News & Media
Watford Football Club also proudly known as The Hornets has existed since the early days of organised football in England. Its beginnings have been traced back to 1881, when a group of teenagers staged kickabouts in Cassiobury Park. Today Watford FC has international exposure from being in the highest-profile league in the world, The Premier League.
The Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) pandemic has seen us all have to face up to the reality of unprecedented changes to our daily lives. The uncertainty around the pandemic means we are all very worried and scared, and we need to be kept up to date with the latest information and how it will impact our lives, jobs and the services we use. Now that the majority of us are working from home or looking after family at home, it means that the internet has taken an even more important place in our daily lives. The internet just took centre stage Quite simply, we must now go online more than ever before in order to conduct our daily business. So much so that internet service providers like BT's Openreach has reported a 20% surge in internet use recently. This could be to access information about income protection and benefits on the HMRC website, to check out the new opening times of a local pharmacy, to order groceries online for the first time, or to read the NHS’ COVID-19 related information online. This is why it’s crucial to ensure that all websites and their content are accessible and inclusive for everyone, including people with disabilities (approximately 20% of people in the UK) and those who speak English as their second language. Yet evidence like the Click-Away Pound 2019 survey shows that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many UK consumer websites aren’t accessible for people with disabilities. For example, the 2019 survey results show that nearly three-quarters of online consumers who are disabled (69%) will click away from websites that they find difficult to use due to the effect of their disability. So if people are being told they now have no choice but to go online to access information, services, and goods, what happens if a website is inaccessible for them? It doesn’t bear thinking about given some of the reported waiting times people are spending to get through to organisation’s like HMRC (around 10 hours!) on the telephone. Make your website accessible for free That’s why here at Recite Me we are offering to host a free accessible and inclusive landing page for any business to share your COVID-19 related messages to all staff and customers so that vital information can be understood by everyone. Each bespoke landing page will automatically launch the Recite Me accessibility and language assistive toolbar, helping people with disabilities, visual impairments, learning difficulties and people who speak English as a second language to stay well-informed. Recite Me has a range of features that include text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices. You can visit the dedicated COVID-19 support page on our website now to find out how the free accessible and inclusive landing page works and how to contact us to create a landing page for your business. Ross Linnett, Recite Me CEO and Founder said: “When information is vital, it is vital that information is accessible and inclusive for all. “If you think your business needs help to make your COVID-19 related online information accessible and inclusive to all your staff and customers, please contact us now.”
The Disability Employment Gap is the difference in employment rates between people with disabilities and the rest of the working-age population. Some people may not understand that such a gap exists, but it represents a significant difference in the rates of employment of people with disabilities and those without them. Recent data from the ONS shows that in 2019 roughly half of the people with disabilities were in employment (53.2%), compared with just over four out of five non-disabled people (81.8%). Whilst this figure has reduced from 2013 to 2019 the fact that nearly 30% less of people with disabilities are in work, compared to those without disabilities, shows there is still a huge pool of hidden talent for recruiters to tap into. That’s why it is so important that recruiters make the application process accessible and inclusive for everyone. If people with disabilities can’t access your website or your online jobs portal to find job adverts, read job descriptions and apply for jobs, how can they apply and express their hidden talents? Accessible and inclusive recruitment Recruiters like Morson Group understand this and they are going the extra mile to ensure their recruitment process is accessible and inclusive for everyone. Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing at Morson Group commented, "As a recruitment agency, Morson are gatekeepers who can open the doors to the world of work for people with disabilities. Therefore, we have a responsibility to our candidate community to reduce the barriers in place that may hold people back from applying for roles.” To make their online recruitment process totally inclusive, they have added the Recite Me’s assistive toolbar to their website. Recite Me offers a suite of accessibility tools, including solutions for visitors who may be neurodivergent, visually impaired or have learning difficulties. Since Morson Group added Recite Me to its website in March 2019 it has been used by over 7000 people to help them research and apply for a job barrier-free. Rebekah added, “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.” In total, nearly 38,000 accessibility features have been used to support an individual’s customise experience (styling, reading and translation), including over 25,000 pieces of content read aloud. Recite Me also supports people who don’t speak English as their first language, and it has been used on the Morson Group website to translate almost 9000 pieces of content into over 100 languages. Providing assistive technology creates a level playing field to enable everyone the opportunity to discover and apply for their dream job barrier-free. 1000’s of 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 now.
