Believing in Accessibility for All
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Stay up to date with the latest client news, industry updates and events from Recite Me

United Utilities provides an inclusive experience online for over 100,000 people

05 Apr 2021 | news

2020 was a year we will never forget where the physical world came to something of a standstill and we were all forced to perform everyday tasks online. Organisations across the globe made concerted efforts to maximise their online presence to ensure continued support and service to clients. Water company United Utilities did just this with the help of Recite Me accessibility and language options on its website. By making its digital world accessible and barrier-free to all website visitors and customers, people were able to self-serve accounts and explore products and services without having to call United Utilities for one-to-one support over the phone or live chat. United Utilities is responsible for delivering 1.8 billion litres of water a day to more than 3 million homes and businesses in the North West of England and is dedicated to providing its essential service at a high standard to the population. Studies show that 1 in 5 people have impairments that make accessing online information challenging. Excluding 20% of the population is not something that United Utilities was not prepared to accept. In 2020 the Recite Me toolbar helped over 100,000 people to read and understand website content barrier-free. Our unique assistive toolbar helps everyone to customise their online experience to suit their own individual needs. The Data shows that 552,059 pieces of content were read aloud using the text-to-speech engine and 20,707 pages were translated into a different language, including Polish, Portuguese and Arabic. Other support tools include styling and reading assistance. 12,326 styling changes were made in total, including alterations to font type, size, and colour, and overall colour contrast between background and foreground. With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to push people online, website accessibility factors are at the forefront of business development in 2021. We are incredibly proud to be part of a business’s development in the utilities sector. Louise Beardmore, Customer Services and People Director at United Utilities, commented “We chose to install the Recite Me assistive toolbar to make our website accessible and truly inclusive to all. The internet can be an incredibly intimidating place and anyone who finds it difficult to understand or communicate is at a significant disadvantage.” The Recite Me toolbar includes fully customisable styling features, reading aids, and translation tools, meaning web pages can be consumed in a way that is personalised and tailor-made to each unique website visitor. This includes the ability to change font size, type, and colour, adjust overall colour contrasts, strip away distracting graphics, download content as an audio file, convert content into over 100 different on-screen languages, or have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages.

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Beyond Housing Believes in Accessibility for All

02 Apr 2021 | news

Beyond Housing has taken the necessary steps to achieve its mission of accessibility for all, with online assistive technology. Beyond Housing provides 15,000 homes and a wide range of services to over 30,000 customers living in the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire. As part of their mission to provide accessibility for all, Beyond Housing wanted to be transparent and inclusive, ensuring all web users could access essential housing information and services barrier-free. In North Yorkshire, it is estimated that 11,338 people aged 18 to 85 have a learning disability, and often require support online when using digital technology and software. With the implementation of Recite Me on Beyond Housing’s website, residents who are visually impaired, neurodiverse, or those who speak English as a second language can access support. Beyond Housing’s diverse customer base has customised their Recite Me toolbar by translating content into different languages, reading aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font, and size. Beyond Housing customer, Anda, who is from Latvia and a member of an Eastern European community support group, uses the Recite Me toolbar to translate online content. She said, “I have had a very good experience working with Beyond Housing since they upgraded their home page with new tools as part of their programme, ‘Believing in Accessibility for all’. “Now existing and new customers can access information with various different adjustments, including translation in many languages, some of them even in audio version. Using the orange button at the right side of the screen labelled ‘access and language tools’, one can change colours, languages, play audio, choose the text and other options according to their needs.” Beyond Housing website users can now access vital information barrier-free by clicking the orange “Access and Language Tools” button on their website, Beyond Housing. Recite Me assistive technology is quick and easy to implement on your organisation’s website. For more information, please go to Recite Me or contact a member of our team.

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South Tyneside Homes

31 Mar 2021 | case-study

South Tyneside Homes is an arm’s length management organisation that manages, maintains, and improves its 18,000 council homes and estates across South Tyneside for tenants and leaseholders. Their main mission is to deliver excellent services to neighbourhoods through empowered and motivated staff.

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WEBINAR: How to Start on Your Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Journey?

