News & Media
Leading the way in Cricket - Middlesex Cricket become the first club to offer accessibility support online
Middlesex Cricket is the first cricket club to support fans online with assistive technology. Middlesex now supports all fans who may have a disability, learning difficulty or who speak English as a second language, to easily access club news, fixture dates and buy match tickets and merchandise online. In the UK there are over 11 million people who have some form of disability, 15% of the population are neurodiverse and 1.5 million people have a learning disability. Unfortunately, inaccessible websites are a big issue for many people. To allow everyone to engage with their favourite club content websites need to be inclusive by providing accessibility support. Middlesex Cricket who plays at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground, has built on their fantastic accessibility work to support people with disabilities with the introduction of Recite Me assistive technology online. Recite Me is an award-winning software that allows Middlesex Cricket’s website visitors to customise their website in a way that works best for them. This also includes translation options which is vitally important for people who speak English as a second language. Middlesex Cricket is also proud to announce that Gary Hamilton, a Middlesex member who is passionate about inclusion has been duly appointed as the club’s Disability Consultant. Gary’s role will work closely with Middlesex Cricket, reviewing and improving all aspects of the club’s accessibility and inclusion offering, whilst ensuring that the wider cricketing community is aware of Middlesex Cricket’s work in this area. Rob Lynch, Middlesex Cricket’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “We are delighted that Gary has accepted our offer of a consultancy role with the club, which will guarantee that we maintain a strong focus on improving accessibility and inclusion moving forwards. “Since offering disabled categories of membership, it’s clear to see that there is an increasing need to offer greater accessibility to our fanbase, and that’s why we’ve committed to be the first county cricket side to integrate Recite Me’s software into our web platform. “It’s an incredible piece of software that will transform how many of our followers interact with the club. Our thanks go to everyone at Recite Me for their support and expertise in this field. It will greatly help our supporters to connect with the club in a way that best suits their individual needs”. Ross Linnett, Recite Me founder and CEO says, “Recite Me are proud to partner up with Middlesex Cricket to provide online assistive technology to support people with disabilities. “Allowing people to easily access information about their favourite club online is a key goal for Recite Me. By providing a wide range of accessibility tools such as the screen reader and on-demand live translation, fans of all ages, regardless of their disability or differences can engage with cricket news and events online hassle-free. “Our partnership will also create awareness across the whole game of cricket to develop their online presence, in order to better support fans who can often face barriers accessing online content.” 100’s of organisations already use Recite Me assistive technology to make their websites more accessible for people who have disabilities and people who don’t speak English as their first language… To find out more contact the team or book a demo.
Here at the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) we are always looking for new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities, whether that’s online or ‘In Real Life’. So when we heard about Recite Me it certainly piqued our interest. Recite Me is an online accessibility tool that allows visitors to your websites to customise your website in a way that works for them, whatever their accessibility needs might be. We adopted Recite Me in 2018 across two websites – SCLD and The Keys to life which is a website providing an overview of the Scottish Government’s learning disability strategy. Since adopting Recite Me many of our website visitors have told us how useful it is having an accessibility tool that is built into the website they are using, without having to rely on a combination of different software to make a website readable. We also like the fact that Recite Me offers analytics so that you can keep a track of how well the tool is used and which features are the most popular. Although this is only one step towards making our digital presence more accessible, we felt it was an important one to make. As with most accessibility tools, however, the proof is in the testing, so we asked Michael McEwan, a freelance journalist, and disability campaigner how he has found using Recite Me on SCLD’s website... “My name is Michael McEwan, I'm a freelance journalist, and a regular contributor on radio and TV on disability issues. Over the years I've been working with a number of different disability organizations and currently the chair of my local disability group. I have a learning disability and dyslexia, but that doesn't stop me in any way. I think I faced more challenges when I was younger, as there wasn't the technology like today, with things like apps to provide extra support to people who needed it. Now it's easier when I am doing emails as I have an app on my phone called ‘Speech to Text’- if you're not sure how to spell the word then you can say it and the app types it. Back in the day, my word bank was a well-worn piece of paper. I've just tried out the Recite Me toolbar to see how this would work for me, and it's very easy to use. What I particularly like about it, is that I can scroll over text and the words are read back to me, also you can change the language to suit your needs - that really stands out for me because no website that I know of has this feature. I would recommend this software to different organizations and companies for their websites and encourage them to focus more on online accessibility. I reckon many people with a learning