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

The Children's Family Trust Provides Accessible Fostering Information to Everyone Online

30 Mar 2021 | news

The Children’s Family Trust (CFT) has enhanced its ability to support a diverse range of people accessing fostering information online, with Recite Me online accessibility options. The CFT is a registered fostering charity that aims to achieve stability and security for children. Many of the children that The CFT care for have not had the best start in life and are unable to live with their birth families, this often means that they have faced great adversity and require a stable and secure home. 8% of children in the UK are disabled and regularly encounter barriers online that prevent them from accessing crucial online information and services. By using Recite Me assistive technology those who are visually impaired, neurodiverse, or who speak English as a second language can gain access to important information hassle-free. The CFT recruit, assess and support foster carers to look after children and young people in care. The CFT also demonstrates a commitment to any child that has been, is currently, or will be in the care of the charity, by providing them with support even after they have moved on to independence and adulthood. With Recite Me assistive technology, The CFT web users can customise the content in a way in which works best for them. Jessica Harper, Marketing and Media Manager at CFT commented, “We are excited to be launching the Recite Me Toolbar on our website in the hope that it will make the experience for all of our users more comfortable.” “As an organisation, we support both foster carers and children from all walks of life and backgrounds, and it is important for us to ensure that our stakeholders are receiving information in a way that suits them best. We are hopeful that adding the Recite Me toolbar will make our website function in a more accessible and inclusive way for all and allow us to reach more people.” Recite Me features include translating content into different languages, read aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font type, and size. Web users can customise their experience on The CFT website here.

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Understand Autism and accessing online information

29 Mar 2021 | news

Are you or any of your family, friends, or colleagues affected by autism? UK government statistics suggest that more than 1% of the population is on the autism spectrum, while in America the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that autism may affect as many as 1 in every 54 people. So at some point in your home life, education, or professional environments, it is highly likely that you will meet members of the autistic community. What is Autism? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a genetic condition that affects an individual’s development, and can often present challenges when it comes to social interaction, speech, behaviour, and nonverbal communication. Autism is a lifelong condition most commonly detected in childhood and is three to four times more prevalent in boys than girls. Every individual on the autism spectrum is different, and while some autistic people may need very little help, others may need much more. Like any condition under the neurodiversity umbrella, autism is not a marker of decreased intelligence. Many of those diagnosed with autism in early life go on to lead healthy, happy, independent, successful and fulfilling lives. Individuals on the autism spectrum may: Have difficulties communicating and interacting with other people Not understand the feelings and thought processes of others Take longer to assimilate information Become stressed in environments with excess noise or bright colours Demonstrate repetitive behaviour patterns Struggle in unfamiliar situations Become overwhelmed by busy social environments You can read more about dyspraxia on the National Autistic Society website. Autism and Web Accessibility Often, people with autism have heightened sensory awareness. This means they can be easily distracted by images, logos, and graphics on web pages. So processing website content can be difficult. Colour contrasts between text and background can also be distracting for those in the autistic community. Low-contrast neutral colour palettes are often preferred over the standard black text on white background options presented by most websites. Consistency is important to individuals on the autism spectrum, so if web pages are not easy to navigate or have an unpredictable flow, autistic readers are likely to click away. Supporting Autism Online Children and adults with autism face distinct challenges when reading information online. Plus, autism is often listed as a disorder that co-occurs with other neurodiverse conditions such as Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. So it is important that all individual differences and combinations are accounted for. With the Recite Me assistive toolbar, users can make singular or multiple adjustments to account for all individual requirements and adapt the way web content is presented to suit their specific needs. Recite Me assistive toolbar features that support autistic users include: A selection of colour palettes to account for contrast sensitivity between the text and background. The ability to change font type, font size, and font spacing. Text-only mode to strip away distracting graphics. Options to have content read aloud in over 35 different languages. Full control over the speed at which the text is read aloud, and a choice between male and female voices. A screen mask for easier focus. Client Feedback In the last 12 months, Recite Me has witnessed a surge in disability groups signing up for our website assistive technology, and we are proud to be helping more neuroatypical members of our community than ever before. Anna Kennedy Online Anna Kennedy Online provides workshops, training, legal advice and talks across the UK, and partners on annual events like AKO Autism Expo, the Autism Hero Awards, and ‘Autism’s Got Talent’. "Since we have been working with Recite Me and updating our website making it disability friendly, we have received many compliments and thanks from the autism community. Recite Me are always respectful and understand exactly what we are trying to achieve to make the website accessible to all " Anna Kennedy, CEO Autism Plus Autism Plus has been supporting adults and young people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, and other complex needs since 1986. "As a Disability Confident employer, we want to ensure we are as accessible as possible, not only to the people we support but for our employees and supporters too. Recite Me provides more options on our website and makes the content completely customisable. " Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager To understand the online challenges and obstacles those with autism face, we sat down with Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager at Autism Plus to discuss the importance of providing accessibility options online. User Experience From our user data, we can track which of our toolbar features are customised the most by our clients’ website visitors. Our records show that among Autism Plus users, the following features are the most commonly used on their website: Text enlarge Text-only mode Screen mask Magnifying glass This holds true with our knowledge of autistic users, in that they often prefer to focus on a particular area of a webpage. These specific tools help users to stay focused and avoid distraction from images and the other content on the page. It’s incredibly rewarding for the Recite Me team to see data like this, as it shows that our toolbar works effectively and we are succeeding in our goals of making the internet a more accessible and inclusive place for everyone. Find Out More In today’s increasingly digital landscape, it has never been more important that everyone has equal access to information online. For further details on becoming more inclusive by utilising our assistive technology, please feel free to contact our team or book a demonstration of our toolbar.

