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

Why is Inclusive Recruitment Important?

07 Mar 2022 | news

As National Careers Week 2022 kicks off, we’d like to highlight the importance of web accessibility in creating both diverse and inclusive workplaces. Website accessibility and inclusion factors have never been more important in the careers and employment sector, as now more than ever before, job searches and recruitment drives are taking place online. “Accessibility is often forgotten about when speaking about diversity and inclusion, but it is the missing link. You can have the most diverse workforce…but if anyone experiences barriers to access then you haven’t ensured inclusion for all.” Michael Bach, in his book, Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right What is Inclusive Recruitment? Inclusive recruitment covers the entire candidate experience from discovery and attraction right through to application, onboarding and beyond. It is the process of being able to offer a barrier-free experience where everyone is able to embrace and fulfill the full recruitment journey on a level playing field. It is worth noting that diversity and inclusion are not the same thing and improving one will not automatically solve problems with the other. What Sort of Barriers do Applicants Face Online? Typically, when recruiters and employers think of accessibility, they consider only the physical access needs of disabled candidates and employees. This is a short-sighted view, as in addition to physical access barriers, there is also a multitude of other disabilities and conditions that need to be accommodated in the nonphysical world. Examples include: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Epilepsy Another disadvantage for people viewing content online can be if they speak English as a second language. Candidates and employees who struggle with any of the above have a much harder time finding and staying in employment, as the information on websites is not as easy for them to access, read, understand, or act upon. Did you know…? Only 51% of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Nearly 40% of disabled applicants feel insecure about getting hired as they believe employers will disregard their application based on their impairment or condition. On average, disabled people apply for 60% more jobs before finding one. Only one in three job seekers think employers and recruiters make online job applications suitably accessible for disabled people. Only 26% of jobseekers think employers and recruiters make online job applications suitably accessible for people who speak English as a second language. Why Should Employers Provide an Inclusive Candidate Journey? The key for employers is to alter their perceptions and the way they think about disability, and make positive changes to the way they attract, recruit, develop, and retain disabled employees. Many companies shy away from web accessibility and inclusion factors as they perceive them as being complex, expensive, or simply too difficult to workaround. However, this is a misperception, as the average cost of making an accommodation for a disabled employee is relatively low and data shows that employees with disabilities take less time off and tend to stay with companies for longer. Other key advantages include: Drawing from the widest pool of talent available. Discovering new skill sets - neurodiverse employees are often creative thinkers and strategic problem solvers. Acquiring high-quality staff who are skilled, hardworking, loyal, and highly motivated. Improving innovation thanks to the wider perspective gained by having a more diverse team. Creating equal opportunities that make everyone feel included. Demonstrating fairness in the workplace. Improving staff morale. Showing customers and other businesses that you are committed to equality in the workplace. Increasing revenue and profits - there is growing evidence of links between improved inclusion and financial success. Did you know... During 2021, Recite Me witnessed a surge in recruitment companies and in-house talent teams using our assistive technology to create inclusive candidate journeys. Across our career and recruitment clients specifically, our data shows: A 150% increase in the use of our accessibility technology to customise application experiences in 2021. More than 488,942 web pages were viewed with Recite Me technology by people searching for their next careers in 2021. A Case Study: Morson Group Morson Group is a global technical recruiter that adopted Recite Me accessibility technology in 2019. The Morson team is confident that by educating their clients about accessibility and providing an inclusive candidate journey that they can improve the lives of their contractor base and their own employees. Everyone should have the opportunity to find their dream job. With our assistive toolbar installed on their site, Morson Group has dramatically increased their reach, enabling 27% more of the UK population to access their online content than before. In January 2021 almost 4,000 people utilised Recite Me web accessibility tools on the Morson Group website to help them with their job search. “Recite Me technology ensures every part of our recruitment process is accessible to everyone, from browsing to making an application. By employing Recite Me, we can ensure that every candidate gets an equal chance at developing their career by being able to access the same opportunities to gain and maintain employment.” Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing A Case Study: SNC Lavalin With over 50,000 employees spread across operations and offices around the globe, SNC Lavalin is a world leader in consultancy and project management in a range of industries. The brand is well known for its diversity policies and active approach to thinking and working differently. So their recruitment team is always looking for people who experience the world in different ways. “Recite Me goes to the very heart of our values. It's helping us build a diverse, inclusive environment where we respect, understand and value different people – starting with how we recruit them.” Victoria Jones, Head of Recruitment Useful Links for Recruiters and Job Seekers There are some great companies out there who specialise in creating awareness and removing barriers to help disabled applicants into work: RIDI – a non-profit initiative with a goal to create disability confident recruiters and help reduce the UK disability employment gap. Inclusive Employers - the UK's first and leading membership organisation that supports businesses trying to develop more inclusive practices within the workplace. Recite Me are proud to list Inclusive Employers as one of our clients. Verdica – A recruitment agency specializing in diversity and inclusion, offering services to “Find a job with an employer who ‘gets’ YOU.” Accessibility Versus Inclusion Or to put in another way, equality versus equity. Forbes Magazine highlighted a good example of this in their article about equity and accessibility in the workplace, where it was explained that equality would be giving everyone a house to live in, whereas equity would be giving people in tropical climates extra cooling systems and mosquito screens, and those in colder climates better insulation and heating. The same principle applies to web accessibility. Complying with accessibility guidelines and adopting an accessible website build are great steps forward. But compliance alone does not enable users to create a fully customisable experience that works for every individual. "What makes a website truly inclusive is giving people as many choices as possible so they can modify their own view and consume the information in a way that is personalised and tailored to their individual needs. It is in this area of advocating web accessibility, but also promoting digital inclusion at a much higher level, in which Recite Me sits. to put it simply, accessibility + usability = inclusion” Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder & CEO How does Web Accessibility Technology Work? Recite Me’s assistive toolbar supports a diverse range of applicants, recruiters, and staff in the workplace by providing a variety of tools that allow users to create a fully customisable experience. Our accessibility features can either be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Utilise the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Use the ruler tool to make reading easier. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Convert page content into over 100 different on-screen languages. Have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages. Customise PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated. Over 3500 organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities. To find out more or to book a demo please contact the team today.

