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Businesses are slowly becoming aware of the huge market that consumers with disabilities in the US represent and are starting to take steps to ensure that their online content is accessible. At present 70% of websites in the USA have critical accessibility issues and businesses with inaccessible websites are missing out on total a disposable income for US working-age persons with disabilities of $490 billion. Making businesses accessible online and in-person increases profits and brand attraction. Assistive technology is the ramp online that allows people to use websites in a way that works best for them. Web accessibility in the U.S. is covered by various federal laws including The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA requires businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities, including making websites accessible. Businesses that fall under ADA Title 1 or ADA Title 3 must have a website that gives ‘reasonable accessibility’ to people with disabilities. Under Title III, businesses that are classed as ‘public accommodation’, like hotels, banks, and public transport providers, are also required to make both physical and digital accommodations. To make your website and other digital content accessible it’s essential to understand the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. The guidelines are produced by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web, and define how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. To take full advantage of a WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) compliant website companies need to provide assistive technology to make those websites usable in the way that it was intended for all. Recite Me is a cloud-based web accessibility assistive toolbar solution that allows website visitors to customize a site in a way that works best for them. Recite Me’s innovative assistive technology makes websites accessible and inclusive through a unique range of features. This easy to use, award-winning software includes 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. Being able to translate a website live, on-demand at a click of a button opens up US organizations to a wider multicultural audience. In 2019 Recite Me supported over 9 million website translations in over 100 languages. This innovative software benefits millions of people who currently miss out on online and mobile content; Recite works across all devices, giving everyone the opportunity to use the internet in the way that it is intended. In a further testament to Recite Me’s impact, Recite Me continue to rapidly grow throughout the US. Located in Washington DC puts Recite Me in the heart of the DC Metro area close to many tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon. Matt Cox, US Country Manager is leading the team to expand the company’s portfolio, supporting companies with their accessibility concerns and needs. Recite work closely with The United States Disability Chamber of Commerce, National Disability Rights Network, and many other Governmental organizations to support people online. Advising companies on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Thanks to WCAG, increasing strict law and assistive technology, the internet is slowly starting to become a more accessible place for people with disabilities, but all businesses need to be aware of the right thing to do, the smart thing to and the must thing to do, to support people and increase business growth.
Each New Year offers a new start. A fresh chance to think, plan then act based on our priorities. That’s why we make New Year’s Resolutions, both for our private and professional lives. For those who work in marketing and communications, deciding which parts of your organisation’s digital communications to focus on this year will likely be high on your agenda. Whether it’s ensuring your organisation’s website cybersecurity is up to scratch, or developing your digital user experience and conversion rate optimisation (CRO), digital is likely to dominate. This makes it the ideal time to put digital accessibility and inclusion at the top of your agenda in 2020. Because the evidence shows it’s a massive area of potential growth for private and public sector organisations in the UK. Too many inaccessible websites The Click-Away Pound Survey found that more than six million people with disabilities in the UK had difficulty using online shops and services in 2016. 71% of those people simply left a site that they found hard to use, which equates to 4.2 million lost customers. For 81% of this group, ease of use was more important than price. Overall, £11.75 billion was spent by consumers in 2016 on websites that were easier to use. The results of the Click-Away Pound Survey 2019 are due out any day. According to the authors of the study, early analysis shows little change in the accessibility of digital media. In the public sector, a web accessibility study in 2018 found that only 60% of UK local authority website home pages are accessible to people with disabilities. And, as we’ve previously blogged about, The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into force for UK public sector bodies in September 2018. The regulations set new website and mobile app accessibility standards that public sector bodies including local authorities, universities, NHS bodies and housing associations must follow. This means that these public sector bodies must now ensure all their new websites and apps follow the principles of the of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 accessibility Level AA They must also ensure existing websites (published before the regulations came into force in September 2018) must meet the new accessibility standards by 23 September 2020. Build it and they will come The demand for accessible and inclusive websites has never been greater. In the UK around one in five people have a disability and this number is rising because the UK has an aging population, and most disabilities are acquired as we grow older. Also, around one in ten people in the UK don’t speak English as their first language. This number is set to rise as net international migration will account for almost three-quarters of UK population growth over the next 25 years. This means you should think about accessibility and language as a top priority for your digital marketing and communications in 2020. Resolving to ensure your website is accessible and inclusive can drive new customers/users and new sales, increase customer loyalty and improve your organisation’s reputation. It’s a massive opportunity for private and public sector organisations in 2020. 1000’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for online visitors. To find out more or to book your free trial please contact the team.
