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FirstRail prides itself on being a company that goes the extra mile to maintain communication and quality of service. Part of their commitment to providing the best possible online experience includes the additional layer of inclusive software across their digital landscape. By utilising accessibility and language technology solutions from Recite Me, FirstRail has supported over 19,200 people to read and understand the content on their website’s barrier-free during 2020. The unique assistive toolbar helps everyone across gwr.com, southwesternrailway.com and avantiwestcoast.co.uk websites to customise their online experience to suit their own individual needs. 2020 data shows that 145,191 pieces of content were read aloud using the text-to-speech engine and 305,889 pages were translated into a different language, including Mandarin, French, and German. Other support tools include styling and reading assistance. 8,232 styling changes were made in total, including alterations to font type, size, and colour, and overall colour contrast between background and foreground. Studies show that 1 in 5 people have impairments that make accessing online information challenging and excluding 20% of the population is not something that the FirstRail team were prepared to accept. Subhash Mishra, Head of Digital Strategy at FirstRail commented, “We chose to install the Recite Me assistive toolbar to make our website not simply accessible, but to be truly inclusive to all. Accessing the internet can be a challenge for some key customer groups. This includes customers who may have decreased vision, struggle with literacy, are autistic, speak and/or read English as a second language, suffer from attention disorders, have a learning difficulty, or are affected by physical disabilities. "It is a pleasure to work with a specialist provider like Recite Me who takes great care to understand customer needs. We are proud to be a digitally inclusive company that values each and every online visitor” The Recite Me toolbar includes fully customisable styling features, reading aids, screen reader and translation tools, meaning their web pages can now be consumed in a way that is personalised and tailor-made to each unique website visitor.
To enable website visitors worldwide to access content barrier-free, Computacenter now offers enhanced accessibility and language support. Providing an inclusive toolkit of options enables everyone to customise their online journey in a way that best suits individuals' needs. Computacenter is a leading independent technology partner, trusted by large corporate and public sector organisations to source, transform and manage their IT infrastructure to deliver digital transformation. Computacenter is a public company quoted on the London FTSE 250 (CCC.L) and employs over 16,000 people worldwide. The importance of online accessibility is greater than ever. At least 15% of the world's population are living with some form of disability, resulting in facing barriers when accessing online content. Recite Me accessibility software provides everyone with an inclusive online experience. The toolbar includes screen reading functionality, styling options, multiple reading aids, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages include 35 text to speech. Andrew Jack, Workplace Strategy Development Director, Computacenter commented, “At Computacenter we are centred around people and their experiences. We endeavour to ensure our people and our customers can access our digital content regardless of any impairment they may have. Studies say that one in five people have some form of impairment and for many that means that there are barriers to accessing content and information. By providing a tool to enhance accessibility, it is not just the right thing to do, but critical to our success and the well-being of our people and the organisations we work with.”
Computacenter is a leading independent technology partner, trusted by large corporate and public sector organisations. We help our customers to source, transform and manage their IT infrastructure to deliver digital transformation, enabling users and their business. Computacenter is a public company quoted on the London FTSE 250 (CCC.L) and employs over 16,000 people worldwide.
Energy services must be accessible Energy UK launched the Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances, to explore how the UK energy industry can meet the needs of customers in vulnerable circumstances, including people with disabilities. Recite Me submitted a paper to the commission panel and took part in a workshop, while attending a hearing to support the report the commission produced. The Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances Report 2019 recommends that customers in vulnerable circumstances must be offered a range of communication channels so they can engage with their suppliers in a way that best meets their needs. More recently, Ofgem’s Vulnerable consumers in the energy market: 2019 report states that: “Energy companies should make reasonable adjustments for disabled consumers and ensure that all new services and products are accessible to their consumers. “Making accessibility a core element at the design stage ensures that no consumers are unnecessarily excluded and allows changes to be made earlier, normally at a reduced cost to the company, if the service is not accessible to all consumers. “We want all consumers, including those with special communications needs…to be able to engage with the energy market and effectively communicate with companies.” (pp 23) Recite Me helps deliver digital inclusion That’s why energy companies like British Gas, United Utilities, Utilita Energy and many other utility organisations, have added Recite Me’s assistive toolbar to their website to create an inclusive experience. British Gas added Recite Me to its website to help support vulnerable customers online, removing online barriers for people with disabilities and people who don’t speak English as their first language. The introduction of the Recite Me toolbar allows website visitors to customize the British Gas website in a way that works best for them. Cecil Edey, Conduct and Consumer Vulnerability Manager at British Gas commented, “As the largest energy and services provider in Britain, it’s vital that our online customer support is accessible to all the diverse communities we serve around the country, which is why we are proud to launch the “Recite Me” accessibility toolbar on our website.” Visitors to the British Gas website can change the page styling by customizing the font size and colour and the colour contrast between text and backgrounds, or by using the reading aids to mask distractions on the screen. People who don’t speak English as their first language benefit from Recite Me’s real-time translation feature which can translate over 100 languages, including reciting text in 35 different languages. 1000’s of organizations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for online visitors. To find out more or to book your Demo please contact the team.
