News & Media
The sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) takes place on Thursday, May 18. GAAD aims to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and inclusion, and the one billion people across the world who have a disability. This year there are 39 GAAD events (and four virtual events) in 16 countries across six continents, including one in Edinburgh and one in London. They are targeted at design, development and accessibility professionals who want to explore how to make technology accessible for disabled people. Here we look at some of the changes over the last twelve months in digital accessibility for disabled people, such as developments in accessing information, products, services and employment opportunities. What has changed over the last year? A study of UK local government websites published in February showed that one third of council sites failed first-stage testing to find out how accessible their websites are for users with disabilities. However, the good news was that sixty nine per cent of council websites provide a good or very good online service based on the results of the survey. In April the EU amended and approved rules for the proposed European Accessibility Act (EAA) that will allow disabled people living in the EU to benefit from more accessible products and services. EU ministers still need to agree a general approach before the legislation comes into force. But this is a positive step in ensuring key products and services, like phones, e-book readers and operating systems will have to be made more accessible to people with disabilities. Earlier this month a new BSI standard on diversity and inclusion that was officially launched. BS 76005:2017 Valuing people through diversity and inclusion – Code of practice gives employers a framework for valuing people through diversity and inclusion. It also gives guidance to ensure an inclusive recruitment process, with employers and recruitment agencies now required to have accessible platforms for attraction and assessment. Now is the ideal time to make your website more accessible Recite Me’s web accessibility software can make your website accessible for people with a disability at the click of a button. It can also translate your site’s content into over 100 different languages. If you want to find out how you can make your website accessible using Recite Me book an appointment for a product demonstration and your free 30-day trial now. Here is our info graphic in aid of #GAAD2017 - Click the link for more interesting facts here
Have you thought about the user experience and accessibility of your website? It’s important you understand the needs of your customers and how they use your website. Our client The Quality of Life Partnership recently ran a user experience focus group to find out how Recite Me works for a variety of different users on their recently re-launched Information NOW website. Information NOW is an information and advice website for people over 50 in Newcastle that is used by over 21,000 people each month. It aims to be the first port of call for older residents in Newcastle, their families, friends, and carers, and is the central hub for information, events and activities of interest to older people in Newcastle. In order to make sure the website is accessible to people of all ages, including people with a disability, learning difficulty, or impairment, the Recite Me toolbar was introduced to the new website. Recite Me user guides And on the back of their user experience focus group research, The Quality of Life Partnership has produced a great user guide for audiences, which gives a clear breakdown of how to use Recite Me on the Information NOW website. We also have our own Recite Me user guide, which helps people to clearly understand exactly how to get the best out of Recite Me. You can download a copy of our user guide by clicking here. The Recite Me user guide explains the functions of the different icons on the tool bar and details how to use each one in an easy to understand, step by step process. User feedback is key After the focus group The Quality of Life Partnership provided us with some excellent user feedback, which we have passed onto our developers for future development work on our software. We always log user experience feedback and each bit of information goes into a central log which is reviewed by the design and development teams regularly. Fixes and enhancements are then scheduled and rolled out into our cloud based software. We are constantly developing Recite Me because continuous improvement is paramount for us, and your feedback is vital for this. Let us know what you think So please send any feedback or queries you have about Recite Me and how it works to email@example.com Or 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.
Events such as the UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff, and the World Championships in Athletics, in London, will bring in a surge of visitors from around the globe to the UK this year. In total, the UK is forecast to receive 38.1 million visits in 2017 from overseas tourists, an annual increase of four per cent. These visitors are predicted to have a combined spend of £24.1 billion and take a staggering number of journeys throughout the UK using public transport. Overseas visitors to the UK take millions of journeys on public transport every day. For example, there are 138 million train journeys taken by visitors to the UK per month – that’s 3,100 trains per minute, 192,000 per hour and 4.6 million per day! Whilst National Express sees 1.6 million passenger journeys by visitors to the UK per month (nearly 212,000 per day). If you are a transport provider this means overseas tourists will be visiting your website, but will they be able to understand your content? Can they find a timetable or buy a ticket in their own language? If they can’t you’re likely to miss out on much of the 9,000 day trips to see a visitor attraction by visitors to the UK per hour, and the 1.1 million day trips to visit family and friends in the UK per day. A solution to make your website accessible in over 100 languages Transport companies like Arriva Bus UK use Recite Me to quickly and easily translate the entire content of their website site into 103 different languages at the click of a button. Gatwick Airport’s website is another example of how a large brand that welcomes millions of international visitors per year offers a quick and easy translation option via Recite Me’s tool bar. As well as making websites accessible for people who don’t speak English as a first language, Recite Me’s custom toolbar also offers brands an easy way to make their websites accessible to people with a disability or sight loss. It has a range of features that allow visitors to customise a website in the way they need it to work for them. They can use Recite Me to do things such as change font sizes and colours, select a text only version of the site, read text aloud (including PDFs), and customise the background colour. Try Recite Me for free on your transport website If you want to find out how you can make your transport website more accessible using Recite Me book an appointment for a product demonstration and your free 30-day trial now.
