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

Why it's important to support your students who have dyslexia

06 Sep 2017 | news

If you, your family or your close friends haven’t been touched by someone with dyslexia it may be easy to underestimate how widespread it is. But around 10 to 15 per cent of people worldwide have dyslexia or another learning difficulty. More people in the UK have dyslexia than you probably think And in the UK that figures stands at around 15 per cent, which means that one in every 6.7 people in this country have dyslexia or another learning difficulty. According to UK Government statistics people with disabilities are around half as likely to hold a degree-level qualification compared to non-disabled people. And just under 15 per cent of working age disabled people hold degree-level qualifications compared to nearly 30 per cent of working age non-disabled people. Dyslexia often goes undiagnosed for many students Significant numbers of students with dyslexia also go undiagnosed for all or part of their time studying at university, which puts them at risk of life-long literacy and social exclusion. Just ask our CEO and Founder Ross Linnett. He only found out he has dyslexia by chance when a fellow students spotted some of the symptoms when they were working together on a group project. According to statistics from the Higher Education Funding Council for England there were more than 44,000 UK-students with a known disability studying full-time first degree courses in 2015-16. The most common type of disability is a specific learning difficulty like dyslexia or dyspraxia. In 2015-16, nearly half of those students with a known disability who started a higher education programme had a specific learning difficulty. Technology can help Up-to-date information should be accessible no matter what device your students are using or what language they speak. If it’s not, your students who have dyslexia and similar learning difficulties will struggle to study and achieve their full potential at your university. For example, can all of your students access all of the important content on your university’s website and academic intranet sites? Thanks to assistive technology such as text to speech software and speech to text software your students can get the support they need. And then there’s Recite Me, which is similar to alternative assistive technology software programmes, but with a much wider range of features. Recite Me is perfect for students who have dyslexia Institutions like Cranfield University already use cloud-based accessibility software Recite Me to assist students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties and disabilities. It offers students a great option to have text from any website read-aloud to them. And it also gives students the option of downloading and saving any written web content as an MP3 file. This means they can listen to it on any PC or mobile device, where and when they want to. Recite Me also has a number of other great features that help students with dyslexia. It lets students choose the exact colour contrast between the text and background by letting them pick the combination of font colour and background colour that works best for them. It also lets users change the font type and size, zoom in on any part of a webpage, plus it has a spell-checker and a fully integrated dictionary and thesaurus. If you want to ensure you’re supporting your students with dyslexia by making your academic web content more accessible book a free trial for your university now.

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Are You Ready to Support Your New Intake of Learners?

31 Aug 2017 | news

Universities across the UK are getting ready to welcome a new batch of students in September. But are you ready to support your new intake of learners? Nearly ten per cent of students identify as having a disability and there’s a range of things you can do to help you disabled learners achieve their potential. For example, did you know that you can signpost your disabled students to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs they have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability? Your students can get DSAs on top of their other student finance and they won’t need to repay them either. The amount each students gets depends on their individual needs, not their household income. For the 2017 – 2018 academic year, full-time students can apply for a DSA to receive up to £5,358 for the whole course DSAs can help your disabled students with the costs of: specialist equipment, e.g computer hardware or software that is needed because of a disability non-medical helpers extra travel because a disability other disability-related costs of studying DSAs cover specialist equipment like assistive technology, whether that’s hardware like screen-readers or software like Recite Me and Include Me. Recite Me is an accredited supplier for DSA funded accessibility software, which means your students can use their DSA to buy Include Me to help support their learning. Include Me offers a wide range of accessibility and language features that make any piece of digital content accessible to any disabled student. This includes word documents, pdf’s and websites. Or by adding Recite Me to your website you can offer a wide range of accessibility and language features to let students access your institution’s websites. Recite Me and Include Me are cloud-based accessibility software programmes that will let your students access websites and digital documents anytime, anywhere, on any mobile device or PC because it’s what they want and need. Both are great for people with learning difficulties like dyslexia or disabilities such as full or partial sight-loss, or loss of mobility through wide-ranging health conditions. If you want to ensure you’re supporting your disabled students by making your academic content more accessible book a free trial for your university now. Students with Disabilities: Your College Admission Guide EduBirdie comprehensive college admission guide for students with disabilities. VIEW GUIDE

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Why listening can be more powerful than reading