The results of the recently released Click-Away Pound 2019 survey show that nearly three-quarters of disabled online consumers (69%) will click away from websites that they find difficult to use due to the effect of their disability. This represents 4.9 million online shoppers with a collective purchasing power of £17.1 billion, which is around 10% of the total UK online spend. To reiterate, this means UK retailers lose out on £17 billion every year by failing to meet the online needs of shoppers with disabilities. We recently caught up with Rick Williams, Click-Away Pound survey co-author and Freeney Williams co-founder, to ask him what has changed since 2016, now here’s our take away of six key points from the report. The online spending power of people with access needs in the UK is now £24.8 billion. The number of people with disabilities online with access needs has risen from 6.10 million in 2016 to 7.15 million in 2019. As these numbers have grown so has the combined spending power, to just under £25 billion. The size of this market underlines just how big the potential opportunities are for businesses to meet these access needs online. The click-away pound in the UK in 2019 now stands at £17.1 billion Whilst the total online spending power above has increased to nearly £25 billion, 70% of people with access needs will click away from an inaccessible website. This means that UK businesses are missing out on over £17 billion per year, up more than £5 billion from £11.75 billion in 2016. The fact that this figure is increasing and not decreasing shows that on the whole, UK businesses haven’t done what’s required to make their websites accessible since 2016. 86% of users with access needs would spend more if there were fewer barriers This figure has increased since the 2016 report, when 82% of users with access needs said they would spend more if there were fewer barriers. This increase shows that more than ever people with disabilities will buy more from businesses that offer them a better and more accessible service online. 8% of users with access needs contacted the site owner about barriers they experience This represents a small increase of 1% since 2016, but the rise shows that more people with disabilities are prepared to challenge businesses to make their websites accessible. But, as this number is so low, most businesses aren’t aware of how inaccessible their websites are. 83% of participants with access needs limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible Whilst this is 2% less than in 2016, it still shows that people with disabilities are much more likely to keep using a business’ website if it works well for them. Furthermore, 86% of respondents have chosen to pay more for a product from an accessible website rather than buy the same product for less from a website that was harder to use. Whilst 75% of users with access needs feel accessibility is more important than the price. This shows that people with disabilities will pay a small premium for better and more accessible service online. 35% of users with access needs use a smartphone as preferred device for online shopping This has risen sharply from 9%, in line with the proliferation of mobile devices across the UK as a whole. At the same time, amongst users with access needs, the desktop computer as the preferred device has fallen from 38% to 24%, and the laptop from 38% to 29%. And amongst UK screenreader users, smartphone preference has risen from 11% to 41%. This shows how important it is for businesses to ensure their websites are accessible via mobile devices, not just desktop PCs. 1000’s of 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 now.
It’s good to talk, as Bob Hoskins famously said in the TV advert. And this week (16 – 22 March 2020) National Conversation Week wants us all to talk about the ‘M’ word – money. Worryingly a survey of 1000 people in the UK commissioned by National Conversation Week found that almost 40% of people say that finance worries them more than anything else in their lives. But, only half of the same people said they would seek professional financial advice. That’s why the aim of National Conversation Week is to get us all talking more about our finances and improving our financial knowledge. Here’s some information about how you can get involved in National Conversation Week. Financial inclusion matters too National Conversation Week is also a great time to talk about financial inclusion and what that means. Financial inclusion essentially means making sure banking and financial websites, apps, products, services and information about money is accessible to everyone. Around one in five people in the UK have a disability and ensuring they can access financial products, services and information both physically and digitally is critical. Not only is it a legal requirement of The Equality Act 2010, evidence shows that getting it wrong costs businesses of all kinds in the UK over £17 billion per year in lost sales. Credit where it’s due, UK high-street banking giants like Barclays, HSBC, and Lloyds have done great work to ensure their digital products, services and information are accessible to all customers. But there is still much more work to be done in the wider banking and financial sectors in the UK to ensure all digital products and services are accessible for people with disabilities. Auriga Services changing lives Auriga Services is an organisation that understands how important it is to make financial services accessible to everyone. Auriga Services supports people to come out of debt and rebuild their lives by managing the charitable trust funds for Severn Trent Water, United Utilities, Thames Water and others including British Gas. Auriga has helped 1.9 million people to reduce their financial hardship by working closely with their clients to meet the main objective of ‘Changing Lives Every Day’. Many of Auriga Services’ customers may be overwhelmed with their financial situation and they need to be able to access the financial support that is available to them. Supporting customers with digital access needs In order to make the Auriga Services website accessible for people with access needs, they installed the Recite Me’s assistive toolbar, to enable all visitors to customise it in a way that works for them. This can be changing the page style to customize the colour and size of text, links and backgrounds, or using the reading aids to speak aloud content and mask distractions on the screen. People who speak English as a second language benefit from the real-time translation feature, which can translate content into over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices. These features allow a large number of customers in vulnerable circumstances to seek the financial support they need easily, without any hassle or stress. So on National Conversation Week please think and talk about digital inclusion as well as financial knowledge, because being able to access money and information online is as important as understanding what to do with it. 1000’s of 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 now.