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Public Sector Online Accessibility Guide

03 Mar 2022 | download

The end of the financial year is fast approaching. Come March 31st, all public sector companies will be rolling out their budgets and development plans for the rest of 2022 and into 2023, and web accessibility provisions should absolutely be part of that. With more and more people relying upon online information, those in the public sector are under increasing pressure to keep their users updated with all of the relevant information and news. Download our guide to find out why digital barriers are a problem, why digital inclusion is vital in the public sector and how Recite Me assistive technology can help. If your organisation isn’t already taking steps to make your products and services inclusive, it’s time to start. Together, we can make a difference and provide everyone with equal access to vital information online.

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Why is Inclusive Recruitment Important?

01 Mar 2022 | news

Researching a new career or applying for a job online may not be an easy task for everyone, as modern recruitment processes rely so heavily on digital technology. Many of the 61 million people in the United States who have a disability often encounter obstacles online when applying for jobs. Website accessibility and inclusion factors have never been more important in the careers and employment sector, as job searches and recruitment drives are increasingly taking place online. “Accessibility is often forgotten about when speaking about diversity and inclusion, but it is the missing link. You can have the most diverse workforce…but if anyone experiences barriers to access then you haven’t ensured inclusion for all.” Michael Bach, in his book, Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right What is Inclusive Recruitment? Inclusive recruitment covers the entire candidate experience from discovery and attraction right through to application, onboarding and beyond. It is the process of being able to offer a barrier-free experience where everyone is able to embrace and fulfill the full recruitment journey on a level playing field. It is worth noting that diversity and inclusion are not the same thing and improving one will not automatically solve problems with the other. What Sort of Barriers do Applicants Face Online? Typically, when recruiters and employers think of accessibility, they consider only the physical access needs of disabled candidates and employees. This is a short-sighted view, as in addition to physical access barriers, there are a many other disabilities and conditions that need to be accommodated in the nonphysical world. Examples include: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Epilepsy Another barrier for people viewing content online can be language, specifically if they speak English as a second language, or not at all. Candidates and employees who struggle with any of the above have a much harder time finding and staying in employment, as the information on websites is not as easy for them to access, read, understand, or act upon. Did you know…? Only 51% of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Nearly 40% of disabled applicants feel insecure about getting hired as they believe employers will disregard their application based on their impairment or condition. On average, disabled people apply for 60% more jobs before finding one. Only one in three job seekers think employers and recruiters make online job applications suitably accessible for disabled people. Only 26% of jobseekers think employers and recruiters make online job applications suitably accessible for people who speak English as a second language. Why Should Employers Provide an Inclusive Candidate Journey? The key for employers is to alter their perceptions and the way they think about disability, and to make positive changes to the way they attract, recruit, develop, and retain disabled employees. Many companies shy away from web accessibility and inclusion factors as they perceive them as being complex, expensive, or simply too difficult to workaround. However, this is a misconception, as the average cost of making an accommodation for a disabled employee is relatively low, and data shows that employees with disabilities take less time off and tend to stay with companies longer. Other key advantages include: Drawing from the widest pool of talent available. Discovering new skill sets - neurodiverse employees are often creative thinkers and strategic problem solvers. Acquiring high-quality staff who are skilled, hardworking, loyal, and highly motivated. Improving innovation thanks to the wider perspective gained by having a more diverse team. Creating equal opportunities that make everyone feel included. Demonstrating fairness in the workplace. Improving staff morale. Showing customers and other businesses that you are committed to equality in the workplace. Increasing revenue and profits - there is growing evidence of links between improved inclusion and financial success. Did you know... Throughout 2021, Recite Me witnessed a surge in recruitment companies and in-house talent teams using our assistive technology to create inclusive candidate journeys. Across our career and recruitment clients specifically, our data shows: A 150% increase in the use of our accessibility technology to customize application experiences in 2021. More than 488,942 web pages were viewed with Recite Me technology by people searching for their next careers in 2021. A Case Study: Morson Group Morson Group is a global technical recruiter that adopted Recite Me accessibility technology in 2019. The Morson team is confident that by educating their clients about accessibility and providing an inclusive candidate journey they can improve the lives of their contractor base and their own employees. Everyone should have the opportunity to find their dream job. With our assistive toolbar installed on their site, Morson Group has dramatically increased its reach. In January 202, nearly 4,000 people utilized Recite Me web accessibility tools on the Morson Group website to help them with their job search. “Recite Me technology ensures every part of our recruitment process is accessible to everyone, from browsing to making an application. By employing Recite Me, we can ensure that every candidate gets an equal chance at developing their career by being able to access the same opportunities to gain and maintain employment.” Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing A Case Study: SNC Lavalin With over 50,000 employees spread across operations and offices around the globe, SNC Lavalin is a world leader in consultancy and project management in a range of industries. The brand is well known for its diversity policies and active approach to thinking and working differently. So their recruitment team is always looking for people who experience the world in different ways. “Recite Me goes to the very heart of our values. It's helping us build a diverse, inclusive environment where we respect, understand and value different people – starting with how we recruit them.” Victoria Jones, Head of Recruitment Accessibility Versus Inclusion Or to put it another way, equality versus equity. Forbes Magazine highlighted a good example of this in their article about equity and accessibility in the workplace, where it was explained that equality would be giving everyone a house to live in, whereas equity would be giving people in tropical climates extra cooling systems and mosquito screens, and those in colder climates better insulation and heating. The same principle applies to web accessibility. Complying with accessibility guidelines and adopting an accessible website build are great steps forward. But compliance alone does not enable users to create a fully customizable experience that works for every individual. "What makes a website truly inclusive is giving people as many choices as possible so they can modify their own view and consume the information in a way that is personalized and tailored to their individual needs. It is in this area of advocating web accessibility, but also promoting digital inclusion at a much higher level, in which Recite Me sits. to put it simply, accessibility + usability = inclusion” Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder & CEO How does Web Accessibility Technology Work? Recite Me’s assistive toolbar supports a diverse range of applicants, recruiters, and staff in the workplace by providing a variety of tools that allow users to create a fully customizable experience. Our accessibility features can either be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use. Users can: Personalize font size, type, and color options to make each web page easier to read. Utilize the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Use the ruler tool to make reading easier. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Convert page content into over 100 different on-screen languages. Have the page read aloud in a choice of 65 different languages. Customize PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated. Over 3,900 organizations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities. To find out more or to book a demo please contact the team today.