disability or difficulty, particularly dyslexia, would get put off using lots of websites as they have too much-jumbled information, especially when trying to fill out forms online. Most of what we access is online - whether it’s shopping, paying bills or applying for jobs. Doing lots of everyday tasks online has really become commonplace, so there is a definite need for websites to be accessible for all, designed around both our needs and our limitations. Simply - if people can't access your website then they won't revisit it, or buy any of your products online, and most importantly may miss out on an important service or job opportunities because of the way your website is presented. Companies have a responsibility to give an equal chance to all, whether someone is using your website to apply for a job, or to buy a product or service. In an equal society, websites should be accessible to everyone. This toolbar is progress towards that, and I would encourage others to try it out.” Michael McEwan, Freelance Journalist Further information: Michael McEwan Michael’s website - https://michaelmcewanmedia.webs.com/ Michael’s CommonSpace profile - https://www.commonspace.scot/authors/michael-mcewan SCLD The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) is the lead strategic partner to the Scottish Government in the delivery of learning disability strategy and policy. We are an intermediary organisation for the learning disability sector in Scotland, and we are committed to finding new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities. www.scld.org.uk Twitter - @SCLDNews Facebook - @ScotCommission Insta - @scldnews
Consistently growing the numbers of students who enrol is the Holy Grail for university marketing teams and being able to attract a wider audience is key. Opening days can often be the single most effective marketing activity for universities to convert enquiries into student enrolments. On the other hand, A level results clearing is another crucial part of student enrolment and admission for universities. This year more students than ever have obtained places through the A-Level clearing process. To attract this uplift in students going through clearing, university websites act as their shop window to inform and educate students about their university offerings. To attract a wider, more diverse range of students their websites need to be accessible and inclusive. Data from UCAS (as of 27/8/2019) showed that 44,000 out of the 476,000 UK students who gained places went through clearing, which is 4,500 more than the same point last year. Attracting new students in a changing world These figures underline how important it is for universities to get the most of their marketing spend during clearing and reach as many prospective students as possible. But they must do this in a rapidly changing world, as the UK’s population (and university intake) becomes more diverse. Data from the ONS shows this population trend is set to continue for many years, and net international migration will account for almost three-quarters of UK population growth over the next 25 years. So as our population becomes more diverse, there is a growing need for language support. For example, many international students won’t speak English as their first language, so translation options (especially for complex information) will be essential for them to access communications. Also, in 2017–18, there were 458,490 international students studying at UK higher education institutions, which accounts for nearly 20% of the total student population in the UK. All this means that for universities to succeed at attracting students they must ensure that their websites offer language support during clearing and for attracting people to open days as part of their university selection process. Language translation is crucial for digital access Universities like Cranfield University, which attracts students from over 100 countries across the world, use the Recite Me assistive toolbar to let anyone view their website in the way that works best for them. This is a key part of their offering to attract international students (including those who don’t speak English as their first language) to enrol. Recite Me lets people change elements such as the font size, plus the font colour and background colour contrast, as well as giving the option to have the text read out aloud. All of which are great for helping people with disabilities to access web content. Crucially, Recite Me also gives people the option to translate any bit of written web content on-demand into over 100 different languages, including text to speech in over 40 languages. This makes it easy for people who don’t speak English as their first language to easily access all the information they need to on the university’s website. As Amy Simpson, Head of Digital Communications at Cranfield University, explained, this combination of translation and accessibility features is ideal for universities. She said: "We wanted to make sure the content on our website was accessible to as many people as possible. “Recite Me provides us with a translation service as well as an accessibility solution, which is very important for us because it means that our international audiences can easily access our web content. “There are so many different features on the Recite Me toolbar that it covers everything from an accessibility and language perspective.” Ultimately, universities must ensure they meet the language needs of prospective students to flourish in the future. 100’s of organisations including universities and colleges already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities To find out more contact the team or book a demo.
Capital City College Group is London’s largest further education college group, providing exceptional education and training for our students, business clients and other stakeholders They comprise of three London’s largest most popular colleges – City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London – as well as a bespoke training provider for employers and apprentices, Capital City College Training.