Have you thought about entering the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017? If you or your organisation is using digital technology to improve other people’s lives, you really should enter! This is your chance to gain the recognition you deserve. That’s because these are the only awards to highlight the wealth of charities, businesses and volunteers across the UK that use digital technology to make the world a better place. You can enter the awards for FREE This is the seventh year of the awards and entry is free and open to any business, charity, individual or public body in the UK. And as we are a sponsor we are keen to help attract as many entries as possible for this year’s awards, which will take place on 11 July at BT Centre, London. The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2017 categories are: AbilityNet Accessibility Award BT Connected Society BT Young Pioneer Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award Community Impact Digital Health Award Digital Skills Award Tech Volunteer of the Year Past winners in the field of accessibility include The Wayfindr Open Standard app. The audio-based app allows visually impaired people to navigate the world independently, with reliable, clear and consistent directions, delivered through the user’s smartphone. Why don’t you enter? If you want to enter visit the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website for more information and to submit your entry (or entries). The deadline for entries is 5.00pm on 8th May and anyone can nominate themselves or someone else in any of the categories. Good luck with your entry and we look forward to meeting you at the awards ceremony!
Breckland Council and South Holland District Council are two completely independent district councils in East England that share a senior management structure, which the local authorities believe is a more efficient operating model. As public bodies it’s essential that both councils don’t exclude anyone from their communications. Therefore, both councils needed to ensure that their new websites were accessible to as many people as possible, including those with disabilities. We added the Recite Me custom tool bar to both websites so that users can quickly and easily adapt the websites to make them fully accessible. Andy Prior, Digital & Customer Access Manager, Breckland Council and South Holland District Council, said that Recite Me’s number of features and ease of installation was key for both councils when they looked at web accessibility solutions. “We have to have as many means as possible for local residents to contact both councils. So the more people we can get using our websites the better and having a disability shouldn’t exclude people from accessing the websites. “The big attraction with Recite Me was the fact it had so many different features, which cover most eventualities including the need for translation. “We previously used Google Translate on pages on the two websites, but it could only translate each page rather than the entire content of the two websites. “Hopefully we have opened up each website to more people as a result of adding Recite Me, whether they have an accessibility issue due to a disability or impairment, or they don’t speak English as their first language. “Recite Me came out on top of our procurement process due to the number of features it has and the ease of installation, compared to the overall cost. “The ease of installation was key for us as we have limited resources and separate web development teams for each council, so we needed a solution that was straightforward and simple to install. “It was very easy for us to implement Recite Me – all we had to do was add a small piece of code to the header and footer of each web page, with everything else managed for us by the Recite Me team.” View Case Study To find out more about how Recite Me’s tool bar can make your web content accessible to everyone book an appointment for a product demonstration and your free 30 day trial now.
National bus operator Arriva UK Bus has joined forces with Recite Me to launch accessibility software on its website. With English, not necessarily the first language of all Arriva’s customers, the Recite Me toolbar was launched in March to help overcome such barriers and simplify the website journey for the user. It is also aimed at people who have dyslexia, dyspraxia or have visual impairments. Described as an “incredible tool” by David Shadbolt, Arriva’s digital content manager, who worked alongside Recite Me sales manager Martin Robertson and its founder, Ross Linnett, the toolbar significantly helps and improves online services for people who find standard formats challenging. With Arriva always striving to improve its services and listen to feedback from customers, Recite Me was the “obvious thing to do” according to David Shadbolt. The website is now easier to access for many people as it is now translatable into 103 different languages through its ‘accessibility and audio’ tab. Users are also provided with the option of changing font or font size, the themes of the web page, language displayed and enable a full dictionary and thesaurus. David Shadbolt said: “We simply want to remove barriers and make access to our website as straightforward as possible for everyone and we’ve been overwhelmed by how helpful the team at Recite Me have been working up to the launch. “A significant proportion of our passengers and website users don’t have English as their first language, so this is a simple tool for them to use efficiently and effectively. “We’re working with Recite Me to stop people with visual impairments, dyspraxia and dyslexia from continuing to be overlooked, and the Recite Me tool goes a long way to making their life easier. “We thank everyone at Recite Me for their hard work and dedication in the launch and hope our website visitors are finding the site much easier to use.”
