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Stay up to date with the latest client news, industry updates and events from Recite Me

St Johnstone FC kicks off greater digital inclusion for football fans

06 Jul 2018 | news

One of Scotland’s leading football clubs St Johnstone FC has become the first professional football club in the UK to add Recite Me’s access and language software to their club website. Ahead of the Chris Millar testimonial match with Aberdeen on Sunday, 8 July, the club has launched new software which makes the entire online content more accessible for those who are partially sighted or colour blind for example, or for those where English is not the visitor’s first language. Supporters who access the Club website will now see a round ‘access’ button appearing in the bottom right-hand corner of their screen. If the visitor clicks on the button the Recite Me toolbar will activate at the top of the website’s navigation. Offering a wide-range of functionality and customisation options, Recite Me software gives the visitor the option to change the font and font size and also the background colour – this may be of benefit to fans who are colourblind or dyslexic for example. It also offers a ‘text-to-speech’ function where content can be read out to the user. For visitors for whom English is not their first language the new software can translate content into over 100 different languages. The Recite Me toolbar also offers an integrated dictionary and a virtual magnifying glass amongst other beneficial tools. Commenting on the Club’s launch of the new digital inclusion software, the Chairman of St Johnstone FC Steve Brown said “I’m delighted that Saints are leading the way in British football with the use of this software. I’ve seen the demonstration and it’s really impressive. It’s easy to see the benefits for supporters with a range of difficulties with vision and other disabilities which affect their ability to get the most out of the website, as well as for anyone for whom English is not their first language. “This investment puts St Johnstone FC at the forefront of the use of this technology and is great for the club.” Sandy Riach from the Scottish Disabled Supporters Association stated “This is a game-changing piece of software that opens up a whole new world to people with disabilities. All of the functions make using the club website even more accessible and user friendly. A great piece of software development which ticks another box in making the world a more inclusive place. Photo: Iain Kerr, a member of the St Johnstone Disabled Supporters’ Association Access auditor Keith Ferguson said “I carried out an access appraisal at St Johnstone in 2016 in order to meet ScottishF.A. licencing requirements. It was clear to me then that the club took the subject of accessibility seriously and have worked hard at making improvements whether small or large. Having this software installed is another example of the club’s commitment to continual improvements and they should be applauded for being the first in the UK. My son is dyslexic and a keen football fan so I encouraged Sean to take a look at the application. His feedback was very positive, advising “It is a very clever system. The ‘text to speech’ function is excellent. I really liked the ability to change the font to whatever was easiest for me to read and being able to change the background colour made a huge difference visually, plus I had the assistance of the ruler which was an added tool I wasn’t expecting. Ross Linnett, CEO & Founder of Recite Me said: “St Johnstone FC are a club supported by a diverse and growing community in Perth and beyond, who all want to stay in touch with the club’s latest news. “Nowadays people also want to be able to customise web content to suit their own preferences and they want it to work on their computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Football fans are no different. “Recite Me’s access and language functionality truly makes St Johnstone FC’s website more accessible and inclusive for their fans and also for other users who may be looking to book facilities at McDiarmid Park. We hope to see other football clubs following suit and making their website more inclusive for everyone.”

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How can we make sports more inclusive for people with colour blindness?

28 Jun 2018 | news

When England won the FIFA World Cup for the first and only time in 1966, every England fan who watched the final of the tournament on TV in England saw the game in black and white. But not being able to watch sports on TV in full colour, to help easily distinguish between different teams, people and objects, may seem unimaginable to some people in 2018. And it’s important to acknowledge there are around 2.7 million people in the UK who have a different experience of the colours they see whilst watching and playing sports like football due to colour blindness. Colour vision deficiency, or CVD, is better known as colour blindness and around the world it is more common amongst men (around 1 in 12, or 8 per cent), than women (around 1 in 200). In the UK about 4.5% of the population are colour blind, most of whom are men, according to the Colour Blind Awareness Association. Most people who are colour blind can’t fully see red, green or blue light. There are different types of colour blindness and the most common type is red/green colour blind. This makes it difficult for people to identify some shades of greens from browns, or browns from reds, or blues from purples. People who are colour blind who play and watch sports may face a range of difficulties. These span from not clearly understanding which team is playing in which kit, to not being able to work out which button on the TV remote to press to access alternative match commentary. If we look at football in England, last year The FA published guidance notes on colour blindness to raise awareness of its impact on football. The guidance explains colour blindness and offers ways to help people who are colour blind. The guidance also offers information and advice about design issues, including web design issues, such as that you should never represent information by just using colour/s. Recite Me can help people with colour-blindness to access any website by letting them change the font colour and background colour contrast so they can easily see and read text. Very handy if you want to read a match report on your favourite football team’s website! 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.