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Discussing Online Barriers with Autism Plus

29 Mar 2021 | news

To understand the challenges and obstacles people with autism are facing during the Covid 19 pandemic and online, Recite Me sit down with Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager Autism Plus, to discuss how they are supporting as many people as they can. During the pandemic how has Autism Plus helped people with isolating and using the internet for everyday tasks? For many of the individuals we support at Autism Plus the pandemic increased fears and anxieties, routines were disrupted, and for some people the rules around social distancing were confusing. We quickly adapted our services wherever possible to deliver support sessions online, we have a full zoom timetable now that includes drama group, quizzes, local history, art and wildlife groups, book club, disco’s, and drinks and nibbles! For the people we support who were unable to see their family and friends in person we helped them to have regular contact via the internet. We also: Partnered with ‘Good Things Foundation’ to provide 10 tablets and dongles for people who were unable to access the internet Provided ‘Make it Click’ sessions to help people with basic digital skills such as online safety, and using the internet Offered webinars around supporting Neurodiverse individuals to return to the workplace or to support remote working to help raise awareness and ensure employees with autism were kept connected. What are the common barriers people with autism can face online? The internet is a fantastic resource for information, news and communicating with family, friends and colleagues. For an individual with autism, navigating through all of that information can be confusing and overwhelming. Many people with autism rely on structure and routine which can help ease anxieties, but online quite often websites lack structure which can make people feel lost and results in lots of clicks to sites and pages that aren’t relevant for them. There is so much news and information posted on the internet nowadays, and it can be difficult for some people with autism to understand the difference between real and fake news, and when you search for something it may bring up results from years ago, it isn’t always easy to see when an article was posted. Why is it important for Autism Plus to offer accessibility and language options online? As a charity offering care and support for people with autism, learning disabilities and neurodiverse conditions it is vital that the information we provide on our website is accessible and easy to navigate to as many people as possible, in ways that work for them. This is why we love Recite Me as it enables visitors to our site to customise and access content easily. Toolbar data shows Autism Plus website visitors use the text enlarge styling tool the most to customise their experience. Why would you think this is the most commonly used feature? The text enlarge feature is great because it means the visitor can completely customise the text size that works best for them, and used together with the speech function means that the information can easily be understood. We can see that distraction support tools such as Text-only mode, screen mask, and magnifying glass have been used on nearly 100 occasions. Are these online techniques commonly used by people with autism to read content online? These too are great functions as it means visitors with neurodiverse conditions who may prefer to focus on one area of the page can do this easily and avoid distraction from images and the remaining content in that area. Autism Plus aims to empower people to live independent lives, how do you think Recite Me helps with this goal? Recite Me helps us by offering a real inclusive experience when visiting our website, it helps our visitors to take control and process information in a way that suits them and their needs – it's what we’re all about, helping people to take control and make their own choices.

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TPP Recruitment Provide an Inclusive Online Candidate Journey

24 Mar 2021 | news

TPP Recruitment has committed to providing equal access to job opportunities with accessibility and language options to support a diverse range of individuals. TPP Recruitment is a specialist, highly respected, and well-established UK-wide consultancy, that provides dedicated support to organisations across a range of non-profit and public sector organisations. 1 in 5 people in the UK has some form of disabled and often encounter obstacles online when researching and applying for job vacancies. By providing Recite Me assistive technology TPP support those who may have a disability, learning difficulty, visually impairment or who speak English as a second language can gain access to job opportunities hassle-free. Tracy George, COO, TPP Recruitment commented, “We are simply delighted with this accessibility enhancement to our website! We want our jobs, recruitment services, and all our fabulous content to be accessible to everyone and feel it is important to give people a customised experience to meet their individual needs. “We hope this feature further demonstrates our commitment to attracting the widest and most diverse talent for the sector we serve and brings us a step closer to giving all job seekers an equal opportunity of securing and retaining fulfilling work.” The accessibility technology on the TPP Recruitment website is fully customisable with a range of features that provide a more accessible and inclusive experience when attracting and recruiting talent. These features include text-to-speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids, and a translation tool with over 100 languages. During 2020, Recite Me assistive toolbar usage across careers and recruitment websites increased by 168% to nearly 7500 users each month. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website. For further information on assistive technology go to Recite Me.

