News & Media
A groundbreaking piece of legislation on dyslexia has become law today in the USA. President Obama has signed The Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act (READ Act), which requires the president’s annual budget request to Congress to include the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). At least $2.5 million annually have to be invested into dyslexia research, which focuses on best practices in the following areas: Early identification of children and students with dyslexia Professional development about dyslexia for teachers and administrators Curricula development and evidence-based educational tools for children with dyslexia The READ Act authorises dyslexia research projects using funds appropriated for the American National Science Foundation. The bill also authorises an additional $2.5 million for research focused on other learning disabilities, including those which are also associated with dyslexia. Many of us in the UK with technology products that support people with dyslexia at home, at work or on their smartphones or tablets will be watching out for the US research outcomes that will hopefully start in education and progress into the workplace and mass communications. And, wouldn't it be fantastic if our own research institutions could access similar levels of research funding here?
Unfortunately Starbucks have got themselves into a situation with an employee that could have been easily avoided. The news of their employee Meseret Kumulchew winning her disability discrimination case hit the headlines today – and it’s not good for the company’s employer brand, especially as the financial reward part of the claim has yet to be decided. Like me, and around one in ten people, Meseret has dyslexia – but unlike me, she wasn’t provided the support she needed to do her job. The details of her case make for distressing reading, especially when there is a whole range of simple solutions you can use in the workplace to support employees with dyslexia. Of course it depends very much on the individual and the job they do, but nowadays there is bound to be a technology solution that won’t cost the earth and will literally transform your employee’s life. Sometimes something as simple as changing the font style of your copy or the background colour of the computer screen will make the difference between someone being able to read a text and not. I set up Recite Me because I wanted mobile technology solution that supported my dyslexia no matter what kind of computer device I was using or whether I was at home, in the office or out and about. We went on to develop Include Me for the workplace which can be rolled out company-wide by your IT team to support your employees with dyslexia – as well as people with visual impairments, learning disabilities and people whose second language is English.
Gateshead firm Recite Me, the UK's leading provider of Cloud-based accessibility software which includes text to speech functionality, dyslexia software, and a translation tool with up to 90 languages, is now available on the latest edition of the Government's G-Cloud framework. Public sector organisations can now access Recite Me's market-leading products and services quickly and easily through the government's Digital Marketplace. As well as the Recite Me web accessibility toolbar, innovative products from the company's portfolio such as Include Me are also available. Ross Linnett, Managing Director of Recite Me said: "Cloud technology has been at the heart of our software development from day one. We develop and deliver Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions for organisations so that they can anticipate the needs of disabled and older website users and allow users to customise the content in a way that works for them. "Public authorities in the UK are required to meet the provisions in the public sector equality duty and licensing Cloud based accessibility software is strategic and systematic way to ensure you include both your employees and service users in your digital communications."
In 1992, the United Nations declared 3 December the International Day of Disabled Persons and this year, the theme is ‘Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.’ The aim is to promote an understanding of disability issues and to mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well being of persons with disabilities. As an estimated one billion people live with disabilities worldwide,so its remains crucial for businesses to seriously consider their practices in reaching and empowering the ability of disabled people to access information online. The internet and its associated technologies have the potential to give people with disabilities the means to live more equally in a society that is becoming rapidly more digital. A disabled person may find online shopping or banking more accessible than actually going out onto the high street. Even so, people with disabilities face as many different barriers online as there are types and degrees of disability. A person with a visual impairment who uses screen-reading software may be confronted by websites that have confusing navigation, or that lack description of images. The exclusion of disabled people becomes more compelling as technologies converge and the pace of change increases with more and more products and services made available solely through new digital means. What this means is that in today’s technology-driven world, there is an opportunity for businesses to reach into broader audience segments by making digital information accessible.. Removing obstacles for disabled users has become a mounting issue for mobile and tablet technologies. As mobiles and tablets become the dominant access point for audiences to receive information, it is time for businesses to design their technology at the outset for accessibility and usability for people with disabilities. If disabled people cannot access the information on their mobile devices, they are cut out and may be left with a negative attitude, which reflects badly on brand. Businesses can seek out cloud based web accessibility solutions like Recite Me that work across all devices. So whether your audience is trying to access information at home, at work or on the move, the content remains easily customisable and accessible regardless of device. This kind of technology is at the heart of what the International Day for Disabled Persons is all about. Creating a platform for disabled people to customise web content according to individual need and preference.
