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

Lifeways launch new inclusive website

21 Jul 2020 | news

To make Lifeways online presence as inclusive as possible, they have launched their all-new website with accessibility and language support tool, Recite Me. This accessibility support will enable staff and all website visitors to read and understand important information easily online. Across the UK, 20% of the population has some form of disability, and 1 in 7 people are neurodivergent, meaning that they can find accessing online content challenging. Everyone visiting the Lifeways website will now be able to customise their website with a number of unique features. These support tools including text-to-speech, reading support functionalities, styling options, where people can change the colour scheme as well as the texts font style, size, colour, and spacing. For people who speak English as a second language, the toolbar also includes on-demand translation into over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices. Lifeways is the UK’s largest supported living specialist and help almost 5,000 people to live more independently. They believe in equal access to opportunities and are focused on creating environments where people feel valued and comfortable – this includes making their online support and service information accessible to as many people as possible. “It is important that we make access to our services and finding information as easy as possible for all our website users and making the Recite Me tool available for users with accessibility issues, ensures that everyone will now be able to enjoy the same experience.” Deborah Jones, Head of Marketing at Lifeways

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Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

16 Jul 2020 | case-study

Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council (dlr) is the authority responsible for local government in the county of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Ireland and serves a population of 206,260 people.

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The Importance of Accessibility for Young Learners

15 Jul 2020 | news

On 15 July, Recite Me will be supporting World Youth Skills Day, the key aim of which is to draw attention to the importance of equipping young people with the skills they need to gain employment. This is something that Recite Me is incredibly passionate about, especially when it comes to supporting those in the youth sector who struggle with disabilities. Yet even without considering the additional issues faced by those with learning difficulties, visual impairments, and physical disadvantages, the youth sector is already facing an uphill battle… The Youth of Today Young people play a vital role in our society both in terms of general development and the economy, and the students of today are the workforce of tomorrow. Yet, while the youth population grew by 139 million in the two-decade period between 1997 and 2017, the youth labour force shrank by a staggering 58.7 million. This is very concerning, especially in the current climate where the challenges that face us as a society are constantly evolving. In post-COVID-19 economies, young people are likely to be the sector most called upon to contribute to recovery efforts. To do so, they will need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to address current issues and confront future disruptions. So rising youth unemployment is a significant issue for all societies in the modern world: In 2016 there were 259 million young people not in employment, education, or training. By 2019 that number rose to 267 million and is projected to rise further to 273 million by 2021. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, young people were already three times as likely as adults (25 years and older) to be unemployed. Currently, more than 1 in 6 young people are unemployed. Learning Barriers In order to gain the skills, training, and knowledge they need to succeed, young people need adequate education. Even before COVID-19, distance learning had already become a common way to access education and skills training, and now with 70% of the world’s learners affected by school, college, and university closures, this trend is set to continue. “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) However, simply providing the resources for online learning does not make education accessible when you consider that: Approximately 19 million children worldwide suffer from a vision impairment that affects their ability to access online materials. In the US, approximately one in six children (about 17%) aged between 3 and 17 has one or more developmental disabilities. In the UK, there are approximately 351,000 people under 17 with a learning disability. One in every five children has attention issues. At least 10% of all school children are dyslexic. Many students learn in a second language. A recent audit of universities in the UK discovered that around 20% of all attendees are international students. Of course, these statistics only include data that is known to the authorities, and in early childhood only severe disabilities are likely to be apparent. Taking dyslexia as a specific example, a recent study has suggested that schools could be failing to diagnose up to 80% of cases, and many children who struggle in their formative years are just dismissed as being “slow learners”. This was certainly the case for our founder and CEO, Ross Linnett, who did not discover he was dyslexic until he was 22 and already a university graduate. It wasn’t until a close friend with experience of dyslexia suggested that he might have the condition that Ross was diagnosed and provided with assistive technology. It was helpful but limiting, mainly because it was based on access to just one computer. Hence the idea for Recite Me was born… Assistive Technology as a Learning Aid Ross founded Recite Me when he realized that traditional assistive technology wasn't helping him access the web as effectively as it should be in today’s digital age. He created the company with a clear vision that cloud-based software was the future for people who use multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. He asserted that if cloud-based solutions make sense for sharing files (e.g. Dropbox) and listening to music (e.g. Spotify), then this should also be the case for assistive technology. Recite Me is now a global enterprise SaaS company with clients across the UK, Europe, Australia, and America. Our unique assistive toolbar is an accessibility solution that allows users to customise a website in the way that works best for them, and in doing so compensates for a broad spectrum of barriers including: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments A Message to Educators Access to education and skills training is vital in order to achieve economic growth and personal success, and at Recite Me we believe that children need to be supported from a young age to adequately prepare them for adult life and employment. Every stage of education should be inclusive, and all students need to be able to easily access information online. To that end, we already work with some incredible children’s organisations and educational institutions, including: Just 4 Children Children in Scotland International Schools Partnership Multiple universities, colleges, and student union bodies across the UK Children and Adult Disability and Educational Services (CADES) in the USA We encourage all businesses and institutions in the education and training sector to join us in helping young learners, and in doing so play their part in shaping our culture, society, and economy for the better. By working together to improve access to skills and education we can make a real difference, and in providing assistive technology, organisations can become truly accessible to students with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. "We wanted to make sure our website was accessible to as many people as possible. There are so many different features on the Recite Me toolbar that it covers everything from an accessibility and language perspective. The team at Recite Me are very proud and passionate about their software and have been great to work with." Amy Simpson, Head of Digital Communications, Cranfield University We invite you to read some of our case studies, and if you’d like to see more you can book a demo of the Recite Me assistive toolbar by contacting our team.