24 Aug 2017 | news

The way we consume media content has changed with the arrival and spread of multimedia in the late twentieth century and early part of this century. For example, audio books were first intended to be an accessible format for blind people to consume the content of books. But they have become so popular they are now a mainstream media format that millions of non-disabled people around the world also use every day. Audio books are so popular because they offer people the chance to consume the content of a book in a way that works best for them – normally played on a mobile device, anywhere, anytime. Media consumption has changed The change in the way we consume media content isn’t restricted to audio. Facebook video statistics show that Facebook users watch 100 million hours of Facebook videos per day. And research shows that over eighty per cent of videos viewed on Facebook are accessed with the sound off, which highlights how important audio captions have become for consuming content. We also use voice enabled audio features in a wide variety of ways, with everything from audio to consume while we travel (e.g. Sat Nav) to voice recognition features like Siri on iPhone now widespread. This change in consuming content applies to your students as well: they want to be able to access the content of academic text books, studies and websites, where and when they want to. Think bus and train journeys, making or eating dinner, or doing another practical task like housework, all whilst multitasking and also consuming academic content via audio access. Recite Me can make your academic web content accessible To meet this need, Recite Me offers a broad range of accessibility and language features to students on mobile devices, because it’s what they want and need. Recite Me is cloud-based accessibility software that will let your students access websites anytime, anywhere, on any mobile device or PC. Your students can use Recite Me to have the content of any website read out aloud to them. They can also choose to download and save the content as an MP3 recording so they can listen to it where and when they want to. Recite Me also offers a range of other accessibility options that help the near ten per cent of higher education students who are known to have a disability. These include the option to customise the text colour and background colour of your website, and increase the font size, which are both extremely helpful for people with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. If you want to make your academic content more accessible book a free trial for your university now.

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Recite Me now does even more thanks to you

16 Aug 2017 | news

Our CEO and Founder Ross Linnett has some great news about how Recite Me has changed to improve the experience for users. We are always listening and learning. It serves us well: we get some great ideas coming to us from all quarters, whether it’s our existing customers and their users, or people seeing Recite Me for the first time. We take note, we discuss, and if we agree and think it’s an idea that will work for our customers we change and improve our products and service. And we have some great news: this week you will see some super changes to Recite Me. We think they improve the experience for users we want to take this chance to thank our Lead Developer Rob (pictured) and his team for making them possible. Fonts We now give you more options when it comes to the font choice. Visitors to your website who use Recite Me can now change the line and letter spacing to help with what is sometimes referred to as ‘crowding’. Crowding is the interference of flanking letters on the recognition of target letters. But your users don’t need to need to worry about it now. Reading made easier. Colour Theme Recite Me already had a great selection of colour combinations to allow the user to customise their visit to your site. But now they can choose the exact combination that works best for them. Visitors to your website who use Recite Me can also choose what colour they want the reading ruler to be, as well as the screen mask (more on that below). Screen Mask You know how handy the reading ruler is right? Now you can invert that so that you have a reading ‘envelope’ so you can concentrate on the content you want. Also, your user can pick the colours used for the screen mask and the ruler. User Guide The user guide now has its own shiny new button, instead of being tucked away in the settings where it was before. This change gives visitors a quick link to help them fully understand all the tools available to them. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who gave us feedback to inspire these positive changes to Recite Me. Please let us know what you think of these improvements and keep your brilliant ideas coming. Thank you. Ross Linnett

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How important are mobile devices to your students?