30 Mar 2021 | event

Join Recite Me’s Founder and CEO, Ross Linnett, Volt-International Senior VP and Managing Director, Ben Batten, The Clear Company, D & I Expert and Director, Jenny Hinde, and VERCIDA Consulting Director, Dan Robertson as they discuss how you can provide a diverse and inclusive working environment. Topics will cover: Guest’s own experience and perspectives on diversity. The reason why and how your business should be thinking about its approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. How to start your journey. Event Details Workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion have been identified as the key drivers of innovation and business growth. How do you start on your D & I journey? Developing a D & I strategy can be challenging and knowing where to start can be difficult and overwhelming. Find out more about how you can provide inclusivity and diversity within your organisation by joining our webinar. To sign up please press the link below and send an email with your contact information to be in this online webinar event.

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The Children's Family Trust Provides Accessible Fostering Information to Everyone Online

30 Mar 2021 | news

The Children’s Family Trust (CFT) has enhanced its ability to support a diverse range of people accessing fostering information online, with Recite Me online accessibility options. The CFT is a registered fostering charity that aims to achieve stability and security for children. Many of the children that The CFT care for have not had the best start in life and are unable to live with their birth families, this often means that they have faced great adversity and require a stable and secure home. 8% of children in the UK are disabled and regularly encounter barriers online that prevent them from accessing crucial online information and services. By using Recite Me assistive technology those who are visually impaired, neurodiverse, or who speak English as a second language can gain access to important information hassle-free. The CFT recruit, assess and support foster carers to look after children and young people in care. The CFT also demonstrates a commitment to any child that has been, is currently, or will be in the care of the charity, by providing them with support even after they have moved on to independence and adulthood. With Recite Me assistive technology, The CFT web users can customise the content in a way in which works best for them. Jessica Harper, Marketing and Media Manager at CFT commented, “We are excited to be launching the Recite Me Toolbar on our website in the hope that it will make the experience for all of our users more comfortable.” “As an organisation, we support both foster carers and children from all walks of life and backgrounds, and it is important for us to ensure that our stakeholders are receiving information in a way that suits them best. We are hopeful that adding the Recite Me toolbar will make our website function in a more accessible and inclusive way for all and allow us to reach more people.” Recite Me features include translating content into different languages, read aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font type, and size. Web users can customise their experience on The CFT website here.

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Understand Autism and accessing online information

