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Stay up to date with the latest client news, industry updates and events from Recite Me

The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence Provide Unlimited Access to Information and Services

29 Jul 2021 | news

The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) now provides online accessibility and language tools to support the diverse population of Maine, US. Founded in 1977 by local domestic violence advocates working in communities across the state, the MCEDV has created change in how Mainers understand and respond to abuse, giving a unified voice in policy discussion in Augusta. To foster communities where the diversity, dignity, and contributions of all are respected, and domestic abuse and violence no longer exist, the MCEDV has broken down online barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. Access for all is integral to the MCEDV. Regina Rooney, Education & Communications Director at the MCEDV commented, “Everyone should have access to information about domestic abuse and violence. Recite Me’s toolbar gets us closer to that goal. People with disabilities, people who speak other languages, and people with low literacy all face exacerbated challenges when facing domestic abuse. Implementing Recite Me’s web accessibility toolbar is one way we can help overcome those hurdles. Everyone should have access to information about domestic abuse and violence.” The assistive technology on the MCEDV website provides a range of unique features for website visitors to use. This includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. To discover the customisable toolbar on the MCEDV website select Accessibility | Language. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive digital world for all book a demo with a member of our friendly team.

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Assistive Technology: Who Needs It?

27 Jul 2021 | news

On an individual level, the short answer is about 20% of the population. That equates to a pretty staggering number – over 13 million people in the UK, over 5 million people in Australia, and over 65 million in the US, for example. The internet can be a minefield for those with access barriers. On any given website, an access barrier can be any element of the design or formatting that prevents users from reading and understanding the content. The people who are most susceptible to access barriers are those who struggle with: Decreased vision Learning difficulties Literacy Language/linguistic problems Attention disorders Physical disabilities Assistive technology provides solutions and support for all of these, making the online world more inclusive and an equal playing field for everyone. So…Why Don’t ALL Companies Want to Provide Assistive Technology for Their Users? A fair question, given the possibility of adding to your market share with millions of new website visitors and customers. No matter what sector your organisation sits in, ignoring 20% of the market is simply not good for business. Plus, there are other benefits to being inclusive, such as reduced legal risk and improved brand reputation. The two most common objections we hear from prospective clients are that “Our site users don’t need it” or “Those who need it will have their own technology already”. Yet, we know from experience that neither of these statements is true. Busting Accessibility Myths The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that only 1 in 10 people have access to the assistive technology they need. For example, over 200 million people with low vision do not have access to assistive products to support them. “Assistive technology enables people to live healthy, productive, independent, and dignified lives, and to participate in education, the labour market and civic life. Without assistive technology, people are often excluded, isolated, and locked into poverty, thereby increasing the impact of disability on a person, their family, and society.” WHO, 2021 So, onwards to myth busting… 1. “Our Site Users Don’t Need It” Wrong! It’s a common reaction, mainly because many of the conditions that make websites inaccessible fall into the category of ‘hidden disabilities’. Often, these conditions are kept purposefully hidden for fear of drawing unwarranted attention or being discriminated against. This can be particularly true in the workplace environment. Did you know? … It’s estimated that at least 15% of the population is neurodiverse! Let’s take dyspraxia as an example, as many people haven’t even heard of it. It’s a condition that affects around 10% of the population, and at least 3-4% in a significant way. So the chances are that within your website user base, there will absolutely be individuals with dyspraxia who need to be supported. The same can be said of Dyslexia, Hyperlexia, and a myriad of other unseen conditions that impact web accessibility. So rest assured, your users DO need assistive technology! A side note to employers: The average cost of adjusting for employee accessibility is typically just a few hundred pounds/dollars. Plus, data shows that employees with disabilities take less time off and tend to stay with companies for longer. So any outlay is almost certainly recouped many times over. 2. “Those Who Need It Will Have Their Own Technology Already” Wrong again! Put simply, if people were able to - and preferred to - use their own assistive technology, we wouldn’t have seen the incredible increase in subscription coupled with the phenomenal rise in usage of the Recite Me toolbar over the last calendar year: Over 1.8 million unique users. Over 10 million pages viewed with Recite Me enabled. Over 47 million clicks on the Recite Me toolbar to use features like our screen reader, translation services, and styling features. Website users are deterred from using personal assistive technology tools for many reasons, including: Cost - Those with disabilities tend to be more financially vulnerable, and many simply can’t afford the technology. For example, a single copy of JAWS (a computer screen reader program that assists the visually impaired) costs over AUD1500 without updates. From an ethical standpoint, should someone with a disability have to pay out of their own pocket to get the same access to information, services, and employment as everyone else? That’s a hard no from us! Usability - Individual assistive technology (such as JAWS) will work on only the device on which it is installed. With most people now moving between pc, mobile, and tablet devices regularly, this is incredibly restrictive. Fun Fact: Recite Me began because our CEO, Ross Linnett, purchased assistive technology to help with his dyslexia, but was frustrated it would only work on one machine. Functionality - Unlike most other assistive tools, Recite Me remembers each individual user's preferences. So when they return to your site or any other site that hosts Recite Me, the toolbar will launch with personal preferences already installed, thus providing continuity of user experience. Availability – Many internet users, especially older people, are simply unaware that solutions are available. “I think I faced more challenges when I was younger, as there wasn't the technology like today. 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. Michael McEwan, Freelance Journalist What Kinds of Business is Recite Me Good for? Every type of company and organisation can benefit from Recite Me assistive technology. We work with businesses across all sectors, including e-commerce, finance, public sector, technology, education, utilities, transport, leisure and entertainment, sports, recruitment, and construction. Due to the very nature of our product, Recite Me is also very popular in the health and charity sectors. There are so many examples of people with disabilities reporting the vital need for assistive technology at a content level, that our technology has been assessed and tested by many disabled user groups before installment. As a result, we work directly with many disability-specific charities that have adopted our technology after gathering extensive user feedback. You can see a complete list of company testimonials here. What Recite Me Users Say One of our prospective clients commissioned Scope, a well-known disability charity, to carry out user testing on our toolbar. All participants said they would use the tool again and that they’d be more likely to use a website again if they knew that their accessibility needs were accommodated. Here are some of the user comments and feedback… “It doesn’t strain or hurt my eyes when I read now.” “It’s remembered my settings across different sites, I really like this” “It shows that they’ve given accessibility some thought, and that goes a long way with me.” “Being able to change the background to black is a real bonus for me - I get dry eyes, so this extends the amount of time I can stay online.” “If a place I’m planning to visit has an accessible website, I think they are more likely to be accessible when I get there.” The Time for Accessibility is Now! The demand for accessible and inclusive websites has never been greater, so goal-setting for inclusion should be at the top of your company’s to-do list. Adopting an inclusive approach to your online services before your competitors will solidify your position as a market leader – and improve profits, customer service, and employee satisfaction at the same time. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website and can usually be installed in under an hour. Join the hundreds of companies who have already adopted our inclusive software by contacting our team for more information, or by booking a toolbar demonstration. Article Data Sources: United Nations, World Health Organisation (WHO), Australian Network on Disability, Learning Difficulties Australia, Australian Government Department of Health.