“When information is vital, it is vital that information is accessible and inclusive for all.” Did you know that Recite Me is still offering to host a free accessible and inclusive landing page so companies can share their COVID-19 messages with all of their staff and customers? With the recent regression back into lockdown, we wanted to update you on our accessibility pledge, and remind you that we are still here to support businesses and help organisations and consumers alike to access important information online, barrier-free. We launched our pledge back in March of 2020 in a bid to ensure that all online information related to COVID-19 is accessible and inclusive for everyone. We believe passionately in barrier-free access and support for all, and especially now that life in the real world is more restrictive again, it has never been more important that everyone has equal access to information online. Back in the beginning, we could never have imagined that these uncertain times would still be haunting us into 2021. But until the vaccines have been rolled out and normality is restored, we are committed to playing our part in helping people. “The Recite Me pledge provides the opportunity for everyone to share freely in our online world. There is no cost or agenda, just accessibility for all.” Ross Linnett, Founder and CEO What is the Recite Me Accessibility Pledge? Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so far and for the foreseeable future, we are offering to host a free accessible and inclusive landing page for any business where important COVID-19 messages and updates can be accessed. Uncertain times make for uncertain minds, and naturally, many people are worried. This is totally understandable, so it’s paramount that people are kept up to date with the latest pandemic information and how it will impact them and the services they use. When the landing page is reached, the Recite Me accessibility and language support toolbar automatically launches. The toolbar includes fully customisable styling features, reading aids, and translation tools. Information is available in over 100 languages, including 35 text-to-speech voices. Who Benefits? The honest answer to this is everyone. Studies show that around 20% of the population is living with some kind of disability, long-term health condition, or situational impairment that makes accessing online information challenging. The Recite Me assistive toolbar removes online barriers, enabling people with different abilities, visual impairments, cognitive or neurological disorders, learning difficulties, and those who speak English as a second language to thoroughly understand the message being conveyed. Our toolbar also makes information easier to consume and use for users outside of that 20% too, as being able to customise a webpage and take in the information in a way that is personalised to your preferences is a benefit for everyone. “For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.” IBM Training Manual The Story So Far Since we first launched, our accessibility pledge has helped more than 130 businesses across a range of sectors to share COVID-19 related information and updates. Examples include Virgin Money, Network Rail, Volkswagen, RSPCA, Public Health Wales, and London Luton Airport. Our pledge data trends show that: We’ve supported over 60,000 unique users Our free inclusive landing pages have been viewed over 82,000 times The average time spent on COVID-19 landing pages is 2 minutes. “Joining the Recite Me pledge has enabled us to communicate our COVID19 message to the widest possible audience. Visitors can customise their viewing experience through a screen reader, styling options, reading aids, and a translation function. This online support allows London Luton Airport’s key messages to be accessed and understood by all, particularly during these difficult and unsettling times.” Clare Armstrong, Head of Passenger Services at London Luton Airport Of course, having just one webpage accessible to everyone is not a long term solution, but it’s a good start. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown online accessibility into the spotlight, and we’ve noticed a considerable increase in the demand for inclusive websites throughout 2020. With over 2,500 websites now using Recite Me inclusive technology, we’ve supported over 2million people on barrier-free online journeys. You can read more about accessibility trends in 2020 and projections for 2021 on our free downloadable report. If you think your business needs help to make your online COVID-19 related information accessible and inclusive to all your staff and customers, please contact us now, or visit the Recite Me website to find out more about how our free accessible and inclusive landing pages work and how to create your own.