We are experts in web accessibility solutions but we know that not all parts of web accessibility are obvious for marketers and web designers. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five things you (probably) didn't know about web accessibility to help you make your website more inclusive for disabled customers.
Disabled Access Day 2017 highlighted the need to make sure public transport is fully accessible for disabled people. And accessibility isn’t just about physical access: it’s also about how public transport providers like you communicate with disabled customers. If disabled customers can’t access a timetable or buy a ticket on your website you could be breaking the law (The Equality Act 2010) if you haven’t made reasonable adjustments for them. Here at Recite Me we are experts in web accessibility solutions so we’ve put together some top tips to help you make your website more inclusive for disabled customers. Design and Layout Most people in the UK read from left to right so it is best to align your text to the left. You should also use unjustified text where possible. And headings need to be correctly used in the stylesheets to make sure they’re not just ordinary text made to look big and bold. Use clear colour contrast Make sure your foreground and background have suitable colour contrast so your customers can easily read the content on your website. Recite Me’s custom toolbar offers a quick and effective solution for this. It lets visitors change a website’s font and background colour theme at the click of a button so they can pick the one that works best for them. Use Plain English The more complicated your web content is, the harder it is to read. This is particularly so for people with learning difficulties like dyslexia. Avoid complex writing that uses long words and jargon. Short, simple and to the point is always best. Don’t use very small fonts Avoid using very small fonts – it’s best to use a fairly large font size as your default setting throughout your website. Recite Me lets visitors to your website make the text bigger (or smaller) quickly so they can easily see your content. And it also reads text aloud (including PDFs) so that those who can’t see your see content or still find it difficult to read can easily access it. Make sure images are labelled with alt text All images need to have alternative text (aka alt text) labels so if you can’t see the image you can still read the text description of what the image is composed of. For example, if you use alt text for images, when you add Recite Me to your website users who are blind or visually impaired can choose to have the alt text description of an image read aloud to them. Videos need audio description and subtitles If you are responsible for producing video, make sure you reach all of your potential customers by producing versions which are more accessible for disabled people. They are useful for non-disabled people as well – when did you last watch a subtitled video online with the sound off? Using subtitles on online videos is also now becoming the norm. And producing audio description for your video content increases the impact of your message for people who are blind or have visual impairments. Set up timetables for screen readers All your timetables need to be set up properly so people using screen readers and others that don’t use a mouse can access them. Online ticket purchases need to be in as few steps as possible User experience shows that the more steps there are, the more difficult it can be for some disabled customers to buy a ticket online. According to the recent Click-Away Pound Survey: 71% of disabled customers with access needs will click away from a website they find difficult to use. Those customers who click away have an estimated spending power of £11.75 billion in the UK alone, around 10% of the total UK online spend in 2016. 82% of customers with access needs would spend more if websites were more accessible. Your customers need to be able to buy a ticket from your website in as few steps as possible. This needs to be factored into your web development if you don’t want disabled customers to click away from your website before successfully buying a ticket from you. 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.
Accessing information from South Holland District Council’s website has been made easier thanks to new upgrades. General accessibility improvements have been made to the site, making it easier to use for residents who have difficulty reading website text or are blind. Read more at: http://www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/news/shdc-website-accessibility-improved-1-7888087
The AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards are a force for good. They offer the chance to recognise and celebrate organisations and individuals who use digital technology to improve other people’s lives. They are the only awards to highlight the wealth of charities, businesses and volunteers across the UK that use the power of technology to make the world a better place. That’s why the team here at Recite Me is happy to announce that we are a partner of this year’s awards, which are due to take place at BT Centre, London. And it’s personal for us. Technology changed Ross Linnett’s life Just ask Recite Me’s founder and CEO Ross Linnett about how technology has changed his life: “After finding out I had dyslexia whilst I was studying at university I got web accessibility software installed on my PC, which changed my life” he explained. “However, I soon found that as the software was only installed on one PC, when I moved from it to another PC the software didn’t move with me and I was back to square one. “This presented a big problem. “Because of my own experience and personal frustrations I realised the need for cloud-based web accessibility software that works across any PC, Mac or mobile device and the idea for Recite Me was born. “Everyone can use its accessibility functions across any device to access web content in a way that works for them. “I founded the company in 2011 and remain the CEO, having successfully grown the business. Positive change through technology is close to our heart “So the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards are really close to my heart, and represent the reason why Recite Me came into existence. “And we really care about supporting an initiative that showcases the power for good that technology can have in society.” Why don’t you get involved? To find out about opening and closing dates, shortlists and other news about the awards go to the new 2017 Tech4Good site. Good luck and we hope to see you at the awards ceremony!