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Disability Independence Online: The Why's and How's Explained

26 Jul 2021 | news

Happy National Disability Independence Day! July 26th marks the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President George HW Bush. ADA legislation promotes equal opportunities for people with disabilities and makes it a legal requirement that businesses are accessible. Read on to learn more about disabilities in America, what we’re doing to help, and how you can help too by making your website more inclusive to people with varying access needs. Disabilities in the US 1 in every 4 Americans live with some kind of disability. This includes both physical disabilities and hidden disabilities like visual impairments, cognitive and neurological disorders, and linguistic disadvantages. In the American population: Over 10% have attention deficit disorders 5% have visual impairments Up to 23% have a learning difficulty Around 15% are neurodiverse Over 67 million people speak a language other than English at home Disability Laws In the earlier years of the ADA, accessibility issues were focused more on physical factors, like having access ramps and elevators in shops and office buildings. However, with the advancement of technology and the continuous growth of e-commerce, online accessibility is now a significant factor. Current ADA guidelines state that businesses must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate those with disabilities online. This protects people with disabilities against employment discrimination and allows for equal access to goods, services, and communications. Disability Pride Month July is Disability Pride Month. Inaugurated in 2015 to mark the 25th anniversary of the ADA, this is an annual international event focusing on inclusion. It’s not yet as widely observed or understood as other big awareness drives like Black History Month, but the movement is growing in momentum every year. Designed as a platform to promote diversity, share experiences, and celebrate all of the big and small wins that make communities more inclusive for people with disabilities, you can expect to see Disability Pride parades in many cities across America throughout the month - and particularly on July 26th. The Importance of Online Accessibility Many brick-and-mortar businesses are ADA compliant these days, but websites need to be accessible too. The internet should empower all members of society with the same information and opportunities. So more than anything else, it’s just the right thing to do. “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.” Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web Why Create an Accessible Website? Aside from the moral standpoint and feel-good factor, there are numerous other reasons to create an accessible website. Revenue - The total disposable income of the US working-age population with disabilities is $490 billion. Ultimately, users will click away from inaccessible websites and spend their money elsewhere. So there is a clear case that making a business accessible online should lead to increased profits. Branding – Forbes reported that 52% of online consumers consider a company’s values when purchasing. Welcoming people with varied disabilities and access needs allow you to promote your commitment to inclusion and set yourself apart from the competition. Employee Loyalty – Being an inclusive employer evokes feelings of pride that improve staff satisfaction and reduces turnover rates. Being inclusive also allows you to stand out as an employer, helping you attract a more diverse team, gain a wider perspective, and become more innovative. Legal Compliance – A per the ADA, it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favorably. In 2020, over 300 digital accessibility lawsuits were filed every month. International Guidelines – The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and are the premium standards that should be adopted by organizations globally. The next update to WCAG 3.0 is due in 2022. How Does Recite Me Help? People who face access barriers online struggle for many different reasons, and often, making a singular adjustment is not enough. With the Recite Me assistive toolbar installed on your website, access barriers can be broken down by making single or multiple adjustments to create a genuinely inclusive online experience. Users can: Personalize font size, type, and color options to make web pages easier to read. This is beneficial for readers who have dyslexia, dyspraxia, color blindness, or decreased vision in general. Download content as an audio file, great for people with vision problems. Access text-to-speech functions in 35 different languages, a fantastic function for site visitors with English literacy issues. Text can be read aloud at varying speeds with either a male or female voice, which is beneficial for autistic users too. Utilize the screen mask and ruler, allowing those with ADHD and other attention disorders to focus rather than being distracted by other content on the page. Convert text content into over 100 different on-screen languages, ideal for people who don’t speak English as a first language. Make use of the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus to check word definitions. This is particularly important for users with conditions like hyperlexia, who can read words but not necessarily understand their meaning. Switch to “text-only” mode. This feature is favored by those with conditions like Epilepsy, as they can strip away media and graphics that could cause a seizure. Recite Me Clients Our toolbar has been integral in providing equal online access for people with disabilities across America and beyond. Here’s what some of our clients have to say about the results. Awin Specialists in a range of retail, telecommunications, travel, and finance verticals, Awin generated over $12 billion in revenue for its advertisers and $901 million for its publishers last year. "At Awin, diversity and inclusion is not an initiative but core to who we are as a company. Recite Me allows us to ensure an inclusive online environment and positive user experience for all our partners and employees. We couldn’t be more thrilled to provide this tool. " Alexandra Forsch, President of Awin US SNC Lavalin A world-leading engineering and project management company with over 50,000 employees in offices in 50 countries. "Recite Me goes to the very heart of our values. It's helping us build a diverse, inclusive environment where we respect, understand, and value different people – starting with how we recruit them. " Victoria Jones, Head of Recruitment Orlando International Airport MCO is the busiest airport in the state and the tenth busiest in the country, welcoming over 29,000,000 passengers per year. "We have a long history of innovative solutions to spearhead focus on customer service. Recite Me is a more cost-effective solution for delivering web content in foreign languages and also adds many more accessibility tools to improve the user experience for visitors to our site." Jerry Harris, Assistant Director of Marketing & Air Service Development Recite Me Data Our software is already installed on over 3500 websites, and every day we help thousands of internet users to enjoy accessible and inclusive online journeys. Our most recent 12 months stats show that: We supported over 2.1 million users Over 11 million pages were accessed with the Recite Me toolbar enabled Our accessibility features were used over 35 million times to create unique user experiences How to Improve Online Accessibility 2021 has been dubbed ‘The Year of Inclusion.’ More private and public sector regulations are on the way, and search engines are already applying heavier weighting to accessibility factors. Here are the steps we recommend you follow to improve your website’s accessibility scores. Check that your web design conforms to best practices and principles for accessibility. Make sure your website meets all relevant ADA legal requirements. Familiarize yourself with current WCAG standards (version 2.2) and make any required adjustments to get your site updated. Look into assistive technology software to add further layers of usability to your website. Here’s wishing you a wonderful Disability Independence Day from the whole team at Recite Me. If you’d like more information on how your organization can improve inclusion by utilizing assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together, we can make a positive difference and provide equal opportunities online. Article Sources: CDC, DiverseAbility Magazine, Forbes, Accessible 360, WHO, United Nations

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The Roles of Accessibility and Inclusion in Organisational Success