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Discussing Inclusive Shopping with Boots.com E-Commerce Director, Paula Bobbett

28 Feb 2022 | news

As boots.com launch Recite Me accessibility and language support across their online store, it is the perfect opportunity to sit down with the Director of e-commerce at Boots.com Paula Bobbett, to discuss the direction and commitment Boots are taking on D&I and how they support their diverse range of customers and website visitors. What is your D&I mission for this year and beyond? Our business vision is for DE&I to be at the centre of everything we do. So that means applying a DE&I lens to all our initiatives and activity eg launching new a product, a marketing initiative, how we engage with our suppliers and customers or the culture we create for our own team members. What are you doing across your digital landscape to be inclusive? We know that shopping online or in-store isn’t as easy as it should be for everyone. Hence why we’ve launched Recite Me to make it easier for people to navigate our site in the way that works best for them. We have also worked on a Boots best practice guide for our suppliers to ensure they also have this front of mind. Can you share some D&I best practice examples Boots have implemented to support customers? Boots is the Purple Tuesday Health and Beauty Sector Sponsor and as such customer inclusion is high on our priority list. We are taking a holistic approach to supporting disabled customers and patients both from a physical accessibility perspective and an inclusive customer service perspective. We regularly update our customer service training and last year we included some foundational learning on unconscious bias and how, if unchecked, our assumptions can sometimes affect customer interactions and ultimately the service we provide. We also introduced the hidden disabilities sunflower scheme in all of our stores and provided our team members with associated training to help them understand more about some of the challenges our customers, patients and colleagues with hidden disabilities might be living with, as well as making some practical suggestions about how to meet their needs even better. We have team members who are trained to provide help and support to customer with cancer. Our Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists are pharmacists who’ve had extra training, developed by Macmillan and Boots, to support people affected by cancer. Their extra training helps them to understand the needs of customers / patients with cancer and provide information about medication as well as just being someone just to talk to. We also have Boots No7 Macmillan Beauty Advisors in our stores who understand the impact side effects of cancer treatment can have on how customers with cancer feel about themselves. They provide support and free beauty advice to help customers feel empowered and equipped to overcome some of the visible side effects of cancer treatment if they want to. Concluding message you would like people to take away We hope that Boots is for everyone, no matter who our customers are or the way they chose to shop. By partnering with Recite Me we are aiming to support our ambition to make Boots accessible to all.

