requirements of The Equality Act 2010 and The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. Many people still don’t understand much about digital accessibility and inclusion, so we hope this blog helps to create more awareness as we celebrate GAAD 2019. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to help make their websites accessible for people who have disabilities – call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.
Leeds Playhouse, formerly known as West Yorkshire Playhouse, is one of the largest producing theaters in the country outside of London. The theatre has always taken an enthusiastic approach to their accessibility, even pioneering Relaxed and Dementia-Friendly Performances as part of their repertoire. The organisation goes far beyond the typical ramps and audio description that many deaf and disabled patrons may be used to and fosters an environment that is welcoming, inclusive and, most of all, an enjoyable theatre experience for everyone.
To make something accessible essentially means to remove any barriers that prevent some people from using it. And accessibility is at the heart of believe housing, one of the north east of England’s largest housing associations. believe housing feels it responsible for driving change and encourages its customers to expect more. As Jill Ancrum, believe housing’s Communications Manager notes, raising customer expectations will help the organisation to achieve more, by being more ambitious, more vibrant and more inclusive. She said: “Our vision, ‘we believe in life without barriers’, fits this ethos perfectly because if everyone expects more they can achieve more and we can transform lives together. “It is this power of ‘more’ that will let people realise what is possible – change perceptions, raise aspirations and create inclusive, vibrant communities. “After all, anything is possible if you believe.” That includes ensuring that believe housing’s website is accessible to as many people as possible. “Ensuring our customers are able to access our services is imperative to our business model.” adds Jill. "This includes our online activities. We introduced the Recite Me toolbar in 2015, when the organisation was formally known as County Durham Housing Group. “So it was a natural continuation as we relaunched as believe housing in April 2019.” But why is Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar so important for believe housing? Again, it’s all about removing barriers and giving the organisation’s 18,000 households the option to find out key information about their tenancy and the services in a way that suits their needs. People are able to read all about their key responsibilities in terms of managing their tenancy online, like paying their rent on time and how to report a repair. They can also find key information about the additional services believe housing offers, like its free training programme and employability service. And giving them the option to find out this information in their preferred way. Whether that’s in large print, audio or alternative colour templates, or in the customer’s first language, it’s about choice. In terms of final thoughts, Jill offers some simple advice for organisations that may be hesitant to address inclusion and web accessibility. She concluded: “There’s nothing to be hesitant about. Recite Me was recommended to me by a web developer back in 2015 and we’ve never looked back! “Recite Me addresses so many options from one source and can only aid the overall customer experience. “We’ve used Recite Me now for four years and it’s so simple to include in any website – just a bit of additional coding.” As simple as that. So remember, to make your website accessible and inclusive, you just need to believe. And add Recite Me. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people who have disabilities and people who don’t speak English as their first language…call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) is an NHS-operated ambulance service covering the county of Yorkshire in Northern England, providing emergency and urgent care and transport services. Currently, Yorkshire Ambulance Service serves over five million people throughout Yorkshire, employs over 5,000 staff and over 1,200 volunteers who do critical, life-saving work, emergency and urgent care.. As of 2018, Yorkshire Ambulance receives over 2,500 calls per day and operates more than 60 ambulance stations across Yorkshire.
Healthwatch is a national, independent consumer champion for health and social care throughout England. With branches in every region of England, Healthwatch provides citizens with the chance to speak up and have their opinions heard on local healthcare matters and services. Healthcare providers can then use this information to respond to feedback and address any concerns. We recently partnered with the Torbay branch of Healthwatch.
