Believing in Accessibility for All
Accessibility tools button image

News & Media

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

EdPlace

07 Jul 2021 | case-study

EdPlace is an at-home learning and revision app, that enhances educational resources and exam preparation. EdPlace provides online assessments interactive activities, and English, Maths, Science, and 11 Plus practice papers that cover the whole curriculum (from Year 1 to GCSE). EdPlace was founded by Will Paterson, who set up the revision tool because of his own experiences at school. As a dyslexic Will faced a lot of challenges and set up EdPlace to ensure students can assess relevant resources that are delivered in an engaging format.

Read More

Colt Technology Services Raise the Bar for Online Accessibility

06 Jul 2021 | news

Colt Technology Services provides an inclusive online experience with the adoption of Recite Me accessibility and language tools. Colt is a multinational telecommunications company that connects 900+ data centres across Europe, Asia, and North America’s largest business hubs, with over 29,000 on net buildings and growing. With the implementation of the assistive toolbar on Colt’s website, users with a disability, learning difficulty, visual impairment, or those who speak English as a second language can customise their digital experience to best suit their individual needs. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than a billion people (15% of the world’s population) are estimated to live with some form of disability, which may put individuals at a disadvantage when accessing online information and services. The Recite Me assistive toolbar on Colt’s website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Rachel Collins, Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Colt commented “Across the internet there is little information available in accessible formats, and the communication needs of people with disabilities are left unmet. We want to provide accessibility to everyone and make sure everyone gets the most out of our website when they visit. With the implementation of Recite Me on our website we can reach a diverse range of people who can read and understand the information easily and inclusively on our website.” To raise awareness about digital access and inclusion, Colt is exploring the benefits of accessibility tools and how they are paving the way to a future of barrier-free information and services for those with disabilities. To find out more about the benefits of accessibility tools and use their assistive toolbar go to Colt’s website. Recite me is quick and easy to implement on your website. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive digital world, go to Recite Me or contact a member of our team.