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The Complete Guide to Website Accessibility in 2022

22 Feb 2022 | download

As we enter 2022, it’s becoming increasingly evident that online accessibility and inclusion factors are far from a passing fad. If your organisation isn’t already taking steps to make your products and services inclusive, it’s time to start. But, who needs help accessing online information? What are some of the specific trends to be aware of? And how does a business go about making its online services inclusive? Download our guide to find out.

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Accessibility Online & Gen Z: Why Making Your Website Accessible Matters

18 Feb 2022 | news

Being accessible online is vital in creating cohesion between you and your customer. The internet and its online space may be the only form of interaction with your audience and it’s crucial that everyone has an equally brilliant user experience - regardless of the language they speak or any disabilities they might have. Focusing on Generation Z (Gen Z) in particular, this consumer base is massively shaping the future of the economic world, and in this they’ll be the first to point out when a brand isn’t being authentic. According to research carried out by Campaign (2022) the key digital takeaway for 2022 is that those companies that marry purpose and authentic values with ease and accessibility (and ideally inspiration) will continue to thrive. It’s 2022. If you’re not providing accessible features such as Recite Me, then you bet someone else is. This could be the ultimate decision for a consumer, between choosing you, or a competitor. Take a leaf out of our book and make these quick and simple changes to improve your business now and listen to your target audience! What Is Accessibility And Why Do We Need It? When we break down the meaning of ‘Accessibility’, we focus on the website tools available to create a universal online space. Long gone are the days where face-to-face interaction was a brands’ only form of purchase, the internet has brought another dimension into the customer journey and it’s important that brands adapt. As we move forward to becoming an inclusive society, we recognise the importance of everyone having equal access to website content. Every user who roams the internet deserves to have customisable touchpoints to enhance their user experience, and by using a web accessibility tool, this can be achieved. Businesses need to view accessibility online software as a human necessity rather than an added extra. It’s a means of providing equal online access for anyone around the world - so who exactly does it help? Disabilities And Accessibility Did you know that at least 15% of the world’s population have a recognised disability? In figures, that’s over one billion people, and accessing the internet is one of the many barriers they face during their day-to-day lives. Those who are most susceptible to these barriers are people who struggle with: Decreased vision Learning difficulties Literacy Language/linguistic problems Attention disorders Physical disabilities By not meeting their needs as a company and providing the assisted technology they need, you’re failing to provide inclusivity and are isolating people with disabilities. It’s also worth mentioning that this is something Gen Z will not take lightly. Who Are Generation Z? According to Student Voices, Gen Z can be defined as the group of individuals born after 1995, however this date varies from source to source. To generalise for these purposes, it is the individuals who were born in the late 1990s and early 2010s. They’re the first generation to not know a life without the internet which has led to them being extremely tech-savvy. When it comes to trends, Gen Z expects a lot from brands digitally, with 43% demanding an online experience that is easy to navigate and 36% needing a seamless checkout with multiple payment options. They find it difficult to be loyal to companies who aren’t authentic and are moving towards a feeling of inclusivity and cultural identity. Aligning these expectations together, you can start to paint a picture of what your brand needs to do in order to unlock the trust of Gen Z’ers. Our Success Story With Recite Me For a bit of background information, Homes For Students is one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. Offering over 32,000 beds and counting, we are growing at an exponential rate, and our online presence has been pivotal in this advancement. Our target demographic is, in summary, potential and returning students looking to book a place to stay near their university of choice, with the majority making up Gen Z. We installed Recite Me on the Homes For Students in April 2021, and have not looked back since. This versatile toolbar has given us a world of possibilities, all within one webpage, and allows us to reach web users we may not have been able to before. At a touch of a button, the Recite Me service can be launched, providing a text to speech function, fully customisable styling features, reading support aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. How Has This Benefited Us? There are so many ways that using Recite Me has benefitted us as a company. Here are a few below: Within our market, the ability to change the language feature has allowed us to reach those whose native language might not be English, e.g., international students and parents. Most website content on our platform is text based and Recite Me allows those who may struggle sight or reading to have the information read out loud to them. The colour wheel feature gives students with colour blindness an opportunity to change the theme to suit their preferences. We have been able to connect with a larger percentage of our target demographic, offering accessible ways for students to digest information and aid the booking process. Has allowed us to demonstrate our stance on diversity and inclusion, showing how we’re making changes to do better for the wider good. From an employee perspective, it has improved the quality of working for us by giving the ability to switch content to their preferred language and adjust font and style to help make their job easier. In summary, installing and setting up Recite Me has been a huge achievement for us at Homes For Students. It’s been a milestone in our journey as it has physically allowed us to synergise our values with our website