Some organisations place accessibility at the heart of everything they do. This includes our new client NorthLink Ferries, which operates passenger and vehicle ferries, as well as a freight service, between mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. Quite simply, accessibility is at the top of NorthLink Ferries’ agenda. NorthLink Ferries have been built with accessibility in mind. The company launched its current fleet in 2001/02, and all vessels were built from the ground up to allow passengers with disabilities to get on-board more easily. But NorthLink Ferries didn’t stop there and it is constantly refining its offering and improving accessibility for all of its passengers. For example, the company has made changes to its terminals such as installing lower level check-in desks, hearing loops and Braille signage. It has also started to look at how it can make the terminals more accessible to people with autism. Recently we caught up with Magnus Dixon, NorthLink Ferries’ E-Marketing Manager, to find out how the company has benefited from adding Recite Me’s web accessibility and language software to its website. He said: “When it came to our website upgrade, we knew we wanted to make it accessible to as many people as possible. “When we were redeveloping the website we chose WordPress as our content management system (CMS). “While it has many advantages as a CMS, it strips out all the alt-tags applied to images and graphics unless you specify them or find the right plug-in. “Our old website had been accessible, so this was frustrating for us.” But the company then had a demonstration of the Recite Me web accessibility and language toolbar and everything fell into place. One tool (Recite Me) solved all NorthLink Ferries’ accessibility issues with WordPress. And the company is now telling its customers about Recite Me through variety of marketing communications. Magnus went on to explain how easy and straight-forward it was to get Recite Me added to the company’s website. “We would have had to source any number of individual plug-ins to achieve the same functionality that Recite Me offers. “Recite Me was so quick to implement, it was amazing! The company’s booking system is run by another provider, so the next step is getting Recite Me added there too and rolling out the language options in the future. Overall, NorthLink Ferries is very happy with the level of digital accessibility that Recite Me offers its customers when they visit its website. And the company loves the range of features that Recite Me has and the total web accessibility solution it provides. Magnus added: “I couldn’t be more thrilled with Recite Me. “One tool has revolutionised our website for us and made it accessible for those that need it. “From a web designer’s point of view, Recite Me is an elegant solution and I’d happily recommend it to other organisations that want to make their services as accessible as possible.” 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people who have disabilities and people who don’t speak English as their first language…call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.
Do you know someone who has created or adapted digital technology to change people’s lives for the better? Now is your chance to share the story with the wider world by entering the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2019. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2019 were launched on Wednesday 27 March at an event at Lloyds Banking Group in London. The awards are open to any person, group or organisation that has invented or adapted digital technology to make the world a better place for others. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2019 in a nutshell These awards are the only one of their kind in the UK to highlight the individuals, charities, businesses and volunteers across the UK that use digital technology to improve the lives of other people. Now in their ninth year, the awards are organised by national digital accessibility charity AbilityNet and sponsored by BT, and entry is open to any business, charity, individual or public body in the UK. Put simply, you can nominate yourself/organisation/group for an award, or another person or organisation/group. The awards are free to enter and free to attend for all the finalists. And the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards offer each winner more than popular recognition and added credibility. The winners will also enjoy a wide range of other benefits that include being able to plug into the awards’ resources, expertise, and network of past winners and professional organisations. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2019 categories are: Accessibility Award – sponsored by AbilityNet Ageing Society Award – sponsored by UnLtd BT Young Pioneer Award Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award Community Impact Award – sponsored Lloyd’s Banking Group Connected Society Award – sponsored by Samsung Digital Volunteer of the Year Award – sponsored by Do it Life Diversity Award Inclusive Design Award – sponsored by Scope If you don’t shoot you’ll never score Recite Me is proudly sponsoring the awards again this year and we also donate our web accessibility and language software to the awards website. The awards are a great initiative that we feel we simply must support as much as we can. Enter now if you have used digital technology to improve people’s lives, or you know someone who has, and keep the success story rolling. You never know, it could mean an award and the next big step in the life of the tech for good you want the rest of world to know about. And you have to be in it to win, so take a chance. GOOD LUCK â˜º
The Grey Matter Group works with organisations across the health and social care sectors to improve lives through learning. It does this by supporting health and social providers with online learning and assessments. Its customers range from NHS trusts, to local authorities, to care homes, domiciliary care providers, learning disability providers and individual employers.