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Find out the importance of being heard with Healthwatch Torbay

21 Jun 2018 | news

The borough of Torbay, affectionally known as the “English Riviera”, is home to the largest aging population over 65 than anywhere else in the UK. It’s also home to Healthwatch Torbay, a community organisation set up by the government in 2012 to gather local people’s views and experiences about local health and social care services. Here at Recite Me, we’re excited to welcome Healthwatch Torbay as a recent client. We chatted with Simon Culley, Communications Officer at Healthwatch Torbay, to learn more about this valuable organisation and how web accessibility plays such a crucial role in their day-to-day operations. Simon explains, “With an aging population in Torbay, that also comes with extra healthcare concerns. There are more people here with disabilities and visual impairments, so the need to have a more accessible website to reach that main part of the community was absolutely paramount.” Healthwatch, known colloquially as the “TripAdvisor for healthcare”, provides users with a transparent, two-way form of communication between patients and healthcare providers. Patients can rate and review services they’ve used, give a star rating, and write about what they thought was good and/or bad. Similarly, healthcare providers can also use the site to respond to feedback and address any concerns. Since the crux of Healthwatch’s service is carried out online via their website, it became crucial for the organisation to have a website that was well-equipped to cater towards visitors with a variety of individual needs and health concerns. Simon adds, “Ultimately, the people that use more kinds of healthcare services locally are the same people who have these healthcare problems themselves, so the more we get feedback from the actual people using them, the better. We didn’t want anyone to feel like they were missing out or like their voice wasn’t being heard.” Championing the views of everyone, not just a small sector, is an important factor for many businesses, particularly within the healthcare field. Yet, many businesses probably don’t ask for feedback from their most valuable source: their audience and customers. Simon encourages more organisations to listen to their customers, adding: “It sounds simple enough, but the only way you’re going to know if you’re doing a good job is to actually ask the people that you want to get that information from. I think, first and foremost, if organisations do want to know how they can improve, listening to the opinions of the very people you provide your service to gives you the most valuable insight.” The team was recommended to look at Recite Me and were pleasantly surprised. “It blew my mind,” Simon admits, “I didn’t know you could have that wide selection of options. We jumped at the chance to get it. I wrongly assumed it was just a program that would change the font or background color. When Martin went through every feature that was available, it was a real eye-opener and it offered more than anything else we’ve seen before.” Working alongside Martin Lea, Sales Executive at Recite Me, the Healthwatch team were led through a full tutorial to find out how each feature worked, who it would benefit and why. It’s a valuable walk-through which all of our new clients will receive, allowing them to unlock the full benefits of Recite Me. “It really showed us things that we weren’t aware of previously. One of the best features we saw was the dyslexia fonts, as none of us knew that there was a font specifically made for those with dyslexia!” Though it may be common to feel isolated or ignored if you’re dealing with a disability or impairment, rest assured that there is always help available. Whether it’s through contacting your own local Healthwatch branch or finding a local community organisation more aligned with your needs, Simon encourages everyone to do a simple search online to find the many resources out there waiting to help. “Most of all,” he explains, “Never be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask you don’t get, and someone can only say no.” To find out more about Healthwatch, including how to find your local branch, visit www.healthwatch.com To find out more about Recite Me, including how to book your own free demonstration, please visit us at www.reciteme.com

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You can pick the winner of the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards, People's Award