22 Jul 2021 | news

A recent survey conducted by Chief Executive and the Society for Human Resource Management identified some interesting synergies in CEO and HR attitudes with regards to finding and retaining talent. However, there was also some discord between the two camps, suggesting that a more collaborative approach may be the best way to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and ultimately successful workforce. The survey asked 243 CEOs to select which areas they thought Chief Human Resource Officers (CHRO) should dedicate more time and attention to, while asking 406 CHROs the same question of CEOs. Answers were selected from the following list: Diversity, equity, and inclusion Talent, retention, and upskilling strategy Organisational reinvention and innovation Leadership transition Wages and compensation practices Culture/ethics Talent availability and recruiting Covid-19 vaccine impact on workforce safety and practices Business continuity/crisis management Across the board, the category with the most votes was talent retention and upskilling, with 58.4% of CEOs and 60.3% of CHROs voting that their counterparts spent more time on this. The next most popular votes represented a split of opinion between the two groups: 56% of CEOs thought CHROs should spend more time on talent availability & recruiting, compared to only 29% of CHRO voters in the opposite direction. 62% of CHROs thought CEOs should spend more time on diversity, equity and inclusion, compared to only 30% of CEO voters in the opposite direction. All three of these categories can be directly affected by accessibility barriers. So we wanted to look at each in a little more detail to identify ways CEOs and HR teams can work together towards common goals and discover multiple business benefits in the process. Talent Availability and Recruiting Online job searches and recruitment drives have always been popular, and since the COVID-19 pandemic began, they have become the norm. This is a problem, as there are many talented candidates out there who may not be able to access a job ad or navigate the online application process. So already, recruiters are cutting off access to a significant part of the talent pool. Who is Excluded? In short, anyone with a disability. It’s worth stressing here that a disability doesn’t have to be obvious or physical. There is a multitude of hidden disabilities that have zero effect on a candidate’s ability to perform. Job ads and application processes therefore need to be accessible to everyone, including applicants with: Visual impairments such as poor eyesight, deafblindness, and colour blindness. Learning difficulties like dyslexia, hyperlexia, and dyspraxia. Neurodevelopment and neurological conditions like ADHD, autism, and epilepsy. Mobility and physical impairments. First languages other than English Key Takeaways for CEOs and CHROS You are missing out on talent. Did you know that: Only one in three jobseekers think online job applications are suitably accessible for disabled people. Only 26% think online applications are suitably accessible for people who speak English as a second language. For more information on inclusive recruitment processes, we invite you to download our guide to accessible online recruitment in partnership with Guidant Global. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion It is illegal in most countries for employers to discriminate against qualified candidates based on disability. Despite this, candidates with disabilities still face cases of active bias when applying for jobs: On average, disabled people apply for 60% more jobs before finding one. Nearly 40% of disabled applicants feel insecure about getting hired as they believe employers will disregard their application based on their impairment or condition. Only 51% of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Even for organisations with solid diversity and inclusion hiring policies, disabled employees often struggle. Why? Because equality and equity are not the same thing. Equality is giving every applicant the same fair treatment and consideration. Equity is giving your disabled employees the tools they need to succeed once they are in the job. For employees with any of the hidden disabilities mentioned above, this means making reasonable adjustments that allow them to perform to the same ability as their colleagues. Key Takeaways for CEOs and CHROS It is entirely possible to develop a diverse workforce without creating an inclusive working environment. But making adjustments so that disabled employees can perform to the best of their abilities needn’t be dramatic or expensive. Examples include providing screen readers or using assistive technology like the Recite Me toolbar so that employees can modify their screen view or customise the way a website page looks for easier reading and understanding. It would be remiss at this point not to mention that additional technology helps ALL employees. It’s estimated that 25-30% of the workforce will be working remotely at least one day per week in the near future. So businesses need to ensure all employees have the tools and support they need to access company systems and contribute. “For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.” IBM Training Manual Talent Retention and Upskilling Organisations can save valuable time and resources on recruitment and training processes if they actively work on minimising staff turnover and retaining the most skilled employees. By reducing access barriers and hiring a representative number of disabled employees, businesses demonstrate fairness in the workplace that boosts staff morale and reduces turnover. Plus, they get to reap the benefits of a more robust and dynamic team: Employees with disabilities take less time off and tend to stay with companies for longer. Neurodiverse employees are often creative thinkers and strategic problem solvers. A more diverse team leads to improved innovation and a broader perspective. In today’s employment market, many industry leaders already see diversity as an asset. For example, UK surveillance agency GHCQ purposefully employs employees whose brains work differently. And they are not the only ones. Giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Barclays Bank have also been vocal in advocating for increased neurodiversity as an effective strategy to upskill workforces. Key Takeaways for CEOs and CHROS The key for employers is to alter their perceptions about disability and make some positive changes. One effective way to do this is to become a Disability Confident Employer and explore the benefits of hiring more disabled people. Already heavily subscribed by many progressive and forward-thinking companies, there are already over 18,000 Disability Confident Employers in the UK alone – Recite Me being one of them, of course. The Next Steps The survey results demonstrate some conflicts in opinion between CEO and CHRO level in many organisations. Therefore, before businesses jump into recruitment, diversity, inclusion, and retention issues, a more robust strategy may be needed to develop a more efficient partnership. When it comes to accessibility and inclusion, Recite Me is on hand to provide support to recruiters and a level playing field for all applicants, regardless of disability. Over 3500 organisations already use our software to make their websites more accessible, and every year millions of web pages are accessed using our assistive toolbar. Contact our team today to find out more or book a live demonstration. Article Sources: The Independent, Ridi, Apollo Technical, Chief Executive, GCHQ.

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Public Sector Websites Need to be More Inclusive

21 Jul 2021 | news

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a significant rise in public sector organisations that use our web accessibility software. In the last 6 months alone we have seen a 20% increase in the need for online support. 2021 has already been dubbed ‘The Year of Accessibility’. Digital inclusion factors rank high in priorities for business development, and with more and more people relying upon online information, those in the public sector are under increasing pressure to keep their users updated with all of the relevant information and news. Why is Website Accessibility So Important in the Public Sector? The government expects that public sector websites and mobile apps meet accessibility standards by complying with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Yet, recent research by Ariadne Web Magazine shows that a significant percentage of local authority website home pages still aren’t accessible to people with disabilities, and far too many other public sector websites don’t meet baseline accessibility standards either. Making sure a website is accessible and inclusive to all users is important for any business, but by the very nature of the services offered and the functions served by public sector bodies, it is arguably even more important in this case. There are several factors that public sector organisations need to be aware of. Equal Access to information We tend to think of the internet as a place where everyone has instant access to the information they need at all times, but that’s simply not the case. Here in Australia, the Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that one in six people has a disability that means they struggle to access information online. Examples include: Visual impairments Learning difficulties Literacy and language barriers Neurological disorders Developmental disorders Physical disabilities Temporary disabilities Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances Any customers who struggle with one or more of the issues listed above can be considered vulnerable, as any inequality in access to information leads to an inequality of access to services. Plus, in challenging circumstances, vulnerability levels increase and those with accessibility needs fall further through the cracks as they struggle to keep up to date with changing information. Our Aging Population As the ageing population increases, so too does the percentage of the entire population with disabilities, visual impairments, and hearing loss. The internet gives elderly people the ability to connect with relatives and friends on a regular basis and is an important tool in allowing senior citizens to lead independent lives. The COVID-19 Effect With many people confined to their homes, it has never been more critical that websites account for all users, including those with disabilities and accessibility barriers. Essentially, this has changed the priority of web accessibility to be something that has to be done, rather than something that should be done. In 2020, the impact of COVID-19 was evident, and we witnessed a surge in toolbar usage of over 55%. Helping Self-Serving Accounts With the continued closure of many face-to-face service centres during the COVID-19 pandemic, call centre teams have struggled to service the influx of callers. Wait times have been at an all-time high, and many consumers have struggled to reach an operator at all. Providing more practical and efficient ways for customers to communicate online can help avoid situations like this. Public Sector Data Trends Providing accessible websites is the best way to guarantee inclusion and ensure consumers do not become more vulnerable or excluded from the information, services, and support networks they need. Recite Me is here to help all public sector businesses and organisations to communicate information more effectively by making websites accessible and inclusive of all users. Over the last calendar year, we have helped many different organisations within the public sector to achieve this. Education We can install our assistive toolbar across the full digital landscape of educational organisations, not just the main website. This includes online learning platforms, intranets, and communication portals. We’re proud to assist a number of colleges and universities in providing an inclusive experience. As education providers switched to online learning models throughout 2020 and 2021, the Recite Me toolbar was regularly opened by more than 18,000 students per month. In just one year, over 3.7 million “The University of London is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible online experience. Recite Me enables us to provide additional online tools and services for those visiting our website and increase the level of accessibility quickly and easily.” Mark Harrison, Head of Inclusion, University of London Local Authority Local authorities are responsible for a wide range of community provisions, including housing, traffic schemes, voting systems, recreation, environmental projects, and amenities like trash collection. We already work with a growing number of local authorities so that residents are not left in the dark about local rules, regulations, and what is going on in their communities. At the start of the first lockdown, Recite Me usage on local authority sites increased by 87%. Our latest figures suggest usage by over 95,000 unique users accessing nearly half a million barrier-free web pages using Recite Me. “We really want to meet the needs of the people who live and work in our area, and we believe the tools Recite me offer helps us achieve this.” Ian Heslop, Digital and Web Manager, Preston Councils Public Services Having access to public sector services like the police, fire brigade, and ambulance are essential to the wellbeing of our society - and even more essential is the opportunity for equal access. "It is hugely important for us as an organisation to be accessible to the public we serve. Our website holds a lot of information which everyone should be able to access easily. Thanks to the Recite Me Toolbar, we have made vast strides in making our website more accessible”. Clare Kelly, Chief Executive, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Health Services Health services across Australia have been in high demand due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare websites are the gateway where people can access vital information during a time where people are unable to leave their homes. Therefore it is paramount that the information is easily accessible. Last year, over 50,000 people used Recite Me accessibility and language options to aid their online healthcare journey. How Accessibility Technology Helps Software like the Recite Me assistive toolbar promotes inclusivity by allowing people to access websites in a way that is best suited to them. Functions include: Fully customisable text size, font, and spacing The ability to change text colour and background colour contrasts A screen mask to provide colour tinting and block visual clutter Additional reading aids such as an on-screen ruler Text-to-speech functions in 35 languages Having text read aloud at varying speeds A real-time translation feature catering to over 100 languages A built-in dictionary and thesaurus A “text-only” mode that strips away graphics and other page clutter These functions account for singular alterations and also more complex scenarios where users may require multiple adjustments for ease of use. By facilitating this, website owners are able to remove barriers and allow for equal access for everyone. Is website Accessibility on YOUR list of priorities for 2021? We hope so! If you’d like more information about our web accessibility services, please get in touch with our team for an informal chat about how we can help. Alternatively, you can book an online demo of our toolbar in action. Together, we can make a difference and provide everyone with equal access to vital information online.

