News & Media
The Salvation Army is the first Australian charity to offer Recite Me accessibility and language tools online to support those with additional needs online. The Salvation Army Australia is an international Christian movement, united by faith and giving hope where it’s needed most to every demographic and age group. Valuing all people is at the heart of the Salvation Army, aiming to provide a safe, welcoming, and fully inclusive program to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. By recognising the diversity of its members, the Salvation Army is sensitive to the needs of people who often find it difficult to access and use services in times of crisis. To provide services and information to all the Salvation Army have implemented assistive technology to provide those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, cognitive or neurological disorders, and those who speak English as a second language. Adrian Kistan, General Manager Mission Inclusion, said the Army is committed to the inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds, particularly people of all abilities (including those living with a disability). “The internet can be an incredibly intimidating place for those with access barriers, and those lacking the tools they need to adequately understand or communicate are at a significant disadvantage,” Adrian said. “The Diversity & Inclusion team identified the need to improve access to and awareness of the Salvation Army’s social services and spiritual support for people of all abilities.” The accessibility and language toolbar on the Salvation Army website provides features such as, 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. “As part of our diversity and inclusion strategy, website visitors are now able to access a wide range of accessibility and language support tools to customise their digital experience,” Adrian said. If you would like more information on how your organisation can provide an inclusive online experience by using assistive technology, contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar.
Written by Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder and CEO One question we get asked a lot from organisations that are looking to provide an inclusive website is, “How many people actually need support online and who uses the toolbars?” And the truth is a lot more people than you may first think… Try Millions, around 20% of the population! The internet can be a minefield of access barriers. On any given website, a barrier can be any element of the design or formatting that prevents users from reading and understanding the content. Data can provide us with a lot of information and this is something Recite Me shares with all our clients but this isn't the full story! What data can’t and won’t tell you, is the exact number of disabled users your website attracts, the representation of your brand, and that accessibility really does support everyone. You might be thinking, ‘why not?’. Surely it would be in our commercial interest to make that information available? Well, data privacy, for starters. But also because those stats come irrelevant when we were are talking about people. Real-life people with real-life needs. Ultimately making the online world inclusive is the right thing to do. So to some degree, the ROI becomes irrelevant. Protecting User Privacy We all leave increasingly larger digital footprints year on year, and our personal data has become something of a currency. Websites track our IP addresses, and apps track our location, habits, preferences, and buyer behaviours. How that information is used affects everyone, but disabled users are more heavily impacted by the lack of control over their data footprints. If disability information is allowed to be used as a metric, it can lead to additional stigma and the further segregation of people who are already vulnerable and marginalised. Because of this, standards exist to protect the user data of your disabled website visitors. Accessibility ROI Shouldn’t Be A Thing Even if you knew how many disabled people used your website, would it matter? If the number seemed smaller than you were expecting, would you de-prioritise accessibility and inclusion factors? Or even drop some of the accessible features from your website based on the cost-benefit analysis? Either would be a mistake. Not only is web accessibility expected by law in most countries, but your customers expect it. 52% of consumers consider a company’s values when making a purchase. So if your organization isn’t viewed as being inclusive, your products and services will appear less authentic, you’ll lose out on sales, and your brand image will suffer. “Digital businesses with accessible websites are demonstrating leadership by example. They are showcasing proof that ethical accessibility practices can help increase brand credibility, inclusion for all, and online conversions.” Kim Krause Berg, Web Design Standards and Compliance Specialist Disability Data Doesn’t Accurately Predict Market Potential An alternative (and much better) question than ‘how many disabled people use my website?’ might be ‘how many disabled people don’t use my website?’