News & Media
Last weekend (Saturday 1st February) saw Recite Me and Dyslexia North East competition winners enjoy an afternoon of football, great food, and entertainment in the hospitality box at St James Park. Last October during National Dyslexia Week (7-13 October) Recite Me’s Marketing Manager Michael Halpin headed down to a Dyslexia North East opening evening to learn more about the great work they are doing to support young children. Dyslexia North East was founded in 2005 by a group of teachers and a GP who attended a Specific Learning Difficulties Course at RGS School in Newcastle. The Group recognised that Parents and Carers in the North East had nowhere to turn to for help for children and adults with dyslexia. So they decided to start a Support Group for Parents and Children at RGS Junior School. As part of the workshop evening and getting to know everyone and sharing stories, Recite Me wanted to congratulate the children on their great work and enthusiasm for wanting to learn more and develop. At the end of the evening, all the children’s names were placed into a box and with help from Liz Ferguson, Director at Dyslexia North East, three winners were chosen at random. The three winners and one additional guest each would join the Recite Me team for the Newcastle United vs Norwich City match in the hospitality box at St James Park, including a mini-tour pitchside and a beautiful meal. The day started two hours before kick-off where everyone met for a day of footy fun. Once settled in the box and everyone topped up with soft drinks and starters it was time to go pitchside. Escorted by NUFC staff team box 636 headed down to get a real feel for the matchday atmosphere and they even had the opportunity to sit in the home dugout. Selfies and group photos taken the team headed back up to their seats for dinner. The match was ready to begin, all adults and children seated ready for kick-off soaking up the buzzing atmosphere around the stadium. After a slow first half, everyone was ready for a top-up of drinks and pudding. All of which went down a treat. The second half was underway and even the magic of Saint Maximin couldn’t break down the Norwich City defence. The game finished all square at 0-0. At full time the children were lucky enough to spy Newcastle United star Matthew Longstaff and with Recite Me football’s in hand, they politely asked for them to be signed. Capping off a great day for everyone. Recite Me would like to thank Newcastle United for their hospitality and Dyslexia North East for the amazing company.
A recent study found that only 60% of UK local authority websites’ home pages are accessible to people with disabilities. The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 are set to change this. This guide will give you a summary of the regulations, plus information about what you need to do to comply and how Recite Me can help you.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals launch Recite Me accessibility software to support patients online
To improve the way all staff, patients, and visitors can read important content online, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals have installed the Recite Me accessibility and language support toolbar on to their website. 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. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals supports the diverse population of their area with all health and care needs. To continue and evolve this great work they wanted to enable all their staff, patients and visitors to access contact information, appointment data and much more, with ease. To achieve this totally inclusive goal their website needed to provide people with accessibility and language support. Recite Me accessibility software has a wide range of supporting features including a screen reader, styling options, reading support and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices. Regardless of people’s disabilities, learning difficulties or if they speak English as a second language, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals wanted to be able to support website visitors to access their content barrier-free. Simon Anjoyeb, Deputy Head of Inclusion, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said, "We are pleased to have adopted the Recite Me toolbar; it is easy to use and provides a comprehensive range of tools to improve the accessibility of our website. The toolbar is a popular asset with our patients and has enabled people that have previously found it challenging to use our website to engage with content relevant to their healthcare. "
To support everyone who visits their website, regardless of their differing abilities or spoken first language New College Durham now offers accessibility and language support online. New College Durham is rated in the top 10% of colleges in the UK for achievement in Further Education and apprenticeships, whilst their Higher Education students rate it in the top 10% for student satisfaction. As New College Durham grows and attracts a wider range of students not only from the North East but from around the UK and the world, their website needed to accessible to all. To make sure that their organisation was totally inclusive and to reduce any barriers to accessing their content online, New College Durham has installed Recite Me assistive technology on to their website. This accessibility and language translation support toolbar offers all website visitors a range of accessibility options to suit their needs. Working seamlessly across all devices the toolbar will allow people to change font type, size and colour as well as background and link colours to fully customise the styling of the website. To aid reading the toolbar offers a full dictionary, thesaurus, and translation tools, as well as a text to speech function. This unique combination of features makes Recite Me a great accessibility tool for people with disabilities or for people who speak English as a second language. Francesca Smith, Head of Marketing and Student Recruitment, New College Durham said, "New College Durham is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, an essential aspect in our commitment to inclusion. Having Recite Me on our website provides a set of easy to use tools that improve accessibility and enhance the website experience. It was quick and easy to implement, and we have immediately seen visitors to our site using the toolbar.”