Disability Rights Arkansas mission is to vigorously advocate for and enforce the legal rights of people with disabilities. They envision an Arkansas where people with disabilities are equal members in their communities and can dictate the course of their own lives through self-determination. DRA treats all people with dignity, respect, and compassion.
Europe’s Largest Dyslexia Event 20th – 21st March 2020 Birmingham NEC Dyslexia Show 2020 is the UK’s first free to attend national exhibition dedicated entirely to dyslexia. The Dyslexia Show is open to all and focuses on awareness and the understanding of dyslexia in education, parenting, and the workplace. Recite Me helps people with dyslexia and sensory issues to read and understand website content by letting them change the look and feel of a website to suit their personal needs. A user can fully customise the background and text colour as well as the font type, sizing, spacing, and line-height. This includes the specialist Open Dyslexic font, which is designed to give letters extra weight at the bottom, so words don’t jump around the screen. To learn more about Recite Me assistive technology join us in Hall 8 at stand W45 for a live demonstration of the software in action.
To celebrate International Women's Day on Sunday 8 March, we caught up with two vital members of the UK team. Together Toni Rayner and Alison Wilson have 12-years’ experience working at Recite Me helping drive the business forward from start-up, through acceleration growth and beyond. Toni Rayner, Operations Manager (main picture, left) Toni started out her working life with the intention of a career in the travel and tourism industry but went on to successfully obtain a degree in Business and Marketing. She started her working life alongside Caroline Theobald CBE who introduced her to the world of Business Enterprise. “I was so grateful to have that kind of mentor when I was first starting out, it was worth its weight in gold!” From this Toni spring boarded on to the Difference Engine programme helping start-up businesses gain investment. That was where she met Ross Linnett and was introduced to the world of web accessibility. Toni Started her online accessibility journey with Recite Me in 2011 and she has never looked back since. Toni has grown and helped craft the business with her role as Operations Manager and Executive Assistant to CEO Ross. Her main roles and responsibilities include the day to day operations of the business, providing support to senior management, project management, and finance. Toni commented, “Starting out in 2011 as an administrator and growing with the business to become operations manager overseeing the day to day business activities and being Executive Assistant to Director Ross Linnett is something, I am very proud of. Along the way, I have been lucky enough to work with an amazing team and watch Recite Me grow from a team of 5 to a multi-national company.” Alison Wilson, Business Support Manager (main picture, Right) The first 20 years of Alison’s working career was in manufacturing at a global Japanese excavator manufacturer, Komatsu UK. Starting off as a YTS in the Production Control department, Alison eventually ended up as Head Scheduler for the full manufacturing process, along with Capacity Planning to ensure that Komatsu UK was staffed accordingly to meet operational requirements. For the last 3 years of her time at Komatsu Alison moved into a marketing role. This was a financial incentive marketing department with the ultimate aim to increase its market share strategically in various countries. One of Alison’s roles in marketing was to oversee large distributor events at the plant. Skills learned such as planning, forecasting, costing, resourcing all came in handy when organising such big scale events. This event experience was a foundation for her next career stint working for events companies, at the same time working with software companies on an admin basis, implementing and improving day to day processes. Alison commented on her 20 years at Komatsu, “My key achievement when working at Komatsu has to be bringing 650 people from 33 countries to the Komatsu plant over 5 days! That totally tested my planning skills along with my ability to actually deliver the event.” Alison started working at Recite Me 3 years ago with a wealth of knowledge to support the business. Recite Me was in an early growth phase, which was ready for detailed processes and long-term strategic planning, perfect for Alison to hit the ground running. “At Recite Me I was able to develop my own role and soon found there were areas within the business I could step in and make a positive impact. Be that taking the load off others, doing tasks that just hadn't been done before but were needed, introduce planning and data gathering.” As the business continues to grow, Alison will be passing on her latest project account management, to a new member of staff which has been organised and processed to be efficient and effective to support business growth. “I am looking forward to be moving on to other areas of the business that requires review and potential change as the business grows even bigger. I find this very exciting, challenging and a little scary! But that's what drives me.”