. Because even if you had a handle on disabled website visitor stats, that wouldn’t tell you anything about the potential traffic and conversion boost you’d receive by adding additional accessibility features. It’s estimated that 1 in every 5 people has a physical, visual, auditory, cognitive, or neurological disability that can make accessing information online difficult. If your website doesn’t have the features those people need, they’re probably already spending on a competitor’s website. So not only is making your website accessible the right thing to do, it gives you instant access to an additional 20% of the market. Accessibility Benefits Everyone Improving web accessibility doesn’t just benefit disabled users. It benefits everyone. For example, it’s estimated that the average office worker spends around 35 hours per week staring at a computer screen – and that’s without the several additional hours spent glued to a smartphone outside of work. So it’s hardly surprising that up to 90% of people experience some kind of screen fatigue. By embracing assistive technology, everyone can make adjustments for improved comfort and reduced fatigue. Websites That Work Make People Happy Our user feedback supports the use of assistive technology, even among users that don’t have a physical or hidden disability: “It doesn’t strain or hurt my eyes when I read now.” “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.” For disabled website visitors, adding an assistive technology offers equity and can be the difference between whether people can access, read, and understand important information or not. “I have Autism and Dyslexia. With the Recite Me toolbar enabled, I can change to a Dyslexia-friendly font and add a ruler to keep my place, which really helps me to understand the information I need to stay independent.” When Information Is Vital, Information Must Be Accessible to All I’ve been saying this for a while now. It’s been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as without access to the same information as everyone else, it’s easy for vulnerable citizens to become ostracised. It’s not just about the COVID-19 era, though. Even things like unusual climatic events have links with web accessibility. Take the storms we’ve experienced in the last few months. On November 27th, when Storm Arwen was at its worst, we witnessed a 152% spike in toolbar usage compared to the same day the year before. In total, nearly 5,000 people relied on our assistive technology to view over 20,000 website pages. Similar spikes followed as Storm Barra and Storm Malik arrived. Those statistics demonstrate the value of providing customers with the extra tools they need to access vital information hassle-free. Thankfully, many leading housing, construction, and utility companies already use our assistive technology software on their websites. So for their customers, the struggle was not so great, and we are proud to have played a small role in making life a little less complicated in what was a very stressful time. However, imagine being stuck in a damaged property without power or hot water, and having to battle to find accessible information online before your tablet or smartphone battery dies. “Accessibility is key on any day - but when it comes to events where up-to-date information allows people to make choices to keep themselves, their families and those that they care for safe, it is vital. Jo Giles, Customer Safeguarding Senior Manager at Cadent Want to know more about our assistive toolbar, how it works, and the difference it could make to your customers? Recite Me is now installed on over 3,500 websites. Installation involves just a few lines of code and typically takes less than an hour. Contact our team today or book a demo to discover the inclusive power of our website assistive technology.
National Careers Week is well underway, and it’s amazing to celebrate the organisations that engage and inspire young people leaving education. This week, we are shining a light on the organisations that are leading the way and empowering young talent. We caught up with Sam Price, EDI Lead at Morson Talent to discuss diverse workplaces for our future generation. This year, on National Careers Week, there is a focus on careers guidance that helps young people who are leaving education. Why do you think this is a crucial topic to raise awareness of? True ED&I has a real impact, not just on the lives of people from all walks of life, but in creating stronger cultures and broader empathy in workplaces across the country. At Morson, we are committed to changing perceptions within business, championing women in engineering, and empowering young talent through mentorship. Not only does this open doors for young people that they otherwise may not have considered, but the earlier opportunities are presented to people, the more likely the industry is in achieving truly diverse workplaces in the future. Why do you think it is important for companies to have an equity, diversity, and inclusion lead? An ED&I lead can be the catalyst for broad operational delivery, a central point of focus to drive initiatives across the business as an ambassador for change. What is Morson’s approach to EDI? We pride ourselves on being an equal opportunities employer that provides an inclusive environment to candidates, employees, and our clients alike. We believe that diversity of thought promotes innovation by bringing multiple perspectives to discussions and decisions. We are committed to improving the diversity of our company and building inclusive cultures every day. Our partnerships allow us to impact real change, grow as an organisation, and impart knowledge to our internal and external networks. Our partnerships with the Northern Power Women, The Girls' Network, Inclusively Tech, ReciteMe, and Equal Engineers, ensures that we have access to the latest ED&I thinking to help us support our clients and also help us to achieve our diversity action plan. We believe the concept of ‘seeing is believing’ is extremely powerful. Our ‘Inclusive Role Models’ campaign showcases inspirational stories from people in industries hardest hit by imbalances. By providing relatable role models to take inspiration from, we hope to break down barriers and encourage a wider talent pool into the industry; whilst also providing a positive platform to inspire career transitioning between sectors. Why was the Recite Me toolbar a good fit to help people throughout the candidate process? As a global technical recruiter, we operate in sectors hardest hit by imbalances