It will come as no surprise that internet use rocketed throughout 2020. In the first quarter of the year, broadband use increased by 47%, and online transactions increased by 26.7% between January and October. In line with the drastic shift towards online living, we noticed a significant increase in the demand for inclusive websites. Recite Me has brought together data from throughout the year to analyse the impact COVID-19 has had on people using assistive technology to support their online journey. To download this report please click the button below...
Promo Direct was founded in 1991 by Dave Sarro with the main goal of assisting organizations with boosting sales and improving brand visibility through promotional products and apparel. The company has always strived to provide a premium shopping experience, accompanied by smart marketing solutions. Promo Direct has won numerous national awards and is a leader within the promotional products industry.
To ensure digital inclusion and to improve user experience, Promo Direct has installed web Accessibility and language support tools across their website. One of the USA’s leading promotional product companies, Promo Direct, is offering a practical approach to addressing access barriers to their website by installing a state-of-the-art web accessibility tool. This inclusive solution provides 61 million adults in the United States living with a disability complete control to customize their online experience. Dave Sarro, CEO of Promo Direct, commented, “We believe that the internet should be available and accessible to everyone. We at Promo Direct are committed to delivering a website that is accessible to a wide range of audiences, regardless of their ability and circumstance.” People with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments or people who speak English as a second language will be able to use a wide range of features to support their visit, including, text to speech reader, fully customizable styling tools, reading support features and a translation function with over 100 languages, including 37 text to speech voices. Mr Sarro, added, “Our website makes use of cutting-edge technologies that will make it accessible to anyone at any given time. People can conveniently access the Promo Direct website to gain smart marketing insights, discover awesome promo products, access the latest publications, and read business-related news. With our efforts, we hope to build a future where nobody is left behind.”
As Greek philosopher Heraclitus once famously stated, “the only constant is change”. For most of us, this has never been more apparent than in 2020, which has proved to be a year of monumental change. We’ve witnessed changes in the way we work, changes in the way we socialise, changes in our ability to travel, and changes in how we communicate. Essentially, there has been some element of change in almost every aspect of our previously normal lives and routines. Some of the biggest and most impactful changes of 2020 involve the internet, as so many of our daily tasks and activities have been pushed from the real world into the digital realm. For some of us this has been a learning curve, and at times frustrating. But for many in our society, it has proved impossible. We tend to think of the world wide web as a place where everyone has instant access to information at all times, but that’s simply not the case. So as International Human Rights Day approaches on December 10th, we’d like to take the opportunity to look at the inequalities that exist online, and why, especially in turbulent times such as these, web accessibility should be considered a basic human right. Inequality Online When Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, he envisioned it helping to empower society by making information accessible to everyone, everywhere. “The power of the Web is in its universality… It is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability. Thus the impact of disability is radically changed because the Web removes barriers to communication and interaction that many people face in the physical world.” Sir Tim Berners-Lee We’ve discussed at length in previous articles the varied groups who face barriers online. In short, whether due to a temporary, lifelong, or age-induced disability, those with learning difficulties, vision deficits, language issues, and cognitive or neurological disorders do not have the tools they need to consume information online as others do. Reasons include: Not being able to read the text due to font, text size, or text spacing. Not being able to read the text due to poor colour contrasts between background and foreground. Not being able to use a mouse or mousepad. Not being able to focus on the relevant section of text. Being distracted by graphics and image carousels. When you stop to consider these factors, it becomes very apparent that the online world is in fact not as universal as it could be, and that when badly designed, websites and applications create barriers that prevent a significant number of people from using them. The Real Life Impacts of Inaccessible Websites While the number of examples is almost infinite, you can begin to gain an appreciation of how vulnerable and excluded people can become, especially during lockdowns, by examining just a few key areas of everyday life. Inaccessible websites and apps make it either difficult or impossible for users with access needs to: Manage finances – If information on online banking websites and applications is not accessible users cannot transfer funds, trade stocks and shares, manage savings and pension plans, or renew expiring credit and debit cards. To add insult to injury, they may not even be able to find