Today is World Book Day. Around the country, thousands of children will be duly dressed as characters from their favourite books by day, and at night eagerly awaiting their bedtime story, or be quietly reading to themselves. But how accessible are books for people with disabilities and how can assistive technology help? In truth, the way we read is changing. E-books and readers have been part of our reading landscape for some time now, and have the potential to be more accessible than the traditional book. Device functions such as reading aloud and being able to change the size and font of the text can make a big difference to whether someone is able to access the material. Even audiobooks are making a comeback, with websites offering subscriptions and access to the latest best sellers. These all hold the potential to be more accessible, for someone with a visual impairment for example, where Braille books often offer a much narrower selection and can be more costly. The content we are reading has changed too. It’s not just books we want to read but news, magazine articles, social media posts and stories, sports results and more. There is so much out there to consume, and people are doing it in different ways. Technology like our assistive toolbar enables the reader to customise websites so they can access the information, or words in the way they need to. The good news is that more and more websites are taking this up - enabling a much wider group of people to use their site; although it’s not quite commonplace yet - as we would like to see. This year, World Book Day is calling on readers of all ages to ‘share a million stories’ by reading aloud or listening to a story for at least ten minutes a day with friends or family. A report, by the National Literacy Trust released ahead of the day, shows that last year only a quarter of children read each day. This means that under-eighteens are reading less today than any other generation. There are many reasons why a child might not like to read, and some certainly encounter more challenges than others. However, World Book Day chief executive Cassie Chadderton believes that reading together in this way can turn a reluctant reader into a child who reads for pleasure. With so much variety available to us, we would also encourage people to think about how they can make stories of all kinds accessible so everyone can enjoy them. 1000’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for online visitors. To find out more or to book a demo please contact the team.
Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) was founded in 1978 and, to date, has provided legal advocacy services to more than 50,000 clients with disabilities at no cost. Their mission is to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities. DRT has a vision for all Tennesseans with disabilities to have freedom from harm, freedom from discrimination, and freedom to participate in the community.
Clear Company collaborative webinar Are you a D&I professional working to remove barriers to diversity in Recruitment? Are you a D&I professional working to remove barriers to diversity in Recruitment and Talent Management? This collaborative webinar with Gareth Headley, the Clear Company and Martin Robertson, Recite Me provides expert insight into the business case for diversity and the benefits of removing barriers from all aspects of the employee lifecycle. We explore the opportunities created by the latest in HR technology and how it can play a fundamental role in your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Who Should Attend This webinar? D&I professionals HR business partners and managers HR directors Senior leaders Recruitment Professionals This webinar is free to attend please click the following link to sign up > https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4299796756202678539
The results of the newly-released Click-Away Pound 2019 survey show that UK retailers lose out on £17 billion by ignoring the online needs of shoppers with disabilities. Click-Away Pound is a research survey conducted by Freeney Williams designed to explore the online shopping experience of people with disabilities in the UK and the cost to business of ignoring shoppers who are disabled. Key Survey Results Online spending power of people with access needs in the UK is £24.8 billion The number of internet users with a disability has passed 10 million 70% of people with access needs will click away from an inaccessible The click-away pound in the UK in 2019 now stands at £17.1 billion 75% of users with access needs feel accessibility is more important than the price 83% of users with access needs limit their shopping to sites they know are barrier-free Only 8% of users with access needs contacted the site owner about barriers they experience To accommodate people with differing abilities your website must be accessible. Making your website accessible allows people with their own supporting technology to use your website effectively or makes it easier for businesses to provide assistive technology to support everyone. In February 2019, WebAIM conducted an accessibility evaluation of the home pages for the top 1,000,000 websites. The study discovered 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. This means the homepages of these websites aren’t accessible for some people with disabilities. Leading to people clicking away from inaccessible websites and spending their money elsewhere online. How can you support people online? If you want to make your website accessible to attract a wider audience and claim your portion of the Click Away pound, the Recite Me assistive toolbar is a great resource to allow everyone to explore your products and services barrier-free. Recite Me is a cloud-based accessibility and language support toolbar that provides a wide range of features to give a user full control over the customisation of the website to suit their needs. These features include screen reader, styling options, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices. Ultimately, Recite Me can help you improve your website’s conversion rate optimization by increasing the number of enquiries and sales through your website. The use and impact of the Recite Me toolbar can be effectively measured by showing rich insights into your customers' buying behaviour. 1000’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for online visitors. To find out more or to book a demo please contact the team.