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South Hams District Council

13 Jul 2020 | case-study

South Hams District Council was formed in 1974 and covers the non-metropolitan district of the South Hams in Devon, England. Serving a population of around 85,000 people.

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West Devon Borough Council

13 Jul 2020 | case-study

West Devon is a local government district and borough in Devon, England. Towns in the district include Chagford, Okehampton, Princetown, and Tavistock, where the council is based. The district was formed on 1 April 1974 and serves a population of around 55,000 people.

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Recite Me enhance web accessibility tool for millions of users

29 Jun 2020 | news

The Recite Me website assistive technology toolbar has been given an update to support users around the world, helping them access websites in a way that works best for them. With the latest update from Recite Me, Word by Word highlighting improves the connection between voice support and word identification in over 35 languages. Creating a text highlighting feature allows people to follow words on the screen much more easily, allowing them to focus and stop being distracted by other content on the page. A user of the Recite Me accessibility and language support toolbar will also now be able to choose between a male and female voice in the following languages; Danish, Dutch, English (Australian), English (GB), English (USA), French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. As part of this software update, users can also control the reading speed of the text. These new features allow the user to create a completely customisable text to speech experience. The support toolbar has also undergone a redesign for 2020. A simple modern, universal flat design that most people will recognize with vibrant bold colours to stand out as a functional website tool. Recite Me Updates • Word by word highlighting • Male or female voice options • Reading speed • Toolbar redesign "We're super excited to be launching this fantastic new update to the Recite Me service. The new changes will allow our customers to engage with digital content in an even more personalised way, offering an enhanced experience across our entire user base. “The latest update also contains features that our users have specifically requested so it's great to be able to offer this back to our community." Ross Linnett, CEO and Founder of Recite Me This latest update will continue to benefit millions of people who currently miss out on online and mobile content; Recite works across all devices, giving everyone the opportunity to use the internet the way it is intended.