Read More

A New Standard of Website Accessibility Is On The Way

05 Jul 2021 | news

Global accessibility guidelines exist to ensure those who face access barriers are not excluded from online life. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the gold standard when it comes to web accessibility. But because technology is constantly evolving, so too are the guidelines. The new WCAG 3.0 guidelines have been in the drafting process since January, with an estimated publishing date of 2022. The new guidelines are set to make websites, apps, PDFs, ePub, and other emerging technologies even more accessible for people with disabilities. As an industry leader in accessibility, Recite Me is always ahead of the curve when it comes to accessibility standards. However, we appreciate that some of the terms, language, and jargon can sometimes be hard to follow. Here’s a run-down of what you need to know… What Is Website Accessibility? When websites, apps, and other digital products are designed, coded, and presented correctly, everyone can use them. However, when content fails to meet recognised accessibility standards, people with disabilities cannot read, understand, or use online information. Having an accessible and inclusive website benefits businesses, individuals, and society as a whole. However, the most recent research data from WebAIM shows that 97.4% of website homepages fail to comply with current guidelines. Who Needs Web Accessibility Assistance? One in every five people has some form of physical or hidden disability that makes accessing online content difficult. An access barrier can be any element of the design or formatting that prevents users from reading and understanding the content. The people most susceptible to access barriers are those who struggle with: Vision impairments, including colour blindness and deafblindness Learning difficulties like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Hyperlexia Attention disorders like ADHD Mental or neurological conditions like epilepsy, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease Autism Language/linguistic problems Physical disabilities W3C and WCAG Explained We know the abbreviations, technical terms, and all of the different versions can be challenging to wrap your head around, so here’s a breakdown of all the key information. What are WCAG and W3C? WCAG is a set of measurable standards, specifically designed to make websites more accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG documents and updates are published by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C was founded in 1994 to develop common sets of standards for the benefit of all internet users. It comprises several member organisations and is led by Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist credited with the invention of the world wide web. Compliance Levels The WCAG provide minimum standards that businesses globally should adhere to. They incorporate principles for labels, headings, colour contrast, text size and navigation, among other factors. There are three levels of conformance: A – The most basic level of accessibility, comprising criteria that should be easy to achieve without much impact on website design or structure. AA - This is the level that most development teams aim to meet, and includes additional criteria to level A. WCAG AA compliance is now legally required for certain sites, and this is the level typically referred to when discussing ‘making a website accessible’. AAA – With even more benchmarks set above level AA, this is the most comprehensive standard of accessibility compliance. For a website to achieve this rating, it would need to comply with every listed success criterion. WCAG Version History At the turn of the century when the first WCAG were only recently released, less than 5% of the global population were active internet users, compared to 59.5% in 2021. As internet access increased and web technologies continued to evolve, updates and revisions were needed to ensure ongoing accessibility and inclusion factors were met. WCAG 1.0 – Published in May 1999, the original WCAG represented the first step in establishing guidelines for web accessibility, and was primarily focused on HTML. You can read the full WCAG 1.0 guidelines on the W3C website. WCAG 2.0 – Released in December 2008, this updated version of WCAG moved past basic HTML to encompass additional technologies. It also embedded the four cornerstone principles that still form the basis of today’s WCAG standards: Perceivable - Accommodating various sensory differences. Operable - Interface and navigation components must be usable by all. Understandable - Website information and operation must be consistent and understandable. Robust - Able to function using all applicable technologies. Read the WCAG 2.0 guidelines in full on the W3C website. WCAG 2.1 – More of a revamp than an entire overhaul, these updated standards came into effect in June 2018. The main additions addressed accessibility on mobile browsers, as smartphone and tablet use had become more universally prevalent. For example, ensuring options for content orientation so that users are not locked into portrait or landscape views if they cannot rotate their device. The full WCAG 2.1 guidelines are available on the W3C website. WCAG 2.2 – Published in August 2020, this update added nine new criteria benchmarks to the system, and moved some criteria between levels (A, AA, AAA) in light of new technological developments and practices. Read about all of the WCAG 2.2 additions and updates on the W3C website. Why is WCAG the International Standard? By providing specific, technical, and measurable frameworks supported by in-depth documentation for implementation and remediation, WCAG delivers all of the methodology and techniques website owners need to ensure compliance. The guidelines are developed to be used by anyone involved in building and maintaining a website. This includes web developers, content writers, graphic designers, tool developers, accessibility testers, and anyone else who seeks to learn or better understand how to implement accessible online journeys. What are the Changes Between WCAG2 and WCAG3? WCAG 2.1 and 2.2 successfully served to bridge gaps in criteria from WCAG 2.0 as internet technology developed. However, WCAG 3.0 represents an entirely new model that includes improved approaches to testing and allows for more frequent updates so that it can accommodate a wider set of changing user needs and technologies. In addition to stipulations for the build of your website, some of the main changes in WCAG 3.0 relate to: Text alternatives Clear wording Captions Structured content Visual contrasts You can read the complete working draft of the new WCAG 3.0 guidelines here. How to prepare for WCAG3 While there will still be some overlap with previous WCAG 2.X versions, WCAG 3.0 includes additional tests and different scoring mechanisms. So for now, WCAG 3.0 is not backwards compatible with, nor does it supersede WCAG 2.X versions. However, once they become an official W3C recommendation, web developers and content creators will need to use WCAG 3.0 to maximise their web accessibility compliance efforts. In the meantime, we recommend you take the following steps to ensure you are up to date with current WCAG standards and are ready for when the 3.0 version becomes the new norm: Familiarise yourself with current WCAG standards (version 2.2) and make any required adjustments. Ensure your website meets the national and international legal requirements for your region: - The Equality Act (UK) - The European Accessibility Act (Europe) - The Disability Discrimination Act (AUS) - The Americans with Disabilities Act (USA) Check that your web design conforms to best practices and principles for accessibility. Look into assistive technology software to add further layers of usability to your website to make it truly inclusive. How Can Recite Me Help? At Recite me, we are doing everything we can to work towards conformance with the new WCAG 3.0 model and are here to help your organisation understand and adapt to new standards of web accessibility as and when they are implemented. As such, we have developed a range of web accessibility tools that support people online and allow us to advise website owners on issues and solutions. The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar Some of the most common barriers faced by internet users include: Not being able to read the text due to font, text size, or text spacing. Not being able to read the text due to poor colour contrasts between background and foreground. Not being able to use a mouse or touchpad. Not being able to focus on the relevant section of text. Being distracted by graphics and image carousels. With the Recite Me assistive toolbar, accessibility features can be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use. Plus, once users have set their preferences for customisations, those settings persist for their entire journey on that digital platform and they are automatically applied the next time they return. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Utilise the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Use the ruler tool to make reading easier. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Convert page content into over 100 different on-screen languages. Have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages. Customise PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated. The Recite Me Scanner Alongside usability factors, the way a website is built is an essential consideration in accommodating varied accessibility needs. WCAG 3.0 outlines standards that website builders and owners need to follow. To identify non-compliance issues and fixes, Recite Me is currently beta testing an accessibility scanner that can: Identify any areas of non-compliance with WCAG criteria. Show you what to fix and how to make the most effective improvements. Track your improvements over time and manage your fix queue. Help you share your accessibility report to showcase your continuing commitment to digital inclusion. So far, the feedback has been fantastic, and we are looking forward to helping more businesses as they strive to provide even more inclusive online journeys. “It is a pleasure to work with a specialist provider like Recite Me who takes great care to understand customer needs. We are proud to be a digitally inclusive company that values each and every online visitor.” Subhash Mishra, Head of Digital Strategy, FirstRail Recite Me Data Our software is already installed on over 3500 websites, and every day we help thousands of internet users to enjoy accessible and inclusive online journeys. Across a whole range of sectors including employment, education, public sector, retail, sport, leisure, travel, utility services, charities, and not-for-profit organisations, our most recent stats over 12 months show that: We supported over 2.1 million users Over 11 million pages were accessed with the Recite Me toolbar enabled Our accessibility features were used over 35 million times to create unique user experiences Need help navigating your way around WCAG compliance or have questions about the new set of standards? Please feel free to contact our team for more advice, book a live demo of our toolbar, or read more about our accessibility scanner. Article Sources: WebAIM, Statista, InternetWorldStats.