29 Mar 2021 | news

Are you or any of your family, friends, or colleagues affected by autism? UK government statistics suggest that more than 1% of the population is on the autism spectrum, while in America the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that autism may affect as many as 1 in every 54 people. So at some point in your home life, education, or professional environments, it is highly likely that you will meet members of the autistic community. What is Autism? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a genetic condition that affects an individual’s development, and can often present challenges when it comes to social interaction, speech, behaviour, and nonverbal communication. Autism is a lifelong condition most commonly detected in childhood and is three to four times more prevalent in boys than girls. Every individual on the autism spectrum is different, and while some autistic people may need very little help, others may need much more. Like any condition under the neurodiversity umbrella, autism is not a marker of decreased intelligence. Many of those diagnosed with autism in early life go on to lead healthy, happy, independent, successful and fulfilling lives. Individuals on the autism spectrum may: Have difficulties communicating and interacting with other people Not understand the feelings and thought processes of others Take longer to assimilate information Become stressed in environments with excess noise or bright colours Demonstrate repetitive behaviour patterns Struggle in unfamiliar situations Become overwhelmed by busy social environments You can read more about dyspraxia on the National Autistic Society website. Autism and Web Accessibility Often, people with autism have heightened sensory awareness. This means they can be easily distracted by images, logos, and graphics on web pages. So processing website content can be difficult. Colour contrasts between text and background can also be distracting for those in the autistic community. Low-contrast neutral colour palettes are often preferred over the standard black text on white background options presented by most websites. Consistency is important to individuals on the autism spectrum, so if web pages are not easy to navigate or have an unpredictable flow, autistic readers are likely to click away. Supporting Autism Online Children and adults with autism face distinct challenges when reading information online. Plus, autism is often listed as a disorder that co-occurs with other neurodiverse conditions such as Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. So it is important that all individual differences and combinations are accounted for. With the Recite Me assistive toolbar, users can make singular or multiple adjustments to account for all individual requirements and adapt the way web content is presented to suit their specific needs. Recite Me assistive toolbar features that support autistic users include: A selection of colour palettes to account for contrast sensitivity between the text and background. The ability to change font type, font size, and font spacing. Text-only mode to strip away distracting graphics. Options to have content read aloud in over 35 different languages. Full control over the speed at which the text is read aloud, and a choice between male and female voices. A screen mask for easier focus. Client Feedback In the last 12 months, Recite Me has witnessed a surge in disability groups signing up for our website assistive technology, and we are proud to be helping more neuroatypical members of our community than ever before. Anna Kennedy Online Anna Kennedy Online provides workshops, training, legal advice and talks across the UK, and partners on annual events like AKO Autism Expo, the Autism Hero Awards, and ‘Autism’s Got Talent’. "Since we have been working with Recite Me and updating our website making it disability friendly, we have received many compliments and thanks from the autism community. Recite Me are always respectful and understand exactly what we are trying to achieve to make the website accessible to all " Anna Kennedy, CEO Autism Plus Autism Plus has been supporting adults and young people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, and other complex needs since 1986. "As a Disability Confident employer, we want to ensure we are as accessible as possible, not only to the people we support but for our employees and supporters too. Recite Me provides more options on our website and makes the content completely customisable. " Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager To understand the online challenges and obstacles those with autism face, we sat down with Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager at Autism Plus to discuss the importance of providing accessibility options online. User Experience From our user data, we can track which of our toolbar features are customised the most by our clients’ website visitors. Our records show that among Autism Plus users, the following features are the most commonly used on their website: Text enlarge Text-only mode Screen mask Magnifying glass This holds true with our knowledge of autistic users, in that they often prefer to focus on a particular area of a webpage. These specific tools help users to stay focused and avoid distraction from images and the other content on the page. It’s incredibly rewarding for the Recite Me team to see data like this, as it shows that our toolbar works effectively and we are succeeding in our goals of making the internet a more accessible and inclusive place for everyone. Find Out More In today’s increasingly digital landscape, it has never been more important that everyone has equal access to information online. For further details on becoming more inclusive by utilising our assistive technology, please feel free to contact our team or book a demonstration of our toolbar.

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Discussing Online Barriers with Autism Plus

29 Mar 2021 | news

To understand the challenges and obstacles people with autism are facing during the Covid 19 pandemic and online, Recite Me sit down with Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager Autism Plus, to discuss how they are supporting as many people as they can. During the pandemic how has Autism Plus helped people with isolating and using the internet for everyday tasks? For many of the individuals we support at Autism Plus the pandemic increased fears and anxieties, routines were disrupted, and for some people the rules around social distancing were confusing. We quickly adapted our services wherever possible to deliver support sessions online, we have a full zoom timetable now that includes drama group, quizzes, local history, art and wildlife groups, book club, disco’s, and drinks and nibbles! For the people we support who were unable to see their family and friends in person we helped them to have regular contact via the internet. We also: Partnered with ‘Good Things Foundation’ to provide 10 tablets and dongles for people who were unable to access the internet Provided ‘Make it Click’ sessions to help people with basic digital skills such as online safety, and using the internet Offered webinars around supporting Neurodiverse individuals to return to the workplace or to support remote working to help raise awareness and ensure employees with autism were kept connected. What are the common barriers people with autism can face online? The internet is a fantastic resource for information, news and communicating with family, friends and colleagues. For an individual with autism, navigating through all of that information can be confusing and overwhelming. Many people with autism rely on structure and routine which can help ease anxieties, but online quite often websites lack structure which can make people feel lost and results in lots of clicks to sites and pages that aren’t relevant for them. There is so much news and information posted on the internet nowadays, and it can be difficult for some people with autism to understand the difference between real and fake news, and when you search for something it may bring up results from years ago, it isn’t always easy to see when an article was posted. Why is it important for Autism Plus to offer accessibility and language options online? As a charity offering care and support for people with autism, learning disabilities and neurodiverse conditions it is vital that the information we provide on our website is accessible and easy to navigate to as many people as possible, in ways that work for them. This is why we love Recite Me as it enables visitors to our site to customise and access content easily. Toolbar data shows Autism Plus website visitors use the text enlarge styling tool the most to customise their experience. Why would you think this is the most commonly used feature? The text enlarge feature is great because it means the visitor can completely customise the text size that works best for them, and used together with the speech function means that the information can easily be understood. We can see that distraction support tools such as Text-only mode, screen mask, and magnifying glass have been used on nearly 100 occasions. Are these online techniques commonly used by people with autism to read content online? These too are great functions as it means visitors with neurodiverse conditions who may prefer to focus on one area of the page can do this easily and avoid distraction from images and the remaining content in that area. Autism Plus aims to empower people to live independent lives, how do you think Recite Me helps with this goal? Recite Me helps us by offering a real inclusive experience when visiting our website, it helps our visitors to take control and process information in a way that suits them and their needs – it's what we’re all about, helping people to take control and make their own choices.