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Awin implements website accessibility tool in US and Canada

26 Jun 2020 | news

Awin is proud to announce the implementation of cloud-based web accessibility assistive toolbar solution Recite Me across their North American websites. Approximately 61 million (26%) adults in the United States live with a disability and they can often face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites. With COVID-19 transitioning the majority of individuals around the world to a digital living environment - whether that be for work, school, socializing or spending – it’s become more important than ever for companies to ease any barriers their website users may face as our lives became further dependent upon the worldwide web. Awin was thrilled to discover Recite Me’s award-winning innovative assistive technology in its search to make Awin.com more accessible and inclusive, solving many challenges faced by those who have a disability, learning difficulties, visual impairments or people who speak English as a second language Visitors on Awin’s US and Canadian websites can activate the accessibility support via the orange ‘Accessibility Tools’ button in the upper right-hand corner. This easy to use software includes text-to-speech functionality (including 35 text-to-speech voices), fully customizable styling options, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, and more. Furthermore, Recite Me works across all device types, enabling all website visitors to read and understand content, features and functionality awin.com provides. Alexandra Forsch, President of Awin US says: “At Awin, diversity and inclusion is not an initiative but core to who we are as a company and how we run our business operations. Recite Me allows us to ensure an inclusive online environment and positive user experience for all of our partners and employees visiting Awin.com. We couldn’t be more thrilled to provide this tool for their website usage.” Ross Linnett, CEO & Founder of Recite Me commented, “Being able to make your website welcoming and easy to use for all customers is key to creating the perfect online experience. Recite Me is proud to partner with AWIN US to lead the way in driving accessible and unbeatable online shopping experiences for 1 in 4 people in the US with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments or people who speak English as a second language. “ Awin and ShareASale hope partners consider Recite Me’s innovative assistive technology solution as part of their larger inclusion and diversity efforts. Recite Me are thrilled to offer Awin clients an exclusive discount now through September 30. To learn more about Recite Me and how to implement this technology on your website today, please complete Awin’s partner form here.

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Awin

26 Jun 2020 | case-study

With twenty years of experience, our network offers a global community of people, technology and business intelligence insights. No matter what type of partner, level of service, or tools your business needs, Awin provides solutions to drive sustainable growth. Along with our partner network ShareASale, Awin’s global affiliate network is powered by 15 offices worldwide, over 1,000 employees, 205,000 contributing publishers and 14,600 advertisers. Connecting businesses with customers around the world across the retail, telecommunications, travel and finance verticals, Awin generated $12.2 billion in revenue for its advertisers and $901 million for its publishers in the last financial year.

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Deafblindness and Online Accessibility