20 Jun 2018 | news

The finalists have been announced for the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018. They are the only awards to highlight the wealth of charities, businesses and volunteers across the UK that use technology to improve the other people’s lives. Sponsored by BT, the awards are organised by national accessibility charity AbilityNet. This is the eighth year of the awards and entry is open to any business, charity, individual or public body in the UK. We are excited to support the awards, as Recite Me is a sponsor of the awards, and we also donate our web accessibility software to the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website. You can now vote to pick the winner of the People’s Award, which is chosen by you, members of the general public. You can read about each finalist and their entry on the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website and cast your vote by sending a tweet using the correct hashtag. For more details and to vote now visit the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018 finalists are: AbilityNet Accessibility Award Be My Eyes Facebook GiveVision Seeing AI WayToB BT Connected Society Award Alcove Always in Mind Greengame Rafiqi Small Robot Company BT Young Pioneer Award Code Camp IMAREC Mind Moodz Water Watcher Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award Amandla.mobi Gather Lynk Unlocking Talent Through Technology Community Impact Award Digital Voice Kindergifts Mind of My Own Tap to the App Relias Digital Health Award Apart of Me Immersive Rehab Moment Health TapSOS Digital Skills Award CodeYourFuture Generation Code Nominet Digital Neighbourhood Stretchlab Digital Volunteer of the Year Award Ann Crago Anna Holland Smith Graham Gunning Richard Rankin

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Sam Renke: Flying unaccompanied? Computer says HELL NO!

24 May 2018 | news

The Expensive and Unfair Challenges People with Disabilities Face on Trains and Planes Sam Renke is an actress and disability campaigner. She often shares her stories about her experience of using public transport. So we’ve asked her to write a two-part guest blog about how accessible transport is. In part two of her guest blog below Sam explains why PA’s (aka personal assistants, or carers) shouldn’t have to pay for accompanying a person with a disability on a train journey. She also reveals the horrors of flying for people who use wheelchairs. There are two things that really infuriate me when traveling, and I think they should be improved and can easily be changed. They are: the 24 hour rule, and the concessions for PA’s (aka personal assistants, or carers). Here is what I mean. The rule when booking assistance for travelling via trains is that you have to notify the station 24 hours in advance…hmm, interesting. As someone who works freelance I am often given very short notice for auditions or television work. Are ‘we’ not allowed to be spontaneous? Do we not have busy schedules like everyone else? I understand large stations such as Euston have a tremendous amount of people needing assistance on a daily basis. However, that’s really not our problem to solve. The demand for people with assistance requirements is increasing. So the stations need to meet that demand without compromising the way disabled people travel. Simple! We deserve to travel freely and to feel like a valued paying customer. Not an after-thought! I am still baffled by the fact that a person’s companion, or PA (aka personal assistant, or carer) as I prefer to say, still has to pay towards travel when assisting a person with a disability or additional needs. True, they may receive concessions such as a third off. But, my argument always stands like this: let’s say that the venue or transportation you are using was in fact 100 per cent accessible in every sense of the word. Then the likelihood would be that that person would not need any assistance to help navigate the hundreds of pitfalls and obstacles there are absolutely everywhere! It just goes back to the social model of disability: if you have a disabled loo or automatic doors then I wouldn’t need to bring someone along to help me. So in effect I am paying for an extra person to accompany me because you and your establishment/company couldn’t be bothered to adhere to the Equality Act 2010. Therefore, what I would love to see moving forward is free travel or access for anyone accompanying someone with a disability. I don’t know about you but I prefer talking to a real person when I book any of my travel tickets. The reason being online bookings often don’t allow you to specifically book a disabled wheelchair space. This can be a real disadvantage when you want to book from a cheap online service like The Trainline. Let me explain. You may get a cheaper deal on Trainline, but because you can’t click on the wheelchair space when booking tickets, you are taking the risk of that space already being taken. So you still have to call Virgin Trains or National Rail to arrange your assistance and book the wheelchair space. Booking flights online can also be a disaster. In some cases you have to get the dimensions of your wheelchair. And if you are like me and are unable to walk, flying without an accompanist is a case of: THE COMPUTER SAYS HELL NO! Why is this? Well, because even in 2018 there have been no advancements to on board access. Not only is it humiliating being left last to board a flight and be wheeled past other passengers who glare because they realise you have been the one to delay the flight. But once you are on you can’t go to the toilet as they are too small for a wheelchair to enter. One of the most upsetting and frustrating things I face in my life is not being able to fly alone. And I fear that this will stay the same for years to come and I may never get to experience this freedom in my lifetime! Sam

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What will you do to mark Dementia Action Week?