details on a local branch for face-to-face assistance. Shop – Whether it’s doing the weekly grocery shopping, renewing household goods, or buying clothes, toiletries, and other everyday items, inclusive websites are essential to facilitate purchases. Plus, with Christmas just around the corner, inaccessible websites exclude users with access needs from buying gifts for their friends and family. Pay bills – Imagine the stress of not being able to pay your bills online and becoming fearful of having your heating, water, electric, or phone services cut off, simply because you were unable to use the providers’ websites. Work – 2020 has seen a significant shift to remote working. Many users struggle here, as the tools and support they need to access company systems remotely are often ill-considered. Even without touching on accessibility factors specifically, 38% of remote employees in 2020 said that the technology they are provided with didn’t operate correctly in a remote setting. Apply for jobs – Simple processes like registering with a recruitment agency can feel like an insurmountable challenge when websites are not accessible, and the task of completing online applications forms is made almost impossible. Even using job boards or business sites like LinkedIn and Upwork is so much more time consuming for those with access needs. Learn – During lockdown thousands of students migrated to online learning. But not everyone learns in the same way and it is almost impossible for any stand-alone online learning portal to accommodate for every type of access need. So those facing online barriers risked falling behind in their studies more than others. Access general information – More than ever before, the internet remains an essential source of information where people can research and compare options, keep updated on global developments, look for local services, and stay in the loop with community issues. All of this is only possible when the relevant websites are accessible, however. Keep in touch with friends and family – With human contact reduced during COVIS-19, not having access to inclusive websites and apps for communication with loved ones only further marginalises those with disabilities. Even when social gatherings are allowed, this invariably requires booking in advance which involves the use of online forms or using contactless apps that are not feasible to use on inaccessible sites. This is just a short list of some of the most important variables that govern our lives, and how those with disabilities and varying access needs are at a disadvantage. Between them, these factors determine our capacity to earn an income and keep ourselves fed, housed, warm, and in touch with one another. If that doesn’t constitute a set of basic human rights, we don’t know what does, so it’s incredibly important that more is done to provide all members of society with equal access. The Recite Me Pledge Recite Me believes passionately in barrier-free online support for all. So during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been offering to host a free accessible and inclusive landing page for any business, allowing organisations to share COVID-19 related messages and information with staff and customers. Since we initiated our pledge we have: Provided pledge pages for over 140 organisations Supported over 55,000 individual users to access information Of course, having just one webpage accessible to everyone is not a long term solution, but it’s a good start. More Change, Please! While it’s encouraging to see more and more businesses switch on to the concept of inclusion there is still a long way to go, as currently, over 98% of website homepages fail to comply with World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). What’s needed is a shift in thinking. To achieve inclusion, we must change the way we think about the vulnerable and those with disabilities. Just as the United Nations ‘Build Back Better’ strategy seeks to create equal opportunities for all in the physical world by protecting people of vulnerable nations and communities against future disasters and shocks, we must strive to do the same in the online world by making it accessible to all. More than ever, the internet needs to be a place of equal opportunities, and unhindered access should be a right: Ecommerce companies must increase the value they place on those with access needs. After all, the disability market is worth billions of pounds nationally, and trillions globally. Service providers should ensure that billing details and customer support options are available to every single subscriber. Public sector bodies must act to ensure their websites and apps comply with the relevant local and national requirements and laws. Employers should consider adjustments and additional tools to ensure digital diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Education organisations must ensure their distance learning and online teaching programs are inclusive of all individual access needs. In a nutshell, we must all change the way we think about disability, accessibility, and inclusion. “Accessibility is a fundamental human right. Our intention is to make products that change people's lives. That make them simpler and easier and better. Not just for some people but for everyone. When you start with that, accessibility just naturally flows into everything you do." Sarah Herrlinger, Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives at Apple If you’d like more information on how your organization can make a positive change towards inclusion by utilising assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together, we can make a difference and provide everyone with equal opportunities online.