Businesses with inaccessible websites are missing out on global consumer spending power of £2.25 trillion
Today (12/11/2019) is Purple Tuesday, an international call to action to celebrate the spending power of people with disabilities and their families (aka the purple pound). Organised by Purple, a disability organisation committed to bringing together business and people with disabilities, Purple Tuesday is all about changing the customer experience for people with disabilities. A huge, relatively untapped market According to Purple Tuesday, the global consumer spending power of people with disabilities and their families, known as the Purple Pound, is a massive £2.25 trillion. But fewer than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access this disability market. This mismatch between supply and demand shows the commercial opportunities available for organisations. And it also sadly underlines the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities, when it comes to spending their money. Purple Tuesday aims to make any business or organisation that interacts with customers or clients who are disabled more aware of the opportunities and challenges that exist. It also aims to inspire these businesses and organisations to make changes to improve the customer experience for people with disabilities. Digital accessibility is as important as physical accessibility Purple Tuesday rightly highlights the need to make both physical and online customer experiences accessible for people with disabilities. Click-Away Pound is a research survey that explores the online shopping experience of people with disabilities and examines the cost to business of ignoring shoppers who are disabled. The findings of The Click-Away Pound Survey in 2016 showed how important it is for UK retailers to change their approach to customers with disabilities and improve the digital accessibility of websites and apps. According to the results: 71% of customers with disabilities who have access needs will click away from a website that they find difficult to use. Those customers who click away have an estimated spending power of £11.75 billion in the UK alone, around 10% of the total UK online spend in 2016. 82% of customers with access needs would spend more if websites were more accessible Will the 2019 survey results show a big improvement, a mixed picture or a backward step? It’s an exciting piece of research that’s worth keeping a close eye on! Making websites more accessible with assistive technology If you know you need to make your website work better to claim your slice of the Purple Pound, the Recite Me assistive toolbar is a great resource to add to any website to make it more accessible for people with disabilities. Recite Me is a cloud-based assistive technology toolbar that offers web visitors a range of features to customise your website and its web content, so that they can consume it in ways that work best for them. For example, 285 million people worldwide have a visual impairment, and Recite Me has a screen reader that helps website visitors to perceive and understand your digital content by reading website text aloud. It also allows people to change the way a website looks. Users are able to customise the website’s colour scheme as well as the text font style, size, colour, and spacing. This is a great aid for the roughly one in ten people in the world who have dyslexia. 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 successful sales and other rich insights into your customers' buying behaviour. 100’s of organizations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities… To find out more contact the team or book a demo.
Founder of EqualEngineers Dr Mark McBride-Wright is an engineer on a mission. A mission to make the UK’s engineering and technology sectors more diverse and inclusive. Traditionally they are known as sectors that fall short on the diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups. We recently spoke to Mark, to get his thoughts on how his sector can become more inclusive. EqualEngineers recently implemented Recite Me onto its website with the aim of delivering a “one-stop option for ensuring our website is accessible to as many people as possible, a web accessibility solution that would quickly and efficiently integrate with the platform our website is built on,” says Mark. The Recite Me toolbar enables visitors to interact with the websites in a deeper way in conjunction with their accessibility requirements. Mark’s primary motive was to ensure that their website is open to as many people as possible to find out about the work that EqualEngineers do and the events they run. He continued, “We need to increase digital accessibility to as many people as possible, and Recite Me provides a way to achieve this. Now, when engineers and professionals in the sector visit EqualEngineers’ website, they can choose whether to enable the accessibility options on the website.” Making the website more accessible is just one part of a wider programme of ground-breaking initiatives that the organisation is running. Most recently, Mark spearheaded the first-ever ‘Masculinity in Engineering Report’, which was launched on World Mental Health Day. The report found that only 31% of engineers feel included in the environment they work in. Improving digital accessibility (including using assistive technology like Recite Me) helps make engineering more diverse and inclusive. Mark says, “Engineering is a traditionally male, white-dominated sector. It can be very lonely if you feel even a little bit ‘different’ to the supposed ‘norm’.” “Not being able to be open about who you are, because of attitudes and lack of diversity around you can lead to mental health issues and decreased wellbeing. We need to create a culture where men can be vulnerable and can understand their own diversity story. We do not have this in our male-majority industry, and we need to work to bring down the psychological barriers preventing it.” The report makes recommendations for the sector, including increased parity between the importance of physical safety and good mental health, modeling flexible working at senior level and highlighting the ‘toxic’ in toxic masculinity. “Men must be emboldened to be able to proudly define their own masculinity, and be reconciled with the idea that masculinity in itself is not negative at all, but that it is specific traits and behaviours, associated with a toxic, hyper-competitive, macho culture that must disappear to make way for healthy, diverse and inclusive work environments for all, “ concluded Mark. As well as highlighting what needs to change, a big part of encouraging change in the sector is rewarding existing and emerging best practices. That’s why EqualEngineers have just launched a brand new awards programme. The Engineering Talent Awards will celebrate the diversity of the engineering and technology profession. Nominations are open now and the winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner on 23 April 2020 in London. Good luck to anyone that enters! To find out more about EqualEngineers, visit https://www.equalengineers.com To learn more about Recite Me, including how to book your free demo, visit www.reciteme.com