23 May 2018 | news

This week (May 21 - 27) it’s Dementia Action Week. Previously known as Dementia Awareness Week, Dementia Action Week is organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, which wants everyone to take action to improve the everyday lives of people affected by dementia. Dementia is now a common condition in the UK, with 850,000 people here affected by it according to the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia doesn’t just affect elderly people Surprisingly to many, dementia doesn’t only affect elderly people: 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 affected by early onset dementia. And these numbers are set to rise as it’s estimated that by 2051 the number of people in the UK who will have dementia is set to reach two million, which will reflect the growing size of our ageing population. Raising awareness of issues around dementia is crucial but more action is needed to create the change in communities that people with dementia need. Take actions That’s why everyone is being asked to take both small and big actions during Dementia Action Week to help make everyday life better for those with dementia. If you want to do something for Dementia Action Week to make a difference there’s lots of great ideas on the Alzheimer’s Society’s website. For example, everyone is being encouraged to take small actions like: talk to people who have dementia; make time to listen to people who have dementia; ask questions and learn about dementia; and ask if someone needs help if they look confused. UK-wide events Or if you want to get together with other people there are events to mark Dementia Action Week across the UK. And if you want to join in the conversation around Dementia Action Week on Twitter just search for, and use, the hashtag #DAW2018. Ultimately, dementia can be a lonely and frightening experience for those who have been diagnosed and their families. At Recite Me our mission is to help support people with disabilities and other conditions like dementia through our web accessibility software. So we are very pleased to be able to talk to you about Dementia Action Week and we hope this blog will help inspire you to take actions to help people with dementia and their families. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to older people and people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.

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Recite Me Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2018

17 May 2018 | news

Today is the seventh 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. Those who influence digital tech must understand accessibility It’s crucial that these people, who influence how digital technology is designed and used, grow their understanding of what accessibility really means and how to get it right. To celebrate GAAD our Founder and CEO Ross Linnett has written a blog for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations about how PR and communications professionals can make their digital communications more accessible. PR and communications professionals shape the design and use of much digital technology like websites and apps. So the blog gives them a great chance to learn about simple steps they can take to make their digital communications more accessible for GAAD 2018. GAAD 2018 events There are lots of events happening around the world to mark GAAD 2018, including both physical and digital events. There are several events happening in the UK. For example, if you’re in London you may want to go to the UK Chapter of the User Experience Professionals’ Association’s (UXPA) event about upcoming standards, technologies and ways of implementing this into your team. Or if you can’t make that event there’s a We Love Accessibility GAAD event on May 31st, which will explore best practises for the web in a world where standards in accessibility for digital are constantly evolving. GAAD 2018 digital events If digital events are more your cup of tea, may we recommend you check out the online event about Using WordPress for Accessible Web Development. Or look at the BBC Access All Areas events, which will be live streaming between two events held at BBC offices in London and Salford, UK. Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “The whole team here at Recite Me and I have a passion for digital accessibility. “So we are very proud to support GAAD 2018 and hope that lots of people take this chance to learn more about 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. “GAAD aims to change this by giving those responsible for designing digital technology the chance to understand what accessibility means and why it’s so important for people with disabilities.” Let us know how you’re marking GAAD 2018 We’d really love to know what you’re doing to celebrate GAAD 2018. Please tweet Recite Me (@reciteme) to let us know and help us get as many people as possible talking about GAAD 2018 and accessibility.

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Accessibility in the United States – Is it about Compliance or ROI?