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Boots is the first UK retailer to provide an inclusive online shopping experience with Recite Me

17 Feb 2022 | news

Boots has launched a suite of digital accessibility and language tools on boots.com to help those customers that struggle to shop online. More than 13 million people in the UK experience barriers when shopping online, and this new technology with allow those customers to create a customisable and inclusive shopping experience, making it easier for them to navigate around the website. Boots is the first retailer in the UK to offer the Recite Me technology on its online store, making it more accessible for the 37 million monthly visitors to boots.com. For customers who have visual impairment for example, the new tools can change the font size, isolate sentences and swap the colour of the page to make it easier for those customers to read. The Recite Me assistive toolbar also includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 texts-to-speech. These features give control to website visitors to manage how they view and interact with content to suit their individual needs. Paula Bobbett, Director of E-Commerce at Boots UK said: “We are delighted to be launching this market-first technology to boots.com, helping customers to customise the site to suit their own needs. The launch of the Recite Me accessibility tools help those customers who find it more challenging to shop online to browse, shop and manage their accounts hassle free.” To explore the accessibility support Boots now provides check out boots.com and click the Accessibility Toolbar option at the top of the homepage.

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Rugby League World Cup 2021 Provides Accessibility Support Online

14 Feb 2022 | news

Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) now provides an inclusive online experience to support over 1.7 million fans to book tickets and understand online content barrier-free. The ninth edition Rugby League World Cup is due to take place in New Zealand in 2022 and is the first tournament to be held in the southern hemisphere. RLWC2021 will be a breakthrough moment in the tournament’s history with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being staged together for the first time later this year in England. To support diversity and inclusion, visitors to the RLWC2021 website are now able to access a wide range of accessibility and language support tools to customise their digital experience with Recite Me assistive technology. Providing an inclusive experience is essential to support over 20% of the population who may encounter online barriers due to having a disability, learning difficulty, visual impairment, or if they speak English as a second language. The Recite Me assistive toolbar on the RLWC2021 website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options and on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 texts to speech and styling options. Upneet Thandi, Head of Marketing at RLWC2021, commented, “Accessibility and inclusivity are extremely important to us as an organisation and we are committed to ensuring all customers can access information and services in a way that best meets their individual needs. “Diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of our values as a tournament, so we are incredibly proud to be able to provide Recite Me’s innovative assistive technology across our website.” RLWC2021 is committed to making an entire experience for customers enjoyable and accessible with assistive technology. Supporting those who find the digital world an incredibly intimidating place is at the top of their agenda to ensure users are equipped with the tools needed to adequately understand or communicate. Ross Linnett Recite Me’s Founder and CEO commented, “It is important to provide an inclusive online experience, where everyone can use our digital world in a way in which best suits their needs. As more organisations provide accessibility tools online, those who face online barriers can access information and services hassle-free. The digital world must be accessible for all.” To explore accessibility support, go to the RLWC2021 website, and click Access at the top of the website.

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QA Higher Education Drives Digital Inclusion with Smart Technology

10 Feb 2022 | news

As National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, we are celebrating alongside some of our amazing apprenticeship clients on the positive impact they bring to employers, individuals, and the economy. QA Higher Education (QAHE) provides learning solutions and the right skills for tomorrow’s challenges, driving the digital revolution. The private UK higher education provider works in partnership with universities, colleges, and education specialists to recruit, market and deliver a range of programmes from foundation level to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. QAHE and its partners have more than 10,000 students studying from over 100 courses, across 9 teaching locations in the UK. Diversity has always been a central focus for QAHE, and the digital developments are pivotal in ensuring educational resources and courses are available to all audiences. Online accessibility tools are sophisticated and necessary to open digital resources in an inclusive way. 2020 brought unprecedented challenges, from lockdowns to isolation and remote studying and working, forcing us all to develop new routines and workarounds to the ways we were accustomed to carrying out our everyday tasks. Students were forced to transition to online learning, almost overnight and educational institutions needed to move quickly to address their learners' needs. At its heart, QAHE is championing education for the digital revolution to equip students with the potential to thrive in their chosen careers by powering their potential. Recognising that not everyone learns or comprehends information in the same way, QAHE has removed online barriers to ensure everyone is supported online including people with disabilities, learning difficulties and visual impairments using customisable assistive technology. QAHE Website Manager, Estelle Marasigan, explains why accessibility is so important: “QA Higher Education prides ourselves on being a company that goes the extra mile to offer our audiences the highest quality of service, communication and educational resources. Introducing Recite Me’s assistive technology on our website to help make our online experience inclusive and equal to all of our audiences is central to our mission as an educational provider and part of our ethos. Recite Me functionality enables everyone to customise their web page in a way that works best for them.” The Recite Me assistive toolbar on QA Higher Education website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options and more to support our diverse range of visitors. You can explore the customisable toolbar on the QA Higher Education website by selecting the Accessibility button at the top of the page. For more information on how you can provide inclusive remote learning, book a demo with a member of our friendly team.