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TPP Recruitment

24 Mar 2021 | case-study

TPP Recruitment is a specialist, highly respected, and well-established UK-wide consultancy, that provides dedicated support to organisations across a range of non-profit and public sector organisations. TPP Recruitment wanted to ensure inclusivity online by providing equal access to job opportunities to support a diverse range of individuals.

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United Utilities

24 Mar 2021 | case-study

United Utilities is responsible for water and wastewater services in the North West of England, delivering 1.8 billion litres of water a day to more than 3 million homes and businesses. To keep the region flowing, United Utilities has a 5,000-person strong workforce that works on reservoirs, treatment works, pumping stations, water pipes and sewers.

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TPP Recruitment Recite Me Partnership

24 Mar 2021 | blog

10% OFFER CODE: TPPReciteMe21 Recite Me has joined forces with TPP Recruitment to educate and inform organisations in the non-profit and public sector on providing an inclusive online experience with accessibility technology. This partnership will provide organisations in education, finance, healthcare, governance, fundraising, and development with the information and support they need to create an inclusive experience online. TPP Recruitment’s mission is to develop trusted, long-term relationships with its clients. To support this mission and help organisations to achieve their purpose, TPP has provided Recite Me assistive technology online to enable access to vital information. To share this mission and journey with other organisations TPP Recruitment and Recite Me are able to offer a 10% discount on creating an inclusive experience online with our assistive technology toolbar. To find out more about the Recite Me toolbar and how it can help create an inclusive candidate journey online please contact the team or book a demo and make sure to quote our 10% discount code of TPPReciteMe21

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South Tyneside Homes Provides Residents Accessibility Support Online

24 Mar 2021 | news

South Tyneside Homes has enhanced its ability to deliver excellent services across the borough to its residents by providing an accessible experience online. 18,000 council homes across South Tyneside are managed and maintained by the housing company. To fulfill its commitment to residents, the organisation wanted to ensure a high quality of communications. By using Recite Me assistive technology, residents who are visually impaired, neurodiverse, or those who speak English as a second language can access essential housing information barrier-free. The assistive toolbar on the South Tyneside Homes website offers a wide range of customisable options, such as translating content into different languages, read aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font type, and size. Cllr Ed Malcolm, Chair of South Tyneside Homes’ Board, said: “It is more vital than ever that our website is as accessible and as inclusive as possible. The pandemic has highlighted just how important it is that people can access services and engage remotely, quickly and easily. “We know more and more of our residents are going online to use a range of services and Recite Me is one of the tools we are using to make our website user friendly for everyone.” Over the last 12 months, 500 people have used the Recite Me toolbar to read and understand essential housing information on the South Tyneside Homes website. Toolbar data shows that website visitors have viewed over 1,760 accessible pages. This gives South Tyneside Homes an insight into what pages people are looking at and what support they need to view them barrier-free. On average each unique user has accessed 3.4 pages per session, which is fantastic to see as the depth of journey is higher than the internet average of 2.8. The most used accessibility toolbar feature is the screen reader, this reads text aloud for the user. This is followed by the styling options where users have increased the text size by 110% and 130%. The most commonly translated languages have been Albanian, Arabic, and Spanish. South Tyneside Homes web users can customise their experience by clicking the “Accessibility Tools” button at the top of their website.

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What People Really Say About Assistive Technology