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Web Accessibility in the Industrial Sector

19 Jul 2021 | news

Construction, engineering, manufacturing, and oil & gas are perhaps not typically sectors you think of as high priority for web accessibility software. But you'd be wrong. Over the last decade, the industrial sector has experienced rapid growth and development due to the introduction of new technologies. Gone are the days of on-site offices covered in paperwork. Cloud-based progress reports, sign-offs, and document storage coupled with automated workflow software have significantly propelled the industrial sector forward. And now it's time to tackle online inclusion. Why Does the Industrial Sector Need to be Inclusive? The main reasons to provide inclusive website journeys are to: Ensure the broadest possible audience of consumers Maximise customer spending Ensure that recruitment processes are comprehensive enough to attract the best potential candidates Information and Services A recent article by Forbes Magazine identified customer demand for personalisation as one of the key trends driving the industrial sector. Great products and services are no longer enough. Consumers also expect exceptional customer service and customised solutions throughout the entire buyer journey. The article also called for more technology and servitisation to improve operational efficiency and develop new business models. Nearly one in five people have some form of disability that could affect their capacity to access information online. Data from the Click Away Pound Survey shows that: 70% of people with access needs click away from inaccessible websites 83% limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible 86% choose to pay more for products from accessible websites than purchase from websites that are harder to use. Only 8% of users with access needs will contact the site owner about accessibility barriers they experience. This puts the onus on businesses to identify the needs of their online consumers and adapt to meet them. Employment Without sufficient accessibility measures, companies across all industries struggle to reach and onboard employees from the widest pool of talent. In this respect, businesses focusing on construction and engineering etc., are in the same position as every other organisation. Historically, people with disabilities have either been exempted from work or asked to make adjustments themselves, rather than businesses making accommodations for diversity. This attitude has been particularly predominant in this sector, as employers tended to imagine people with impairments and injuries were simply not suited to industrial roles. Thankfully, this kind of stigma is fast becoming a thing of the past. To discover and attract a wider pool of talent, unearth great people, and discover unique skill sets, businesses need to ensure their digital landscape is one where anyone can access information and apply for their perfect job online. "Our ambition is to be the best place to work and the best builder in the UK. That means having a company that represents the people of Britain, without exception. I am proud to deliver this inclusive project as it represents our dedication to ensuring we hire great talent from diverse backgrounds and abilities." " Nadeem Mirza, Head of Resourcing & Talent Acquisition, Sir Robert McAlpine Leaders in Their Field It's key to remember that not all disabilities are visible. Hidden disabilities like cognitive and neurological disorders, visual impairments, learning difficulties, and language barriers can all impact web accessibility. Here are just a few examples of the type of industry leaders non-accessible employers could be missing out on: Dean Kamen – Dean describes himself as a "very slow learner" due to his dyslexia. But he has over 400 patents to his name and is credited with inventing the Segway. Arash Zaghi – Arash is an associate professor with ADHD. He's also a world-renowned expert in bridge design and earthquake engineering. Peter Flom – Struggling with a nonverbal learning disability didn't stop Peter from becoming a statistician, author, and valued board member. Just think… Your next superstar engineer could be out there, but they can't read your online job ad. The next big name in design and innovation could be on your team, but they can’t navigate your website to apply. Your perfect-fit analyst is currently looking for a job, but the application forms on your website aren't accessible to them. What are Companies Doing to Help? It's more important than ever that everyone can understand online information, and we're happy to see that many industrial firms are embracing assistive technology as a way of providing more inclusive customer journeys and recruitment processes. We are proud to work with numerous organisations in the sector, including several industry leaders in construction and engineering. Our client list includes: SNC Lavalin MACE Group The British Land Company Plc Equal Engineers Anglian Building Products "Recite Me goes to the very heart of our values. It's helping us build a diverse, inclusive environment where we respect, understand, and value different people – starting with how we recruit them. " Victoria Jones, Head of Recruitment UK & Europe, SNC Lavalin How Recite Me Works Over 1 billion people have a physical, visual, auditory, cognitive, or neurological disability that means they cannot access or process information online the same way as other people. They may struggle with: Focusing on relevant sections of text The font, text size, or spacing of the text Poor colour contrasts between background and foreground Distractions presented by graphics and image carousels Web copy that's not in their first language With Recite Me assistive software installed on a website, these access barriers can be broken down. Users can make single or multiple adjustments to accommodate a broad range of customisation needs, such as: Changing font size, type, and colour Altering background and foreground contrasts Accessing content as an audio file Choosing from 100 different on-screen languages and 35 text-to-speech languages Utilising the screen mask, dictionary, and built-in thesaurus Stripping away graphics and page clutter by selecting the 'text only' mode "We wanted a one-stop option for ensuring our website is accessible to as many people as possible. Now, when engineers and professionals in the sector visit EqualEngineers' website, they can choose whichever accessibility options they need." Mark McBride-Wright, Founder, EqualEngineers Sector Data Every month, our toolbar makes thousands of website pages accessible. Our industrial sector data from last month shows that: The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched over 5000 times Over 16,450 industry web pages were viewed using the toolbar On average, Recite Me users viewed 3.2 pages of an accessible website per visit, above the internet average of just 2.5 pages per visit. Nearly 50,000 individual styling changes were made by users accessing industry sector sites. Find Out More The industries of construction, engineering, and manufacturing are moving forward with inclusion for all. To support a diverse range of website visitors looking for employment, project updates, or company information, accessibility support is needed. Over 3,500 businesses already use Recite Me to provide prospective customers and employees with an inclusive online experience. To learn more, contact our team today or book a live demonstration of our toolbar. Articles Sources: Forbes, Click Away Pound, Understood, Stem Stars, WHO