16 May 2018 | news

By Debra Ruh Accessibility in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector holds unparalleled promise and opportunities for people with disabilities never before seen in our history. Many people are surprised to learn just how much of the world’s population is affected by a disability, and how valuable accessible design of ICT is to the global marketplace. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 7 people in the world have a disability. In the United States, 1 in 5 people identify as having a disability according to the US Census. It is also important to note that disabilities are a normal part of life. Persons with disabilities might navigate the world of technology in a different way but they do use technology. We all can add value when given the opportunity to tap into our unique innate abilities. Accessible ICT is an important part of that equalizing equation. To really understand the impact one has to look no further than the World Health Organization which indicates that people with disabilities are the world’s largest and fastest growing minority group. With the population of the United States aging and the likelihood of developing a disability or other mobility limitation increasing with age, the growth in the number of people with disabilities can be expected to rise dramatically. The growing population of veterans and service members with disabilities is also impacting this number. This is an exciting time, of great promise and opportunity for people of all abilities. This is a new era for global citizens, one where emerging new technologies and mobile computing devices are serving as enablers for people of all ages and all levels of education. Designing and delivering ICT to be fully accessible ensures all individuals can enjoy the benefits and advantages of technology to enrich their lives and fulfill their dreams. Click here to download a PDF of the World Report on Disability An inclusive, accessible and universal design approach to technology is critical to both public and private industry wishing to anticipate future needs of this growing population. By recognizing the importance of the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities through assistive technology and accessible ICT, the world continues to strengthen policies, strategies, and programs along with an increase in awareness of the public at large of the importance of the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities, accessible ICT and assistive technology. Making technology usable for all has become imperative for unleashing the potential of all persons and is critical for any public and private institution that hopes to fully participate and remain relevant in the 21st century. Providing accessible ICT products and services also benefits the growing population affected by age-related impairments, in addition to people with disabilities. It is unwise to ignore the sheer numbers, influence and wealth of these individuals. In the US, baby boomers control $30 trillion according to Accenture.1 There are over 72 million Baby Boomers in the United States. Baby Boomers are Americans born between the years 1946 and 1964. It is important to note that this is not a USA phenomenon. Throughout the world all populations are seeing burgeoning numbers of “elders”, defined as persons aged 65 years and older. “In many countries, including Japan, the United States, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, those aged over 65 are at, or approaching 15% of the population. People are living longer and are generally healthier at advanced ages than were previous cohorts, thus “old age” disabilities of the 20th century will be put off to older ages during the 21st century.”2 “Global aging ranks as the most profound demographic trend of our times. It is slowing (or even reversing) population growth, reshaping families, reshuffling consumer markets, force feeding the demand for health care, weighing on public budgets, depressing household savings, accelerating international migration, and revolutionizing the culture.” According to W3C, Older Web users are an increasing market segment and an important target group for many businesses, governments, and other organizations. Older adults can experience age-related impairments that can affect how they use the Web, such as declining: • Vision - including reduced contrast sensitivity, color perception, and near-focus, making it difficult to read web pages • Physical ability - including reduced dexterity and fine motor control, making it difficult to use a mouse and click small targets • Hearing - including difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds and separating sounds, making it difficult to hear podcasts and other audio, especially when there is background music • Cognitive Ability - including reduced short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, and being easily distracted, making it difficult to follow navigation and complete online tasks Citation: 5CSIS These issues overlap with the accessibility needs of people with disabilities. Thus, websites and tools that are accessible to people with disabilities are more accessible to older users as well. Demand for accessible technology and services will continue to rise as well as the public’s understanding of, and requirement for, technology that is usable by every citizen. Corporations should think about what you can do to better meet the needs of people with disabilities, and find creative ways to make it happen through accessible technology. Move beyond general steps to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities, ensure that accessibility is addressed in all policies and programs, promote training on the human rights of persons with disabilities, stop any practice that breach the rights of people with disabilities, and involve people with disabilities in the development of legislation and policies. These best practices help your team as- sure that all customers including persons with disabilities have the access they need. It begins at the pre-design stage and follows the entire design life cycle, with every process created, incorporating accessibility and disability inclusion into your policies, services, and products. These efforts support all customers, even the most demanding customers. It also allows team members to proactively innovate and solve problems before they surface. Bottom-line corporations should be focused on the Return on Investment (ROI) not just risk and compliance. To learn more about Debra Ruh: Visit www.RuhGlobal.com, Subscribe to her Show: ‘Human Potential at Work’ www.RuhGlobal.com/Show, or Follow on Social Media @debraruh. You can also find her latest book ‘Inclusion Branding’ on Amazon or at www.RuhGlobal.com/Inclusion-Branding.

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Consultation opens on new digital accessibility laws for public sector websites and apps

14 May 2018 | news

The UK Government has opened a consultation on new digital accessibility laws for public sector websites and apps. The new EU Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies will be brought into UK law later this year. The government will implement the new rules in UK law by passing regulations, which will place new responsibilities on public sector bodies to make their websites and apps accessible. And it has opened a consultation to hear your views about what you’ll need to do to comply with the new rules if you’re affected by them, and how the rules should be monitored and enforced. The new EU Directive means public sector websites and apps must become more accessible and meet minimum accessibility standards, except in cases where it will be disproportionate. This means that public sector websites or apps must meet the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) accessibility standards (currently WCAG 2.0) at level AA. The new directive also requires every public body to publish an accessibility statement before 23 December 2018. We think the new regulations are a great step forward to ensure that no person with a disability or impairment faces barriers that stop them from accessing vital information and services via public sector websites and apps. And the consultation offers a wonderful chance for you to have your views of digital accessibility heard and to shape the future of digital Britain.