Read More

ANUSA

01 Jul 2021 | case-study

The Australian National University Students’ Association is the peak representative body for all undergraduate students and ANU college students. The ANUSA is made up of 39 elected student representative and a team of professional staff members that are responsible for advocating and furthering the interests of all students and members of the university.

Read More

The Government of South Australia Health Provides Accessible Health Information Online

30 Jun 2021 | news

The Government of South Australia Health provide thousands of people with a positive user experience on their website, with the support of accessibility and language options. 6% of the population in South Australia have a disability and require help in their day-to day lives, this includes when using digital technology to access vital online health information. The Government of South Australia, SA Health, is committed to protecting and improving the lives of all citizens by providing leadership in health reform, public health services, health, and medical research, policy development, and planning. To fulfil SA Health’s commitment to providing equal access to all health resources and services, they provide a suite of customisable options through the Recite Me toolbar to support those who have disabilities, learning difficulties, visually impairments or speak English as a second language. Assistive technology on the SA Health website provides visitors with support features such as text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text-to-speech voices and many other features. Residents of South Australia can customise their online experience to suit their own specific needs by clicking the “Accessibility” button at the top of the SA Health website.

Read More

CancerCare Enhance Access to Essential Information with Accessibility and Language Tools

29 Jun 2021 | news

CancerCare (US) now provides accessible information and services online to support a diverse range of website visitors. CancerCare is the leading organisation providing free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical, and financial challenges of cancer. To provide these vital services to website visitors, CancerCare has implemented Recite Me assistive technology, to remove barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. 61 million adults in the US live with a disability that may prevent access to the digital world, putting individuals at a significant disadvantage. The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar on CancerCare’s website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Christine Verini, CancerCare, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, commented, “CancerCare offers free support to anyone in the United States affected by cancer. In the same spirit, the Recite Me toolbar helps our website be accessible to the largest audience. All of our lives are touched by cancer at some point, and it can be an overwhelming and isolating experience. We hope that providing a more inclusive online experience will allow as many people as possible to connect with the support and resources they need and deserve during their cancer experience." To explore accessibility and language tools go to the CancerCare website. Find out more information about assistive technology or book a demo with a member of our friendly team.

Read More

The ANUSA Improve Accessibility for Over 10,000 Students

28 Jun 2021 | news

The Australian National University Students’ Association now provides online accessibility and language tools to support students who face barriers when reading online information. The ANUSA is made up of 39 elected student representatives and a team of professional staff members that are responsible for advocating and furthering the interests of all students and members of the university. Almost 20% (3.96 million) of Australians have a disability and without additional online support, those who face barriers cannot access crucial information and services. To continue to promote the welfare, advocacy, and social life of students, the ANUSA has implemented Recite Me assistive technology to enable those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language to take part in our digital world, an integral part of today’s society. The toolbar on the ANUSA website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Kate Melhuish, Communications Officer at ANU Students’ Association, commented, “Our journey with Recite Me began with the 2020 ANU Disabilities Officer who was interested in making the ANUSA website as accessible as possible. As there are well over 10,000 undergraduate students at ANU, we love that the Recite Me toolbar has so many different functionalities to help make the website accessible and easy to use so that we can reach as many students as possible. In addition, the ability for students to translate pages of the website into different languages is a great plus.” To access the assistive toolbar on the ANUSA website select ‘Accessibility’ in the top right corner. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience go to the Recite Me website or book a demo with a member of our team.