This week is Big Energy Saving Week (20th-27th January), which is a national campaign to help people reduce their energy bills and access the financial support they’re entitled to. Big Energy Saving Week encourages customers to understand that simple changes can make a big difference to the amount of money they spend on energy each year. Doing things like switching energy supplier or tariff, accessing discounts or grants, and making homes more energy-efficient can make all the difference. Although initiatives like Big Energy Saving Week help safeguard the financial needs of customers, it’s also worth thinking about the other ways in which customers need to be supported by the energy industry. Energy services must be accessible In 2018, Energy UK launched the Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances, to explore how the UK energy industry can meet the needs of customers in vulnerable circumstances, including people with disabilities. Recite Me submitted a paper to the commission panel and took part in a workshop, while attending a hearing to support the report the commission produced. The Commission for Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances Report 2019 recommends that customers in vulnerable circumstances must be offered a range of communication channels so they can engage with their suppliers in a way that best meets their needs. More recently, Ofgem’s Vulnerable consumers in the energy market: 2019 report states that: “Energy companies should make reasonable adjustments for disabled consumers and ensure that all new services and products are accessible to their consumers. “Making accessibility a core element at the design stage ensures that no consumers are unnecessarily excluded and allows changes to be made earlier, normally at a reduced cost to the company, if the service is not accessible to all consumers. “We want all consumers, including those with special communications needs…to be able to engage with the energy market and effectively communicate with companies.” (pp 23) Recite Me helps deliver digital inclusion That’s why energy companies like Cadent, which owns, operates and maintains the largest gas distribution network in the UK, have added Recite Me’s assistive toolbar to its website. Cadent added Recite Me to its website to help support vulnerable customers online, removing online barriers for people with disabilities and people who don’t speak English as their first language. The introduction of the Recite Me toolbar allows website visitors to customize the Cadent website in a way that works best for them. Jo Giles, Customer Safeguarding Manager at Cadent commented, "Recite Me was the easy choice for Cadent not only because it was straightforward to implement but because it is so user-friendly for our customers and has such a broad range of features to support accessibility." Visitors to the Cadent website can change the page styling by customizing the font size and colour and the colour contrast between text and backgrounds, or by using the reading aids to mask distractions on the screen. People who don’t speak English as their first language benefit from Recite Me’s real-time translation feature which can translate over 100 languages, including reciting text in 35 different languages. This Big Energy Saving Week, if you work for an energy company it’s worth asking yourself if your organization is doing enough to support vulnerable customers (including people with disabilities) online. 1000’s of organizations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for online visitors. To find out more or to book your free trial please contact the team.
Just4Children launches website accessibility technology on its website to promote inclusion and to support everyone to use their website barrier-free. As a forward-thinking charity that is passionate about supporting all children, Just4Children are breaking down barriers online by introducing Recite Me accessibility software on to their website. Every day, millions of people search the internet and encounter challenges when facing inaccessible websites. Just4Children is a charity organisation that is inclusive in everything that they do, from their support work with children to what they offer online. Regardless of people's disabilities, learning difficulties and if they speak English as a second language, Just4Children believe that everyone has the right to the same user experiences. In this case that is to use their website with ease. Jeremy Marris, the CEO of Just4Children commented, “Just4Children is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience.” Recite Me is a cloud-based web accessibility tool that allows website visitors to customise the Just4Children website in a way that works best for them. Making it easier for everyone to be able to access charity news, support & information easily and kindly donate hassle-free. The Recite Me accessibility toolbar offers a unique range of features including, 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. Jeremy added, "Recite Me provides a range of accessibility options on our website to allow everyone to read and understand our content in a way that works best for them. Recite Me was easy to implement and was able to be customised to suit our branding. " Implementing this ground-breaking technology has allowed Just4Children to support more people to use their website without any barriers and deliver a more inclusive experience online.
To allow everyone to discover events and book tickets online with ease the Scottish Event Campus has implemented assistive technology on their websites. The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) features the SEC Centre– five interconnected exhibition and meeting spaces, the iconic 3,000 seat SEC Armadillo and the SSE Hydro – a 13,000 capacity concert, sporting and special events arena. Attracting an audience of more than a million visitors each year, the venue is consistently ranked by Pollstar in the top 10 arenas globally, alongside iconic venues like Madison Square Garden and The O2. SEC venues are very much easily accessible for visitors with mobility difficulties and accessibility needs. SEC currently holds an ‘Attitude is Everything’ Gold Award and are committed to continually improving their venues in order to maintain this gold accessibility level. To continue their mission to make their venues as accessible as possible they wanted to address not only physical accessibility but also online inclusion. To support everyone online SEC needed to make their websites accessible. Ross Dempsey, Digital Marketing Manager, Scottish Event Campus commented, "We are committed to making a visit to the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) an enjoyable experience for everyone and that includes using our websites.” To make The Scottish Event Campus website and the SSE Hydro website fully accessible and usable they launched Recite Me. The Recite Me accessibility assistive toolbar will support people with a wide range of disabilities, learning difficulties and for people who speak English as a second language. Ross added, “We recently launched the ability for users to purchase accessible tickets to our events online and once we discovered Recite Me, we felt it was a great addition to improve the functionality of our websites.” Accessibility and language support will allow everyone to customise the SEC and SSE Hydro websites in a way that works best for them to understand and read website content easily. The accessibility toolbar provides website visitors with, text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling options, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. Ross added, “We were very impressed with the Recite Me software and as well as accessibility tools, the language switcher allows our conference visitors from around the world to find the information they need.”
The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) features the SEC Centre– five interconnected exhibition and meeting spaces, the iconic 3,000 seat SEC Armadillo The SSE Hydro – a 13,000 capacity concert, sporting and special events arena. The SSE Hydro augments the SEC’s existing facilities and stages 140+ events annually. Attracting an audience of more than a million visitors each year, the venue is consistently ranked by Pollstar in the top 10 arenas globally, alongside iconic venues like Madison Square Garden and The O2. Since opening in September 2013, The SSE Hydro has staged the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards, the Ryder Cup Gala Concert and the 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. It was also a venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Just4Children provides support for families to help their children with disabilities and sickness. Helping children and young people under the age of 25 years in the United Kingdom and Ireland is passionate about the relief of sickness and preservation of good physical and mental health. Just4Children’s vision is a world where all children’s needs are met and where children with disabilities and sickness and their families have the right to choose, opportunity, dignity and understanding.
New College Durham was formed in 1977 and has grown to become one of the North East’s leading educational organisations. The College offers a wide range of vocational, A-level, apprenticeships and university level programme for students aged 16 and above. New College Durham is rated in the top 10% of colleges in the UK for achievement in Further Education and apprenticeships, whilst their Higher Education students rate it in the top 10% for student satisfaction.
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.