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Are your older customers getting left behind?

08 May 2018 | news

Dementia Action Week, which aims to encourage people to take action to improve the lives of people affected by dementia, is coming up soon (May 21 - 27). According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are around 850,000 people in the UK who are living with dementia, and one person develops dementia every three minutes. But it doesn’t just affect the elderly, with more than 40,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 affected by early onset dementia. Older people have specific access needs Dementia Action Week focuses attention on why brands must support the access needs of our ageing population. They form a huge group of older customers that is set to grow even bigger. According to the OFCOM Communications Market Report 2017: “In the UK, 14.3 million people are aged 60 or over; 2.9 million are aged 80 or over. From 2012 to 2032 the populations of 65-84 year olds and the over-85s are set to increase by 39% and 106% respectively, whereas 0-14 and 15-64 year olds are set to increase by 11% cent and 7% respectively.” And because most health conditions, impairments and disabilities (including dementia) are acquired with age as we grow older, this area of population growth will create more access issues. Digital exclusion and age We talk about silver surfers – the OFCOM market report states that more than half (53%) of over 74’s now have internet access at home, up from 45% in 2016 – but what about digital exclusion for older people? How easy is it for them to use a company’s website to find information and do everyday tasks, like setting up a customer account or paying a household utility bill? Many older people will have visual impairments or physical mobility impairments that mean they need support to access content and services on websites. This underlines why it’s crucial to design all websites, apps and other digital communications using accessible design, including designing websites and apps to WCAG 2.0 Level AA as a minimum standard. Companies like United Utilities and South East Water also use web accessibility software Recite Me on their websites to help their older customers to access the services and information on their respective websites. The Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar lets these customers, and those with disabilities, format websites in the way the suits them best. For example, customers with visual impairments can change the font size, change the font colour and background colour contrast, and opt to have the text read aloud to them. These features allow people with conditions like visual impairments to easily access information on websites and do the key tasks they need to do. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to older people and people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.

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Why UX and web accessibility are key parts of great customer care

03 May 2018 | news

User experience (better known as UX) refers to all the parts of an end-user's interaction with a brand, and its services and products. Ultimately, UX is about understanding what the experience of interacting with a brand is like from the customer’s point of view. In terms of websites, UX includes usability and accessibility, or how well a website works for the end-user and for end-users who have a disability. Research shows that poor usability and accessibility forces end-users to click away from websites. Many disabled customers click-away from inaccessible websites For example, the Click-Away Pound Survey looks at the online shopping experience of people with disabilities and the cost to businesses of ignoring disabled shoppers. According to the results of the 2016 survey: Seventy one per cent of disabled customers with 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. Eighty two per cent of customers with access needs would spend more if websites were more accessible. These results are surprising when you consider that the spending power of disabled people and their families in the UK is £249 billion. (Source: DWP Family Resources Survey 2014/15). But disabled people represent a huge market that is largely ignored. Not only does poor web usability and accessibility mean lost sales for brands, it also makes customers unhappy, which can cause long-term damage to brands’ reputations. Web accessibility is crucial for great service online So if your brand provides a service through your website then your website must be accessible. For example, if you are a utilities company, can a customer with a disability like dyslexia or low vision use your website to do essential tasks like paying a bill? Usability and accessibility can be improved by building accessible design into your digital design process from the start of any project like a new web-build. And you can carry out user testing with a range of people with disabilities, and those without, to get feedback on the usability and accessibility of your website. You can also add web accessibility software like Recite Me to quickly and easily improve the accessibility of your website. Companies like United Utilities, South East Water and Arriva UK Bus already use Recite Me on their websites to help their customers with disabilities to access their services and information online. Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar lets their customers with disabilities do things like change the font size, change the font colour and background colour contrast, and opt to have the text read aloud to them. These features allow people with disabilities like dyslexia and low vision/no vision to access information on websites and carry out the key tasks they need to do online. So by adding Recite Me to your website you can offer great customer care online. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to people with disabilities – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.