09 Aug 2017 | news

Exactly how important are mobile devices to your students? Let’s look at some solid, credible data to find out. OFCOM published its Access and Inclusion in 2016 report, in March this year (2017). The report looks at how disability and other factors affect access and inclusion to communications products and services in the UK market. Here are some of the key findings that are relevant for you: 93% of 16 – 24 year olds use a smartphone for personal use – this is a whopping 20% greater than the UK average (73%) for the total population 97% of 16 – 24 year olds use the internet anywhere – this is a 10% more than the UK average (87%) for the total population And… 57% of disabled people owned a smart phone in 2016, up from 41% in 2014 46% of disabled people owned a tablet in 2016, up from 30% in 2014 These two figures for smart phone and tablet ownership are both well below the national averages for non-disabled people. But, they show the substantial growth in the number of disabled people who use mobile devices with internet connections. Now let’s look at the OFCOM Communications Market Report 2017, which was published last Thursday (3/8/2017). According to the report: “For most people, mobile devices are their most important device for accessing the internet. “Consistent with high take-up, more than four in ten (42%) UK internet users, including nearly two-thirds of 16-34 year olds and 44% of 35-54s, regard their smartphones as their most important device for accessing the internet.” (pp 164) What does this data mean for you? All this data shows just how important mobile devices are to your students. They use mobile devices to access information and enjoy accessing the internet from anywhere to suit their needs. And let’s remember that about one in five people in the UK have some form of disability. So can your disabled students access all the digital learning materials you need them to read to learn? Can they go online and access any website or report they need to read? As the Access and Inclusion report says: “Although internet access among disabled people increased from 65% in 2014 to 79% in 2016, disabled consumers are much more likely than the population as a whole to face exclusion issues as a result of not being online.” (pp 10) And accessibility is often a key barrier that stops disabled people going online more. That’s where we can help you and your students. We can help your students to access digital information Include Me is cloud-based accessibility software that is designed for education. It offers a wide range of accessibility and language features on mobile devices, because it’s what your students want and need. These options make any piece of digital content accessible to any disabled student. That means anything from a word document used to write essays, to a report or website. For example, Include Me’s phonetic speller tool spots the most unusual miss-spellings, which regular spell-checkers would not recognise. It then offers spelling corrections to select the correct replacement word for a document. And the homophone checker finds words within a document that sound the same but can have different meanings. Both tools are incredibly helpful for students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties – they can help them read and write what they need to. The colour overlay tool is great for students who have a visual impairment such as part or full sight-loss, or for those who are colour-blind. Your students can also use Include Me’s other options to: have text read aloud, access a full English dictionary and download selected text from a website or document so they can listen anytime on the go. Include Me also has a translation tool that will let your students translate a website into over 100 languages. Documents can also be translated into a number of different languages. Include Me is a simple but highly-effective accessibility solution Include Me is easy to use and easy to maintain. It will work on any operating system or hardware your university uses. And it updates automatically, so you’re students will always have the most current version. Ultimately, Include Me is a great way to make your university more inclusive and improve the experience of your disabled students. Book your appointment now for a demonstration of how Include Me works and to order a free trial for your university.

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Cranfield University finds the perfect web accessibility and translation tool

08 Aug 2017 | news

Cranfield University is an exclusively postgraduate and research-led university specialising in science, engineering, technology and management. Students from over 100 countries across the world come to study at Cranfield – international students are a key market for the university. Cranfield University has always understood the need to make its communications accessible. An easy web accessibility solution The university had previously looked for text-to-speech accessibility software to make its website content more accessible. And when it re-launched the website in 2016 Cranfield began looking for a high-quality web accessibility product that meets the latest web accessibility standards. So it chose to use Recite Me for an inclusive web accessibility solution that was easy to add, with no stress and no hassle. As well as making the website more accessible to people with a disability, impairment, or learning condition, Recite Me’s toolbar also translates the content into over 100 languages. Accessibility and language translation combined This was a key reason why the team at Cranfield University thought Recite Me was the perfect fit for the university, as Amy Simpson, Head of Digital Communications at Cranfield University, explains. “We wanted to make sure the content on our website was accessible to as many people as possible. “Recite Me gives our students a range of options to make our website a better experience for them. “Whether that’s changing the font size, or opting to have the text read aloud, or using one of the many other accessibility features. “And Recite Me provides us with a translation service as well as an accessibility solution. “This is very important for us because now our international audiences can easily access our web content. International students and their parents can access the site easily “For example, students who want to show our website to their parents overseas who don’t speak English can use the translation option to easily change the content into over 100 different languages. “Overall, the offer from Recite Me was very appealing and the service was comprehensive. “The team at Recite Me are very proud and passionate about the Recite Me web accessibility software. “They have been great to work with.” Make your website accessible now with a free trial Why don’t you make your website accessible now with a free 30 day trial of Recite Me? For a product demonstration and to find out more contact us now.