22 Mar 2021 | news

The digital world is an integral part of today’s society, and approximately 59% of the global population are active internet users. That’s a massive 4.66 billion people! But what about people who can’t use the internet due to access barriers? Assistive technology enables people to access resources, information, and advice online allowing them to live more independent, productive, and healthy lives. But there’s a problem… The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that only 10% of people have access to the assistive technology they need. Although this is a disappointing statistic, the popularity of web accessibility tools is on the increase, and savvy companies are quickly realising that assistive technology is a must to ensure continued success. Why Assistive Technology Is Becoming So Popular Organisations that provide options to customise experiences on their websites offer support to individuals who are most susceptible to disadvantages online. This includes those who struggle with literacy, learning difficulties, decreased vision, attention disorders, physical disabilities, and language/linguistic problems. Welcoming people with varied disabilities and access needs is the right thing to do. But recently, many businesses have become aware of the additional benefits of improving their website accessibility ratings: Increased revenue – The disability market is huge. Current data suggests that at least 15% of the global population are living with some sort of disability that can inhibit website accessibility. Better branding – Demonstrating corporate social responsibility and community support is important, and more positive experiences on your website mean a better brand reputation and increased customer loyalty. Better SEO results – web accessibility factors are continually becoming more heavily weighted in search engine algorithms. Reduced legal risk - It is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. Why Choose Recite Me? Recite Me works with organisations around the world to provide assistive technology on websites. Our accessibility toolbar removes the struggle for individuals who would otherwise need to provide their own support to access content online. And it’s worth noting here, that individual assistive technology solutions are typically very expensive and do not offer the same level of usability or functionality that our toolbar does. The Recite Me assistive toolbar unlocks hassle-free access to online content by offering features such as translation, a screen reader, styling options, and a range of reading aids. These functions allow for multiple adjustments to suit a combination of needs and a range of individual or co-occurring conditions such as: Dyslexia Dyspraxia Dyscalculia Hyperlexia Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) Developmental Language Disorders Accounting for multiple and co-occurring disabilities is important as, for example, it is estimated that at least 60% of the neurodiverse community have more than one condition. “Research shows that those who struggle with reading often struggle with math, and vice versa. Dyslexia and Dyscalculia are different, but they often co-occur. Reading and math differences aren’t the only examples. Dyslexia and ADHD also often co-occur.” Amanda Morin, Author specialising in leadership, education, and development. User Feedback Recite Me now supports over 2500 websites in providing inclusive online journeys. Our assistive toolbar has been launched over 2 million times, and over 10 million web pages have been viewed using our accessibility technology. Our Clients We are proud to work with several leaders across a wide variety of industry sectors including education, e-commerce, finance, technology, utilities, healthcare, construction, leisure and entertainment, non-profit, sports, and transport. Over the years we’ve had some fantastic feedback: "I reviewed the Recite Me product. Just 15 minutes later I was convinced that it was a must for enabling accessibility on our website and on-line portals" (Mark Abrams, Chief Executive of Auriga Services Ltd). "With the Recite Me toolbar available on our website, the entire online experience is more accessible and personal for every visitor" (Chris Stafford, Chief Executive, Curve Theatre). "Recite Me is an excellent way for us to be able to provide additional online tools and services for those visiting our website and increase the level of accessibility quickly and easily" (Mark Harrison, Head of Inclusion, University of London). "It is important that we have tools like this, that reflect the diversity of our fan base, ensuring that everybody can connect with our Club easily and in a way that suits their individual needs" (Rachael Lomax, Access Advisor, Everton Football Club). Industry Experts Professor Amanda Kirby is the CEO of Do-IT Solutions Ltd, a company specialising in increasing awareness and helping neurodiverse candidates into employment. “It is easy for me to talk about Recite Me as we think it is brilliant when wanting to engage as wide an audience as possible. It is really easy to operate and provides everyone with a unique set of accessibility features and personalised choices. " Daniel Cobb is an advocate for disability inclusion and has dyspraxia. He used the Recite Me toolbar when he came across challenges trying to search and apply for his dream job online. “The process of job hunting is mentally very draining for most job hunters but being dyspraxic makes it significantly worse. To be able to use the accessibility tools on the website ensures I can process the information with greater efficiency and therefore reduce the visual fatigue I experience from using websites.” Individual Users A focus group of Recite Me users brought together by the UK’s leading disability charity performed some testing on our toolbar. All participants previously encountered obstacles when accessing content online. When using the toolbar, the focus group were in agreement that they would use the tool again and that they’d be more likely to use a website again if they knew that their accessibility needs were accommodated. Here are some of the user comments and feedback… “It doesn’t strain or hurt my eyes when I read now.” “It’s remembered my settings across different sites, I really like this” “It shows that they’ve given accessibility some thought, and that goes a long way with me.” “Being able to change the background to black is a real bonus for me - I get dry eyes so this extends the amount of time I can stay online.” “If a place I’m planning to visit has an accessible website, I think they are more likely to be accessible when I get there.” Even outside of testing scenarios, we have received some fantastic feedback from individual users who have had access to the Recite Me toolbar through our client’s websites. “I have Autism and Dyslexia and found that when using the Council’s website, I can change the font to Dyslexia font and add a ruler to keep my place, which really helps me to understand the information I need to stay independent. I am happy that the council use Recite Me as it is very helpful.” Maria, a Sefton Council Resident Tracking the Positive Changes Recite Me is proud to be a Disability Confident Employer and has several employees within our team who can relate first hand to the benefits of our web accessibility technology. In line with our diversity and inclusion policies, more and more careers and recruitment organisations are now ensuring that they offer equal opportunities to all by making online applications accessible with the use of assistive technology. In 2020, unique Recite Me users accessing support on their career journeys grew by 168%, from 2800 per month to over 7500. The Benefits of Offering Web Accessibility Technology By now, we hope these are already clear. Happier customers, happier clients, happier employees, plus increased revenue, enhanced brand reputation, and better SEO optimisation. What’s not to love about all that? We’ve probably done enough self-promotion in this article already. But in addition to all of those benefits, we could also wax lyrical about our stats that show how including web accessibility in your business development strategy also: Improves employee satisfaction Increases productivity Reduces staff turnover Leads to more effective working strategies So… Is YOUR organisation ready to offer equal access to online content for all? The Recite Me toolbar is a cloud-based technology that can be installed on most websites in under an hour. Join the hundreds of companies who have already adopted our inclusive software by contacting our team for more information, or by booking a toolbar demonstration.