Read More

Web Accessibility Solutions for the Healthcare Sector

25 Jun 2021 | news

On average, 1 in every 5 people has a physical, visual, auditory, cognitive, or neurological disability. That’s 20% of the population. Yet financially, this group accounts for up to 37% of all healthcare expenditure. By very nature, individuals with disabilities need more regular checkups, treatment, and assistance from health organisations. That’s why healthcare providers must make the information on their websites accessible. Otherwise, disabled people face further barriers and risk receiving an unequal standard of care. Who Needs Help Accessing Healthcare Online? People go online for several healthcare-related reasons, including: Finding a doctor Making appointments Researching symptoms Paying medical bills Buying medical insurance Accessing test results People with physical impairments and injuries may struggle to use smaller devices like smartphones and tablets to do this, and may also have difficulty using a mouse. But it’s not only physical disabilities that need to be accommodated. Hidden Disabilities Websites need to be accessible so that people with hidden disabilities like cognitive and neurological disorders, visual impairments, and language barriers can access the information easily. This involves making adjustments for internet users with a range of conditions, including: Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Autism Epilepsy Deafblindness Colour blindness Speaking/reading English as a second language Our Aging Population Over 703 million of the global population are aged 65 years or over, and this figure is projected to double to 1.5 billion by 2050. As the ageing population increases, so does the overall percentage of people with disabilities, visual impairments, and hearing loss. Often, multiple accessibility adjustments are required to support the elderly online because many already struggle with one of the hidden disabilities listed above combined with the general barriers brought on by old age. A Global Perspective The total number of people with a disability is estimated to be over 1 billion, making the disabled the largest minority group in the world. And that number doesn’t even account for visual impairments, cognitive and neurological disorders, or linguistic disadvantages. Plus, as many learning difficulties and neurological conditions go undiagnosed, the actual figures are likely even higher. Sources: WHO, United Nations Accessibility Law Making information about healthcare accessible to all citizens is vital so people can access information and make the right decisions about their medical needs. But it’s not just the right thing to do. It is expected by law that service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. UK – The Equality Act of 2010 states that providers must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people online. USA – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that companies make accommodations for disabled users with specific regard to web accessibility. Australia – The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires equal online access for people with disabilities. Private Vs Public Sector In many countries, public sector bodies are expected to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 accessibility Level AA standards. However, it’s not just public bodies that need to consider online accessibility. Private health organisations need to provide support too. After all, an inaccessible website means that 1 in 5 people are unable to access your services. The consumer spending power of disabled people and their families is considerable. In the UK, it equates to £24.8 billion per year. In Australia, the total disposable income of the disabled market sits at AUD54million per annum, while in America, the equivocal figure is a whopping USD490 billion. Web Accessibility Guidelines Accessibility laws and the WCAG are based on four cornerstone principles that allow anyone to access and use web content. You can download a summary of the regulations here, but some of the key points include: Using a content management system that supports accessibility Being keyboard friendly Using headings correctly to structure content Avoiding heavy text environments Using alt text tags for all images and videos Using high contrast between text and background Giving descriptive names to links Making documents such as PDFs, Microsoft Word docs, and any other online forms accessible Ensuring page headings are displayed correctly Allowing people using screen readers to navigate around the website easily Adding web accessibility software Web Accessibility Software from Recite Me The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar makes it possible for websites to easily comply with the four cornerstone principles laid out in the guidelines by ensuring that online content is: Perceivable – Our toolbar allows content to be perceived either via sound or enhanced visual means. Understandable – Our styling features allow people to change how content is displayed for personal ease of use. Operable – Our technology allows users to track their location on a page via the screen reader navigation feature. Robust - Once Recite Me is installed on your website, you will receive regular updates and always have the latest version. With our accessibility software installed on their websites, health organisations worldwide can offer their users barrier-free access to critical information. It’s about more than simply making a website accessible, though. The ability to make multiple adjustments to suit individual needs results in a genuinely inclusive online experience. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Access text to speak functions in 35 different languages. Have text read aloud at varying speeds. Convert text into over 100 different on-screen languages. Utilise a screen mask and ruler for better focus. Make use of the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus. Switch to “text-only” mode to strip away graphics and page clutter.. "The Recite Me team have been great. The fact that we could incorporate all of these features onto our website with the click of a button was a real cure for us" Simon Culley, Communications Officer, Healthwatch Torbay We are proud to work with a number of leading healthcare providers already, including several NHS trusts, various regional healthwatch community groups, multiple health charities, and many private healthcare companies. Healthcare Sector Data Over the 12 months, Recite Me made thousands of health-related website pages accessible. Our data shows that: The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched 83,809 times Over 360,379 health-related web pages were viewed using the toolbar On average, Recite Me users viewed 4.3 pages of an accessible website per visit, almost double the internet average of just 2.5 pages per visit. Over 37,000 individual styling changes were made by users accessing healthcare sites. Over 120,000 pieces of content were translated into multiple different languages including Arabic, Polish, Portuguese, Italian and Finnish. Case Studies The Government of South Australia Our toolbar data from the SA Health website shows that over the last 12 months: Over 41,000 web pages were viewed using the Recite Me toolbar. The average website journey was 5.57 pages per visit, way above the internet average of 2.8 pages. The most commonly used feature was the screen reader, with 64% of toolbar users choosing to have content read aloud. Over 20,000 pieces of content were translated into Chinese, French, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Spanish. NHS Public Health Wales In the first month of launching the Recite Me toolbar, there were over 1600 unique users. “We know the information on our website needs to be available in different formats and languages to reach our diverse audiences, so we worked hard to find a solution that makes the information we publish online more accessible.” Rebecca Fogarty, Engagement and Collaboration Manager at NHS Public Health Wales Become Inclusive Today By choosing not to make websites accessible, healthcare providers are creating access barriers to many people who need help the most. We urge all public, private, and non-profit organisations in the healthcare sector to make sure their web content is fully accessible to everyone by taking the following steps: Ensure your website build is up to date for accessibility best practices and the relevant legal requirements. Develop a thorough understanding of the WCAG and ensure any required updates are completed for compliance. Look into assistive technology solutions like the Recite Me toolbar that combine accessibility and usability to create an inclusive online experience for all users. You can find out more about the healthcare organisations that use Recite Me software on our sector pages. If you would like to speak to one of the team about booking a demonstration of our assistive toolbar or would like any further information, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Read More