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Your time is nearly up to enter the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018

01 May 2018 | news

There’s just one week to go to get your entries in for the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018. They are the only awards to highlight the charities, businesses and volunteers throughout the UK that use the power of technology to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place. Now in their eighth year, the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards are organised by digital accessibility charity AbilityNet and sponsored by BT. We are thrilled that Recite Me is also a sponsor of the awards, plus we donate our web accessibility software to the awards website. And we’ve also supported this year’s awards by taking part in a co-ordinated Thunderclap campaign to get as many people as possible taking about and entering the awards. Entry into the awards is free and open to any business, charity, individual or public body in the UK. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018 categories are: • AbilityNet Accessibility Award • BT Connected Society • BT Young Pioneer 
 • Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award
 • Community Impact
 • Digital Health Award
 • Digital Skills Award
 • Tech Volunteer of the Year You can nominate yourself for an award, or your organisation/group, or another person or organisation/group that has invented or adapted digital technology to help other people. And there’s a networking event on 12th June at BT Tower in London. Recite Me Founder & CEO Ross Linnett, said: “The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards do a brilliant job of highlighting those who use digital technology help to change people’s lives for the better. “As a tech inventor and entrepreneur myself I love seeing who will create the technology of tomorrow. “And it’s great that Recite Me can help to support the awards by being a sponsor and donating our web accessibility and language toolbar for the awards website. “Do you know a person, company or group who has used digital technology to create a new invention that helps other people? If you do, you should nominate them now!” Entries close at 6.00 pm on 9th May (next Wednesday) so get your skates on and enter the AbilityTech4Good Awards now!

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Can YOU help to support MS Awareness Week?

26 Apr 2018 | news

It’s MS Awareness Week this week (April 23 - 29), which aims to help raise awareness about the condition, and raise funds, so that no one has to take on MS (Multiple Sclerosis) alone. MS Awareness Week is organised by the MS Trust and there’s loads you can do to get involved this week to help support people living with MS. Why does MS Awareness Week matter? More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS, which is a neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It’s almost three times more common in women than it is in men and most people are diagnosed with MS in their 20s and 30s. MS can be bewildering for young people in particular and to coincide with MS Awareness Week the MS Trust has launched a brand new YouTube channel for young people aged 11 to 17, who are affected by MS, called MSTV. How can I support MS Awareness Week? You can support MS Awareness Week in a number of ways, including joining the Be Bold in Blue campaign. You can use your social media profiles on platforms like Twitter and Facebook to help raise awareness of MS. You can follow The MS trust on Facebook and Twitter and share or retweet their posts. You could also tweet facts about MS, download and share some MS Awareness Week infographics turn your profile photo blue for the week to show your support. Recite Me supporting MS Awareness Week To coincide with MS Awareness we decided to turn the Recite Me logo blue this week to show our support. We also want to get the word out there about how web accessibility can help people with MS. Web accessibility software like Recite Me’s web accessibility toolbar can help to make websites more accessible to people who have MS in a number of ways. Firstly, MS can affect a person’s mobility, which means that if they find it hard to use a website (for example, to scroll through text). So they can use Recite Me to have the text read aloud to them, at the click of a button. Also, MS can affect a person’s vision. By using the Recite Me toolbar people who have MS can use it do things like zoom in, increase the font size, and change the font colour and background colour contrast, in order to read web content more clearly. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible to people with conditions like MS – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 to find out more.

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Most jobseekers think online job applications should be more accessible and inclusive

20 Apr 2018 | news

By Morgan Lobb, CEO of VERCIDA Nearly seven out of ten jobseekers (69%) think that employers and recruiters should make online job applications more accessible for disabled people. That’s according to the results of a new survey of 112 jobseekers carried out by Recite Me and VERCIDA in March 2018. The results also show that just one in three jobseekers (33%) think that employers and recruiters currently do a good job of making online job applications accessible for disabled people. These findings echo those of the 2017 RIDI candidate survey of 200 jobseekers with disabilities conducted by The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) in partnership with VERCIDA. The new survey we ran last month also shows that only 26% of jobseekers think that employers and recruiters do a good job of making online job applications inclusive for people who don’t speak English as their first language. And nearly half of jobseekers (47%) think employers and recruiters should do more to make online job applications inclusive for people who don’t speak English as their first language. These results may be surprising to some but at VERCIDA we understand how important it is for our online diversity and inclusion recruitment platform to be accessible and inclusive. VERCIDA is a highly accessible web platform having completed a 60 hour audit by the Shaw Trust ensuing even those with mobility, visual impairments or dyslexia can access the site. We also use Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar on our website to further help disabled people and those who don’t speak English as their first language to access online job applications. And 10% of jobseekers who took our recent joint-survey think that the Recite Me accessibility and language toolbar has helped them to access job adverts and applications on VERCIDA by supporting their disability access needs. I’m very pleased to be able to say that because it shows how valuable the toolbar is for jobseekers who use VERCIDA. However, the results of the survey also show that employers and recruiters must do a better job and making online job applications more accessible and inclusive. And to do that there’s no better place to start than by talking to the team at Recite Me. Try Recite Me for yourself with a free demo 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible and inclusive – book your free demo now or call on 0191 4328092 for to find out more. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email info@vercida.com for more information.