On December 3rd we will be celebrating International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD) 2020. The disability market is considered to be the largest minority group in the world, as current data suggests that at least 15% of the world population are living with some sort of disability. This accounts for over a billion people in total! Our goal on IDPD is to spread awareness of the need for better support online for people with disabilities. Providing equal access opportunities for all is particularly important this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the population online more than ever before. Most of us will have struggled with the realities of COVID-19 in one way or another, but for those who face accessibility barriers online it has been a particularly challenging time, and the lives and mental well-being of those with disabilities have been disproportionately affected. Not All Disabilities Are Visible The theme for IDPD 2020 is ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’, and this is something that we are incredibly aware of here at Recite Me. All too often, the word ‘disabled’ is used solely to describe physical and mobility issues, whereas, in reality, the term covers so much more than that. Particularly when discussing online access, disabilities can also include: Visual impairments - It is estimated that at least 2.2 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment. Learning difficulties - Dyslexia alone affects at least 15% of the population, and a further 5% suffer from attention disorders like ADHD. Literacy and language barriers - Around 1% of the population in developed nations have issues with basic reading and writing, and up to 1 in every 5 households speaks a language other than English at home. Neurological disorders – Approximately 450 million people are living with a mental or neurological condition. Examples include epilepsy, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Developmental disorders – Around one in every hundred people are on the autism spectrum. Temporary disabilities – Millions of new cases of chronic pain, fatigue, and brain injuries occur each year as a result of accidental injury. Individuals with one or more of these issues often struggle to access information on websites, as they may not be able to use a mouse, read the text properly, focus on the information they need, or find their way around a busy screen. International guidelines do exist to reduce these barriers, but unfortunately, accessibility principles are often overlooked. Web Accessibility for Disabled Users in 2020 Each year, a comprehensive analysis of the top 1 million home pages is completed by WebAIM, a nonprofit web accessibility organisation based at Utah State University in America. The program also studies hundreds of thousands of interior website pages to identify trends and areas for improvement. Sadly, the state of the internet from a disabled users’ perspective still leaves much to be desired, as 2020 WebAIM statistics show that: 98.1% of home pages have World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliance failures. This figure is up from 97.8% in the 2019 study. The number of web accessibility errors overall increased by 2.1% between 2019 and 2020. Home page complexity has increased significantly, meaning users with disabilities can expect to encounter accessibility errors on 1 in every 14 home page elements. It’s not all bad news though, as data does show small improvements in some areas. However, there are still far too many companies out there making web accessibility much harder than it needs to be. Often, significant improvements can be made by making simple adjustments such as: Formatting pages properly using descending H tags Ensuring alternative text is present on all images Adjusting colour contrasts Making sure there are no empty links or buttons According to WebAIM, addressing these concepts alone would significantly improve accessibility across the world wide web. Besides, not only are these good principles for best practice in general, they also impact SEO results in a positive way. So there is no incentive for companies not to make their websites more accessible. In fact, improving web accessibility by removing barriers should only strengthen the brand value, not to mention make the business more profitable. Did You Know…? The spending power of the disabled market is over £2.25 trillion annually! How is Recite Me Making a Difference? At Recite Me, we believe in accessibility for all and an inclusive online world. This starts by creating awareness on an individual and organisational level by helping others to understand the opportunities presented by inclusion. By guiding our clients through the same process, we hope we can all make a positive difference together. Essential Services This year we have found ourselves building and developing more and more relationships in the charity and public service sectors. This is important to us, as making sure information and services are available to everyone during the global pandemic is of utmost importance. "We help people in financial need, so accessibility is essential. The Trust is delighted that with the support of Recite Me, we now provide barrier-free access to our online application forms. Enabling people with a range of accessibility issues, including visual impairments, dyslexia, colour blindness and other forms of neurodiversity, as well as those who need to use alternative languages to apply " Jessica Taplin, CEO of British Gas Energy Trust We now support over 100 charitable organisations, local councils, utility providers, and transport companies. In the last 12 months, we have helped over 1.5 million people to read and understand content online. Our assistive toolbar is installed on well over 2000 websites worldwide, allowing site visitors to strip away barriers and create a 100% customisable experience. Our accessibility and language support options include text to speech functionality in 35 languages, on-page translation in 100 languages, fully adjustable styling features, reading aids, and the ability to change the look and layout of the page to suit individual preferences. Covid-19 Information During these uncertain times, Recite Me is on hand to support businesses and help ensure that all online information related to COVID-19 is accessible and inclusive for everyone. To that end, we are offering to host a free accessible and inclusive landing page for organisations to share their Coronavirus messages with all of their staff and customers. “When information is vital, it is vital that information is accessible and inclusive for all.” Ross Linnett, Recite Me CEO and Founder Is Your Business Striving for Digital Inclusion? There is no better time than on International Day of People with Disabilities for companies and brands around the globe to make positive changes and ensure their website and web content is fully accessible to everyone. We recommend all organisations take the following steps: Make sure the build of your website is up to date in terms of best practices for accessibility. Develop a thorough understanding of the WCAG and ensure any required updates are completed for compliance. Look into assistive technology solutions like the Recite Me toolbar to bridge the gap between accessibility and usability, creating an inclusive online experience for all users. If you’d like to join the thousands of businesses who have already integrated our accessibility software onto their sites and are seeing the benefits, please contact our team or book a demo.