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Recruitment: Online accessibility as an ROI

28 Jul 2017 | news

So, I’ve been taking a lot of time speaking to and engaging with recruitment agencies over the past few weeks. Discussing Recite Me and online accessibility in general. I wanted to deliver some of the key points raised during those discussions, points that really resonated with MD’s of recruitment agencies… Growing candidate talent pools: In many key recruitment sectors; Consultants will be tackling a real and ongoing issue of searching with a limited or restricted talent pool. Both existing database candidates and when attracting new. Opening up the website to a broader candidate audience by providing the relevant online support to those with learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, a visual impairment or language barrier. This would inevitably diversify candidate engagement and potentially the number of candidates available within the various sectors. Clients engaging in diversity & inclusion: We work with some amazing organisations from an internal recruitment perspective. Keen to really deliver on diversity and inclusion, these organisations employ individuals to manage diversity and inclusion. They make it an everyday goal to make the working environment as accessible and as inclusive as possible. Offering our level of technology would illustrate to clients that you as an agency are striving to be an extension of their process and employee experience. Candidates having access to assistive technology from the initial engagement with an agency, through to the internal online process with the client. Sending the right message or Brand Perception: I can’t comment on the specific brand message of every recruitment agency. I can only really draw upon my own experiences with agencies. However, I can only imagine that sending the right message to clients and candidates is a huge part of any brand, whether we are talking recruitment or any other industry. Sending that key message that the agency welcomes applications from all levels of candidates, in all sectors. That the experience will be the same, and that the resources are in place to support their application. Whether they have a disability, impairment or simply don’t speak/read English as well as they’d like. Investing in online assistive technology for the commercial site sends out a real message that you strive for a fully supportive, ethical and diverse approach to recruitment. Equality: We could be talking about any industry and sector. The age we live in almost demands that we work in a very equal and included world. Recite me supports the idea that digital content should be available to a more diverse audience and should include more people. Contributing to equality in a competitive digital recruitment world. Creating an edge: In an increasingly competitive era for recruitment. I believe it’s becoming difficult to really separate from other brands. Following considerable research into many recruitment sites across the UK, this is a very quick win in terms of creating an edge. Accessibility is very rarely mentioned at all. When you consider all the job postings, all the recruitment consultants, all the candidates and clients involved. How can there possibly be next to no reference to providing accessibility measures??? Interesting thought to finish on… Keith Moutter, Sales Executive, Recite Me

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School's out for summer: how your school can support your community's language needs

26 Jul 2017 | news

As you know the school summer holidays started on Monday (24 July). Well done to all you teachers – you’ve made it through to another summer! ‘The summer is going to drag’, said no teacher. EVER! But do you hard-working teachers ever stop thinking about your pupils? Probably not. So it’s worth remembering now that some children need accessibility tools to access information all the time. For example, you’d like them to keep reading during the summer holidays, wouldn’t you? Information for children should be accessible no matter what time of year it is. Nor where they are, what device they are using to learn on or what language they speak. It’s vital you consider the accessibility needs of your community Your school needs to think about the accessibility needs that your pupils have. You also need to think about how you support community members like your pupils' parents, grandparents and other carers. In communities with a high number of people who don’t speak English as a first language, accessibility software with a translation tool is vital for pupils to learn. Eight per cent of people who live in the UK don’t speak English as their first language, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics. And in areas like London the figure is more than twenty per cent, or one in five people. How Include Me can help your community Include Me is cloud-based accessibility software that was designed for education. Schools can use Include Me to equip children with a translation tool that lets them learn in the classroom as well as at home. And Include Me also supports the language needs of the people in a community who help children learn. It’s easy to use, easy to teach with and easy to maintain. It works on any operating system or hardware your school uses and it updates automatically, so you’ll always have the most current version. Translate your school’s content into 100 languages Include Me’s translation tool lets you translate a website into over 100 languages, many of which also have a native speaking natural voice so that you can have the content read aloud. Documents can also be translated into a number of different languages. Schools across the country are moving from paper to digital communications (like emails) and Include Me also makes it easier for schools to send parents information they can access. Try Include Me for free Do you want to make your school more inclusive for your community? Book your appointment now for a demonstration of how Include Me works and a free trial for your organisation.