We are proud to announce that Recite Me is a sponsor for the Assistive Technology Conference 2017, which takes place at the University of Salford in May. At the conference, assistive technology experts will explain how ground-breaking innovations can close the disability employment gap to the benefit of both workers and employers. Assistive technology can be a massive boost for the economy According to the charity Scope, investing in assistive technologies and helping one million more disabled people into work could boost the UK economy by up to £45 billion. Because of the clear business benefits, it is worth attending the conference to explore assistive technologies with industry experts. See the latest assistive technology face-to-face If you attend you will also get the chance to get up close to some of the very latest assistive technology. You will learn how it can empower disabled people to be more independent and improve the quality of life for those with long-term health conditions. And that’s where Recite Me comes in. Hear from Recite Me’s CEO As well as sponsoring the event, Recite Me’s founder and CEO, Ross Linnett, will also be giving a speech on ‘empowering disabled people by assistive software to access the web content they want how and when they want it.’ Ross will deliver a simple message: there is web accessibility software that can help everyone access web content in a way that works for them. This has enormous benefits for disabled people as well as employers who want to tap into disabled talent to nurture potential and create more inclusive workforces. Try our Recite Me for yourself There will also be a chance to have a live demo of Recite Me in order to understand how it works, as well as a chance to ask questions to Ross and other members of the Recite Me team. Book your ticket before they sell-out To find out about the latest developments in assistive technology book your place at the conference now – but be quick, at the time of publishing there were only 16 conference tickets left. Look sharp! We have a small number of FREE delegate tickets to give away. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get yours.
Your Homes Newcastle is an arms-length management organisation for Newcastle City Council. It manages 28,000 council homes as well as a further 3,000 leasehold properties bought under the ‘right to buy’ scheme. A joint digital strategy to make digital comms the natural way to communicate Your Homes Newcastle has a joint digital strategy with Newcastle City Council. It sets out the vision for making digital communications the most natural way of communicating with clients and service users. When it began implementing the joint digital strategy and redeveloping its website, Your Homes Newcastle knew that it needed to address how it communicates with disabled people. It also needed to address how it communicates with people whose first language isn’t English. Your Homes Newcastle turned to Recite Me to make its website fully accessible So it turned to Recite Me for a solution to make its new website accessible for everyone. The Recite Me custom tool bar was added to the new website, which means anyone who visits the site can quickly and easily adapt it to the way they need it to work for them. For example, when you visit the homepage there is a box in the top right hand corner, which is easy to see, that says ‘SPEAK OR TRANSLATE Me’. When you click on the box Recite Me gives you a range of options which are represented by easy to understand icons in a toolbar that appears at the top of each web page. With the help of Recite Me you can view the website in a way that works for you Recite Me allows people to change parts of the website such as the font size and font colour, in order to make text easier to read, whilst also offering the option to have the text read aloud. Recite Me also lets people easily translate the website’s content into over 100 languages. Your Homes Newcastle felt Recite Me was ideal for them Paul Neil, Digital Services Project Team, Your Homes Newcastle, said: “As an organisation, the Recite Me access and language software will help us to deliver our digital vision. “It will make our online offering easy to use and we are confident that we won’t be excluding any customers from our digital communications. “Recite Me provides better support to our customers, some of whom chose to do business with us online, whilst some of our customers have literacy issues, and others have a visual impairment. “We promote a self-serve focus for our customers, so by offering Recite Me, we know that our customers with access and language needs will be better supported. “It also means that our frontline staff don’t have to help with queries that can be easily answered online, which in turn frees them up to focus on other priorities. “At the start of this process we looked at some competitor products, including translation/access software. “But none of them have the full range of features that Recite Me has. “We also did lots of research within our peer group, asking other housing management organisations what accessibility software they were using, if any. “Gateshead Council use Recite Me and recommended it to us. “And having a live demonstration was most the important part in deciding to use Recite Me. “Seeing is believing!” Try Recite Me for free on your website now! To find out more about how Recite Me’s toolbar can make your website accessible to everyone book an appointment now for a product demonstration and free 30-day trial.