Volkswagen Financial Services Provide an Inclusive Career Search Online

25 Jun 2021 | news

Volkswagen Financial Services Careers have launched accessibility and language support on their website to enable all web visitors’ access to Volkswagen Finance job opportunities easily and barrier- free. Volkswagen Group UK is the country’s largest importer of vehicles, employing over 1,800 people nationwide. As an inclusive employer, VW wants to attract a wide range of talent, create a diverse and inclusive workplace, and provide equality. 14.1 million people in the UK have some form of disability and they can often encounter obstacles when applying for jobs online. By providing Recite Me’s suite of accessibility and language options those who once experienced friction can now access job details with ease, creating an inclusive candidate journey. Mike Todd, CEO at Volkswagen Financial Services, added: “More than ever, it is vital that everyone can have equality in the workplace and has access to the information they need to make informed career choices and create opportunities for themselves. It’s a customised experience that we hope will increase the diversity of our applicants to enhance our skill sets and open up a wider talent pool that supports our values of equal opportunity in the workplace.” The Recite Me assistive toolbar on the Volkswagen Careers Website supports people with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments and people who speak English as a second language. A recent report has concluded that visitors have on average viewed 7.15 pages which compares favourably with an internet average of 2.8 pages per visit. The work so far has found that nearly 500 pages on the Volkswagen Financial Services website have been reviewed using the Recite Me toolbar. Website visitors are able to customize their experience through a range of features such as text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. The Volkswagen Financial Services Careers website is now a place where everyone can find their dream career barrier-free.

Read More

Why is Web Accessibility Important to Your Business?