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Include Me features that create an inclusive learning environment

20 Jul 2017 | news

Access to information is a basic right for everyone, including school pupils and young people studying in further and higher education. Around twenty of the UK population (one in five people) have some form of disability. Seven per cent of children are disabled and nearly ten per cent of higher education students are known to have a disability. Nearly half of these students have a ‘specific learning disability’, which includes dyslexia. So it’s vital that education providers like you create an inclusive learning environment for all of your pupils and students. But, the life stories of disabled campaigners like Molly Watt show that some education providers haven’t fully considered the information access requirements of disabled people. Nor have they fully thought through the practical solutions they need to provide inclusive learning materials for hundreds of learners. Include Me can help your disabled pupils and students Include Me can help you make sure your educational materials are accessible to everyone no matter what device your pupils and students are using to learn with. Include Me is cloud-based accessibility software that was specifically designed for education. It’s easy to use, easy to teach with and easy to maintain. It can work on any operating system or hardware your school or university uses and it also updates automatically, so you’ll always have the most current version. Here’s an explanation of Include Me’s features and how disabled learners can use them to access digital content like documents, apps and websites. Phonetic Speller Our phonetic speller identifies even the most unusual spellings, which regular spell-checkers would not recognise. You can choose from a list of the most appropriate spelling corrections to select the correct replacement word for your document. This feature is great because it can help children and adult learners to read and spell uncommon words. It’s particularly using for learners with dyslexia. Homophones Include Me’s homophone checker finds words within your document that sound the same but can have different meanings. It helps you choose the right word replacement by offering a list of suitable alternatives complete with a dictionary definition of each. Again, this is a super-helpful feature for people with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Colour Overlay The colour overlay feature lets you create your own coloured filter from thousands of colours that can be applied to documents and web pages to make their content easier to read. This feature is particularly helpful for learners who have a visual impairment such as full sight-loss, or for those who are colour-blind. Other features to help learners Other features also include the option to have text read aloud, a full English dictionary and the option to download selected text from a website or document so you can listen anytime on the go. There’s also a reading ruler, which can help learners with dyslexia access content up to twenty five per cent faster than without this feature. And the translation tool allows you to translate any website into over 100 languages. Try Include Me for free Do you want to make your school, college or university more inclusive? Book your appointment now for a demonstration of how Include Me works and a free trial for your organisation.

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Winners Announced for AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017