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The Scottish Ambulance Service Provides Accessible Emergency Care

15 Jul 2021 | news

Approximately 1 million people in Scotland have a disability and may not have the tools required to access the digital world’s information and services. To continue to provide the highest level of care and compassion to the population of Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service has implemented Recite Me assistive technology to break down barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. The unique and innovative toolbar on the Scottish Ambulance Service website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Mark Bagon, Communications Business Partner at the Scottish Ambulance Service commented, “The Scottish Ambulance Service is on the frontline of the NHS, despatching immediate medical assistance or clinical advice to over 5 million people across Scotland. As well as helping patients who need support to reach their healthcare appointments and transferring some of Scotland’s most seriously ill patients. It is therefore vital that we are able to communicate and promote all our services to everyone in Scotland, including those who have additional communication needs or do not speak English. The Recite Me functionality on our website gives these users the ability to find out about our services and how they can access them.” To read and understand vital health information with ease, go to the Scottish Ambulance Service website and select the red icon at the top of the website. For more information on how you can make health information and services accessible for all go to the Recite Me website or book a demo with a member of our friendly team.

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How to Write an Awesome Accessibility Statement

14 Jul 2021 | news

Around 1 in every 5 internet users have a disability that makes accessing online content difficult. So it’s common practice and highly recommended for businesses to include an accessibility statement on their website. But what exactly is an accessibility statement? What information do you need to include? How do you write one? And where should it be on your website? Read on to find out as we guide you through the process of writing a kickass accessibility statement… What is an Accessibility Statement? A web accessibility statement is an information page on your website that clearly states the level of web accessibility to which the website aims to conform. Often, accessibility statements and help pages are bundled together, but it is advisable to have a whole page dedicated to your web accessibility statement. Why Provide an Accessibility Statement? An accessibility statement signals to website visitors that your business is dedicated to providing equal access to information for everyone. Nobody wants to feel excluded or be treated differently. By providing a comprehensive accessibility statement, you demonstrate to those with disabilities that you see them as valuable website visitors. Accessibility statements also demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to: Accessibility Laws There are several laws and guidelines that stipulate how content should be made accessible so that disabled users are not disadvantaged or discriminated against. There are a few variations in rules for public sector companies versus private entities, and it is each individual organisation’s responsibility to check they comply with: International Laws – examples include The Equality Act (UK), The European Accessibility Act (Europe), The Disability Discrimination Act (AUS), and The Americans with Disabilities Act (USA). The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Level AA - WCAG AA compliance is legally required for certain websites, and this is the level typically referred to when discussing ‘making a website accessible’. Brand Reputation Many modern-day consumers actively look for honesty and transparency in the businesses they frequent. So by openly relaying internal policies and accessibility goals to the public and outlining how you intend to achieve them, you stand to improve your brand reputation. Continual Improvement Accessibility statements encourage website users to alert the site owners if and when content is inaccessible to them. This allows organisations to identify areas of their website that are not within current accessibility targets, and make plans to resolve those issues. What to Include in an Accessibility Statement? Writing an awesome accessibility statement needn’t be complicated, although it does need to be checked and updated regularly to reflect further development and any additional changes you’ve made. We recommend you state clearly: The level of web accessibility your website currently provides. A description of additional accessibility tools that are available. Any known limitations or areas of the website that are inaccessible. Contact information for reporting accessibility difficulties Future accessibility goals and developments How to write an Accessibility Statement Most accessibility statements begin with a short intro, expressing an open commitment to providing an accessible website. From there, you simply work through the points listed above, providing the relevant details for each section. Your accessibility statement needn’t be lengthy, so as long as all of these points are covered, you should be on track. There are, however, some other factors to bear in mind: Language Give the page a clear and relevant title. Use simple language that makes your explanations clear. If you need to use abbreviations, give a complete definition the first time you use them. Structure Use headings properly - an H1 tag should only be used for the title, and H2 - H6 tags for all further headings and subheadings. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use bullet points or numbered subheadings to break up sections of bulky text. Ensure text is aligned to the left. Provide full descriptions in the copy rather than using any footnotes. Format Give all links discernable names. Use dyslexia-friendly fonts – i.e. sans serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica. Use a minimum text size of 12. Provide alt text for all images. Avoid blocks of capitals or italic text. Publish in HTML format. Only use underlining for links. Need some help getting started? You can access the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) free web accessibility statement generator here. Where to Place Your Accessibility Statement Many companies hide their accessibility statements away in a difficult to find location on their website, but this is not recommended. Visibility is vital, so your accessibility statement should be included on the footer of every page alongside the links to your privacy policy, security policy, and terms of service etc. This way it is easily accessible, no matter what page of your website visitors land on. How to Test Your Accessibility Statement As a leader in web accessibility and a company that believes in accessibility for all, Recite Me is currently beta testing a web accessibility scanner that covers your whole website, not just your accessibility statement. Between our software and dedicated team, we aim to: Identify any areas of non-compliance with WCAG 2.1 criteria. Show you what to fix and how to make the most effective improvements. Track your improvements over time and manage your fix queue. Help you share your accessibility report to showcase your continuing commitment to digital inclusion. What if Your Website Isn’t Accessible Yet? If you are striving for better online inclusion goals but are not quite there yet, that’s OK. However, we definitely recommend you make adjustments sooner rather than later, and you should still have an accessibility statement on your website. For now, you can simply include: Your intent and commitment to become accessible – you want your website to be inclusive of everyone, but it’s not yet. The standards of accessibility you aim to meet in the future - typically explained in relation to WCAG guidelines. Contact details so people with access needs can reach out for information that is currently inaccessible – phone and email are commonplace, but if you choose to use forms or chat services, do make sure they are accessible versions. Web Accessibility Assistance If you need any help assessing your website’s accessibility compliance or advice on how to compile a truthful and accurate accessibility statement, please contact our team or request a demo of our accessibility scanner. Our software is already installed on over 2000 websites, and every day we help thousands of internet users to enjoy accessible and inclusive online journeys.