and we are dedicated to improving diversity within the industries we work. By educating our clients and providing an inclusive candidate journey, we are committed to improving the lives of our contractor base and our own employees. We work hard to attract talent from untapped pools, and by harnessing the power of ReciteMe on our website, we are ensuring that there are no barriers in place to hold talented people back. Why do you think it is important that we amplify the noise of accessibility within the workplace on National Careers Week? National Careers Week provides a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people leaving education. It’s important for people at this stage of their lives who may have physical or learning difficulties to understand that their career doesn’t have to be defined by it and that there are a lot of options and tools out there to break down the barriers that they might believe exist. With a unique 50-year heritage, Morson Group has an outstanding reputation for placing talented people into the right roles with exciting organisations across the globe. At Morson, recruitment is more than filling roles; it's transforming businesses, fuelling industry and innovation, creating fulfilling careers and opening up the world of work for all. If you are looking for a new opportunity or have talent challenges and simply want to chat about how to solve them, find out more at www.morson.com or get in touch with Sam directly, Sam.Price@morson.com
Fact: Organisations with diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures make more profit, have lower turnover rates, and satisfied employees who are more are productive, innovative, and better at decision making. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been much more than buzzwords for a long time. In the last couple of years, in particular, workplace turbulence amplified by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have thrust DEI factors firmly into board-level discussions and organizational objectives. In fact, just between September 2019 and September 2020, jobs in diversity, inclusion, and belonging rose by 56.3%. Today’s workforce is the most diverse it’s ever been due to a combination of DEI developments and the increased tendency towards remote working. To keep teams connected and focused on organizational milestones and missions, employee experience and engagement have become priority metrics for success. This puts the top talent in the driving seat. “2020 was about crisis response amid a global pandemic, and 2021 was about adapting to challenges like employee burnout, remote work, and hiring and retention in a job market defined by labor shortages and unprecedented employee turnover. 2022 will center on navigating the new normal and employees’ elevated power in this tight labor market.” Daniel Zhao, Economist and Data Scientist But what exactly are the trends to watch out for in 2022? And how does web accessibility play a part? Let’s find out. Workplace Trends for 2022 A recent report by Glassdoor highlighted four emerging workplace trends for 2022: 1. Hiring will be more difficult Customer demand may be returning, but businesses will face increased competition for workers due to factors including lower immigration, an aging population, and the ‘Great Resignation’. This will make hiring and retaining employees challenging and will push businesses to: Offer better salaries, bonuses, and benefits packages Focus on retention through improving employee satisfaction and engagement Access new talent pools by employing more overlooked workers like remote staff, recent retirees, and people with disabilities. 2. Remote working will boost access to talent, but at a higher price point The recruiting advantage that remote employers had a few years ago has been diluted by the surge of work from home (WFH) policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies are likely to face challenges this year as the employee pool continues to become empowered by remote working possibilities, meaning: Employers will have to reduce or remove location-based pay policies Salaries will need to become more competitive 3. Employers will prioritize DEI Modern-day employees expect to see demonstrable progress rather than empty goals or promises, so companies will need to become more transparent and accountable for reporting on DEI factors. Glassdoor’s D&I workplace survey identified that 76% of job seekers consider a diverse workforce important when evaluating companies and job offers. 4. Workplace communities will become increasingly virtual Developing an inclusive and open company culture in a remote setting will become vital. Research shows that two-thirds of remote workers experience isolation and loneliness. As a result, employee turnover rates within businesses with a rich company culture is only 13.9%, compared to 48.4% within organizations with poor company cultures. Why Being Inclusive Matters In today’s competitive marketplace, DEI is a means of achieving positive cultural change while also boosting brand reputation and becoming an employer of choice – all of which help when it comes to attraction, recruitment, and retention. Besides, at a time when so many organisations are reporting employee and skills shortages, tapping into a more diverse talent pool is a no-brainer. “If you haven’t got the best talent you’re not going to be the best, and if you’re not representing properly the available pool of talent then you’re missing an opportunity.” Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, EMEA President at Bank of America There are thousands of talented candidates with hidden disabilities that don’t affect their ability to perform. By improving processes to accommodate a diverse workforce, organisations can improve employee experiences and boost engagement at every stage of the employee life cycle: 1. Attraction - Brand reputation improves from employee, customer, and stakeholder perspectives. 