12 Jul 2017 | news

The winners of the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017 have been announced at the seventh annual awards ceremony in London. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards are organised by national charity AbilityNet and sponsored by BT, and highlight the wealth of charities, businesses and volunteers across the UK that use digital technology to improve other people’s lives. Dyslexic Aid scoops BT Young Pioneer Award The winners included year ten school pupils Kiera McKillop and Sinead McKeown, who won the BT Young Pioneer Award for creating the Dyslexic Aid, which helps children who are struggling to learn because of dyslexia. As sponsors of this year’s awards, Recite Me attended the awards ceremony yesterday (11 July) at BT Centre, London. They joined more than 200 other people who came together to celebrate these amazing people who use digital technology to make the world a better place for other people. Recite Me is a web accessibility solution that was designed to help people with learning difficulties like dyslexia, and other disabilities, so we were particularly inspired by Dyslexic Aid. We truly understand the impact of dyslexia There are 13 million people in the UK with a disability or learning difficulty, and Recite Me’s CEO and Founder Ross Linnett is one of them – he was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was studying at university. After finding problems with old web accessibility software he realised the need for cloud based web accessibility software that works across any PC, Mac or mobile device and founded Recite Me in 2011. “Congratulations to all the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017 winners – it’s a great achievement for each of them. “The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards are really close to my heart, and I’m thrilled for Recite Me to be a sponsor of this year’s awards. “Digital technology has a huge role play to play in shaping the future of our world by solving every-day problems that millions of people face. “These awards are a force for good that illuminate the life-changing work that is being done here in the UK. “It’s great to be able to support AbilityNet to recoginse the amazing things people across the UK of all ages are doing with digital technology to help other people.” The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017 winners: AbilityNet Accessibility Award: Bristol Braille Technology Bristol Braille Technology is building a revolutionary and radically affordable Braille e-reader for blind people called Canute, designed with and by the blind community. The Canute is the world’s first multiple line Braille e-reader, forty characters per line by nine lines, and it will be affordable too. They want to be able to sell it for the price of a Perkins typewriter or iPhone. This would make it 20 times cheaper than existing digital Braille devices. BT Connected Society Award: Sky Badger Sky Badger finds educational, medical, financial and social support for families with disabled children all over the UK. Over the last five years, Sky Badger has supported over 1.02 million disabled children and their families. With 981,958 visitors to its website and over 17,470 fans and followers on social media, it is clearly reaching lots of people. BT Young Pioneer Award: Dyslexic Aid Year ten school pupils Kiera McKillop and Sinead McKeown from Killian’s College created the Dyslexic Aid, with a very limited budget, by using a Raspberry Pi computer. They have used their technical knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to design and make a device that helps children who are struggling to learn because of dyslexia. Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award: Praekelt.org In South Africa, Praekelt.org’s Maternal Health Platform connects more than a million pregnant women and new mothers to vital services and information through the National Department of Health's MomConnect programme. Launched in 2014, so far it has sent out over 54 million messages to millions of women, with 95% of clinics in the country signed up to the service. Community Impact Award: Chatterbox Chatterbox is an online and in-person language tutoring service, delivered and developed by refugees. It brings together refugee talent with people and organisations that need people with excellent language skills. Since starting up in August 2016 they have supported more than 30 refugees with aspirations to rebuild their professional lives in the UK. Digital Health Award: Fizzyo Both of Vicky Coxhead’s sons have Cystic Fibrosis and because of this they have to do regular physio to keep infections at bay. She applied to feature on a a new BBC2 documentary asking for families with a problems to get in touchand was introduced to Haiyan Zhang, who volunteered to help. Haiyan works as Innovation Director at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. She enlisted the help of Creative Technologist Greg Saul to create a device that could take the boys’ breaths and turn them into controls for a videogame. Together, with Lee Stott at Microsoft UK, they organised hackathons where volunteer designers and engineers from across the UK came along to make new video game experiences for the Coxhead boys. Digital Skills Award: FabFarm FabFarm! is a digital aquaponic farm that is designed, built and operated as a social enterprise by disabled students in Derry, N.Ireland. Developed by the Nerve Centre, FabLab, it uses new and emerging technologies to help empower, engage and inspire young people with special educational needs to develop new skills which are directly focused upon their employability in the digital marketplace. Tech Volunteer of the Year Award: Simon Cook Simon Cook started volunteering for Centra Group five years ago. Since then this digital champion has managed to set-up IT equipment in 52 sheltered housing schemes across London, and as far-a-field as Norfolk and Telford. His achievements are astounding, and are driven by his absolute determination and perseverance to use tech for good. In the beginning, it was difficult to get elderly residents involved in the IT projects, they were wary of him and the new technology. But, he has won them over and now runs a computer club four days a week that supports more than 30 people. Tech4Good People’s Award: C The Signs C The Signs was chosen as the winner of this award by the general public. The public were encouraged to read about each finalist and their entry on the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website and vote for their choice for the People’s Award by sending a tweet using a dedicated hashtag. You can read more about each winner and all of the finalists and their entries on the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website.

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Universities and colleges must create inclusive learning environments and think about their websites as the first point of access for disabled people

07 Jul 2017 | news

According to data available from the Higher Education Funding Council for England there were more than 44,000 UK-students with a known disability studying full-time first degree courses in 2015-16. This represents a surge of 56 per cent since 2010-11. It’s clear there are many disabled learners in the UK who need accessible information and services to succeed in their studies. Information should be accessible no matter what device you are using to learn on, what disability you have or even what language you speak. This means universities and colleges must create inclusive learning environments and think about their websites as the first point of access for disabled people – if it’s accessible! As we are experts in web accessibility solutions we have produced this list of top tips on how to make your website more inclusive for disabled learners. Use headings correctly Heading tags let people using screen readers skip straight to the sections to the sections they want to see. Headings (e.g. <h1>; <h2>) form the outline of the web page and without them navigation can be difficult for disabled learners. By using headlines correctly on your website you can ensure that disabled learners using screen-reading technology can easily navigate your website. If you add Recite Me to your website it will allow disabled learners to have headings and other text read aloud to them at the click of a button. Use high contrast between the text and background We all find low contrast text hard to read. This is especially true for people with low vision. But text must have a reasonably high contrast with background colours. You can use a contrast checking tool to make sure you have sufficient contrast. Or you can turn to Recite Me, which offers users the option to customise the contrast between the text and the background colour. As well as helping disabled learners with low vision, with the ability to customise the background colour of your website, people with dyslexia will be able to access your content up to 25 per cent faster than without this feature. Use Accessible publications Any publications on your website for disabled learners such as forms and brochures need to be fully accessible. If you want information about how to create accessible PDFs you can read the GOV.UK guidance on how to create an accessible PDF and how to check accessibility before publication. If you use Recite Me on your website your web content (including alt text labels) is read out to users in a natural voice, and our DocReader means that PDF documents are also accessible. Write in plain English The harder your content is to read, the less accessible it is. Keep it simple! The average reading age of the UK population is nine years, which means people have reached the reading ability normally expected of a nine year old. And around 15% of the UK population have a learning difficulty like dyslexia. It’s vital to use plain English to make sure your web content can be read by as many people as possible. Whilst our Recite Me software works exclusively online, we also have a product called Include Me, which disabled learners can use to access other digital content like documents. For example, it’s great at helping learners who may struggle with complex academic language. Include Me’s homophone checker finds words within your document that sound the same but can have different meanings. It helps you choose the right word replacement by offering a list of suitable alternatives complete with a dictionary definition of each. Offer different language options Around eight percent of the UK population don’t speak English as their first language. Can they access your web content in their language of choice? Recite Me’s custom toolbar can translate your web content into over 100 languages, which offers you a cost-effective alternative to translation services. Try Recite Me for free on your website Do you want to find out how you can make your website more accessible using Recite Me? Book your appointment now for a product demonstration and a free trial on your website.