2019 was not only an amazing year for Recite Me but also for the awareness and actions of supporting people online. Approximately one billion people globally have a disability and they can often face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites that prevent them from taking an active part in life. Companies from across all industries from around the world, are starting to come together to tackle digital inclusion head-on, with the support of Recite Me assistive technology. Recite Me’s innovative assistive technology makes websites accessible and inclusive through a unique range of features. This easy to use, award-winning software includes text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. Discover our 2019 highlights in numbers… Over 4.5m launches of the Recite Me toolbar – our assistive toolbar was used over 4.5 million times in total to help people access our clients’ web content. Over 21.5m accessibility toolbar features used – there is a broad range of different accessibility features in our assistive toolbar. They were used more than 21.5 million times this year. Over 9m website translations – the translation feature on our assistive toolbar was used to help our clients’ web visitors translate web content to a language of their choice over 9 million times. Nearly 10m pieces of content read aloud in 35 languages – thanks to the screen reader feature (aka text to speech) in our assistive toolbar, nearly 10 million pieces of web content have been read aloud to our clients’ website users. Over 1.4m styling customisations – the styling options on our assistive toolbar (such as the text and background colour contrast tool) have been used over 1.4 million times. 2,600 audio files downloaded – the option on our assistive toolbar to convert content into an MP3 audio file was used over 2500 times to help our clients’ website users. This helps people access and digest web content in a way that suits them best offline. Recite Me look forward to partnering with many more companies around the world in 2020 to enable everyone to use the internet in the way that it is intended. 1000’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for online visitors. To find out more or to book your free trial please contact the team.
Autism Plus was formed in 1986 by a group of passionate parents. Since then they have supported thousands of people on their journeys to more independence. Autism Plus support adults and young people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health conditions and complex needs.
EqualEngineers was founded by Dr Mark McBride-Wright with the aim of making the UK’s engineering and technology sectors more diverse and inclusive of all people. As traditionally white, middle class, male dominated sectors, EqualEngineers believe that the inclusion of under-represented groups not only bring benefits for businesses but dramatically improves health, safety and wellbeing for its employees. The organisation works alongside the sectors to achieve this through training, recruitment, media campaigns and events.
Kent Union was established in 1965 and is the voice of all students who study at the University of Kent. They represent all 20,000 students to help them have the best student experience. As a registered charity all donations are reinvested which helps fund all the services, they offer including their Advice Centre and Job Shop.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) is an acute teaching hospital working across two main sites, Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. BSUH provide district general hospital services to people in and around the Brighton and Hove, Mid Sussex and the western part of East Sussex and more specialised and tertiary services for patients across Sussex and the south east of England.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document declaring the unchallengeable rights that everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. We now live in a world that has become increasingly digital-first – access to digital devices and the internet is a key requirement in almost every part of our lives, everywhere we go. For example, if you need to pay your taxes, you need to go online to do so; if you want to register to vote, check a train time table, or buy gifts this Christmas, you often need to be able to access the internet. Internet access is a human right UHDR reminds us that access to the internet is a human right according to the UN. And the idea that everyone should be able to access the web, regardless of any personal circumstances, like having a disability, is not something new. When Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the web, he believed that it could help to empower all members of society and democratise media by making information accessible to everyone, everywhere. “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect…The Web 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 on the Web because the Web removes barriers to communication and interaction that many people face in the physical world. “However, when web sites, applications, technologies, or tools are badly designed, they can create barriers that exclude people from using the Web,” said Sir Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. Using Tech for Good to increase internet access Recite Me is proud to sponsor the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards and we also donate the Recite Me assistive toolbar to the awards website free of charge. To celebrates Human Rights, we think it’s a great moment to look at some of the Tech4Good Award winners, and how they are helping other people to access the internet to transform lives. Jangala, which won the 2019 Tech4Good for Africa Award, was developed as an internet solution to help refugees living in the Jungle refugee camp in Calais. Since this first implementation, it has developed into a social enterprise to connect the most vulnerable in the world in order to reduce isolation, promote human rights, deliver education and improve life chances. Praekelt.org, which won the 2017 Tech4Good for Africa Award, designs and develops mobile technologies to deliver essential information and vital services to more than 100 million people in over 60 countries. Over 1.3 million South African mothers are currently registered on a mobile platform it created called MomConnect, which is designed to share health information with expectant and new mothers to stop mothers and babies dying needlessly. Chatterbox, which won the 2017 Community Impact Award, is an online and in-person language tutoring service, delivered and developed by refugees. It brings together refugee talent with people and organisations who need people with excellent language skills. Ultimately, each of the Tech4Good Award winners above highlights how internet access is about humanity and how using the internet to access information, goods, and services can transform people’s lives. They are part of efforts across the globe to make a more inclusive and connected world, which Recite Me is proud to be part of. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for website visitors. To find out more or to book your free trial please contact the team.