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North Wales Fire & Rescue Boost Digital Inclusion in Emergency Services

14 Jul 2021 | news

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service provides online accessibility and language tools to serve the rich diversity of communities across North Wales. Protecting an estimated population of 678,461 people, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is committed to promoting equal opportunities, enabling people to fulfil their potential no matter what their background or circumstances. To protect all communities, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has implemented Recite Me assistive technology to remove online barriers for those with disabilities,learning difficulties, visual impairments, and to be able to offer language choice when it comes to advice online. Tracey Williams, Corporate Communications Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service commented, “Diversity and inclusivity are at the very heart of our core values here at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. We serve a rich diversity of communities, against a backdrop of significant natural and cultural heritage, and seek to provide services equitably to all members of our society. This means that we appreciate differences, promote equal opportunity, challenge prejudice and discriminations.” The unique and customisable toolbar on the North Wales Fire and Rescue website provides users with screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Tracey Williams continued, “Providing Recite Me across our website, with its assistive toolbar, means not only can we offer language choice in English and Welsh to residents, but we can also support members of the public in any language- whilst also being accessible to people with disabilities, learning difficulties and visual impairments.” In a study, 71% of people said they simply left a site that they found hard to use. For emergency services, this cannot be the case, vital safety information could mean the difference between life and death. Tracey Williams said, “Digital inclusion is particularly important as we are all living our lives increasingly online during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, we are spending more time at home and many of us may be more isolated than we have been before, so protecting the most vulnerable members of our community from the risk of a fire in the home has never been more important to us.” To read and understand safety information in a way that best suits your needs go to the North Wales Fire and Rescue Services website and select ‘Accessibility Tools’.

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Web Accessibility Solutions for the Charity Sector

13 Jul 2021 | news

The charity sector is well known for supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our society. So it makes sense that many charities and not-for-profit organisations are taking the lead in tackling web accessibility to champion their causes as efficiently as possible. Recite Me is already helping to make a positive change by providing our website assistive technology to several charities over a range of industries, including: Health Animal welfare Human rights Conservation The Charity Sector and Web Accessibility: A Natural Link By their very nature, charities actively work towards equality and inclusion, so right from the very start, we have a clear shared goal. At Recite Me, our focus is always on the benefits to the end-user and how web accessibility technology can bring people together. Essential website functions include communicating the organisation’s mission and attracting supporters, volunteers, ambassadors, and benefactors. This is almost impossible if websites are not accessible. In recent times especially, many people have struggled financially as a result of COVID-19. So attracting a wider audience by making websites accessible to everyone is an excellent way for organisations in the charity sector to be more visible, help more people, recruit more sponsors, and attract donors. “The simple fact is that the more an organisation does to provide access to information, the more people it can reach.“ Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder and CEO So much of our everyday lives take place online now, that people become excluded if they don’t have equal access to online information. This creates a two-tiered society, something that charities usually work hard to avoid. So again, the shared values between business goals and the benefits of web accessibility are evident. Tap into a Whole New Market Most organisations are shocked at how much more exposure they can gain by becoming more digitally inclusive. Did you know that: Over 600,000 Australians have a visual impairment More than 10% of the population has a learning difficulty One in six people in Australia has a disability It’s estimated 15% of the population is neurodiverse Over 5.3 million people in Australia speak a language other than English at home All of these individuals need additional help to read and understand information on a website. Whether it’s changing the way the website looks, what language it’s in, or using a different navigation method, Recite Me can help make your website accessible to everyone. How It Works With the Recite Me assistive toolbar installed on your site, those with sight loss, cognitive impairments, learning difficulties, attention disorders, literacy issues, and varying linguistic needs can access your website in a way best suited to their individual requirements. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Access text to speak functions in 35 different languages. Have text read aloud at varying speeds. Convert text into over 100 different on-screen languages. Utilise a screen mask and ruler for better focus. Make use of the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus. Switch to “text-only” mode to strip away graphics and page clutter. Our assistive toolbar is quick and easy to implement on your website and can usually be installed in under an hour. After that, the results speak for themselves, but we’re still on hand to help. Recite Me contracts come with automated monthly reporting and quarterly reviews as standard, and your dedicated account manager is there to assist with anything from how to drive more insights through our Google Analytics plug-in, to how to market yourself as an accessible and inclusive organisation. We are deeply aware of the inequalities that exist in our healthcare system, and believe everyone should be able to access our information and services barrier-free. Recite Me helps us deliver this in a way that is straightforward for the user and, for a charity that doesn’t receive government funding, in a cost-effective manner. David Clifford, Digital Marketing Manager at Meningitis Now How Accessible Websites Help Charities Over the last 12 months, Recite Me made over 520,000 charity and not-for-profit website pages inclusive. Our data shows that: On average, Recite Me users view 3 pages of an accessible website per visit. Over 181,000 unique users launched the Recite me to aid their digital journey Over 51,000 individual styling changes were made by users accessing charity and non-profit sites. Our translation options were the most popular features on not-for-profit sites, with some websites reporting as many as 72,000 unique translations. Cost-Benefit Analysis Installing assistive technology on your website is a more budget-friendly option than duplicating your content into other languages. The more languages you add, the more expensive it becomes. On average, for a small website of around 10,000 words, the cost of translation would be approximately AUD1,200 per language – and this doesn’t even cover the additional costs of integration and website management. Plus, some languages require complicated coding (like Arabic and Hebrew, for example). Then comes the problem of which languages to prioritise. Recite Me removes the need for many of these decisions and a big chunk of the cost in one simple install. Learn More You can find out more about the charities that use Recite Me software on our sector pages. If you would like to speak to one of the team about booking a demonstration of our assistive toolbar, or would like any further information, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you. Article Data Sources: Australian Network on Disability, Learning Difficulties Australia, Australian Government Department of Health, IDCommunity.

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Emergency Services and Web Accessibility