Visit Belfast supports everyone looking to visit the beautiful city of Belfast for business or for pleasure. Helping people to explore the area, find out what is happening in the city, where to eat or drink and ideas of where to stay. Visit Belfast represents more than 500 tourism businesses and services across the industry including accommodation providers, attractions, conference venues and services, tour operators, transport providers, entertainment venues, restaurants and cafes, pubs and clubs and event organisers.
The National Disability Rights Network was founded in 1982 and has grown to be the nation’s largest non-governmental enforcer of disability rights. NDRN’s mission is to promote the integrity and capacity of the P&A and CAP national network and to advocate for the enactment and vigorous enforcement of laws protecting civil and human rights of people with disabilities. NDRN has a vision of a society where people with disabilities have equality of opportunity and are able to participate fully in community life by exercising choice and self-determination.
We recently spoke to Dan Evans, Operations Manager at The Inn Collection Group to find out what they are doing to create change across the hospitality and entertainment industry regarding diversity and inclusion. Introduce yourself and your company I’m Dan Evans and I’m an operations manager at The Inn Collection Group, a dynamic and fast-growing pubco based in the North East of England. We have pubs with rooms in pretty outstanding locations in Northumberland, County Durham and Durham city itself as well as in the Lake District and Yorkshire. All our inns deliver our trusted eat drink, sleep and explore model, serving cracking British pub fare, a great range of drinks in a lovely environment, with overnight service accommodation too. Construction is underway on our first Wearside venue, The Seaburn Inn on the seafront in Sunderland, which is expected to open in winter 2020. What is your D&I mission for 2020 and beyond? Diversity and Inclusivity is a company-wide mission across The Inn Collection Group throughout the ranks. The Inn Collection Group is all about being as inclusive and welcoming to everyone. We embrace families, people with additional accessibility needs, overseas visitors, older people, dog owners, and multi-generational groups. This includes our own staff, creating inclusive guest experiences, and supporting diversity initiatives. It’s what sets us aside from competitors as a brand that people know and trust Our customers stay loyal to us and recommend us because of our values. Can you share some D&I best practice examples? From a team perspective, we continually look to invest in our employees, so they are not only upskilled and trained but so they share our ethos and philosophy in D&I and feel valued themselves as part of our Inn Collection Group family. It’s one of the reasons why we are officially The Best Pub Employer in the UK, after winning the category at the industry’s Publican Awards 2019. And that begins at the very first point of contact, whether it’s someone actually stepping through our doors, or clicking onto our website. We launched our Inspiration Academy that includes work-based learning, but also team building and motivational training days, ranging from speakers such as a world-class Olympic swimmer to go-karting and brewery visits. We work closely with partners such as Newcastle Airport’s inbound tourism campaign Visit North East England, Visit Great Britain and Visit England and are involved in projects such as Explorer’s Road to penetrate international markets including Dubai, America, and Germany. We have invested in translation facilities on our website, such as the Recite Me software that allows people browsing our website to select to view our site in their own language. Comments regarding being accessible across your online landscape? We are currently investing in a new website that will house all of our expanding portfolio of inns, making it easier for people to navigate our products and find out more about our brand. D& I begins at the first point of contact for us, whether that’s someone stetting through our doors, or landing on our website. We need to ensure they feel welcomed and inclusive. The Recite Me software not only makes our website content accessible but useable for everyone, whether they are visually impaired, neurodiverse, speak English as a second language or are of an older age. It results in a better online experience for potential customers, translating into increased sales and bookings. Share with us an example of D&I success? As a company, we punch above our weight when it comes to D&I. We are proud to have won numerous awards, in which our commitment to D&I plays an important part, not just because it is legislation, but because we genuinely want to open up our business to a wider audience. We recently hosted a FAM trip (familiarization trip) by German travel operators who have positive feedback about the Recite Me toolbar and translation service. We have a partnership with older people’s charity Abbeyfield and The Pub is a Hub that sees us open up our inns to isolated older people living alone for events and lunches. Many of the people who come along are internet savvy, but they need help being able to see their screens – we’ve had great feedback about the usability of our website, which Recite Me allows. Concluding company message Putting it simply, we aim to be the best we can be to applying continuous best practice across all our operations. For us, it’s not just about being legally compliant when it comes to D&I, it’s about really embedding it into our operations and mission statement so people choose to eat, drink, sleep and explore with us, as well as choose us to work for.