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TPP Recruitment Provide an Inclusive Online Candidate Journey

24 Mar 2021 | news

TPP Recruitment has committed to providing equal access to job opportunities with accessibility and language options to support a diverse range of individuals. TPP Recruitment is a specialist, highly respected, and well-established UK-wide consultancy, that provides dedicated support to organisations across a range of non-profit and public sector organisations. 1 in 5 people in the UK has some form of disabled and often encounter obstacles online when researching and applying for job vacancies. By providing Recite Me assistive technology TPP support those who may have a disability, learning difficulty, visually impairment or who speak English as a second language can gain access to job opportunities hassle-free. Tracy George, COO, TPP Recruitment commented, “We are simply delighted with this accessibility enhancement to our website! We want our jobs, recruitment services, and all our fabulous content to be accessible to everyone and feel it is important to give people a customised experience to meet their individual needs. “We hope this feature further demonstrates our commitment to attracting the widest and most diverse talent for the sector we serve and brings us a step closer to giving all job seekers an equal opportunity of securing and retaining fulfilling work.” The accessibility technology on the TPP Recruitment website is fully customisable with a range of features that provide a more accessible and inclusive experience when attracting and recruiting talent. These features include text-to-speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids, and a translation tool with over 100 languages. During 2020, Recite Me assistive toolbar usage across careers and recruitment websites increased by 168% to nearly 7500 users each month. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website. For further information on assistive technology go to Recite Me.

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TPP Recruitment

24 Mar 2021 | case-study

TPP Recruitment is a specialist, highly respected, and well-established UK-wide consultancy, that provides dedicated support to organisations across a range of non-profit and public sector organisations. TPP Recruitment wanted to ensure inclusivity online by providing equal access to job opportunities to support a diverse range of individuals.

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United Utilities

24 Mar 2021 | case-study

United Utilities is responsible for water and wastewater services in the North West of England, delivering 1.8 billion litres of water a day to more than 3 million homes and businesses. To keep the region flowing, United Utilities has a 5,000-person strong workforce that works on reservoirs, treatment works, pumping stations, water pipes and sewers.

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TPP Recruitment Recite Me Partnership

24 Mar 2021 | blog

10% OFFER CODE: TPPReciteMe21 Recite Me has joined forces with TPP Recruitment to educate and inform organisations in the non-profit and public sector on providing an inclusive online experience with accessibility technology. This partnership will provide organisations in education, finance, healthcare, governance, fundraising, and development with the information and support they need to create an inclusive experience online. TPP Recruitment’s mission is to develop trusted, long-term relationships with its clients. To support this mission and help organisations to achieve their purpose, TPP has provided Recite Me assistive technology online to enable access to vital information. To share this mission and journey with other organisations TPP Recruitment and Recite Me are able to offer a 10% discount on creating an inclusive experience online with our assistive technology toolbar. To find out more about the Recite Me toolbar and how it can help create an inclusive candidate journey online please contact the team or book a demo and make sure to quote our 10% discount code of TPPReciteMe21

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South Tyneside Homes Provides Residents Accessibility Support Online