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Central Bedfordshire Council Sees Instant Impact of Recite Me

28 Jun 2017 | news

Central Bedfordshire Council has seen the immediate benefit of adding web accessibility software Recite Me to its website. Since adding Recite Me to the council’s website in April, over three thousand people have used Recite Me to tailor the website to a format that suits their needs best. When Central Bedfordshire Council, which serves a population of 274,000, designed a new website it built the site to be accessible for everyone, ensuring that it complies with level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. And the council wanted to take this a step further to enable customers who needed a little extra help using the site who might not necessarily use specialist screen reading equipment, so they turned to Recite Me. Recite Me’s web accessibility solution Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar was installed onto the Central Bedfordshire Council website and is accessible via a button in the top left corner of the website. The button is clearly labelled with the words ‘Audio visual help’, plus a loud speaker icon and an eye icon. The Recite Me toolbar lets anyone view the website in a format that is fully accessible for them. It lets people change elements such as the font size, plus the font colour and background colour contrast, as well as giving the option to have the text read out aloud. It also gives people the option to translate any bit of written web content into over 100 different languages. Over 3000 people have used Recite Me so far Central Bedfordshire Council have already measured a large number of people using Recite Me on its website. Alan Ferguson, Web Manager (Communications), Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “We found out about Recite Me through online research. “We looked at a number of other council websites to see if they had accessibility tools and then assessed what Recite Me had to offer. “We launched Recite Me just over two months ago (April 2017) and promoted this heavily on our social media channels. “We have had over three thousand customers using the product since its launch. This is testament to our reasoning to adding this product to our website. “We will continue to promote this as we are aware nationally that around 20% of the UK population have some form of disability.” Try Recite Me for free on your website If you want to find out how you can make your website more accessible using Recite Me book an appointment for a product demonstration and your free 30-day trial now. You can read the case study here

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Finalists Announced for AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017

20 Jun 2017 | news

The finalists have been announced for the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017. The awards an annual showcase for the amazing people who use digital technology to make the world a better place. They are the only awards to highlight the wealth of charities, businesses and volunteers across the UK that use the power of technology to improve the other people’s lives. This is the seventh year of the awards, which are organised by national charity AbilityNet, and entry was open to any business, charity, individual or public body in the UK. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017 finalists are: BT Young Pioneer Award: Dyslexic Aid EduBlocks Bra With Benefits BT Connected Society Award: Atticus Link Sky Badger SignVideo OrCam MyEye AbilityNet Accessibility Award: Bristol Braille AutonoMe Samsung R&D OptiKey Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award: Haima Health Initiative MomConnect DevelopmentCheck Green Shoots Digital Health Award: C the Signs Blood Quest Sheffield Hallam Haiyan Zhang Digital Skills Award: #DigitalCity #techmums FabFarm One Digital Partnership BrightSparks Community Impact Award: Chatterbox Our MK Special iApps miFuture Foundation Tech Volunteer of the Year Award: Emily-Jayne Crittenden Christine Dodds Simon Cook Steve Smith Voting is now open for in the People’s Award, which is chosen by the general public. Recite Me is a sponsor of the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards and we are keen for as many people as possible to vote for the award and pick YOUR winner. Don’t forget this is your chance to have a say in recognising the truly amazing people who have used digital technology to change the lives of other people for the better. You can read about each finalist and their entry on the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website and cast your vote by sending a tweet using the correct hashtag. Each entry has its own hashtag and voting closes at 5pm on Friday July 7. Vote now for your winner!