It’s that time of year again: spring has sprung (kind of!) and the finalists of this year’s Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) Awards have been announced. The RIDI Awards recognise and celebrate organisations and individuals who strive to break down the barriers faced by people with disabilities in the workplace. These are the only awards in the UK that exclusively celebrate the commitment of recruiters and employers to improve the prospects for disabled jobseekers. Supporting RIDI in 2019 The RIDI Awards are now entering their fifth year. And as a long-term supporter of the awards (Recite Me is a RIDI Silver Partner and we donate our web accessibility and language software for the RIDI website), we love keeping an eye on what’s going on. This year there’s another broad range of award categories, from Getting Started to Reasonable Adjustments in Recruitment, and Disability Specialist. There is also a Greatest Impact award, which is voted for by the audience at the awards ceremony and will also be revealed on the night. So, following a lengthy and comprehensive judging process, here are the finalists of the RIDI Awards 2019… 24-7 Recruitment Acacia Training Amberjack Bristol City Council CarmichaelUK Civil Service Fast Stream Clarity Computacenter Department for Transport Digital Accessibility Centre Enbarr Enterprises Kingsley Consulting Guidant Global HS2 Sopra Steria Recruitment Virgin The judges of this year’s awards include disability champions such as Paul Awcock, Head of Talent Sourcing at Lloyd's, Ty Jones, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Engagement at DWF, and Jane Hatton, Director at Evenbreak. The RIDI Awards are a great example of how you can encourage recruiters and employers to create more job opportunities for people with disabilities, and they also help organisations to celebrate their success in becoming disability confident. We’d like to wish all of the RIDI Awards 2019 finalists good luck for the awards night 11 April in central London, where we look forward to meeting you all in person on the night (hopefully!).
VERCIDA.com helps employers attract candidates from diverse backgrounds in a proactive way through positive action, while clearly showcasing their employer value proposition. The platform also offers jobseekers all the information they need to make an informed decision about whether an employer is the right fit for them.
If we want everyone in society to have equal opportunities we all need to do our bit to break the barriers that isolate some people. This includes removing the barriers that stop people with disabilities from participating in sport. Because research by Sport England shows that people with disabilities are twice as likely to be physically inactive (43 per cent) than people who aren’t disabled (21 per cent). That means they are twice as likely to miss out on the benefits of sports and exercise. Like better health, increased confidence and motivation, and the socialising and friendships that often come with an active lifestyle. There is much to be done to improve this situation but The Football Foundation’s Grow the Game scheme is an inspiring example of what can be done to create a big change for the better. Play it and they will come The Grow the Game scheme is funded by The FA and delivered by The Football Foundation. It encourages more people from under-represented groups – specifically, people with disabilities and women – into regular grassroots football participation. It does this by giving grants for newly created teams to help them cover costs like FA coaching courses, referees’ fees, first aid kits or playing kit and equipment. And the numbers show that Grow The Game is really delivering for people with disabilities: last year the scheme helped to support the growth of 294 new disability teams in England. Result! It also supported the growth of 872 female teams last year, and since launching in 2010, Grow The Game has helped to create over 11,000 new teams, creating new playing opportunities to over 140,000 community footballers. It’s truly commendable work! Digital inclusion grows the game But it’s also a reminder that if you want to grow the game for people with disabilities, you also need to ensure your communications are accessible and inclusive. Because if people with disabilities can’t access information about schemes like Grow The Game and newly formed disability football clubs, how can they be reached? For example, if you have helped form a new disability football team, how do you advertise for new players, or announce team news for players and supporters? Often this type of promotion and communication is done using digital and social media. So if you ensure that your website is accessible and that your social media settings and content are as accessible as possible, you’ll reach more people with disabilities and help them to enjoy playing sport. As for former England international player Phil Neville told the FA’s website: “As a father of a daughter with a disability, I firmly believe this should never act as a barrier to sports participation.” Neither should inaccessible communications. Now is the ideal time to make sure your website and your digital and social media channels and content are accessible to people with disabilities. 100’s of organisations including St Johnstone Football Club use Recite Me to make their websites accessible for people who have disabilities – call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.