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APSCo Recite Me Partnership

19 Mar 2021 | blog

MEMBER 10% OFFER CODE: APSCoReciteMe21 Recite Me has joined forces with APSCo to educate and advise its members on creating an inclusive candidate journey online. This partnership will provide many recruitment organisations with the information, ideas, and support they need to create an inclusive experience online enabling all candidates to have equal access to job opportunities. To drive APSCo’s mission to represent excellence in the recruitment industry it is vital that the digital world is accessible to all when applying and searching for job vacancies. To share this mission and journey with members APSCo and Recite Me are able to offer all members a 10% discount on creating an inclusive experience online for all candidates with our assistive technology toolbar. To find out more about the Recite Me toolbar and how it can help create an inclusive candidate journey online please contact the team or book a demo and make sure to quote our 10% discount code of APSCoReciteMe21

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Neurodiversity and Online Barriers

17 Mar 2021 | news

There is no factory standard when it comes to the human brain and how it operates. Did you know that at least 15% of the population is neurodiverse, yet fewer than 50% may know it? And many people still don’t know what neurodiversity is at all! So…What Exactly IS Neurodiversity? The term neurodiversity was coined in 1998 by sociologist Judy Singer, and refers to the variation in how we process information, think, act, move and sense the world we live in. Differences in learning, attention, mood, literacy, numeracy and social skills have been broken down into sub-classifications and sometimes been associated with neurodiversity., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Dyslexia Dyscalculia Developmental Language Disorder Tic Disorders ( including Tourette’s Syndrome) Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) also known as Dyspraxia Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) Some people have challenges in more than one area and these conditions often overlap with each other. In one study they found that 60% have more than one of the conditions listed. (REF) It is important to remember that these conditions are not injuries or diseases. They are the result of a number of factors including genes that are part of natural variation. In other words, they are differences, not disabilities. Some people are disabled by the world they live in when there is an expectation of everyone having to do the same thing. In order to be included different approaches may be needed when it comes to learning and working. “Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?” Harvey Blume, Journalist & Autism Advocate Neurodiversity and Online Barriers Typical challenges faced by those with neurodiverse conditions include: Difficulty staying focused on a task Understanding the order and meaning of words Becoming overloaded by information Difficulty discriminationg some colour contrasts Most e-commerce websites are typically very overwhelming for neurodiverse visitors. Between the banners, pictures, links, and many buttons, pages can appear incredibly ‘busy’. It is easy in this situation that potential customers become too distracted to buy anything. So website providers need to account for neurodivergent traits and preferences in their design, content, and layout. Considerations should include: How much information is on each page? And is it all needed? Is there a clear hierarchy of importance to the content? Are visual elements relevant to the content? Are there alt tags on visual images that can be used with a screen reader? How Recite Can Help Different Types of Neurodiversity Traits Reading and processing on-screen information is difficult for neurodiverse website visitors. The Recite Me assistive toolbar removes these difficulties by allowing users to fully customise the webpage so it suits their own individual needs. Features include: A screen mask to help with focus and concentration. Options to have content read aloud in over 35 different languages to negate reading difficulties. Full control over the speed at which the text is read aloud to allow for varying auditory preferences. Customisation options for text font, colour, sizing, and spacing, so that the look of the webpage can be tailor-made into the perfect format for every individual. A spell-checker and a fully integrated dictionary and thesaurus to help with comprehension. Recite Me assistive technology is the perfect solution to help businesses and organisations support their neurodiverse team members, as users can make singular