26 Jun 2020 | news

Did you know that the deafblind community represents approximately 2% of the world’s population? Deafblindness is often referred to as ‘dual sensory loss’ or ‘dual sensory impairment’, and is defined by Deafblindness UK as “the loss of sight and hearing to the point where your communication, mobility, and ability to access information are impacted”. Included in this are progressive sight and hearing losses over time. This makes the condition more prevalent in the older population, as this is when hearing and eyesight will naturally decrease. However, deafblindness is prevalent across all age groups - although in many cases it goes undetected. “Combined sight and hearing loss affects around 400,000 people in the UK, but many people don’t realise that they’re suffering and just struggle on.” Simon Moore, Director of Operations at Deafblindness UK How Deafblindness Affects Everyday Life Having hearing and visual impairments make everyday tasks more challenging. In the physical world, deafblind people struggle with a whole range of problems that most of us would not even stop to consider, such as following signage directions, reading menus, or having a conversation in a noisy environment. In the online world, there are even more barriers as there is no human presence, and therefore nobody to ask for clarification or explanations when there is information that users can’t read or understand. The information is simply either accessible, or it’s not. The scope of issues encountered by deafblind web users is varied. For example, a person with decreased vision may struggle with certain fonts or text sizes, whereas someone who is colour blind will have problems reading text due to poor colour contrast with the background. This is why accommodating for a broad spectrum of accessibility needs online is so important, and why the Recite Me assistive toolbar is such a valuable tool. Deafblind Accessibility & Inclusion Online At Recite Me, we believe that people with visual impairments should have the ability to customise a website and view the content in whatever way works best for them, and there are many reasons for companies to accommodate this requirement. One is simply the moral principle that it’s the right thing to do, as everyone should have the opportunity to be able to access online content. This has become increasingly important in recent months, as with social isolation at an all-time high due to Covid-19, concerns have been raised that deafblind consumers could become doubly isolated if they are unable to access all of the information they need online. There are, of course, multiple business benefits of online inclusion too, such as enhancing brand image, extending market reach, and driving innovation. “Many organisations are waking up to the fact that embracing accessibility leads to multiple benefits – strengthening brand presence, improving customer experience and colleague productivity.” Paul Smyth, Head of Digital Accessibility, Barclays In addition to the ethical and corporate arguments for being inclusive of the deafblind community, there are various legal requirements too, as it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. Companies that are leading the way with innovations that promote inclusivity for the deafblind include: Apple – In its latest update for ios14, Apple appears to have focused on aspects that are important to those who are deafblind. New features include a ‘back tap’ function for easier access to favourite shortcuts, and sound detection software to alert users to ambient noise like fire alarms. Improvements have also been made to existing features for voice control, headphone accommodations, magnification options, and sign language recognition. Barclays Bank – The Barclays mobile banking app has been designed with deafblind accessibility in mind and includes features like inverting screen colours and voiceover technology to make information easier to access, along with fingerprint and face recognition for easier access to the app in general. Users can also chat face-to-face using the video banking service whenever they have the app open. Google - Google’s latest update includes contrast minimums that are important for those who are colour blind or have decreased vision. Improvements to the autocomplete feature makes writing and typing easier too. How to be Deafblind Friendly in 2020 So how can you make your website more accessible to the deafblind community? After all, not many organisations have the resource and development budgets of the giants mentioned above to custom-build platforms and apps. We encourage all businesses to think about how people with sight and hearing loss interact with their company and consider what adjustments can be made to make their lives easier. Bear in mind that the potential rewards could be significant. In a recent survey, the Click-Away Pound Survey discovered that: ● 71% of users leave a site that they find hard to use. ● For 81% of users, ease of use is more important than price. ● £17.1 billion was spent by consumers in 2019 on sites that were easier to use (up from £11.75 billion in the 2016 survey). One of the simplest and most efficient ways to optimise your online presence for diversity and inclusion is to install an accessibility feature like the Recite Me toolbar. Recite Me is a cloud-based web accessibility solution that allows users to customise the way they consume a website. For deafblind users, this includes several features that allow content to be perceived either through sound or by enhanced visual means. Users can: ● Utilise the text-only function to reposition text on a screen. ● Adjust the font, size, colour, and spacing of the text. ● Use the screen mask and on-screen ruler to hold their place on a page. ● Have text read aloud in over 40 different text-to-speech languages ● Choose the colour contrast between text and background. The Next Steps We recommend all companies check to make sure they are abiding by the core principles and minimum requirements set out in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1), the principles of which apply to all businesses and organisations globally. For further details on best practices for deafblind inclusion specifically, and for more information about the Recite Me assistive toolbar, please contact our team or book a demo.

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Disability Rights Florida

25 Jun 2020 | case-study

Disability Rights Florida was founded in 1977 as the state’s designated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system for individuals with disabilities. Disability Rights Florida advocates, educates, investigates, and litigates to protect and advance the rights, dignity, equal opportunities, self-determination and choices for all people with disabilities.

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Witherslack Group Provide Parents and Carers a Fully Inclusive Website Experience

24 Jun 2020 | news

To enable parents, carers, and professionals to access online content without any barriers, Witherslack Group is proud to announce a new accessibility and language feature on its websites. Witherslack Group provides specialist education and care for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, communication difficulties, ADHD and complex learning needs. The Group’s focus on support, care and acceptance allows each young person to develop as an independent individual, equipped with the knowledge, experience and life skills to look to the future with increased confidence and aspiration The Group and school websites have integrated Recite Me, a web accessibility toolbar that allows all visitors to customise the site in a way that works best for them. Greg Deak, Marketing Manager of Witherslack Group commented, “As the leading provider of specialist education and care, we’re continually working to find new ways to enable parents, carers and professionals to access our online content. Our new partnership with Recite Me will provide new accessibility options to enable more people to access our information, advice, and support.” People with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments or people who speak English as a second language will be able to use a wide range of features to support their visit, including, text to speech reader, fully customisable styling tools, reading support features and a translation function with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices Ross Linnett, Recite Me founder and CEO, added, “Witherslack Group go above and beyond to create life-changing experiences and it is great that we have partnered together to provide a fully inclusive website. Through assistive technology, everyone will be able to access information to support children, young people, and their families.”