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Combining Equality of Access with Digital Accessibility

09 Feb 2022 | news

Aligning the physical accessibility of homes and public spaces to digital accessibility is a key focus for housing organisation, Get Living, who create places where people live, work and play, and feel part of diverse and inclusive communities. Providing 3,000 homes to rent across London and Manchester, Get Living are leading the way to inclusive housing. The journey of ensuring people can find accessible places to live starts online. So, to support customers who experience digital barriers, Get Living uses Recite Me assistive technology. The toolbar features which include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, and customisable styling options., can be used to support those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, as well as a language tool for over 100 languages. Steven Osei, Head of Brand Experience at Get Living, commented, “We create places where people can call home and belong to real communities. “Since taking over the Athletes’ Village for the London Olympics and Paralympic Games, we’ve continued to design and build our homes, communal areas, and public realms with accessibility at the fore. Creating places where people feel welcome and safe is key to helping communities within our neighbourhoods feel as inclusive as possible. “Not only must our physical spaces feel accessible and inclusive, but also our digital spaces. The Recite Me accessibility toolbar removes many of the barriers that those who are neurodivergent or visually impaired come across when navigating online. Launching the toolbar on our website is our first step towards ensuring an enhanced accessible digital experience across our key touchpoints.” Assistive technology supports the 1 in 5 people in the UK with a disability by enabling access to online information in a way that best suits a user. To access your selection of assistive tools on the Get Living website select the Accessibility icon located in the top right on desktop and in the menu on mobile. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience book a demo with a member of our friendly team.

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2021 Accessibility Report

07 Feb 2022 | download

It will come as no surprise that internet use continued to skyrocket throughout 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a sharp shift towards online commerce and communication. This has considerably helped to increase the focus on accessibility and inclusion, it has changed from something that should be done to something that must be done. To bridge the gap between accessibility and inclusion many organisations now offer assistive technology to enable visitors to customise their online experience. In 2021 Recite Me saw toolbar users increase by 90% to over 3.4 million people being supported online. This report will examine our data from 2021 and will be broken down by sector to identify trends from over the past year.

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What People Really Say About Assistive Technology