24 Mar 2021 | news

South Tyneside Homes has enhanced its ability to deliver excellent services across the borough to its residents by providing an accessible experience online. 18,000 council homes across South Tyneside are managed and maintained by the housing company. To fulfill its commitment to residents, the organisation wanted to ensure a high quality of communications. By using Recite Me assistive technology, residents who are visually impaired, neurodiverse, or those who speak English as a second language can access essential housing information barrier-free. The assistive toolbar on the South Tyneside Homes website offers a wide range of customisable options, such as translating content into different languages, read aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font type, and size. Cllr Ed Malcolm, Chair of South Tyneside Homes’ Board, said: “It is more vital than ever that our website is as accessible and as inclusive as possible. The pandemic has highlighted just how important it is that people can access services and engage remotely, quickly and easily. “We know more and more of our residents are going online to use a range of services and Recite Me is one of the tools we are using to make our website user friendly for everyone.” Over the last 12 months, 500 people have used the Recite Me toolbar to read and understand essential housing information on the South Tyneside Homes website. Toolbar data shows that website visitors have viewed over 1,760 accessible pages. This gives South Tyneside Homes an insight into what pages people are looking at and what support they need to view them barrier-free. On average each unique user has accessed 3.4 pages per session, which is fantastic to see as the depth of journey is higher than the internet average of 2.8. The most used accessibility toolbar feature is the screen reader, this reads text aloud for the user. This is followed by the styling options where users have increased the text size by 110% and 130%. The most commonly translated languages have been Albanian, Arabic, and Spanish. South Tyneside Homes web users can customise their experience by clicking the “Accessibility Tools” button at the top of their website.

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What People Really Say About Assistive Technology

22 Mar 2021 | 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. In 2020, unique Recite Me users accessing support on their career journeys grew by 168%, from 2800 per month to over 7500. 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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APSCo Recite Me Partnership

19 Mar 2021 | blog

MEMBER 10% OFFER CODE: APSCoReciteMe21 Recite Me has joined forces with APSCo to educate and advise its members on creating an inclusive candidate journey online. This partnership will provide many recruitment organisations with the information, ideas, and support they need to create an inclusive experience online enabling all candidates to have equal access to job opportunities. To drive APSCo’s mission to represent excellence in the recruitment industry it is vital that the digital world is accessible to all when applying and searching for job vacancies. To share this mission and journey with members APSCo and Recite Me are able to offer all members a 10% discount on creating an inclusive experience online for all candidates with our assistive technology toolbar. To find out more about the Recite Me toolbar and how it can help create an inclusive candidate journey online please contact the team or book a demo and make sure to quote our 10% discount code of APSCoReciteMe21

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Neurodiversity and Online Barriers