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Witherslack Group

24 Jun 2020 | case-study

Founded in 1996, Witherslack Group provides specialist education and care to children and young people with social, emotional, and mental health needs, communication difficulties, ADHD, and complex learning needs. The Group’s track record of success and sector-leading Ofsted judgments has been achieved through an ethos of high aspiration, placement stability, unique in-school therapy solutions, and inspiring environments.

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The Searchologist - Katrina Collier

22 Jun 2020 | case-study

The Searchologist was founded by Katrina Collier in 2009, initially to teach HR & recruiters social recruiting but it has evolved to inspire all the people who recruit people to treat people better, through facilitation, speaking and The Robot-Proof Recruiter book. Katrina has successfully worked with leading companies around the world and spoken at major HR & recruitment conferences.

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The importance of accessible documents

22 Jun 2020 | news

When documents are properly designed and written, they are readable for people with disabilities. However, currently, many organisations develop documents with accessibility barriers, rendering a large group unable to properly access information. For public organisations becoming accessible is not a choice, but rather amended in the law (EU Directive: EN 301 549). The directive dictates that they must become accessible by September 23rd, 2020. For private organisations it is a question of whether or not you want to be visible and reachable for everyone or only a limited group of people. A benefit to society Making documents accessible benefits individuals and businesses - but also society as a whole. International web standards, such as the WCAG 2.1 developed by the W3C organisation, specifies the level of compliance required before a document can be considered accessible enough. The legal aspect of accessibility conformance provides a rather convincing stimulus to make sure that documents are compliant according to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. However, there are far more reasons to comply. It may feel somewhat tedious to recreate the workflow for how your organization creates documents. Especially if you feel like that the only reason for doing it, is a directive forcing you to comply. But there is a very clear rationale and it may make you feel better about complying than following a directive does. And that is the importance of understanding the magnitude of people that you will be including and thereby enabling to access your documents. Why you should become compliant Digital inclusion and web accessibility mean understanding the relationship between the way people function in society and making sure everybody gets the same opportunity to participate. By recognizing the different needs of those who require accessibility tools, you gain a greater understanding of the sheer scope of the affected users and why accessibility is important. A large percentage of the population falls into the group that requires assistive technology, such as screen readers, to use the Internet and/or read documents. Being dependent on a screen reader can make it particularly difficult to carry out ordinary tasks such as checking digital documents or fill in an online contact form. That is why, mandatory, or not, all documents and PDFs should be made web accessible. Furthermore, if you shift your perspective from social value to literal value, consider that if your organization is not properly compliant and accessible, you effectively exclude up to 20% of your target group. This quite literally means that one-fifth of the population (worldwide, that is 1 billion people) can not effectively read your documents. Today the majority of communication has transitioned into a digital format and most organisations do not think about the barriers this entails. It is imperative that accessibility is implemented into everything you do, but especially in outbound communication and documents. Even if it seems like a minor issue to make the fonts slightly larger or the colours more easily distinguishable – these improvements can mean the world to some people because the changes empower them to go about their day without requiring outside assistance. Kim Erbo Christensen Country Manager UK Dania Software E-mail: kec@daniasoftware.com Telephone: +44 203 630 1566

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Sports Return to our Screens, Boosting Mental Health & Peoples Hopes

22 Jun 2020 | news

Recite Me discusses the return of the Premier League, boosting Mental Health, Peoples Hopes, and how to support disabled fans online. Read more.

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