03 Feb 2022 | news

The digital world is an integral part of today’s society, and approximately 59% of the global population are active internet users. That’s a massive 4.66 billion people! But what about people who can’t use the internet due to access barriers? Assistive technology enables people to access resources, information, and advice online allowing them to live more independent, productive, and healthy lives. But there’s a problem… The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that only 10% of people have access to the assistive technology they need. Although this is a disappointing statistic, the popularity of web accessibility tools is on the increase, and savvy companies are quickly realising that assistive technology is a must to ensure continued success. Why Assistive Technology Is Becoming So Popular Organisations that provide options to customise experiences on their websites offer support to individuals who are most susceptible to disadvantages online. This includes those who struggle with literacy, learning difficulties, decreased vision, attention disorders, physical disabilities, and language/linguistic problems. Welcoming people with varied disabilities and access needs is the right thing to do. But recently, many businesses have become aware of the additional benefits of improving their website accessibility ratings: Increased revenue – The disability market is huge. Current data suggests that at least 15% of the global population are living with some sort of disability that can inhibit website accessibility. Better branding – Demonstrating corporate social responsibility and community support is important, and more positive experiences on your website mean a better brand reputation and increased customer loyalty. Better SEO results – web accessibility factors are continually becoming more heavily weighted in search engine algorithms. Reduced legal risk - It is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. Why Choose Recite Me? Recite Me works with organisations around the world to provide assistive technology on websites. Our accessibility toolbar removes the struggle for individuals who would otherwise need to provide their own support to access content online. And it’s worth noting here, that individual assistive technology solutions are typically very expensive and do not offer the same level of usability or functionality that our toolbar does. The Recite Me assistive toolbar unlocks hassle-free access to online content by offering features such as translation, a screen reader, styling options, and a range of reading aids. These functions allow for multiple adjustments to suit a combination of needs and a range of individual or co-occurring conditions such as: Dyslexia Dyspraxia Dyscalculia Hyperlexia Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) Developmental Language Disorders Accounting for multiple and co-occurring disabilities is important as, for example, it is estimated that at least 60% of the neurodiverse community have more than one condition. “Research shows that those who struggle with reading often struggle with math, and vice versa. Dyslexia and Dyscalculia are different, but they often co-occur. Reading and math differences aren’t the only examples. Dyslexia and ADHD also often co-occur.” Amanda Morin, Author specialising in leadership, education, and development. User Feedback Recite Me now supports over 2500 websites in providing inclusive online journeys. Our assistive toolbar has been launched over 2 million times, and over 10 million web pages have been viewed using our accessibility technology. Our Clients We are proud to work with several leaders across a wide variety of industry sectors including education, e-commerce, finance, technology, utilities, healthcare, construction, leisure and entertainment, non-profit, sports, and transport. Over the years we’ve had some fantastic feedback: "I reviewed the Recite Me product. Just 15 minutes later I was convinced that it was a must for enabling accessibility on our website and on-line portals" (Mark Abrams, Chief Executive of Auriga Services Ltd). "With the Recite Me toolbar available on our website, the entire online experience is more accessible and personal for every visitor" (Chris Stafford, Chief Executive, Curve Theatre). "Recite Me is an excellent way for us to be able to provide additional online tools and services for those visiting our website and increase the level of accessibility quickly and easily" (Mark Harrison, Head of Inclusion, University of London). "It is important that we have tools like this, that reflect the diversity of our fan base, ensuring that everybody can connect with our Club easily and in a way that suits their individual needs" (Rachael Lomax, Access Advisor, Everton Football Club). Industry Experts Professor Amanda Kirby is the CEO of Do-IT Solutions Ltd, a company specialising in increasing awareness and helping neurodiverse candidates into employment. “It is easy for me to talk about Recite Me as we think it is brilliant when wanting to engage as wide an audience as possible. It is really easy to operate and provides everyone with a unique set of accessibility features and personalised choices. " Daniel Cobb is an advocate for disability inclusion and has dyspraxia. He used the Recite Me toolbar when he came across challenges trying to search and apply for his dream job online. “The process of job hunting is mentally very draining for most job hunters but being dyspraxic makes it significantly worse. To be able to use the accessibility tools on the website ensures I can process the information with greater efficiency and therefore reduce the visual fatigue I experience from using websites.” Individual Users A focus group of Recite Me users brought together by the UK’s leading disability charity performed some testing on our toolbar. All participants previously encountered obstacles when accessing content online. When using the toolbar, the focus group were in agreement that they would use the tool again and that they’d be more likely to use a website again if they knew that their accessibility needs were accommodated. Here are some of the user comments and feedback… “It doesn’t strain or hurt my eyes when I read now.” “It’s remembered my settings across different sites, I really like this” “It shows that they’ve given accessibility some thought, and that goes a long way with me.” “Being able to change the background to black is a real bonus for me - I get dry eyes so this extends the amount of time I can stay online.” “If a place I’m planning to visit has an accessible website, I think they are more likely to be accessible when I get there.” Even outside of testing scenarios, we have received some fantastic feedback from individual users who have had access to the Recite Me toolbar through our client’s websites. “I have Autism and Dyslexia and found that when using the Council’s website, I can change the font to Dyslexia font and add a ruler to keep my place, which really helps me to understand the information I need to stay independent. I am happy that the council use Recite Me as it is very helpful.” Maria, a Sefton Council Resident Tracking the Positive Changes Recite Me is proud to be a Disability Confident Employer and has several employees within our team who can relate first hand to the benefits of our web accessibility technology. In line with our diversity and inclusion policies, more and more careers and recruitment organisations are now ensuring that they offer equal opportunities to all by making online applications accessible with the use of assistive technology. Since 2020 there has been a 150% increase in the number of career web pages being viewed by a diverse audience. The Benefits of Offering Web Accessibility Technology By now, we hope these are already clear. Happier customers, happier clients, happier employees, plus increased revenue, enhanced brand reputation, and better SEO optimisation. What’s not to love about all that? We’ve probably done enough self-promotion in this article already. But in addition to all of those benefits, we could also wax lyrical about our stats that show how including web accessibility in your business development strategy also: Improves employee satisfaction Increases productivity Reduces staff turnover Leads to more effective working strategies So… Is YOUR organisation ready to offer equal access to online content for all? The Recite Me toolbar is a cloud-based technology that can be installed on most websites in under an hour. Join the hundreds of companies who have already adopted our inclusive software by contacting our team for more information, or by booking a toolbar demonstration.

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How Would we Manage Today if we Could not Access a Website?