25 Jun 2021 | news

The easy answer is that web accessibility is now such an important consideration that you simply cannot afford for your website not to be accessible. But, of course, there is more to it than that… We’ve come a long way since the early days when US astronomer Clifford Stoll submitted an article entitled “The Internet? Bah!” into a Newsweek publication, boldly predicting that the internet was no more than a passing fad. Obviously, he couldn’t have been more wrong, and today the internet is an essential tool and a more valuable source of information than ever - and it’s not going anywhere! Just like the internet itself, accessibility is by no means a passing fad. So if you commit to having a website for your business at all, then why not make it fully inclusive and accessible, rather than alienating groups of users and consumers? The modern world is embracing diversity and equality like never before. So we urge you to consider the needs of all of your website users, and adapt to meet the needs of those with disabilities that include: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments Key Reasons to Ensure Your Website Is Accessible 1. Revenue: Making your website accessible to all consumers is the smart thing to do. The business case for accessibility varies based on the type of organisation, but particularly in commercial companies, justification is required before resources can be allocated towards it. At Recite Me, we are confident that the benefits outweigh the effort and costs. A recent research study of Fortune 100 companies discovered that having a robust online diversion and inclusion policy is a common denominator among high performing businesses. Plus, there is an abundance of information and statistics that refute the argument that return on investment is too difficult to measure: Worldwide, the online spending power of people with disabilities is over AUD2.2 trillion. The total disposable income of the Australian working-age population with disabilities is AUD54 million. 86% of users with access needs would spend more if there were fewer barriers. 83% of people with access needs limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible. 71% of users leave a site that they find hard to use. Ultimately, users will click away from inaccessible websites and spend their money elsewhere. So there is a clear case that making a business accessible online as well as in-person should lead to an increase in profits. Despite this, fewer than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access the disability market. 2. Improving User Experience: Making your website accessible to all consumers is the right thing to do. It is a commonly agreed principle that everyone should have access to information online. Microsoft’s application guide for developers specifically states that designing inclusive software improves usability and customer satisfaction. This is something that the team at Recite Me can verify from experience. The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, believes that the internet should empower all members of society by making information accessible to everyone. “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect…The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability.” Sir Tim Berners-Lee Inclusivity online becomes increasingly relevant when you consider that: At least 10% of Australians have a learning difficulty that can make accessing information online difficult. 1 in 6 people in Australia live with a disability that can make accessing information online difficult. There are almost 1 million residents in Australia who don’t speak English as their first language. 21% of Australians speak a language other than English at home. 3. Compliance & Legalities: Making your website accessible to all consumers is a thing you must do. Nowadays, it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. So to avoid lawsuits, companies are required to adhere to national and international standards and guidelines. A few examples are as follows: In Australia - The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires equal access for people with disabilities. Section 5 of the law describes explicitly that inaccessible web content is discriminatory against people with disabilities by treating them “less favourably” than those without a disability. In addition, all non-government websites were required to meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) by the end of 2013. In the UK - The Equality Act of 2010 states that providers must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people online. Furthermore, the final deadline for all public sector bodies to meet the new accessibility regulations for public sector websites and applications passed in 2020, with further rules for private sector compliance expected to follow in due course. In the USA - Web accessibility regulations are covered under various federal laws, including The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that companies make accommodations for disabled users with specific regard to web accessibility. In the European Union – The European Accessibility Act requires that all businesses operating in the e- commerce sector meet minimum accessibility requirements. Worldwide – The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been developed to provide a set of core principles and minimum standards to meet the needs of consumers internationally. These guidelines define how content should be made more accessible to those with disabilities, and are the premium standard for organisations globally. Despite the increase in accessibility guidelines and legislation in recent years, companies around the world are still failing to meet minimum requirements: In 2019, an evaluation by WebAIM concluded that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Web accessibility lawsuits are becoming more common. A landmark case was lodged against Coles Supermarket in 2014 when a visually impaired user spent eight hours completing an online order. Coles are not alone. Which-50 recently confirmed that several leading apps and websites in Australia do not fully meet WCAG requirements. With this in mind, it is essential that all commercial companies, educational institutions, non-profit organisations, and governmental bodies are aware of the national and international guidelines that apply to them. Particular attention should be given to developing a thorough understanding of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and ensuring compliance. Ready to Embrace Accessibility? You should be! Aside from the financial, ethical, and legal advantages, there’s also a significant feel-good factor associated with inclusivity that boosts morale across an organisation. If you would like to book a demo of the Recite Me assistive toolbar to help you towards your inclusivity goals and optimise your business for success, please feel free to contact our team. Installations of the Recite Me toolbar onto third party websites supports millions of users each year. Our 2020 stats recorded: Over 4.5 million launches of the Recite Me toolbar Over 21.5 million accessibility toolbar features used Over 9 million website translations in over 100 languages Nearly 10 million pieces of content read aloud in 35 languages Over 1.4 million styling customisations 2,600 audio files downloaded Article Data Sources: Click Away Pound, WHO, United Nations, Data Reportal, Australian Network on Disability, Learning Difficulties Australia, Australian Government Department of Health, IDCommunity.

Read More

How can employers use assistive technology to create equal opportunities online?

24 Jun 2021 | news

With more and more aspects of everyday life going digital anyone who can’t easily access the online world is at an immediate disadvantage. Approximately one billion people globally have a disability, and they can often face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites. A lack of online access can have a big impact on real life from looking after to our finances to getting a job. Why has web accessibility become important in recruitment? Web accessibility is fundamental to the goal of a more diverse and inclusive workforce. The pandemic has accelerated a shift towards online recruitment; it is more important than ever for employers to provide a digitally inclusive employment journey. From discovering candidates online, to remote interviews and onboarding, this digital hiring journey has amplified the disability gap in recruitment. What does the disability gap in recruitment look like? It is quite shocking to hear that only a third of jobseekers think that recruiters and employers currently provide accessible job applications. This could explain why disabled jobseekers apply for 60% more jobs before securing one. Almost 40% of disabled applicants feel anxious about the process of applying for a job because they think that their application will be instantly dismissed due to their disability. Inaccessible websites are further worsening the disability gap in recruitment - 71% of users will leave a site they find hard to use. The fact that 98% of homepages still don’t comply with the World Content Accessibility Guidelines demonstrates that many organisations still have a fair way to go before achieving online inclusivity. Acknowledging this issue is an important first step for companies looking to recruit in a truly diverse and inclusive way. In an effort to reduce this disability gap Recite Me have joined forces with APSCo to support the recruitment sector to become more inclusive online. What are the benefits of a diverse workforce? A diverse workforce provides a richer and more innovative team for any business. For example, neurodiverse employees are often creative and strategic thinkers. This can allow for better problem-solving amongst teams as varying perspectives often offer a fresh approach to overcoming business challenges. Additionally, being firm about equal opportunities creates a positive culture in the workplace and boost morale. How can companies support web inclusivity? Compliance: Ensure that websites comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). We have written a useful article explaining the guidelines. More inclusive website design: There are a range of factors that should be considered when designing a website. This includes using alt text for images, using headings to structure content and giving descriptive names to links. For many organisations inclusive website design does not seem to be a priority as 98% of homepages do not comply with the World Content Accessibility Guidelines. Assistive technology: This helps people work around challenges so they can learn, communicate, and function better. Assistive software allows adaptions to be made to account for several barriers including learning difficulties, visual impairments, disabilities, and varied linguistic needs. Tell me more about assistive technology The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar allows web visitors to customise your digital content, so that they can consume it in a way that works for them. With the Recite Me toolbar users can: Personalise font size, type and colour options to make each web page easier to read Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading Convert text into over 100 different on-screen languages Use text to speak functions in 35 different languages Use a screen mask and ruler for better focus Use the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus To see how the Recite Me Toolbar has already helped many recruitment organisations make a positive change online read our recruitment case studies.