or multiple adjustments to adapt the way web content looks. We’ve been happy to witness growing support for the neurodiverse community in recent years. The dramatic increase in the use of our assistive toolbar last year suggests that we are helping more companies to reach a more diverse market. In 2020, our assistive toolbar usage increased by 20%, and over 47 million individual styling adaptions were made. Advocating for Inclusion in the Education Sector Accounting for individual differences should begin early in life, as difficulties experienced at school can lead to low self-esteem and underperformance in later life. As neurodivergent conditions become more widely understood and accepted, increasing pressure is being put on schools and colleges to stop focusing on what students are unable to do, and put more emphasis on acknowledging and celebrating the many positive aspects that neurodiversity brings. “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” Alexander Den Heijer, Leadership speaker, trainer, and consultant Neurodiverse students are well known for being more capable of ‘thinking outside the box’ than other students. They are also normally more creative, better at problem-solving, natural innovators, and can often see situations from different and more unique perspectives. The world has a lot to benefit from the neurodiverse community, but it is important that teaching methods are inclusive. In modern-day teaching models, it is vital that e-learning materials are accessible to neurodivergent students in both their design and delivery. Advocating for Inclusion in the Workplace Being neurodiverse shouldn’t mean not being able to find a dream job, although historically, the neurodiverse community has experienced unemployment rates as high as 90%. This suggests a problem within the application and hiring process, in that the definition of talent has been too narrow. Make no mistake, neurodiversity is not a marker of intelligence, and there is no shortage of talent in the neurodiverse employment pool. In fact, neurodiverse individuals comprise some of history’s most infamous pioneers, leaders, and change-makers, including Alan Turin, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Richard Branson and Bill Gates. We are happy to have witnessed a significant upsurge in new employment opportunities for neurodiverse applicants in the last five to ten years. Industry leaders now see the benefits of teams that include neurodiverse members as they strive for more effective working strategies, improved innovation, increased productivity, and ever more progressive solutions. “Our autistic employees achieve, on average, 48% to 140% more work than their typical colleagues, depending on the roles.” James Mahoney, Head of Global Technology Diversity & Inclusion at JP Morgan Other organisations that are vocal in their goals of employing neurodiverse employees to gain a competitive advantage include IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs. Neurodiversity Support Thankfully there are some fantastic resources for guidance on neurodiversity: DO-IT Solutions: Trusted in Education, Training, Employment and Justice and endorsed by 25 years’ clinical and academic research, Do-IT can help organisations deliver inclusive approaches supporting the strengths and minimising challenges of all people. Recite Me is proud to list them as a partner. “Our mission is to ensure that education and employment places are neuro-inclusive so that talents can be harnessed and maintained. We recognise a complementary neurodiverse world offers new solutions when we work together.” Amanda Kirby, doctor, Do-IT CEO, and author The Hidden Impairment National Group - Provides information and guidance to applicants, employers, and employees on all aspects of the application, interview, selection, onboarding, and workflow processes. Are YOU Neurodiverse Friendly? We hope so. Increasing engagement in learning and working environments for people with neurodiverse profiles should be a priority. At Recite Me we believe in inclusion for all, which starts by creating awareness and helping others to understand the opportunities presented by improving web accessibility. By guiding our clients through this process, we can make a positive difference together. Inclusion should be a ‘business as usual' approach, rather than a ‘tick the box’ exercise, so by adopting our web accessibility software combined with your neurodiverse-friendly recruitment, onboarding and retention policies, we can help you reach new levels of success. If you’d like to join the thousands of businesses who have already integrated our accessibility software onto their sites and are seeing the benefits, please contact our team or book a demo.