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Five things you can do to improve the web accessibility of your website

09 Jun 2017 | news

If you want to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone you need to focus on inclusive design during web development. But you may not know where to start when it comes to inclusive design. So here are five handy tips to follow to make sure your website is accessible for everyone, regardless of any disability or health condition they may have. Choose an accessible font Some fonts are easier to read than others and the right font can really help you get the message across. Fonts come in two main types or groups. These are serif and sans serif. Sans serif means without the serif (or decorative line). Use sans serif fonts like Arial and Calibri because these are the most accessible fonts. Some people find it difficult to read serif fonts because they distract the eyes and the brain from the overall shape of the letter. For more information about accessible fonts you read Recite Me’s guide on Choosing An Accessible Font. Make sure all images are labelled with alt text Using alternative text labels (aka alt text or alt tags) is vital for web accessibility. All images need to have alt text labels so if a blind or visually impaired person visits your website and is using a screen reader they can access the text description of what the image is composed of. If you add Recite Me to your website it will allow users who are blind or visually impaired to have the alt text description of an image read aloud to them at the click of a button. Write in plain English The harder your content is to read, the less accessible it is. So the main thing to remember here is to keep it simple. The average reading age of the UK population is nine years, which means people have reached the reading ability normally expected of a nine year old. And data from the 2011 UK census shows that a growing section of the UK population either don’t speak English or speak a different main language other than English. Plus around 15% of the UK population have a learning difficulty like dyslexia. So it’s vital to use plain English to make sure your web content can be read by as many people as possible. Provide captioning and audio description on videos Just imagine you are deaf. Now think about watching a video – the audio is irrelevant now. It may as well not exist. That’s why it is so important to caption videos. Also, recent research showed that eighty-five percent of all videos viewed on Facebook are viewed without the sound on, so captioning helps get your message to mainstream audiences as well. Use a logical page layout that is accessible for assistive technology It’s important that you think about using a page layout that is easy to understand and navigate, especially for blind or partially sighted people and those with learning difficulties like dyslexia. This includes making sure that people can complete simple tasks such as buying a product or checking service information in as few steps as possible. You also need to ensure that screen reader and keyboard-only users can access your website. Recite Me’s web accessibility software can make your website accessible to everyone at the click of a button. And it also works fully with screen readers and all other types of assistive technology. Try Recite Me for free on your website If you want to find out how you can make your website more accessible using Recite Me book an appointment for a product demonstration and your free 30-day trial now.

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Why your customers want a mobile ticket solution that works

02 Jun 2017 | news

You’ve just re-launched your transport website. It looks great on desktop. And it runs on mobiles and tablets as smoothly as a Japanese train schedule. You’re buzzing because your customers can now buy tickets online with great ease. And you know this is crucial to keep your transport company competitive. Because more people are now buying tickets online than ever before. Whether that is through using apps, or via mobile sites, travellers increasingly want to buy their tickets when it suits them, in a way that suits them. Is your mobile site accessible? But often mobile sites and apps aren’t accessible for disabled people. And with the help of Recite Me’s web accessibility software you can ensure that the mobile version of your website is fully accessible for everyone. Transport companies like Arriva Bus UK already make sure that disabled passengers can access all the information and features on their website by using Recite Me. Recite Me has a range of features that allow visitors to your website to customise the site in the way they need it to work for them. This means that customers will be able to buy a ticket from you online, regardless of any disability, impairment, learning difficulty or health condition. Your customers can use Recite Me to do things such as change font sizes and colours, select a text only version of the site, chose to have text read aloud (including PDFs), and customise the background colour. And Recite Me is quick and easy to install. As it is cloud based software, we simply need to add a few lines of code to your website. No hassle, no fuss. Try Recite Me for free on your transport website Do you want to find out how you can make your transport website more accessible using Recite Me? Book your appointment now for a product demonstration and a free trial on your website.

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