Read More

Tackling Recruitment Inequality with Jo Major

24 Jun 2021 | news

Did you know? Only 51% of applicants from disabled people result in an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Searching and applying for jobs is a daunting prospect for anyone. This can be amplified for those who face online barriers when reading and understanding online information. We caught up with Jo Major, who has recently launched Diversity in Recruitment to drive equality, diversity, and inclusion onto the agenda of recruitment businesses, no matter their size or capacity. Previously working at APSCo (The Association of Professional Staffing Companies), as Head of External Relations, Jo discovered that many recruitment businesses wanted to attract a diverse talent pool but did not know where to start. Diversity in Recruitment’s website now provides Recite Me online accessibility and language tools to support those with additional needs online. Features include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. What has been the career journey that has brought you to where you are today? I have worked in the recruitment industry for over 21 years, 17 years as a billing recruiter before I moved into L&D where I worked for an inspiring manager who was super passionate about equality, diversity, and inclusion. He gave me the fire in my belly to educate myself and others on how you can tackle inequality in the recruitment process. What is the reason behind setting up Diversity in Recruitment? I decided that I needed to do more across the sector, especially when it came to helping small recruitment businesses and independents get to grips with D & I. My role at APSCo gave me the opportunity to look across the industry as a whole and discover the many recruitment businesses that wanted to do something but didn’t know where to get started. What services do you provide at Diversity and Recruitment? It’s a blend of advice and training. I have designed three different programmes that will support start-ups, recruitment teams, and business leaders with Diversity and Inclusion. Training is centred around the role of a recruiter; we look at the complete 360 recruitment lifecycle and help recruiters weave inclusion into everything they do. Why is it important to you to encourage businesses to provide a diverse and inclusive recruitment process? I believe that everybody has the right to a fulfilling and successful career – but I don’t think the services of recruiters are accessible to everyone. We have a huge amount of power and influence over the UK jobs market, collectively we can turn the dial (part of a quote from that inspiring manager I mentioned!) on under-representation by creating an environment where every person is welcome and has equal opportunity to secure great work. We need to first understand the barriers minoritised and under-represented candidates face and then do the work to break them down. Why is it important to you to provide an inclusive online experience with the Recite Me accessibility toolbar? Because an in-accessible website should NEVER be the reason someone is unable to apply for a job. For so long we have designed websites to sell our services to clients, we are recruiting in very different times now and that requires a different approach. Your website is the shop door to your business, you should make it clear that everyone is welcome and make sure that door can be opened by everyone. For me, you can’t have a commitment to D & I if your recruitment services remain exclusively accessible to some candidates and closed to others. What do you hope for the future of the recruitment industry? The industry is standing on the edge of change and with the insight, tools, and confidence it can do something very powerful. Under-represented and minoritised candidates are not a fad, fashion, or hot topic – this is about making sure that someone’s identity isn’t a reason they don’t get to apply for a job right! I am so encouraged by the work of so many recruiters and business leaders who have reached out to me since I launched Diversity in Recruitment – it has just reinforced my belief that we are looking ahead to what the industry will look like tomorrow.