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How Does Web Accessibility Impact Marketing Outcomes?

10 Mar 2021 | news

Fact: If your website is not accessible you are excluding a vast number of potential customers, as people with disabilities represent a significant and often undervalued segment of the market for any type of organisation. Websites should be easy to reach and navigate by everyone, yet the varying access barriers faced by disabled individuals means this is rarely the case. This makes website accessibility such an important consideration, that you simply cannot afford to ignore it. It is estimated that: At least 2.2 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment. Dyslexia affects at least 15% of the population. Dyspraxia affects at least 10% of the population. More than 5% of the population suffer from attention disorders like ADHD. Approximately 450 million people are living with mental or neurological conditions like epilepsy, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Around one in every hundred people are on the autism spectrum. 1-2% of the population in developed nations have issues with basic reading and writing. 1 in every 5 households speaks a language other than English at home. Millions of people suffer temporary disabilities as a result of accidental injury. The Impact of Web Accessibility on Marketing Adopting web accessibility technology helps to reduce legal risk and ensure you are doing the right thing for disability rights. But from a marketing perspective, the benefits go way further than that: Reaching a wider audience – The statistics above account for 1 in every 5 people. That’s 20% of the overall market that you are missing out on if your website is not accessible to everyone. And of that 20%... Only 10% of users have the technology they need to access websites barrier-free. 71% leave a site that they find hard to use. 86% would spend more if there were fewer barriers. 83% limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible. Recite Me Fact After adopting new web accessibility practices, Legal & General Group doubled its website visitor numbers and increased organic search traffic by 50%, while simultaneously cutting maintenance costs by two-thirds. SEO Benefits – Many of the recommended best practices for improved accessibility are heavily weighted on search engine algorithms. The latest Google algorithm updates actively validate websites that follow accessibility guidelines, and sites offering digital inclusion are becoming increasingly favoured as trusted sources on search queries. “There’s a considerable overlap between features that enhance accessibility and SEO performance. By making your web pages accessible to everyone, you’re also boosting your chances of being found in search.” Clair Brotherton, Founder of A Clear, Bright Web Improved User Experience (UX) - User experience is crucial in the success of any online marketing activities. Search engines actively help to raise awareness by encouraging businesses to adopt better web accessibility standards. For example, Google has official guidelines explaining accessibility and how businesses can help to create a better user experience. The entire purpose of a UX-friendly design is to improve usability. This is where products like the Recite Me assistive toolbar come in. Accessibility compliance alone does not enable users to create a fully customisable experience. What makes a website truly inclusive is giving people as many choices as possible so they can modify their own view of your site and consume the information in a way that is personalised and tailored to their individual needs. Improved PR Value – Forbes Magazine recently reported that 52% of all adult online consumers consider a company’s values when making a purchase. That rate is even higher among the Millennial and Gen Z generations, who are incredibly socially conscious in their purchasing habits. It’s no longer feasible to just avoid ‘being the bad guy’. Companies are expected to actively set a good example of being open and inclusive to everyone. Brand Reputation - Customers favour brands that care about helping others. In a world where consumers are increasingly value-driven, any company that actively promotes inclusivity in its operations will gain a more positive brand identity. In short, if your company isn’t viewed as being inclusive, your products and services will appear less authentic, and customers simply will not spend their hard-earned money with you. “Digital businesses with accessible websites are demonstrating leadership by example. They are showcasing proof that ethical accessibility practices can help increase brand credibility, inclusion for all, and online conversions.” Kim Krause Berg, Web Design Standards and Compliance Specialist Increased ROI – Return on investment on web accessibility technology is easy to track. Recite Me contracts come with automated monthly reporting and quarterly reviews as standard, and your dedicated account manager is always on hand to help you access more insights through our Google Analytics plug-in. Website visitors using assistive technology have a longer, more enjoyable digital journey. On average, people using the Recite Me toolbar will visit over 4.5 pages per session which surpasses the internet average of 2.8 pages per session. This also decreases the average bounce rate of a website. Increased ROI can be measured and tracked across every sector of industry: Careers - In January 2021, over 3,900 people used the Recite Me toolbar to search for a new career with Morson Group. Utilities - United Utilities helped over 100,000 people to read and understand online content barrier-free in 2020. Education - Last year, the University of Sunderland helped over 30,000 students access educational information remotely. Local Authority – In 2020, online communications became vital for local councils, and Recite Me witnessed a massive 137%increase in the use of our accessibility support throughout the year. Our Top 5 Website Design Tips That Improve Web Accessibility Designing an effective website means including characteristics that make it: Functional – accessible and easy to use Effective – the communication is clear Visually pleasing Yet, there is an astonishing number of websites that are heavily lacking in functionality and effectiveness. Fact Box: In 2019, an evaluation by WebAIM concluded that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. We advise marketers to adopt the following best practices to ensure more accessible and inclusive web content: Use Headings (H Tags) to define hierarchy – Having content ordered in a logical and easy-to-follow order helps users with limited focus and attention to stay on the page and consume the content. Provide relevant alternative text for images – Site visitors with visual impairments may not be able to see images clearly, therefore image descriptions add context and provide value. Write descriptive anchor texts – Forget ‘click here’ or ‘read more’. Good anchor text tells readers what to expect so they know if the content is relevant to them. It also increases the chances of extra clicks, which in turn means more web traffic and increased SEO scores. Make web forms accessible – Many disabled users struggle to fill in online forms. Even simple enquiry forms requiring only a name, phone number, and email address can prove difficult for those with access barriers. Use high contrasting colours - Individuals who struggle with conditions such as dyslexia or colour blindness need additional options to the standard ‘black on white’ template. Takeaways for Digital Marketers When web accessibility is part of the strategy and planning process, organisations become better equipped for success. This is true across all industries, whether the primary goal of your business is commerce, academia, or civic engagement. “Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” Jesse Jackson, Politician and Civil Rights Activist Software like the Recite Me toolbar bridges the gap between accessibility and usability and promotes inclusivity by allowing those with sight loss, cognitive impairments, learning difficulties, physical disabilities, and varying linguistic needs to access websites in the way that is best suited to them. Together, we can help optimise your marketing efforts and help make the internet a more inclusive environment at the same time. If you’d like more information on how your organisation can make a positive change towards inclusion by utilising our website assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar.

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Thriving with Dyslexia & Accessible Technology

09 Mar 2021 | news

Recite Me Founder & CEO Ross Linnett joins Dyslexia Foundation on their latest podcast to talk about thriving with dyslexia and accessible technology. Recite Me is a personalised toolbar for people with disabilities or learning difficulties to help them access and utilise the internet in the best way for them. Ross wasn’t diagnosed with Dyslexia until after university but he always struggled with mainstream schooling. The assistive technology he was given at uni to cope with his undiagnosed learning difficulties was frustrating. He really felt his disadvantage online, with little resources to overcome his exclusion. He wanted something easy to use, that he could personalise to help maximise his use of the internet. Thus the idea for Recite Me was born.