Recite would like to welcome New College Lanarkshire to the Recite family. The College is the second-largest college in Scotland and has more than 25,000 students enrolled in a range of full-time, commercial and evening courses across its six campuses We are pleased to be working with the New College Lanarkshire to help make their website accessible ensuring that staff and students can access content in a way that works best for them. Check out our most recent case study: New College Lanarkshire Case Study
Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and I all share one thing in common: each of us is dyslexic. Dyslexia is a specific type of learning disability that impairs a person’s ability to read fluently despite normal or above-average intelligence. So what does it mean for the communications industry that 15% of adults are dyslexic and may not be able to properly access information? Even though dyslexia is recognised as a disability under The Equality Act 2010, there is a growing struggle for people with dyslexia to engage in a society that is more text-based than ever. With people and companies choosing to communicate primarily via e-mail and text there is a strong possible that these methods are inaccessible to dyslexics. Communicators need to understand the potential discrimination that can arise from not considering the communications requirements of disabled people (and other groups). Standards for accessible information have been implemented by the NHS to ensure that by 31 July 2016, all NHS and publicly funded adult social care organisations will produce their information in accessible formats for patients and carers with disabilities. Developing dyslexia-friendly practices requires businesses to consider first, how accessible their current communications are across all fields (such as employment, recruitment and customer communications). For example, the average reading age in the UK is nine-years old. This is not commonly known, but it has a significant impact on how your communications are reached. Particular fonts can be inaccessible to people with a learning disability like dyslexia. Some fonts make it difficult for the reader to tell the difference between letter shapes, such as ‘m’ and ‘r & n’ when written together as in: modern and modem. See here for best practice advice on font selection. Overcoming potential communication barriers also means recognising the significant part of audience engagement that takes place in a digital and mobile environment. Whether by computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or even a wearable device, businesses need to be confident that their communications can reach all of the audience, how and wherever they want to access your information. Your businesses website is one of the most important communication channels that audiences will use to find information. Imagine if a person with dyslexia finds your website, they click through the site and cannot find or read the information contained within it. To avoid this troubling start, businesses need to think about font, colour contrast and layout to comply with web accessibility guidelines detailed here. There are also a number of specialised technological strategies available to businesses that can greatly increase the accessibility of their online communications, such as rulers to guide the reader and a dictionary to help with tricky words. Solutions like Recite Me, offer a Cloud-based accessibility and language toolbar that allows website users with dyslexia to access your on-line content across all devices to meet the diverse needs of all your customers. Software that provides text-to-speech, language support, and website customisation features ensures that you are using online communications to the best effect to drive business benefits and reach people with dyslexia.
This week we’re celebrating National Inclusion Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion in the workplace and the business benefits of having an inclusive workforce. And, in today’s technology- and digitally-driven workplace, it’s becoming more and more important to make sure you’re doing something about digital inclusion. The web has transformed almost every aspect of working life. Employees are being asked to work harder and faster to keep up with the growing use of webinars, presentations, instant messaging, and the overwhelming volume of email in the workplace. There is a worrying silence around the impact of these new communications technologies on disabled employees, and jobseekers and your disabled customers. Research has shown that there is a sharp digital divide between individuals with and without disabilities that can cause or exacerbate problems with work performance and mental health conditions amongst disabled people. After I was diagnosed with dyslexia in my early 20s, I began to learn about the power technology holds to remove barriers facing many disabled people. The type of font you use can make a difference to people with learning disabilities, or people with a visual impairment. Generally speaking, sans-serif font style like Arial and Helvetica are more accessible to people with visual impairments or learning disabilities. Take a look at this guide for more information on choosing accessible fonts. With 12 million disabled people in the UK, there is a huge potential for this audience to be excluded from the benefits of technology in the workplace. It makes smart business sense for companies to be proactive in addressing the communication barriers that can arise for people with disabilities like dyslexia and vision impairment at work. New technologies are continuously being developed to anticipate the needs of people with disabilities to empower them to access the web content how they want and when they want. We are living and working in a mobile world. The workplace nowadays can be many places other than your desk or workstation. Employers need to think about how their people are accessing information remotely at home, on the train, in a coffee shop or even sometimes on the beach. Its about the systems you’ve got set up and whether the solutions you offer are Cloud-based and work across multiple platforms. “Bring Your Own Device” to work is now common practice, but it means whatever software services you choose, they need to be dynamic, responsive and work on all operating systems. Making your website accessible to everyone will not only open your door to new customers, but also enable the full and efficient participation of disabled employees in the workplace. By removing potential barriers to website access, you can create a more productive and inclusive workplace that drives business benefits. And, you can overcome the digital divide in your workplace.
Your choice of font can have a positive or negative impact on the person reading your website or intranet. Some fonts are easier to read than others and if chosen well, the right font can really help you get the message across. What many people don’t know is that some fonts can be inaccessible to disabled people, particularly those with a visual impairment or a learning disability or difficulty such as dyslexia. If a font is not designed in a particular way, it might make it difficult for the reader to tell the difference between letter shapes and ultimately make it hard or impossible to understand what is written. Make sure your organisation get’s it right, download our short guide to choosing an accessible font. To view this PDF online using Recite Me, firstly enable Recite on this page and open the PDF in your browser.