To support people from all over the world and people with different disabilities London City Airport implements Recite Me assistive technology on their website with the aim of revolutionising the way passengers can read and understand content online. Currently, one billion people, about 15% of the world's population, have some form of disability and this number is increasing rapidly. It is also estimated that 21.5% of the global population will be aged over 65 by 2050 making travel accessibility a serious priority. A report published by travel technology company AMADEUS entitled ‘Voyage of Discovery’ highlights the inaccessibility of information via websites as a major barrier for people with disabilities who want to travel. This study found that nearly half (49%) of people with disabilities surveyed booked transport and accommodation at the same time online. Nearly one quarter (24%) of travellers surveyed reported that they had problems searching/ shopping/ booking travel and accommodation online during their last trip due to inaccessible websites. The importance of online accessibility is greater than ever. Effective online communication is critical and being able to provide personalised assistance online gives everyone the ability to research and book holidays and travel arrangements in a way that works for them. London City Airport is leading the way in the UK travel industry by making information and services on its websites accessible with assistive technology. The Recite Me’s assistive toolbar sits at the top of the London City Airport website which lets travellers with a wide range of disabilities and impairments, from dyslexia to sight loss and colour blindness, to easily access their content. Recite Me works across all mobile and desktop devices to enable support through a traveller’s full journey. Dorota Zielinska, Digital Marketing Manager, London City Airport said, “We’re always looking to improve the visitor experience at London City Airport, whether at our airport or on our website. Recite Me allows us to provide all of our visitors with the same amazing service on the website as they would in person” The accessibility assistive toolbar text provides a wide range of customisable features such as text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for website visitors. To find out more or to book your free trial please contact the team.
London City Airport opened its doors in 1987 with the aim of giving passengers quick access to the financial district int the city. Charles, Prince of Wales laying the foundation stone of the terminal building, on 2 May 1986 and in November 1987 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened London City Airport.
Ross Linnett, Founder and CEO of Recite Me, looks at what public sector bodies must do in 2020 to comply with the UK’s web accessibility laws. Why is website accessibility so important? Here in the UK one in five people have a disability and this figure is rising because the UK has an ageing population and most disabilities are acquired with age – the older we get the more likely we are to develop a disability. However, research shows that too many public sector websites don’t meet accessibility standards and are inaccessible for people with disabilities. For instance, a study published earlier this year found that 40% of local authority websites’ home pages weren’t accessible to people with disabilities. Understanding WCAG 2.1 The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into force for UK public sector bodies in September 2018. The regulations set new website and mobile app accessibility standards that public sector bodies including local authorities, universities, NHS bodies and housing associations must follow. In order to comply with the first deadline in the regulations, new public sector websites (published on or after the regulations came into force in September 2018) needed to follow the principles of World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 accessibility Level AA by 23 September 2019. The Web Content Accessibility guidelines and success criteria are organised around four principles that form the bedrock for anyone to access and use web content. The four principles are: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. WCAG 2.1 also includes 13 guidelines that form the basic goals web designers and content creators should work toward to make content more accessible to users with different disabilities. Testable success criteria are provided for each of the 13 guidelines to allow WCAG 2.1 to be used where requirements and conformance testing are necessary such as in design specification and regulations. In order to meet the needs of different groups and different situations, there are three levels of conformance: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). For each of the guidelines and success criteria in WCAG 2.1, there are a variety of informative techniques that fall in two categories: those that are sufficient techniques for meeting the success criteria and those that are advisory techniques. How to comply with public sector accessibility laws in 2020 The government recommends that you ensure your website or mobile app meets accessibility standards by making sure your design team or external agency responsible for your website and/or mobile app understands WCAG 2.1. It also recommends ensuring the content is accessible and running basic accessibility tests before publishing any new website or app. The next deadlines of the new UK public sector accessibility laws state that existing websites (published before the regulations came into force in September 2018) must meet the new accessibility standards by 23 September 2020. Every existing website must also publish an accessibility statement by 23 September 2020. However, you may not need to meet the standards for the entire website if it would be a disproportionate burden to your organisation. Also, there are some types of website content and websites that are exempt from the new regulations. The government recommends that: You should act now to ensure any new content you publish is accessible You should create a plan to meet the standards by the deadline that includes identifying anything that will be disproportionate to fix If you’re unsure sure what would be a disproportionate burden for your organisation, you should talk to your legal adviser For websites, you should publish an accessibility statement as an HTML page and ensure the statement is linked to from a prominent place like the website footer. For mobile apps, you should make the statement available to users where and when they download the app. Your accessibility statement must say: Which parts of your website and online service don’t meet accessibility standards, and why they don’t How people with access needs can get alternative, accessible formats of any of your web content that isn’t accessible How to contact your organisation to report accessibility problems The new regulations also require your organisation to respond to requests for information in an alternative, accessible format within a reasonable amount of time. Key points to make websites and apps accessible There are a wide range of elements to consider to make your website and mobile app accessible by following the principles of the WCAG. Some of the key points include using alt text tags for all images and video, using high contrast between the text and background, and adding web accessibility software. You should also make documents (e.g. PDF’s Word documents) and online forms accessible, use web page headings correctly, and ensure people using screen-readers can easily navigate around your website. Ultimately, public sector bodies must act now to ensure their websites and apps comply with the requirements and deadlines set out in the new public sector accessibility regulations. If they don’t, not only will they face possible enforcement action from the Government, they will also run the risk of costly damage to their reputations.