Gateshead Carers Association is a charity that helps unpaid adult carers living or working in the borough of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, by providing confidential advice and information alongside practical and emotional support that is tailored to each individual carer. As a truly inclusive organisation, one of the challenges for Gateshead Carers is to ensure the information it provides to service users is accessible to everyone – access to information is vital for the carers they support. For example, nine per cent of the carers they support are from a BME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background, whilst eighteen different languages are spoken across their network of carers. This requires Gateshead Carers to make its information accessible to people who don’t speak English as a first language. Gateshead Carers revamped their website and began developing a new online e-learning hub (due to launch in 2017) and decided it was the right time to introduce Recite Me’s web accessibility software. Gateshead Carers had spoken to carers about the help and support they need and wanted to be sure their information was accessible to everyone. Thanks to the introduction of Recite Me’s toolbar web visitors can now translate all the content into over 100 languages at the click of a button. Recite Me’s custom toolbar also provides Gateshead Carers with an easy way to make its website and new online e-learning accessible to people with a learning difficulty, disability or sight loss. Nikki McCann, Gateshead Carers Communications & Marketing Officer, said that Recite Me was the right solution for making the organisation’s web content fully accessible to all of the carers it supports. “Gateshead Carers is an inclusive organisation at heart and we needed to make sure our information was accessible to everyone – access to information is vital for the carers we support. “Eighteen different languages are spoken across our network of carers and nine per cent of the carers we support are from a BME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background, and Recite Me is perfect for translating our website and e-learning hub content for them. “We also chose Recite Me chosen because of the different range of features it offers users including being able to change font sizes, font colours and background colours in order to make content easier to read. “We feel these features benefit a wide range of carers.” Visit their website at www.gatesheadcarers.com To find out more about how Recite Me’s toolbar can make your web content accessible to everyone book an appointment for a product demonstration and free 30-day trial now.
Shopping online is a huge retail market that was worth £114bn in 2015 according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. In 2015, the Christmas shopping period alone (between 01 November and 26 December), saw £24.4bn spent online. All the predictions are for online retail to increase this year by around 12%. During the festive season, there are many great bargains to be had online. But for many, shopping online can be an almost impossible task, as e-commerce sites are difficult to navigate or use, especially if you have a disability such as a visual impairment or dyslexia. The recent Click-Away Pound 2016 survey shows just how important it is for e-tailers to take web accessibility seriously. If your website isn’t accessible you could potentially be losing out on huge amounts of sales to consumers with disabilities and impairments, particularly at this time of year, given the large amount of money spent on Christmas shopping online. The results of the survey show that online shopping is a very poor and limiting experience for many disabled people. According to the survey: 71% of disabled customers with access needs will click away from a website that they find difficult to use. 82% of customers with access needs would spend more if websites were more accessible. In the UK in 2016, around 6.1 million internet users have impairments that affect the way they use the Internet. Those 6.1 million people will spend £16.55 billion online this year. Over 80% of these customers will spend their money not necessarily on the website that offers the cheapest products, but where fewest barriers are placed in their way. If you think you might be missing out on the Click Away Pound there is a software solution that can help, Recite Me. The custom tool bar is a simple and highly effective fix that can be added to your e-tail website in five minutes to make it accessible to people with a disability or visual impairment. It can also translate your content into over 100 languages, providing an instant international solution for your site. To make your e-tail website accessible to everyone and sell more to disabled customers book your appointment today for a product demonstration and free 30-day trial.
Approximately eight percent of the UK population don’t speak English as their first language, which can often present a big challenge for companies who want to make their communications accessible to everyone. Wyvern Business Systems is an IT solutions provider which offers a complete range of IT services including a comprehensive online assistive technology software training portal for students. With over 700 training videos it has been designed to help students with any query they have about using mainstream assistive technology software. In order to make their online training portal and company website accessible to the growing numbers of students in the UK who don’t speak English as a first language, Wyvern Business Systems turned to Recite Me. We added the Recite Me custom toolbar to Wyvern Business Systems online training portal and website so that users can quickly and easily adapt them the way they need the sites to work for them. Users can now translate the content into over 100 languages at the click of a button. Recite Me’s custom toolbar also provides Wyvern Business Systems with an easy way to make its training portal and website accessible to people with a learning difficulty, disability or sight loss. Visitors can use Recite Me to do things such as change font sizes and colours, select a text-only version of the site, read text aloud (including PDFs), and customise the background colour. David Atkinson, Wyvern Business Systems Business Development Manager, said the company was very pleased with the results. “Recite Me has many benefits for us and it is a great tool. It’s essential for us because our online training portal is aimed at students, many of whom don’t speak English as their first language. “Recite Me can now translate the training portal content into over 100 languages to make it accessible to everyone. “Also, we think our company has a lot of empathy for people with learning difficulties and Recite Me is great because it makes our website and online portal fully accessible to them. “Recite Me is great value for money compared to other similar products we looked at it, whilst it also outperforms them in terms of layout and ease of use.” To find out more about adding Recite Me’s toolbar to translate your web content into over 100 languages book an appointment for a product demonstration and free 30-day trial now.