If you want to know how 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 organisation for the World Wide Web, and define how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. They are now the premium standard for web and digital across the world, including in the UK. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web and founded W3C, believed that the web can help to empower all members of society by making information accessible to everyone. “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect…The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability. “When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability. “Thus the impact of disability is radically changed on the Web because the Web removes barriers to communication and interaction that many people face in the physical world. “However, when web sites, applications, technologies, or tools are badly designed, they can create barriers that exclude people from using the Web.” Hence the need to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Understanding the guidelines As the name suggests, these are guidelines, not standards, which means they offer a set of recommendations to follow, as opposed to a strict set of standards to conform to. The guidelines offer layers of guidance (principles, guidelines, success criteria, and sufficient and advisory techniques) that combine to provide guidance on how to make content more accessible. The guidelines and success criteria are organised around four principles, which set the foundation for anyone to access and use web content. They are: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. The 13 guidelines provide the basic goals that designers and content creators should work toward to make content more accessible to users with different disabilities. For each guideline, testable success criteria are provided to allow WCAG 2.1 to be used where requirements and conformance testing are necessary such as in design specification and regulations. In order to meet the needs of different groups and different situations, there are three levels of conformance: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). For each of the guidelines and success criteria in WCAG 2.1, there are a variety of informative techniques that fall in two categories: those that are sufficient techniques for meeting the success criteria and those that are advisory techniques. Using assistive technology Recite Me is an assistive toolbar that adds an extra layer of accessibility to your websites. Using assistive technology enhances a user's website journey at the same time as following the core principles of WCAG 2.1. It allows web visitors to customise your digital content so that they can consume it in ways that work for them. And it helps websites follow the principles of the WCAG in a number of different ways, such as those listed below. Perceivable The Recite Me assistive toolbar provides features that allow content to be perceived through sound or enhanced visually means. For example, Recite Me can change website text or documents like PDFs into an alternative format by allowing the user to convert them into an audio file, which the user can opt to have read aloud. Understandable The Recite Me styling features allow people to change the way the content is displayed. Users are able to customise the websites colour scheme as well as the texts font style, size, colour and spacing. Operable Recite Me assistive technology supports users with their location on page via screen reader navigation. The screen reader also supports content reading time by being able to control text speech speeds. Robust The Recite Me assistive toolbar is delivered as SaaS (Software as a Service). Once installed onto your website you will receive regular updates and always have the latest version. Ultimately, to ensure your website and all its content is accessible you should understand and follow the principles of the WCAG, combined with the right assistive technology. 100’s of organizations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities… To find out more contact the team or book a demo.
The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) is committed to finding new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities in Scotland. At SCLD we want a world where people with learning disabilities are respected and included by everyone. We believe that we all have something to give and that everyone should be given the opportunity for their voices to be heard. We work closely with the Scottish Government to help deliver their learning disability strategy, The Keys to life - https://keystolife.info/
As the old saying goes, you should never judge a book by its cover. Never has that been truer, than when it comes to judging what other people’s spelling actually says about them. Take the case last week of Labour MP Peter Kyle, who asked social media users who ridicule his spelling and call him thick to lay off him because he has acute dyslexia. In a powerful Twitter thread, which is worth reading, he said: “Every day I get picked up on something I write. Mostly it’s kindly or humorous which is appreciated. Sometimes it’s sneering or brutal.” “… Recently I spelled ‘border’ ‘boarder’. Most people were forgiving, hundreds were not: ‘thick’ / ‘can’t be an MP if you can’t even spell’ / ‘stupid’ / ‘resign and let someone with a brain take over’ etc.” Next time, think twice It’s a story that should make people think twice before ridiculing someone else’s spelling mistakes. Some professionals like copywriters and PR practitioners, in particular, can get very snooty and arrogant about spotting mistakes in other people’s spelling. But it just goes to show that we are all human. And that the one in ten people in the UK who have dyslexia shouldn’t face abuse because they find it difficult to read and spell. Sure, point out other people’s mistakes to help, but don’t be brutal or condescending. Supporting Peter Kyle MP We are proud to support Peter Kyle MP on this one and we think that sharing personal experiences of dyslexia is vital to improve awareness. It’s also essential to challenge the stigma that the ‘spelling police’ label people with, whether they understand an individual’s circumstances or not. There are already business leaders like Richard Branson, who champions the fact he has dyslexia and that it hasn’t stopped him from being successful in life. Now people with dyslexia have a political champion too in Peter Kyle. And it’s worth noting that like many people who have dyslexia, he is one of life’s later bloomers. He struggled at school because of his dyslexia but succeeded eventually through hard work and persistence. Although he left school without any qualifications he returned to education as an adult and went on to attend the University of Sussex, where he gained a degree and a PhD in community economic development. Recite Me CEO and Founder Ross Linnett commented, “I am Dyslexic myself and I have also come across this type of negative feedback from others. What Labour MP Peter Kyle has done has inspired others with dyslexia not to be ashamed and to stand up to the Spelling Police. People should see that having dyslexia is a gift. We have a gift to tackle tasks in a creative and analytical way that others cannot.” How Recite Me assistive technology supports people with dyslexia Recite Me helps people with dyslexia to access websites and their content by letting them customise the look and feel of a website. To support reading, a user can customise the text font, colour, sizing and spacing. They can also customise the colour of the website background, and web links, plus focus on a specific area with a reading mask and ruler. They can also choose to have text read aloud and access a dictionary and thesaurus to check spellings and definitions. Ultimately, every person and organisation should do what we can to support people with dyslexia, and avoid jumping to narrow conclusions about people’s spelling.