Read More

Giant Group Create a Diverse and Inclusive Online User Experience

23 Jun 2021 | news

Giant Group PLC is providing an inclusive online candidate experience with accessibility and language options on their website to support a diverse range of individuals. For almost 30 years Giant Group has provided specialist, end-to-end workforce management software that supports large and small recruitment agencies, corporate companies and contractors, internationally. Giant invests heavily in a cloud-based software which ranges from candidate sourcing and on-boarding through to timesheet management, billing, and payroll. Their aim is to offer transparency, honesty, and support to their clients. 1 in 5 people (17.9%) in the UK are disabled and often encounter obstacles online when searching and applying for job applications. Only 51% of applications from disabled people result in an interview and this is due to online barriers that prevent access to job applications information. By using Recite Me assistive technology those who are visually impaired, neurodiverse, or who speak English as a second language can gain access to job opportunities hassle-free. The assistive toolbar on Giant Group website offers users features such as translating content into different languages, read aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font type, and size, that enable those job-hunting access to vacancy information and support. Giant web users can customise their inclusive candidate journey online by clicking the “Accessibility and Languages” button at the top of their website. https://www.giantgroup.com/. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website. Join the thousands of companies who have already adopted our inclusive software to make the digital world accessible for all.

Read More

Recruitment and Careers Report

22 Jun 2021 | download

Modern recruitment processes rely so heavily on digital technology. 14.1 million people in the UK have a disability and often encounter obstacles online when applying for jobs. Only one in three job seekers think employers and recruiters make online job applications suitably accessible for disabled people. Download our Recruitment and Careers Report which looks at why digital barriers are a problem, who needs support, the importance of inclusive recruitment, Recite Me careers clients and an overview of our data from the past year.

Read More

Supporting University Students with Web Accessibility Tools

21 Jun 2021 | news

In the post-COVID-19 economy, the youth workforce is likely to be the sector most called upon to contribute to recovery efforts. To do so, they will need the necessary knowledge and skills to address current issues and confront future disruptions. This is a problem. With many degree programs moving online, some students are disadvantaged because information on websites is not accessible. On an individual level, this means some students fall behind in their studies or are unable to complete courses. On a broader scale, general lower academic achievement translates into a longer-term economic cost because the workforce is less qualified. Accessibility Barriers Students who face the most significant barriers online include those who have visual deficits, physical disabilities, and learning difficulties: Students with disabilities represent 7.7% of all domestic undergraduates in Australia. That’s over 61,000 people. 7.4% of Australian university students with a disability report have learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADHD. 5.5% of Australian university students with a disability have significant visual deficits. Sources: Adcet, University of Melbourne Language Barriers Literacy and language issues, including speaking and reading English as a second language, can also contribute to web accessibility barriers. Australia has more international students than any other country worldwide. Numbers for the last couple of years are skewed by students returning to their home countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, statistics from University Rankings show that international students typically account for around 21% of undergraduates in Australia, while the international average is only 6%. Many Australian universities have reported significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the drop in international student numbers. So prioritising websites for multi-lingual access should be a top priority. Australian University Websites: Current Status As public-facing organisations, universities should comply with the World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Level AA, under anti-discrimination provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. However, a recent study by Ariadne Web Magazine discovered that 98% of sites failed to comply. This indicates the vast majority of Australian universities are not doing enough to provide equal access to online resources, and that people with disabilities will likely face significant barriers as a result. The Future of University Education Whether due to continued social distancing regulations or simply because universities find it a simpler and more efficient way to teach, remote and distance learning courses look to be here to stay. An American study by EducationData.org determined that in 2020, 43% of academic institutions offering higher-level education courses invested in additional resources to aid remote instruction. Yet, 76% of institutions still believe that online learning platforms need to be more accessible to students. With a much higher percentage of overseas students and the current level of compliance to WCAG, it is feasible to assume that the equivocal percentages for Australian universities would be similar - if not even higher. Although open-source online learning platforms like Moodle enable education providers to create personalised learning environments for their students, no online learning portal can accommodate unilaterally for the broad spectrum of barriers that students face. That’s where assistive technology can help. Using Assistive Software to Promote Inclusion At Recite Me, we are firm believers that every stage of education should be inclusive. Our unique assistive toolbar is an accessibility solution that allows students to customise a website in the way that works best for them. Our technology compensates for numerous access barriers, including: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia Autism ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments How Does It Work? The Recite Me toolbar comprises several accessibility features that can either be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Utilise the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Use the ruler tool to make reading easier. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Convert page content into over 100 different on-screen languages. Have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages. Customise PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated. The Benefits: A Case Study The University of London was one of the first educational institutions to embed the Recite Me toolbar onto their website. In just six months, engagement and interaction with the toolbar was significant: 43,000 toolbar launches 131,500 features used 31,000 pieces of content translated 97,000 pieces of content read aloud 11,000 styling customisations A Message to Educators We encourage all universities to ensure online classes and study materials are inclusive so that course content is as easy to access and digest as it would be in a classroom or lecture hall environment. If you’d like more information on how your organisation can become more inclusive by utilising Recite Me assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together, we can make a difference and provide all Australian university students with equal education opportunities online.

Read More