Recite Me has partnered up with Danish company Dania software, a leading developer of innovative document accessibility and template software in Scandinavia. This partnership will strengthen the focus on improving accessibility from document creation on Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to hosting documents online. By offering dania software’s PDF and document accessibility software, accessibilityfixer, alongside Recite Me’s advanced Assistive Toolbar solution, public institutions and businesses can now take all necessary measures to fully comply with the WCAG standards and significantly improve online services for their users. Ross Linnett, MD and owner of Recite Me, says: “We see dania software’s unique accessibility tool as a good complement to our assistive software, which will greatly enhance our clients’ ability to ensure document accessibility and follow the requirements of WCAG”. Kim Erbo Christensen, Country Manager UK at dania software, comments: “Recite Me has extensive knowledge on web accessibility and has been a frontrunner in creating an easy-to-implement, intelligent toolkit, that makes it easy for everyone to increase accessibility on their websites. We look forward to bringing the obvious synergy benefits between our solutions to the clients” About dania software With more than 15 years of involvement in the digitalisation of the Danish public sector, dania software is an experienced supplier with unique insights into the inner workings of public organisations. With this knowledge, they are able to develop highly specialised tools to improve outbound communication and simplify work procedures in councils across the UK and Scandinavia. For more information, visit www.daniasoftware.com
The future of work is accessible. That’s the theme for the latest event by the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (aka RIDI). RIDI creates disability confident recruiters and helps remove the barriers faced by the millions of people with disabilities who are looking for work. Today’s RIDI event, which is being hosted by DWF in London, is entitled ‘The Future of Work is Accessible’, to coincide with International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD). It will involve sessions by speakers including Sarah Charlesworth, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, DWF, Sheri Hughes, UK Diversity and Inclusion Director, PageGroup, and Kate Headley, Director, The Clear Company & Chair of RIDI. This will be a great event and we are happy to spread the word about the work RIDI do as we continue to support RIDI by donating the Recite Me assistive toolbar for the RIDI website. It’s a digital world now This event by RIDI draws attention to the fact the digital transformation is sweeping through our society – and that includes in our workplaces. No matter what the task is these days, it seems there’s an app for that, the options are infinite. Relatively new web-based software such as service tools performs a huge range of tasks in modern workplaces. These range from an intranet system and instant messenger to software for mind mapping, project management, internal communications and operations, training and professional development. However, technology can be a great enabler, or a huge barrier, depending on how accessible it is. It can either be used to help people with disabilities to overcome barriers they may have otherwise faced in the workplace. Or it can stop people with disabilities from taking a fully active part in the workplace. Technology can either hinder or help accessibility The WebAIM Million study of one million website homepages found that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are the globally accepted guidelines to follow for web accessibility. The study also found that 85.3% of homepages (852,868) failed to comply with WCAG due to low contrast text, whilst 68% (679,964) of homepages failed to comply with WCAG due to missing alternative text for images. This means the homepages of these websites aren’t accessible for some people with disabilities, so imagine they need to access one or more these sites for work? Yes, that is a classic barrier. On the flipside, the Recite Me assistive toolbar can help make your website (or intranet site) accessible for people with a disability and translate your site’s content into over 100 different languages at the click of a button. This is great for ensuring existing staff who are disabled can use your website to do what they need to do at work, and it can also help you to ensure that any recruitment you do via your website is accessible for people with disabilities. To mark the RIDI event and IDPWD today, isn’t it time you thought about how to ensure all your organisation’s digital technology is accessible for people with disabilities? 100’s of organisations around the world already use Recite Me to help make their websites accessible for people with disabilities . To find out more contact the team or book a demo.