PDFs are a really popular file format system that allows you to lock down your content and designs and protect them from being changed. Adobe created PDF so that files could be transferred between computers and operating systems for printing, but as our digital habits have changed with the introduction of tablets and smartphones, we’re increasingly using PDF as the end format. What many people don’t know is that PDFs can be inaccessible to disabled people, particularly those with a visual impairment or a learning disability such as dyslexia. If a PDF is not designed in the right way, someone using screen-reading software might not be able to access the content. Download our short guide to creating an accessible PDF for some easy tips on how to get it right. To view this PDF online using Recite me, firstly enable Recie on this page and open the PDF in your browser. Download our PDF here
Before reading glasses became affordable and in the days where the only format of newspaper or magazines available was in print, many older people with visual impairments opted to use a magnifying glass to read the news or their favourite features. Nowadays the numbers of printed newspapers and magazines are on the decline. People are opting to read their news content online from a wide variety of sources and on a variety of devices. In terms of accessibility, we need to be able to recreate the 19th & 20th Century magnifying glass solution for the 21st Century. Sight loss affects people of all ages but especially older people. According to the RNIB, 1 in 5 people aged 75 and 1 in 2 aged 90 and over are living with sight loss. Older people are also using the internet more frequently thanks to the advent of tablets and smartphones. An ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes’ report by Ofcom claims that over 42% of over 65 year olds are accessing the internet, up 27% year-on-year. Our developers have been working flat out over the last few months and we’re delighted to tell you that we’ve added a new magnifier function to the Recite Me toolbar. This provides all our end users with another great option on accessibility and allows greater personalisation of their web experience. Using the magnifying glass icon button users can drag their mouse over the content they wish to have magnified. We’re really excited by this new feature as it means that users can easily magnify content such as embedded videos and images that can not always be made larger using the font increase buttons. Ross Linnett, CEO & Founder of Recite Me said: “We added in the magnification tool based on user feedback. Many older people in particular have used magnification in the past, with a straightforward magnifying glass. Our new tool delivers the same familiar magnification experience, just using the latest technology.”
Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day! It’s a community-driven effort to raise the profile of digital accessibility and people with different disabilities across the world. The purpose of marking the day each year is to get as many people as possible talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility. Internet and mobile accessibility is in our DNA and you might say that every day is ‘accessibility awareness day’ at Recite! Last year we marked the day with our infographic on mobile accessibility and this year we’ve chosen today to publish our new, free “Smart Guide to Web Accessibility” – you can download your copy here. Ross Linnett, CEO & Founder of Recite Me said: “Lots of people we talk to don’t really know where to start on web accessibility and there is a lot of confusing information out there. Our team has put together a short, smart guide with handy tips and essential facts on all you need to know about web access. Whether you’re in sales, marketing or in web development, this guide will ensure you’re up to speed.” Join in the conversation about Global Accessibility Awareness Day on Twitter #GAAD #a11y
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the first professional body in the UK to launch Recite Me’s software on its website www.cipr.co.uk. The CIPR is the voice of the public relations profession, a champion of its interests and a respected partner to the broader communications community. As part of an ongoing relationship with CIPR, Recite Me were proud to speak at the CIPR’s first ever Diversity & Inclusion Summit last November and we are new partner in the ‘CIPR Plus’ affinity scheme for members.
London Gatwick, the world’s busiest single runway airport has added Recite Me’s cutting-edge accessibility and language software to its website, making it the first airport in the UK to provide this service for passengers. Around 12 million people in the UK, or 1 in 5 of the population, have a disability and would benefit from greater customisation of website content whether its changing the font size, colour contrast or having the content read aloud. Globally Gatwick Airport serves around 200 destinations in 90 countries with over 38 million passengers a year, one of the main reasons the airport has included the multi- language features also provided by the Recite Me app. Successfully running on gatwickairport.com, Recite Me’s accessibility and language software allows website visitors to access the website in the way that best works for them. The technology is Cloud-based so it works on any platform and works especially well on mobile devices. Mandie Armstrong, Digital Communications Manager, said: “With 38 million passengers passing through our doors each year it is vital that we provide accurate and up- to-date information on our website. “Having the Recite Me app means we can better meet the communications needs of our special needs passengers as well as those passengers whose first language is not English. “More and more of our passengers are accessing our website via mobile devices and smartphones, this app is Cloud-based and works wherever our passengers need it to work for them.” Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder & CEO said: “Accessing the latest travel information on your tablet or smartphone is something many people now take for granted; but if you have dyslexia or a visual impairment, this is something you might not be able to do. “With Recite Me toolbar web users can do a variety of things such as increase the font or change the colour contrast settings or have the text read aloud. “As someone with dyslexia, having the option of the computer reading web content to me is the difference between me engaging with your business or not.”
The theme for the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities today is the promise of technology #IDPwD. If you’ve looked at our statistics page before you’ll know that there are an estimated 1 billion disabled people in the world and 1 in 5 people in the UK have a disability. Everyone’s life is touched by technology – software and hardware are all around us and are an integral part of our daily activities. At Recite Me we are celebrating that today. We believe technology has the power to remove the every day barriers that many disabled people experience. The World Wide Web is our domain; our new video shows you how disabled people can be empowered by our software to access the web content they want how and when they want it. Recite Me Video: The Promise of Technology
This week is National Inclusion Week: the annual week of workplace activities and events that remind us how important inclusion is across the UK. We’re launching a competition to celebrate the week…with a chance to win the Recite toolbar on your website for a whole year! You can also get involved with all the fun events and activities, follow @NationalIncWeek #NIW2014 or visit www.nationalinclusionweek.co.uk for more information. For more details on how to enter visit www.reciteme.com/competition