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London Needs to be More Accessible for the UK's 13 Million Disabled People by Sam Renke

20 Apr 2018 | news

Sam Renke is an actress and disability campaigner. She often shares her stories about her experience of using public transport. So we’ve asked her to write a two-part guest blog about how accessible transport is. In part one of her guest blog below Sam talks about what it’s like for a person with a disability to find their way around London using public transport. Prominent public figures such as Anne Wafula Strike, Frank Gardner and me have all been going public with stories of horrendous acts of discrimination when using public transport. And the whole ‘debate’, if we can call it that, surrounding inaccessible public transport for people with disabilities and others with additional needs has once again reared its ugly head. Our stories are picked up by various media platforms and people shake their heads at the disgraceful treatment of disabled people. Then everyone agrees it’s not acceptable and it shouldn’t be happening in twenty-first century Britain. Then. Then…well, nothing really. Nothing much changes. Talks subside until the next dreadful incident and people with disabilities, and others with additional needs, struggle to live independently. I often question if in fact we are living in a third world when I read the hundreds of news articles and tweets about how people with disabilities, and others with additional needs, suffer when using public transport. The stories range from people being left for hours on a plane, wetting themselves due to no accessible toilet, being bruised after being man-handled inappropriately off an aircraft, to simply being shouted abuse at by bus drivers who favour push chairs to prams. I too have had my fair share of nail biting, uncomfortable and down-right humiliating travel experiences and I honestly have not noticed much positive change. I moved to London just over six years ago, leaving my very rural Lancashire town called Leyland to pursue my dream in the Big Smoke. For me the biggest appeal of London was the fact that it is just a melting pot of cultures, languages, religions, foods and customs. The diversity drew me in completely. However, I soon became very disappointed by the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities and others with mobility issues. Not only are the majority of the underground services inaccessible, pavements are often in poor conditions and buses never really seem to understand priority spaces. Only black taxis are legally obliged to have ramps installed, meaning any journey would cost you a small fortune. Buildings, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs favour being authentic and trendy over being accessible, with lots of venues being upstairs, in basements or simply too small. (I think the word used is quaint!). London favours maintaining authentic, historic architecture over accommodating the 13.3 million people in the UK with a disability or additional needs, not to mention the growing ageing population who also could use some extra help when out and about. I quickly realised I needed as much help as I could get if I wanted to maintain my independence in London. So I applied for the following schemes that help people with disabilities in London to access public transport. Taxi Card This gives you subsidies when travelling by Black Taxis and you can apply for a Taxi Card from your Local Authority. The snag is you are only allocated a small amount of ‘rides’ depending on your ‘disability’ per year. I receive 104 swipes a year and you need to use at least two swipes for one journey. This means I can only use my taxi card once a week. Yes, because us disabled folk only leave the house once a week for doctor’s appointment, right?! Disabled Persons Rail Card This gives you a third off for you and your PA (aka personal assistant, or carer) on rail journeys. You do, however, have to pay for an annual card – it’s not free. But, if you travel on trains frequently, like I do, it’s a good investment. Freedom Pass This gives you free travel across tubes. But let’s face it, hardly any of the tube stations are accessible. It also covers over-ground rail, busses, park and ride’s, etc. But, the pass excludes PA’s/carers. CAI Card The card enables a disabled cinema visitor to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema (e.g. their PA/carer). I’ve also found some useful apps and websites that help to know where is best to go for accessible buildings and everyday goods and services: Access Advsir - accessadvisr.net Neatebox - neatbox.com assist-Mi - http://www.assist-mi.com I hope you find them useful too. Sam

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