12 Jul 2021 | news

The Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service, and Search & Rescue are lifelines to the general public and the first port of call in an emergency. In the UK in 2020: Over 5.8 million crimes were reported Over 153,000 fires were attended During the COVID-19 pandemic, ambulance call-outs reached nearly 8000 a day There were 2,380 civilian search and rescue helicopter missions Most of us take access to emergency services for granted, but it’s not that simple for those who struggle with traditional methods of communication or face online barriers. It is vital these essential services offer reliable and practical solutions that enable equal access for those with disabilities. Otherwise, vulnerable people could end up in dangerous situations during an emergency. Plus, valuable time and resources can be saved when more accurate and accessible information is available to everyone. This allows the brave men and women working in our emergency services sector to continue their essential work of solving crimes and saving lives. Who We Work With We are proud to work with numerous organisations in the emergency services sector already. We are delighted that so many local and national entities are committed to providing inclusive online journeys for the public they serve. Our current client list includes: Norfolk Police Bedfordshire Police Cambridgeshire Police Hertfordshire Police Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire Suffolk Police The Irish Garda The Police Service of Northern Ireland East Sussex Fire & Rescue North Wales Fire & Rescue Merseyside Fire & Rescue Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue The Scottish Ambulance Service North East Ambulance Services Accessibility Versus Inclusion In recent times, it has become more important than ever that online information can be understood by everyone. As most emergency service organisations sit within the public sector, there are already stipulations regarding minimum accessibility requirements. These include: Accessibility-friendly website builds Compliance with The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Legal requirements under The Equality Act However, accessibility and inclusion are not the same things. Accessibility compliance alone does not enable users to create a fully inclusive experience. What makes a website truly inclusive is giving people as many choices as possible to customise the content and consume the information in a personalised and tailored way. It is in this area of advocating accessibility while also promoting inclusion at a much higher level, in which Recite Me sits. How Recite Me Helps People At least 20% of the population have a physical, visual, auditory, cognitive, or neurological disability. In the UK, that’s over 13 million people. These individuals may face barriers accessing information online because they are unable to: Read the text due to font, text size, or text spacing, or because of poor colour contrasts between background and foreground. Understand the web copy as is not in the user’s first language. Use a mouse or touchpad. Focus on the relevant section of text. Remove distractions presented by graphics and image carousels. Once the Recite Me assistive toolbar is installed on a website, these access barriers can be broken down. By making single or multiple adjustments to create a genuinely inclusive online experience, users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Access text to speak functions in 35 different languages. Have text read aloud at varying speeds. Utilise a screen mask and ruler for better focus. Convert text into over 100 different on-screen languages. Make use of the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus. Switch to “text-only” mode to strip away graphics and page clutter. Client Feedback Our toolbar has been integral in providing equal access to emergency services information for people with disabilities. Here’s what some of our clients had to say about the results. Police Service Feedback: Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner “It is hugely important for us as an organisation to be accessible to the public we serve. Our website holds a lot of information which everyone should be able to access easily. Thanks to the Recite Me Toolbar, we have made vast strides in making our website more accessible for all, and it will continue to be a focus for us when improving our online presence. " Clare Kelly, Chief Executive, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ambulance Service Feedback: Scottish Ambulance Service “The Scottish Ambulance Service is on the front line of the NHS. We dispatch immediate medical assistance or clinical advice to over 5 million people across Scotland. We also help patients who need support to reach their healthcare appointments and regularly transfer some of Scotland’s most seriously ill patients. Therefore, we must communicate and promote all our services to everyone in Scotland, including those who have additional communication needs or do not speak English. The Recite functionality on our website gives these users the ability to find out about our services and how they can access them.” Mark Bagon, Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson Fire & Rescue Service Feedback: North Wales Fire & Rescue “We serve a rich diversity of communities. Reducing risk and saving lives are central to our mission – and accessibility is vital to our success. Providing Recite Me across our website means we offer language choice in English and Welsh to residents and support public members in any language – whilst also being accessible to people with disabilities, learning difficulties, and visual impairments. Being able to remove barriers to access timely information and advice online on how to stay safe really could mean the difference between life and death.” North Wales Fire & Rescue spokesperson Emergency Services Sector Data Over the last 12 months, Recite Me made thousands of emergency services related website pages accessible. Our data shows that: The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched 6,588 times Over 22,900 emergency services web pages were viewed using the toolbar On average, Recite Me users viewed 3.5 pages of an accessible website per visit, well above the internet average of just 2.5 pages per visit. Over 33,000 individual styling changes were made by users accessing healthcare sites. Interested in More Information? Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website and can usually be installed in under an hour. Our software is already active on over 3500 websites, and every year we help millions of people to enjoy inclusive journeys online. You can find details of all the emergency services organisations that use Recite Me software on our sector pages and read more about who needs assistive technology and what people say about the Recite Me Assistive Toolbar in our previous news articles. Alternatively, you can contact our team for further information and advice or book a live demonstration of our toolbar. Article Sources: The Independent, Office of National Statistics, The Home Office, Gov.UK, WHO.

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An Accessible Future for The Live Music Industry

08 Jul 2021 | news

Levitt Pavilion free concerts now provide an inclusive digital experience to bridge divides, inspire hope, and strengthen communities, across the US. More than 750,000 people attend outdoor Levitt Pavilion concerts every year in one of 26 towns and cities across the US. To provide equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) across the organisation, Levitt Pavilion strives to combat injustice, structural racism, and oppression, through the power of free, live music in public spaces, bringing together a diverse range of people. To support all members of the Levitt community, a variety of the Levitt Pavilion permanent venues have implemented Recite Me accessibility and language tools on their website to remove online barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. The Levitt Pavilion permanent venues are each managed and supported by Friends of Levitt non-profit, permanent venues include: Levitt Pavilion Westport Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles Levitt Pavilion Arlington Levitt Shell Memphis Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks Levitt Pavilion Denver Levitt Pavilion Dayton Levitt Shell Sioux Falls Levitt Pavilion Houston 61 million adults in the US live with a disability that may prevent access to live music events, this may be due to online barriers or inaccessible locations. Features of the Levitt Pavilion concerts include: Free concerts to the public Easily accessible locations Accessible online information and services Welcoming, open lawn settings Acclaimed, emerging talent to seasoned, award-winning artists Rich spectrum of music genres: R & B, country, rock, Latin, jazz, children’s, world, and beyond. State of the art sound and lighting Madeline Hart, from Levitt Dayton, commented, “Accessibility and inclusion are ingrained into the mission of all Levitt Pavilions. We break down the cost barrier to high calibre performing arts by removing the ticket, and by doing that we bring together an extremely diverse group of people to enjoy our concerts.” The assistive toolbar on the Levitt websites provides users with a range of features including, screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on- demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Madeline Hart explained, “At the Levitt, we have people of all abilities and many different cultures enjoying our music and connecting on the lawn. Utilising the Recite Me toolbar was an obvious next step in helping our entire community have access to our information. We removed so many barriers to access on the lawn, it was a no-brainer to try and remove them on our website as well. Those vulnerable to the digital world deserve to have access to the same opportunities, experiences, and services as those who do not face online barriers. Andy Thomas, Associate Director of Levitt Pavilion Denver, commented, “Accessibility is a priority for Levitt Pavilion Denver as we work to bridge cultural understanding and provide shared spaces inclusive of different backgrounds. “Making our website a more accessible space reflects our overall mission and is an important step in making our resources available to all Coloradans. Having a tool like Recite Me is just another way of letting all the members of our diverse community know that they are welcome at Levitt Pavilion Denver.” As Covid restrictions are lifted it is important to the Levitt Pavilion to ensure that performers can get back on the stage and all walks of life can enjoy live music under the stars. Letatia Teykl, Executive Director at Levitt Pavilion Arlington commented, “The heartbeat of the Levitt’s mission is inclusivity: Not only do we seek to make diverse live music experiences accessible to as many people as possible, we also seek to increase access to performing opportunities (via our “Share the Stage”) for talented emerging artists.” “The ability to review our website in languages other than English and take advantage of the audio-visual tools in Recite Me’s robust arsenal will open the doors for more people to discover each season’s lineup of Levitt artists, read more about the Levitt experience and how to plan a visit, view our schedule of concerts, and more.” If you would like more information on how your organisation can improve inclusion by utilising assistive technology contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together we can provide equal opportunities and accessibility for all in our digital world.

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How important is it that Australian websites can be accessed in multiple languages?