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Web Accessibility Solutions for the Not For Profit Sector

08 Mar 2021 | news

The not-for-profit sector is well known for supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our society. So it makes sense that many charities and not-for-profit organizations are taking the lead in tackling web accessibility as a way of championing their causes as efficiently as possible. Recite Me is already helping to make a positive change by providing our website assistive technology to a number of not for profit support groups, including: Amnesty International American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Violence Free Colorado Disability Rights groups across America including Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas Non Profit and Web Accessibility: A Natural Link By their very nature, not for profits actively work towards equality and inclusion, so right from the very start, we have a clear shared goal. At Recite Me, our focus is always on the benefits to the end-user, and how web accessibility technology can bring people together. Important website functions include communicating the organization’s mission and attracting supporters, volunteers, ambassadors, and benefactors. This is almost impossible if websites are not accessible. In recent times especially, many Americans are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19, so attracting a wider audience by making websites accessible to everyone is a great way for organizations in the charity and not for profit sector to be more visible, help more people, recruit more sponsors, and attract donors. So much of our everyday lives take place online now, that people become excluded if they don’t have equal access to online information. This creates a two-tiered society, something which non-profits usually work hard to avoid. So again, the shared values between business goals and the benefits of web accessibility are very clear. Tap into a Whole New Market Most organizations are shocked at how much more exposure they can gain by becoming more digitally inclusive. Did you know that: Around 14 million Americans have a visual impairment Up to 23% of US citizens have a learning difficulty One in four people in the US have a disability An estimated 15% of the population is neurodiverse Over 67 million people in the US speak a language other than English at home All of these individuals need additional help to read and understand information on a website. Whether it’s changing the way the website looks, what language it’s in, or using a different method of navigation, Recite Me can help make your website accessible to everyone. How It Works With the Recite Me assistive toolbar installed on your site, those with sight loss, cognitive impairments, learning difficulties, attention disorders, literacy issues, and varying linguistic needs can access your website in a way best suited to their individual requirements. Users can: Personalize font size, type, and color 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. Utilize 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. Our assistive toolbar is quick and easy to implement on your website, and can usually be installed in under an hour. After that, the results speak for themselves, but we’re still on hand to help. Recite Me contracts come with automated monthly reporting and quarterly reviews as standard, and your dedicated account manager is there to assist with anything from how to drive more insights through our Google Analytics plug-in, to how to market yourself as an accessible and inclusive organization. How Accessible Websites Help Non Profits Over the last calendar year, Recite Me made over 350,000 charity and not-for-profit website pages accessible. Our 2020 data shows that: On average, Recite Me users view 4 pages of an accessible website per visit, almost double the average internet journey depth of just 2.5 pages per visit. The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched on average 15,000+ times every month on the websites of national charities and not for profits. Smaller and more regional operations recorded toolbar launches of 5,000-12,000 each per month. Over 770,000 individual styling changes were made by users accessing charity and nonprofit sites. Our translation options were the most popular features on not-for-profit sites, with some websites reporting as many as 20,000 unique translations. A Focus on Translation It’s no surprise that our translation functions are some of the most commonly used, given the diverse audience within America. Data USA statistics show that 13.7% of all United States residents were born in another country. To put that into perspective, that’s 44.8 million people! The most common foreign languages spoken in the United States are: Spanish - over 41million speakers Chinese (including Mandarin & Cantonese) - over 3 million speakers Tagalog (including Filipino) - over 1.5 million speakers Add to this the fact that 47% of internet users globally are non-English speaking, and the case for making your website more accessible to non-native English speakers becomes even more clear. So whatever way you look at it, website translation is something you need. “When your site is available in multiple languages, you attract the attention of an international market. You also become identified as a global brand which elevates your status and improves your reputation.” Nick McGuire, E-commerce specialist and blogger Cost-Benefit Analysis Installing assistive technology on your website is a much more budget-friendly option than duplicating all of your website pages into other languages. The more languages you add, the more expensive it becomes. On average, for a small website of around 10,000 words, the cost of translation would be approximately $1,200 per language – and this doesn’t even cover the additional costs of integration and website management. Plus, some languages require complicated coding (like Arabic and Hebrew, for example). Then comes the problem of which languages to prioritize. Recite Me removes the need for many of these decisions and a big chunk of the cost in one simple install. What Have You Got to Lose? A whole lot! Let's count the ways that your organization is limited without an accessible website: The ability to reach a wider audience - 71% of users leave a site that they find hard to use, and 83% of people with access needs limit their internet time to sites that they know are accessible. Increased traffic and sales conversions - 86% of users with access needs would spend more if there were fewer barriers, and the total disposable income of the US working-age population with disabilities is $490 billion. An enhanced brand image and reputation – stand out from your competition by demonstrating social responsibility through being inclusive. Fewer legal implications - it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favorably. Learn More You can find out more about the charities and not-for-profits 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.

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Disability Rights Nebraska

08 Mar 2021 | case-study

Disability Rights Nebraska is a private, non-profit organization that is designated to provide protection and advocacy services to the population of Nebraska. Their main mission is to protect, support, and promote the rights of people with disabilities by ensuring that they live free from harm and exercise the same rights, opportunities, and choices available to all citizens.

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