Over the past thirty years Search Consultancy has grown to become one of the UK's largest and leading recruitment consultancies offering a range of services to clients, candidates and temps. With 14 offices across the country they look to place people at all levels across a wide range of commercial and industry sectors. Search Consultancy’s mission is to be the recruitment partner of choice for organisations who are aiming to achieve success through talented and motivated people. They are here to provide expertise and value to both their candidates and clients at every stage of the recruitment process.
Everton Football Club is a topflight English Premier League Football Club which has been playing at the top level continuously since 1954. From being one of the founder members of the football league in 1888, right through to present day when Everton made technological and sporting history by helping a child too sick to travel to become the world's first 'virtual matchday mascot' - experiencing the excitement of going on to the pitch via a specially-designed telepresence robot carried by captain Phil Jagielka in the 2017/18 season - Everton has always been at the forefront of innovation and inclusion.
London Gatwick is the world’s busiest single-runway airport which was officially opened on 9 June 1958 by Her Majesty The Queen. Over the last 60 years, the airport has grown from just 186,000 passengers to over 46 million passengers each year. In 2018 Gatwick served more destinations than any other UK airport.
The University of London, ‘The Peoples University’, became a Chartered University in 1836. Established as a secular alternative to Oxford and Cambridge, the only two other English universities at the time. In the present day, the University of London contains 18 member institutions, central academic bodies, and research institutes. The university has over 52,000 distance learning external students and 161,270 campus-based internal students (across the Federation), making it the largest university by the number of students in the United Kingdom.
The University of London has implemented assistive technology on to their website to support the raising number of distance learning students, the number of students enrolling from other countries and students with disabilities. Many universities across the country are attracting more and more students from around the world. This increase in the popularity of international students is a key market for universities & higher education organisations. To allow everyone to access course documentation and specific University information their website needed to provide accessibility support. The University of London contains 18 member institutions, central academic bodies, and research institutes. The university has over 52,000 distance learning external students and 161, 270 campus-based internal students (from across the federation), making it the largest university by the number of students in the United Kingdom. To support website usability for all on the University of London website, Recite Me provides an accessibility assistive toolbar. By providing a simple drop-down toolbar this allows visitors to customise their website in a way that works for them. This cloud-based accessibility support software gives any user the ability to customise the way they view content. This can be by changing the styling of the website. For example, changing the site background colour, font type, size colour and spacing. To support reading visitors can use the text to speech functionality or reading aids such as a ruler, reading mask, dictionary, and text-only mode. To support people how may not be able to read in English, the translation tool will translate on-demand into over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. Mark Harrison, Head of Inclusion at the University of London said, “The University of London is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible experience, regardless of how our audiences and stakeholders wish to engage with us – this is just as important in an online capacity. 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. In addition, we have adopted the accessibility toolbar on its intranet and jobs website to ensure that more people can access and modify the content in the way that makes it more useful and usable. These initiatives are examples of the measures we are taking to ensure that we are promoting inclusive academic practices.” University of London is part of a hand full of UK Universities that are focused on creating an accessible and usable website to benefit from the increase in a diverse audience. In September this year, all public sector websites must have complied with the principles of the WCAG 2.1 AA global web accessibility guidelines in order to be considered accessible. According to the sitemorse.com 2019 Q2/UK & IE Universities & Higher Ed report, 80% of tested university websites reported back a score of less than five out of ten for website accessibility. Recite me have created a guide that gives you a summary of the regulations, plus information about what you need to do to comply and how Recite Me can help you. Public sector website accessibility guide. Recite Me Founder and CEO Ross Linnett said: “It is great to see that the University of London has made a positive change online to support all their students with online accessibility and translation support. Creating an accessible website benefits organisation from the increasingly diverse global population.”