01 Feb 2022 | news

Today’s world is totally based around web access and since the onset of COVID this has become even more prevalent. Let’s take a moment to think how much of our daily lives involve looking at and interacting with a website: Researching a product or a topic Shopping Researching a company Applying for a job Ordering a takeout Surfing on social media Banking Paying a bill Claiming a government benefit Buying/Selling/Renting a House/Apartment Sending a gift/card/flowers Booking a holiday/travel/commuting Listening to music Installing new software…the list is endless, isn’t it? Now imagine that you are dyslexic*. What obstacles would you face to achieve what we have all come to take for granted as a part of everyday life. As a Neurodiversity Consultant for Creased Puddle and as a mother of a dyslexic child, I know only too well how this can disable a person who does not see themselves as disabled at all. However, they are disabled by an environment, which does not always make allowances for neurodivergent thinkers. Companies are constantly aiming to attract top talent. The millennial generation consciously look to work for organisations who take their neurodiversity pledges seriously and this includes the whole client/employee journey. The company website itself is the start of that journey. Reading volumes of block text on a screen, in a font and colour that is not dyslexia friendly can cause challenges with executive function*, stress and headaches for many neurodivergent thinkers, not only dyslexics. The clarity of the sentences used can cause difficulties for autistic people too. How often are large volumes of text on websites wordy and ambiguous. Competency Framework explanations come immediately to mind for me, using sentences such as, “you will be required to develop business relationships”. An autistic client once said to me, “How do I build a relationship with a business? It is not a person.” A much better explanation would have been…” you will be required to develop a network of contacts within the organisation…” So how can ND users get the most from their web experience? At Creased Puddle we use Recite Me Website Accessibility Software to ensure our message reaches everyone. Recite Me is a cloud-based assistive technology toolbar that allows website visitors to customise your content so that they can consume it in ways that work best for them. The unique toolbar provides users with screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. We have found that it not only provides flexibility for the neurodivergent user, but everyone can benefit, we’ve even used it on our training to show what tech can do. We want to encourage organisations to embed the principles of an inclusive neurodiversity strategy for future generations. The impact on clients and customers should not be undervalued or ignored. * “Dyslexia is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. It is about difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. ​Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills.” (British Dyslexia Association) * Executive Function includes processing speed, working memory, time management and planning and organisational skills. * “Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them”. (National Autistic Society) Remi Chappell – Neurodiversity Coach and Trainer, Creased Puddle Ltd

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Access for All at British Land

28 Jan 2022 | news

Leading UK property company, British Land is taking a responsible approach to reducing digital barriers by utilising online assistive technology. By thinking differently, British Land has unlocked the power of physical and digital innovations to change lives for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. Taking their commitment to diversity and inclusion further, British Land has created a customer advocacy group, ‘Access for All’ that encourages their customers to share their knowledge and ideas to help improve customer experience, with topics such as retail accessibility, what makes an accessible workplace, and digital accessibility. Last Wednesday, Recite Me had the pleasure of joining British Land at their quarterly ‘Access for All’ event, along with two other panellists, Darren Rowan, Global Program Manager and Accessibility Lead for Eli Lilly and Patricia McLoughlin, Director of Change Management at GSK. Ross Linnett joined the group to discuss digital accessibility and the effect assistive technology has on the e-commerce and recruitment industry. Statistics show that the online spending power of those with a disability and their families in the UK is £24.8 Billion. However, fewer than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access this disability market. British Land’s leadership in this space was recently recognised by the Business Disability Forum who awarded them a Disability Smart business accreditation. The accessibility tools on the British Land website enable users to customise their digital experience in a way that best suits them. Features include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Ginny Warr, Head of Procurement at British Land commented, “We started looking around for accessibility tools and the options that were available to meet British Land’s requirements. The Recite Me tool offered a cost effective, fast to implement solution. The key attraction of this solution was that we did not need to make significant investment in our existing web site and intranet platforms to implement this accessibility tool kit. Ginny concluded by saying ‘This is not about disability; this is about taking a responsible approach to making sure that all of our digital content is available to all our customers and employees. We believe that everyone should have equal access to these online resources – barrier free.” To access your selection of assistive tools on the British Land website select ‘Accessibility Tools’. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience book a demo with a member of our friendly team.

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Supporting All Customers During Storm Arwen

18 Jan 2022 | news

In November Storm Arwen created stress and panic as many people lost power and heat to their homes. In the days following people frantically tried their best to contact suppliers to resolve issues. For vulnerable customers, this event was even more difficult and extra support became paramount. On the 25th and 26th of November 2021, the UK Met Office issued what they described as a "rare red weather warning" as Storm Arwen ascended onto the UK. This forecast was of extreme winds, affecting thousands of homes and businesses. As people woke up on the morning of the 27th to catastrophic damage to their homes and lives, they rushed to their computers and phones to seek support from gas and electricity distributors. The distributors who provide Recite Me assistive technology across their websites collectively saw a 152% spike in usage over the same time period last year. The Recite me assistive toolbar provides people who have disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and people who may speak English as a second language, with an inclusive experience online, to view and engage with content in ways that work best for their individual needs. Across Northern Gas Networks, SGN, Cadent Gas, Wales and West Utilities, Northern Powergrid, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, and Electricity North West Limited (ENWL), toolbar usage data shows nearly 5,000 people needed the aid of assistive technology viewing over 20,000 website pages. This shows the amazing support value of providing customers with the extra tools they need to access vital information hassle-free. Jo Giles Customer Safeguarding Senior Manager at Cadent commented, “Accessibility is key on any day - but when it comes to those events that mean that up-to-date information allows people to make choices to keep themselves, their families and those that they care for, it is vital. Thanks to the ease of use, Recite Me not only provides a wealth of options to support accessibility it also has the function to remember users, meaning that it continues with previously selected preferences for future updates.” As storms continued across the UK with Storm Barra Recite Me toolbar usage spiked for a second time showing the need to help people online. Recite Me is proud to work alongside many utility organisations as the industry continues to support customers in vulnerable circumstances online and offline with inclusive strategies.

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