International Day of People with Disabilities was an opportunity for Recite Me CEO Ross Linnett to take stock and think back on the crazy year we have been through and reflect with close business partners on how this has affected people with disabilities and neurodiverse conditions. This round table discussion brought together Prof Amanda Kirby, CEO of DO IT Solutions, Caroline Turner, CEO of Creased Puddle and Susan Sanford, CEO of Sue Sanford Specialist Coach. This open discussion goes in-depth about if there has been a shift in the understanding of neurodiverse conditions throughout the pandemic? Have individuals and companies been able to adapt psychically and mentally to understand that the world we live in is different and everyone will work in different ways? The team shares some great advice on how people can work from home effectively by trying a number of useful tips. They also share real-life feedback and how businesses can change their outlook to help staff. In concluding the conversation the question is asked of the team if businesses can learn from the pandemic and put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their strategic plans for 2021? A big thank you to Amanda Kirby, Caroline Turner and Susan Sanford for joining Ross Linnett for International day of people with disabilities.
This year we’ve noticed a sharp increase in the demand for inclusive websites, as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed individuals and businesses online more and more for everyday tasks and communication. As I’ve been saying for a while now, when information is vital, it’s vital that information is accessible to all. That’s why we made a pledge to support businesses with a free inclusive landing page to keep their staff and customers up to date with accessible messages and updates about COVID-19. Our team spends a lot of time explaining accessibility principles to existing clients and prospective buyers. This normally includes discussing best practices, accessibility and inclusion goals, and how the Recite Me assistive toolbar can help to achieve them. The Business Benefits of Setting Inclusion Goals Hopefully, you already want to make your web content available to as many people as possible just because it’s the right thing to do. But if you still need convincing, there are a number of direct benefits to your business: At $3.02 trillion annually, the spending power of the disabled market is hard to ignore. Some accessibility features already form part of search engine algorithms, and indicators suggest that accessibility will become an even more significant part of SEO calculations in the near future. Being inclusive boosts your brand value, as some customers simply will not buy from companies who are seen to exclude minority groups. Reduced risk and fewer chances of facing financial penalties, either in the form of fines for non-compliance or individual court cases based on accessibility discrimination. Who Needs Web Accessibility Adjustments? No two people’s needs are the same, so I find it always helps to go back to basics and get a firm understanding of who needs help and why before we get into the complexities of best practices, standards, and the role of assistive technology. In short, lots of people require accessibility adjustments. Whether it’s a temporary need because of an accident or injury, a long-term requirement due to a lifelong condition, or simply a byproduct of the natural ageing process, many people struggle to access information on the internet in the same way the rest of us do. There are four main categories of barrier that affect web accessibility, and invariably all of those include ‘hidden disabilities’ that are often not considered when looking at website design, layout, and compliance with best practices for inclusion: Physical problems – examples include motor disabilities, repetitive stress injuries, and epilepsy. Visual impairments - such as partial blindness, colour blindness, and deafblindness. Cognitive, learning, and neurological issues - like dyslexia, dyspraxia, hyperlexia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Language issues - this includes poor literacy in general as well as those who do not read English as a first language. Individual Benefits of Digital Inclusion The sky is the limit here. Most of us take it for granted that we have instant access to information and services online, and these days we use the internet for almost everything. From job searches, banking, and paying bills to shopping, booking holidays, and staying in touch with friends and family, we rely on the internet to keep us connected. Inclusive websites remove barriers so those with disabilities, learning disorders and language barriers can enjoy the same level of access and benefit from the same opportunities as everyone else. Web Design: Accessibility Versus Inclusion We’ve noticed that there are still some sizeable gaps in understanding over what it means to have an accessible website, whether that’s the same thing as being inclusive. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, your website isn’t necessarily inclusive just because you’ve made it accessible. You can tick all of the right boxes for a more accessible website build, but what makes a website truly inclusive is personal ease of use. Every internet user is unique. We’re all individuals with our own needs and preferences, and it’s virtually impossible to account for the full array of diverse needs without additional technology. Working Example: Take an internet user who is dyslexic, and has specific preferences for a particular font, its colour, size, and the contrast ratio between the text and background. But they are also predisposed to epilepsy and have a sensitivity to light and movement, meaning they also need to strip away image carousels or graphics from a webpage before they can read it comfortably. Even by applying the best web design practices and being in compliance with the relevant laws and guidelines, all of these needs are impossible to accommodate simultaneously without