Today (3/12/2019) International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) is being celebrated across the world. IDPWD exists to help identify the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from taking a fully active part in society and to help everyone to work together to overcome them. According to Wade Lange, Managing Director of International Day of People with Disabilities, it’s not just a celebration, it’s an opportunity to plan for real change that helps people with disabilities to achieve their potential. He said: “International Day of People with Disabilities is more than just a day-long celebration. It is a platform to create strategies which support the employment of people with disability and to assist them to reach their social and economic potential.” IDPWD is a global campaign that takes a global approach to physical and digital inclusion because it’s a global issue. Too many inaccessible websites The scale of disability across the world can be surprising to some. But according to the World Health Organisation about 15% of the world's population has some form of disability. However, this global estimate for disability is rising due to population ageing, the rapid spread of chronic diseases, plus improvements in the methodologies used to measure disability. In fact, people with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the world, yet evidence shows that many people with disabilities still face digital exclusion. For instance, The WebAIM Million study of one million homepages found that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are the globally accepted guidelines to follow for web accessibility. The study also found that 85.3% of homepages (852,868) failed to comply with WCAG due to low contrast text, whilst 68% (679,964) of homepages failed to comply with WCAG due to missing alternative text for images. A global approach to digital inclusion Taking a global approach to digital inclusion reminds us that people with disabilities live and work right around the world, meaning that people have very different, language and accessibility requirements. Research by GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, highlights how mobile phone use in developing nations is crucial for helping people with disabilities to access digital communications and the internet. When you consider that 80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries, it also underlines the fact that global brands need global accessibility and language solutions to reach people with disabilities across the globe. The Recite Me assistive toolbar can help make your website accessible for people with a disability and translate your site’s content into over 100 different languages at the click of a button. The translation options make it ideal for people who don’t speak English as their first language, including those with disabilities. And because the cloud-based software works on any mobile device it’s ideal for helping brands to make their websites and web content accessible for people with disabilities across the globe. Ultimately, IDPWD is the perfect time for all global brands to ensure your website and web content is fully accessible for everyone across the world, regardless of their language or accessibility requirements. 100’s of organisations around the world already use Recite Me to help make their websites accessible for people with disabilities . To find out more contact the team or book a demo.
Further education colleges and universities in the UK are increasingly expected to look out for the welfare of their students beyond what was previously required of them. For example, former health minister Sir Norman Lamb’s recently called for universities to be bound by law to meet the mental health needs of their students. University can be hard enough for young people, many of whom will move away from home for the first time, and face new social, educational and financial pressures. Supporting the mental health needs of students is a complex issue, however, getting the right support for students to be able to learn effectively should be part of the solution. This includes supporting people with disabilities, who represent around 20% of the UK’s population. Digital accessibility is a legal requirement Recent figures show that 94,120 new students with a disability enrolled at university in England in 2017/18, but without effective support, they can still face barriers that hinder them. Student intranets are now at the heart of university and higher education college courses, offering students access to university and college systems as well as information like course documents and reading materials. It is essential for students to be able to access intranets and all their content, whether that’s to access timetables or to study reading materials like exerts of text saved as pdf files. This means it’s crucial for universities and colleges to guarantee that intranets and their content are accessible for people with disabilities. Universities, colleges, and other public sector bodies are also required to comply with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. These laws set new website and mobile app accessibility standards that public sector bodies must now follow. Supporting digital learning The Recite Me assistive toolbar can help universities and colleges to make their intranets more accessible by offering a unique range of features the user can tailor to suit their needs. Organisations like Brunel University London, which is recognised as a leader in improving the student experience for people with disabilities with its award-winning disability and dyslexia service, already offer Recite Me. The Recite Me cloud-based assistive technology toolbar allows web visitors to customise your digital content so that they can consume it in ways that work for them. It can work on any website and has features like a screen reader that helps website visitors to perceive and understand your digital content by reading website text aloud. It also allows people to change the way a website or intranet site looks. Users are able to customise the site’s colour scheme as well as the text font style, size, colour, and spacing. This means students with disabilities can easily access things like exerts from text shared as pdf’s. Supporting digital learning for people with disabilities is just as important as supporting students’ mental health needs, now is the time for all universities and colleges to make both a top priority. 100’s of organisations including universities and colleges already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities. To find out more contact the team or book a demo.