RIDI is a unique initiative to drive change in recruitment and remove the barriers faced by the millions of disabled people who are entering or progressing through the job market. RIDI believes more needs to be done to build disability confidence into recruitment and employment strategies, and campaigns actively to achieve this. RIDI started six years ago and the RIDI Awards, which began in 2014, are now becoming a regular fixture on the recruitment industry calendar.
UK football teams attract fans from around the world: does your club's website speak their language?
Professional football is now a truly global game. Top flight teams in the UK recruit their players and coaching staff from across the globe. And teams also attract sponsors from around the world. For example, during the 2013-16 Premiership seasons, then-Premiership side Swansea City was sponsored by Goldenway Global Group, which had its logo on the Swansea shirts. But the language on the logo wasn’t English, it was Cantonese. The Hong Kong-based international finance company used its sponsorship of a UK team to promote Goldenway to an Asian market, as well as to strengthen the brand’s image globally. It’s actually mind boggling! And it shows exactly how globalisation has turned the UK’s football industry into a global market. Diversity and globalisation Not only that, football’s fan-base in the UK is diverse, reflecting Britain’s diverse population. After all, around one in ten people in the UK don’t speak English as their first language. In areas like London this figure rises to around one in five people. Many of the teams in the Premiership also have an international fan-base. That’s why big clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United go on a foreign tour every summer, as they look to target their key international markets. Whether that’s the US, or Asia, or elsewhere. Are you talking to me? But how easy it is to make your football club’s web content accessible to a global audience? As easy as one, two, three. We can quickly add our Recite Me custom language and web accessibility toolbar to your football club’s website. This means fans who visit the website can then opt to have the content instantly translated into over 100 different languages. Quick, easy, hassle-free. Result. Recite Me also has other great features that make your website easier to use, like the option to have content read-aloud in over 30 different languages. A final thought This year’s Emirates FA Cup Final will have an estimated global TV audience of over HALF A BILLION people. If your football club reaches the final can you take advantage of the web-traffic from around the world that is likely to visit you website? 100’s of organisations including St Johnstone Football Club use Recite Me to make their websites accessible for people who don’t speak English as their first language…call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.
Sport can be a used in a way to both divide and unite people. Because whilst rivalries and passions can create divides in society, among families and friends even, sport also has the power to bring people together and make the world more inclusive. For example, the FA recently launched its “We only do positive” strategic campaign, which is encouraging respect throughout football, and is part of The FA’s wider programme called Respect. We only do positive highlights the importance of positive behaviour and environments for young footballers involved in mini-soccer and youth football. In a nutshell, it aims to educate coaches and parents about their roles in creating a fun, safe and inclusive environment, on and off the pitch. We only do inclusion? It’s great to see The FA working hard in this area to use sport as way to make a more inclusive society. And they also run other excellent campaigns as part of the Respect programme, such as those that promote a strict zero tolerance for racism. But wouldn’t it be brilliant if there was a “We only do inclusion” campaign as well? Such a campaign could promote a more inclusive experience for people with disabilities and their families/friends, both at football stadiums and online. And it could also promote a more inclusive experience for fans who don’t speak English as their first language. It’s worth considering that around 20% of people in the UK have a disability, and 10% of people don’t speak English as their first language. So it makes a lot of sense to ensure these groups are fairly included in the world of sport. Digital inclusion matters For an inclusive campaign in football to be effective it must cover the digital world, as well as the physical one. This means ensuring that websites are accessible, so that people with disabilities, and those who speak English as a first language, can do what they need to do online. For example, can they use their favourite football club’s website to: buy a shirt, buy a match-ticket, check the fixture list, read the latest club news, etc? If they can’t, the evidence shows that it’s basically a case of the football club pouring money down the drain. But football clubs can avoid this by adding Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar to their website. The toolbar can be added to any website to help people disabilities, and those who don’t speak English as their first language, to use any website the way that suits them best. Ultimately, it’s a simple solution to help fans win and make football more inclusive. 100’s of organisations including St Johnstone Football Club use Recite Me to make their websites accessible for people who have disabilities – call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.