07 Jul 2021 | news

On a national level, Australia is home to an incredibly diverse range of languages. So if your website is not able to be translated on screen or read aloud in the reader’s language of preference, you could be missing out on a serious percentage of your target market. Languages Trends in Australia The dominant language spoken across Australia is English, but several other languages are spoken too. Data from the latest census show that: 29.8% of the population (nearly 8 million people) were born in another country. One in every five of those residents speaks a language other than English at home. Australia’s population stands at 25.6 million, and English is the only language spoken by 73%. However, that still leaves over 7 million people with alternative language preferences. The top 6 are: Mandarin - over 595,000 speakers Arabic - over 320,000 speakers Cantonese - over 280,000 speakers Vietnamese - over 270,000 speakers Italian - over 270,000 speakers Greek - over 230,000 speakers The next most popular languages are Hindi, Spanish, and Punjabi. The Impacts of Language on Business Having customers that speak a language other than English creates a problem for marketers. Businesses would be unwise to discount the spending power of over 7 million people, so websites need to accommodate a range of linguistic preferences. For businesses operating internationally, it’s also worth noting that 47% of internet users globally are non English speaking, a statistic that makes website accessibility in multiple languages an even higher priority. Public sector bodies and not-for-profit organisations also need to accommodate for varying linguistic needs on their websites. Australians’ many and varied language preferences mean a significant proportion of residents need language support to access public services like education, healthcare, transport, etc. Using Assistive Technology to Be Inclusive Using assistive technology like the Recite Me toolbar is an easy and cost-effective way to include customers who don’t speak English as a first language. Translating websites into multiple different language formats without assistive technology is both time- consuming and costly. Budget restraints often limit the number of languages you can choose, and some languages like Arabic and Hebrew are complicated to code and involve significant changes to the layout and graphics so that each page can be read from right to left. Recite Me can usually be installed on your website in under an hour with just a few lines of JavaScript, and instantly provides your website visitors with access to: Text translation in over 100 languages Text-to-speech in 35 languages A built-in dictionary and thesaurus to check definitions The Business Benefits Profitability will naturally increase once your website becomes accessible to more people. Research by Net Media Planet confirmed a 20% increase in conversions when landing pages and ads were translated, and up to a 70% increase on websites that translated their entire site. It’s not just about the bottom line, though. There are many other benefits to being inclusive of multiple language needs, including: Improved SEO results – With more people visiting and browsing on your site, your search engine rankings will improve. New markets – Tap into new customer markets you couldn’t access – or access easily – before. A stronger brand – More site visitors and sales conversions lead to a greater awareness of your brand in general. Plus, customers favour value-driven brands, so you can further improve your brand reputation by being inclusive of varying linguistic needs. “When your site is available in multiple languages, you attract the attention of an international market. You also become identified as a global brand which elevates your status and improves your reputation. Consumers tend to trust global brands more than ones that are only known locally.” Nick McGuire, E-commerce specialist and blogger What the Data Says We work with companies across multiple sectors, including e-commerce, finance, construction, education, recruitment, technology, sport, transport, public sector, charities, and non-profit. In the last 12 months, our toolbar data recorded: Over 4.5 million launches of the Recite Me toolbar Over 21.5 million accessibility toolbar features used Over 9 million website translations in over 100 languages Nearly 10 million pieces of content read aloud in 35 languages Over 1.4 million styling customisations 2,600 audio files downloaded We’re Much More Than a Translation Service Recite Me doesn’t only help boost your business with translation services. Our accessibility toolbar is designed to make the journey through your website more inclusive to everyone. This includes those with vision deficits, learning difficulties, cognitive and neurological difficulties, and physical disabilities. 1 in every 6 Australians is estimated to be living with a disability that makes accessing web content difficult. So using Recite me provides an all-in-one solution to breaking down language barriers and opens your business up to a much broader market at the same time. Comprising several accessibility features that can be used individually or combined, users can completely customise the way they read your web content by: Personalising font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Utilising the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Using the ruler tool to make reading easier. Downloading content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. What Our Clients Say At Recite Me, we pride ourselves on our exceptional service, the power of our software, and the benefits it brings to our clients and the end-users of their websites. Here are some examples of feedback we’ve been given. We have a long history of innovative solutions to spearhead its focus on customer service. Recite Me is a cost-effective solution for delivering web content in foreign languages and also adds so many more accessibility tools to improve the user experience for visitors to our site. Jerry Harris, Assistant Director of Marketing, Air Service Development, Orlando International Airport Many travel and transport companies use Recite Me, as these are the markets that most commonly need to accommodate multiple language preferences. However, the benefits extend to any organisation that can reach a wider audience by making its website more inclusive to those facing access barriers. This includes leisure and entertainment venues, finance companies, law firms, and marketing agencies. Recite Me allows us to ensure an inclusive online environment and positive user experience for all of our partners and employees. We couldn’t be more thrilled to provide this tool for their website usage. Alexandra Forsch, President of Awin US Check out our main web pages for more testimonials and information on the different industry sectors we serve. Does Your Website Speak Your Customers’ Language? No? Then now is the time to make some changes, become a more inclusive business, and reap the rewards of reaching a much broader market. Contact our team or book a live demonstration today, and join the thousands of organisations already enjoying the benefits of having a more inclusive website. Article Data Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics, LF Studios, WPML, Australian Network on Disability.

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Recite Me: A Disability Confident Committed Employer

07 Jul 2021 | news

It’s 4 years since Recite Me joined the government's Disability Confident Employer Scheme. In this time we have grown exponentially, and started working with many more organisations. So, with 4 years passing and July being Disability Pride Month we thought it was the perfect time to do a recap on being a Disability Confident Committed Employer. Disability Pride Month is an annual event that takes place in July. Although it is celebrated around the world, Disability Pride Month started in the USA to coincide with the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The month is an opportunity to promote inclusion and visibility of people with disabilities and to redefine public perception of disability. What is the Disability Confident Employer Scheme? The Disability Confident Employer Scheme, which launched in November 2016, is a nationally recognised accreditation scheme designed to get more disabled people into work. It is voluntary and has been developed with employers, disability charities and disabled people. The scheme was created to help employers draw from the widest possible pool of talent. Almost 40% of diasbled applicants feel insecure about getting hired as they believe employers will disregard their application based on their impairment or condition. With more than 14 million disabled people in the UK organisations are potentially closing themselves off to a huge number of candidates. Recite Me - A Disability Confident Committed Employer Recite Me is an inclusive organisation with diverse staff at its core. It is extremely important to us that we demonstrate our commitment to equality for people with different needs in the workplace, hence why we joined the Disability Confident Employer Scheme. Ross, our Founder and CEO, knows first hand some of the challenges people can face. He said, “I have dyslexia so I understand some of the barriers that exist for people with differing abilities in the workplace. I created Recite Me to help people with disabilities and other challenges that restrict their freedom of access to websites and digital content in the office, classroom and at home”. Back in 2017, when we joined the scheme we committed to a set of disability-related actions that make a positive difference to disabled people. At this time around 5,000 organisations had signed up and now, almost 4 years later, there are over 20,000 employers committed to the scheme. It is amazing to see so many organisations playing a leading role in changing attitudes for the better. You can find out more about the Disability Confident employer scheme here.

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Colt Technology Services Raise the Bar for Online Accessibility

06 Jul 2021 | news

Colt Technology Services provides an inclusive online experience with the adoption of Recite Me accessibility and language tools. Colt is a multinational telecommunications company that connects 900+ data centres across Europe, Asia, and North America’s largest business hubs, with over 29,000 on net buildings and growing. With the implementation of the assistive toolbar on Colt’s website, users with a disability, learning difficulty, visual impairment, or those who speak English as a second language can customise their digital experience to best suit their individual needs. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than a billion people (15% of the world’s population) are estimated to live with some form of disability, which may put individuals at a disadvantage when accessing online information and services. The Recite Me assistive toolbar on Colt’s website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Rachel Collins, Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Colt commented “Across the internet there is little information available in accessible formats, and the communication needs of people with disabilities are left unmet. We want to provide accessibility to everyone and make sure everyone gets the most out of our website when they visit. With the implementation of Recite Me on our website we can reach a diverse range of people who can read and understand the information easily and inclusively on our website.” To raise awareness about digital access and inclusion, Colt is exploring the benefits of accessibility tools and how they are paving the way to a future of barrier-free information and services for those with disabilities. To find out more about the benefits of accessibility tools and use their assistive toolbar go to Colt’s website. Recite me is quick and easy to implement on your website. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive digital world, go to Recite Me or contact a member of our team.

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