17 Mar 2021 | news

There is no factory standard when it comes to the human brain and how it operates. Did you know that at least 15% of the population is neurodiverse, yet fewer than 50% may know it? And many people still don’t know what neurodiversity is at all! So…What Exactly IS Neurodiversity? The term neurodiversity was coined in 1998 by sociologist Judy Singer, and refers to the variation in how we process information, think, act, move and sense the world we live in. Differences in learning, attention, mood, literacy, numeracy and social skills have been broken down into sub-classifications and sometimes been associated with neurodiversity., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Dyslexia Dyscalculia Developmental Language Disorder Tic Disorders ( including Tourette’s Syndrome) Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) also known as Dyspraxia Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) Some people have challenges in more than one area and these conditions often overlap with each other. In one study they found that 60% have more than one of the conditions listed. (REF) It is important to remember that these conditions are not injuries or diseases. They are the result of a number of factors including genes that are part of natural variation. In other words, they are differences, not disabilities. Some people are disabled by the world they live in when there is an expectation of everyone having to do the same thing. In order to be included different approaches may be needed when it comes to learning and working. “Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?” Harvey Blume, Journalist & Autism Advocate Neurodiversity and Online Barriers Typical challenges faced by those with neurodiverse conditions include: Difficulty staying focused on a task Understanding the order and meaning of words Becoming overloaded by information Difficulty discriminationg some colour contrasts Most e-commerce websites are typically very overwhelming for neurodiverse visitors. Between the banners, pictures, links, and many buttons, pages can appear incredibly ‘busy’. It is easy in this situation that potential customers become too distracted to buy anything. So website providers need to account for neurodivergent traits and preferences in their design, content, and layout. Considerations should include: How much information is on each page? And is it all needed? Is there a clear hierarchy of importance to the content? Are visual elements relevant to the content? Are there alt tags on visual images that can be used with a screen reader? How Recite Can Help Different Types of Neurodiversity Traits Reading and processing on-screen information is difficult for neurodiverse website visitors. The Recite Me assistive toolbar removes these difficulties by allowing users to fully customise the webpage so it suits their own individual needs. Features include: A screen mask to help with focus and concentration. Options to have content read aloud in over 35 different languages to negate reading difficulties. Full control over the speed at which the text is read aloud to allow for varying auditory preferences. Customisation options for text font, colour, sizing, and spacing, so that the look of the webpage can be tailor-made into the perfect format for every individual. A spell-checker and a fully integrated dictionary and thesaurus to help with comprehension. Recite Me assistive technology is the perfect solution to help businesses and organisations support their neurodiverse team members, as users can make singular or multiple adjustments to adapt the way web content looks. We’ve been happy to witness growing support for the neurodiverse community in recent years. The dramatic increase in the use of our assistive toolbar last year suggests that we are helping more companies to reach a more diverse market. In 2020, our assistive toolbar usage increased by 20%, and over 47 million individual styling adaptions were made. Advocating for Inclusion in the Education Sector Accounting for individual differences should begin early in life, as difficulties experienced at school can lead to low self-esteem and underperformance in later life. As neurodivergent conditions become more widely understood and accepted, increasing pressure is being put on schools and colleges to stop focusing on what students are unable to do, and put more emphasis on acknowledging and celebrating the many positive aspects that neurodiversity brings. “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” Alexander Den Heijer, Leadership speaker, trainer, and consultant Neurodiverse students are well known for being more capable of ‘thinking outside the box’ than other students. They are also normally more creative, better at problem-solving, natural innovators, and can often see situations from different and more unique perspectives. The world has a lot to benefit from the neurodiverse community, but it is important that teaching methods are inclusive. In modern-day teaching models, it is vital that e-learning materials are accessible to neurodivergent students in both their design and delivery. Advocating for Inclusion in the Workplace Being neurodiverse shouldn’t mean not being able to find a dream job, although historically, the neurodiverse community has experienced unemployment rates as high as 90%. This suggests a problem within the application and hiring process, in that the definition of talent has been too narrow. Make no mistake, neurodiversity is not a marker of intelligence, and there is no shortage of talent in the neurodiverse employment pool. In fact, neurodiverse individuals comprise some of history’s most infamous pioneers, leaders, and change-makers, including Alan Turin, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Richard Branson and Bill Gates. We are happy to have witnessed a significant upsurge in new employment opportunities for neurodiverse applicants in the last five to ten years. Industry leaders now see the benefits of teams that include neurodiverse members as they strive for more effective working strategies, improved innovation, increased productivity, and ever more progressive solutions. “Our autistic employees achieve, on average, 48% to 140% more work than their typical colleagues, depending on the roles.” James Mahoney, Head of Global Technology Diversity & Inclusion at JP Morgan Other organisations that are vocal in their goals of employing neurodiverse employees to gain a competitive advantage include IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs. Neurodiversity Support Thankfully there are some fantastic resources for guidance on neurodiversity: DO-IT Solutions: Trusted in Education, Training, Employment and Justice and endorsed by 25 years’ clinical and academic research, Do-IT can help organisations deliver inclusive approaches supporting the strengths and minimising challenges of all people. Recite Me is proud to list them as a partner. “Our mission is to ensure that education and employment places are neuro-inclusive so that talents can be harnessed and maintained. We recognise a complementary neurodiverse world offers new solutions when we work together.” Amanda Kirby, doctor, Do-IT CEO, and author The Hidden Impairment National Group - Provides information and guidance to applicants, employers, and employees on all aspects of the application, interview, selection, onboarding, and workflow processes. Are YOU Neurodiverse Friendly? We hope so. Increasing engagement in learning and working environments for people with neurodiverse profiles should be a priority. At Recite Me we believe in inclusion for all, which starts by creating awareness and helping others to understand the opportunities presented by improving web accessibility. By guiding our clients through this process, we can make a positive difference together. Inclusion should be a ‘business as usual' approach, rather than a ‘tick the box’ exercise, so by adopting our web accessibility software combined with your neurodiverse-friendly recruitment, onboarding and retention policies, we can help you reach new levels of success. If you’d like to join the thousands of businesses who have already integrated our accessibility software onto their sites and are seeing the benefits, please contact our team or book a demo.

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