additional software. That’s where Recite Me comes in. Our technology and supporting services bridge the gap between accessibility and usability. We create more inclusive online experiences by giving people as many choices as possible in how they view and consume the information on a webpage. Put simply, accessibility + usability = inclusion. Web Accessibility Guidelines & Statutes The World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide minimum standards that all businesses should adhere to. WCAG guidelines define how content should be made more accessible to those with disabilities, and at Recite Me, we stand by the 4 main cornerstone principles by making online content: Perceivable – Accommodating for various sensory differences. For example, our toolbar provides text-to-speech in 35 languages and also offers the option to convert website text or documents like PDFs into audio files. Operable – User interface and navigation components on a website must be usable by all. Recite Me assistive technology provides users with a screen reader for easier navigation. The screen reader also supports content reading time as users can control text-to-speech reading speeds. Understandable – Both website information and operation of the user interface itself must be consistent and understandable. Recite Me styling features allow people to change the way the content is displayed by customising the website's colour scheme as well as font style, size, colour and spacing. Robust – Websites must be standards compliant and able to function using all applicable technologies, including assistive software. Our assistive toolbar is delivered as SaaS (Software as a Service). Once installed onto your website, you will receive regular updates and always have the latest version. Bear in mind that while the WCAG covers what you should do to make your website build accessible, every region has rules in place listing what must be done to meet minimum legal web accessibility requirements. What type of organisation you are part of will also be an important factor as the rules vary depending on whether you are a private company, a not-for-profit organization, a public sector body, or a government department, etc. The most important thing to bear in mind, however, is that legal compliance shouldn’t simply be about covering your bases. The whole reason these laws exist is to make information clearer and easier to read for those with varied accessibility needs. So you should always keep that insight as the end goal. “Accessibility isn’t a checklist, and standards aren’t a target. I’ve worked with some clients that were more interested in compliance with standards than with making their site accessible. It was as if, for them, accessibility was just a somewhat interesting by-product of their work on complying with accessibility guidelines and standards.” Nicola Steenhout, a prominent speaker and consultant on inclusion, accessibility, and disability. Using Assistive Technology to Achieve Inclusion To go beyond accessibility and be inclusive, you need to support everyone who needs to make adaptions, and that’s where assistive technology really makes the difference. As I hinted earlier, we like to think of the Recite Me toolbar is the bridge between accessibility and inclusion. By making your website more usable on a case by case basis, no matter what adjustments are required, we provide the ultimate ease of access to as many site visitors as possible and create more inclusive online experiences. “The single most important thing to understand is that people use websites in very different ways. This doesn’t just mean disabled people using special equipment, but everyone – regardless of whether you might think of them as having a special need.” Mel Pedley, Black Widow Web Design Not sure whether your website is accessible, inclusive or compliant? Our team is on hand to guide you, so feel free to contact us for a no-obligation chat or a demonstration of our toolbar.
To provide accessible information online to over 29million passengers every year, Orlando International Airport now provides an inclusive experience on the MCO website. Passengers with disabilities spend over 17.3 billion dollars a year on travel and 34 percent say they would travel more if impediments were eliminated. The importance of online accessibility is greater than ever. Effective online communication is critical and being able to provide personalized assistance online gives everyone the ability to research and book travel arrangements in a way that works for them. Orlando International Airport has rolled out Recite Me accessibility and language support across its website to enable everyone to gather this vital information barrier-free. Supporting travelers with a wide range of disabilities and impairments, from dyslexia to sight loss and color blindness, to easily access their content. “Orlando International Airport (MCO) has a long history of innovative solutions to spearhead its focus on customer service and added one more in early 2020 by adding the Recite Me accessibility toolbar to its web site. Recite Me was not only a more cost-effective solution for delivering web content in foreign languages but also added so many more accessibility tools to improve the user experience for visitors to our site.” Jerry Harris, Assistant Director of Marketing & Air Service Development The Recite Me assistive toolbar is accessed by the “Accessibility” button at the top of the Orlando International Airport website providing a unique range of tools including, text to speech functionality, fully customizable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. Recite Me works across all mobile and desktop devices to enable support through a traveler’s full journey.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is managed by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and opened its doors in 1971. MCO is the busiest airport in the state and the tenth busiest airport in the United States. Annual they help over 29,000,000 passengers to travel around the world.