2. Recruitment – Providing inclusive candidate journeys creates equal opportunities and allows organisations to draw from a wider talent pool. 3. Onboarding – Demonstrating inclusive practices sets a first impression that encourages trust and loyalty from the off. 4. Development - Productivity improves because data shows that employees with disabilities take less time off and stay with companies for longer. 5. Retention – Turnover rates drop when everyone feels included and valued. 6. Offboarding – Gathering employee feedback helps provide data and insights that can be used to improve DEI policies further. Where Does Website Accessibility Fit In? Online access barriers are a real-life problem for one in every five people due to hidden disabilities such as: Visual impairments Learning difficulties Neurological conditions Cognitive disabilities Language differences Improving web accessibility allows recruiters and employers to get the best results. Many factors could be preventing the best candidates from applying for a position. Examples include: Websites that are difficult to navigate for people with disabilities. Job ads that are not displayed in an inclusive format. Application forms that aren't accessible. Even in the onboarding, development, and retention phases of an employee’s life cycle, additional software can provide equity and comfort, and should be encouraged. For example, providing screen reader software for a dyslexic employee is no more difficult than providing an ergonomic office chair for someone with back problems. How Recite Me Can Help Accessibility software allows everyone to access websites in the way that works best for them. The Recite Me assistive toolbar has a unique combination of features that helps people with various disabilities. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options Utilise a mask screen tool Use an on-page ruler Strip away images and graphics Download content as an audio file Convert content into over 100 different on-screen languages Have content read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages Customise PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated Improving web accessibility doesn’t just benefit staff with disabilities. It benefits everyone. For example, allowing any employee to make adjustments leading to improved comfort and reduced fatigue will increase engagement and productivity. Career Sector Data Recite me is already installed on over 3,600 websites. Our 2021 careers sector data shows that: Over the year, 74,837 people used Recite Me to help them find their next career Over 6,000 people per month used our software to customise their experience on careers websites. Nearly 28,000 different careers web pages were viewed using the Recite Me toolbar Over 200,000 individual styling changes were made Over 260,000 pieces of content were translated into different languages Nearly 370,000 pieces of content were read aloud What Our Users Say We are proud to work with several industry leaders and experts already. Here’s what some of them have to say about diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. “We want to attract the best talent. Allowing everyone who visits our careers site to use it the way we intended is a vital part of our mission. That’s why we’ve worked with Recite Me to make our website digitally inclusive. It’s the right thing to do and the best decision for our business.” Sean Allen, Head of Talent at Very “Recite Me ensures every part of our recruitment process is accessible to everyone, from browsing to making an application. By employing Recite Me, we can ensure that every candidate gets an equal chance at developing their career by being able to access the same opportunities to gain and maintain employment.” Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing at Morson International “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 at SNC Lavalin 5 Steps to a Digitally Inclusive Workplace Despite rising awareness of DEI factors, the disability employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people was 28.4% in 2021. So there is still a way to go. These are the steps to follow to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within your organisation. 1. Integrate DEI into Your Core Values Ensure your business complies with disability discrimination laws, gather employee feedback regularly, adopt inclusive web design principles, and ensure your social media profiles are accessible. 2. Become Disability Confident Employer Disability Confident schemes help employers explore the benefits of employing disabled people. Over 20,000 forward-thinking companies are registered as Disability Confident – Recite Me being one of them, of course. 3. Provide an Inclusive Candidate Journey Access our free guide to accessible online recruitment in partnership with Guidant Global. 4. Use Assistive Technology Assistive functionality allows customised adaptions that account for varied digital access barriers. 5. Seek Advice There are some fantastic companies specialising in supporting businesses to develop more inclusive practices within the workplace. Examples outside the Recite Me team include Inclusive Employers, Verdica, and RIDI. Want to know more about Recite Me technology? Contact us today to learn how our web accessibility solutions can help strengthen your HR strategy and propel your diversity and inclusion policies forward.
We are extremely proud to announce that Recite Me is now a Member of the Valuable Directory, a global community of disability inclusion consultants. The Valuable 500, the largest network of global CEOs committed to disability inclusion, is embarking on its transformation programme of embedding disability inclusion within leadership agendas and radically transforming the business system across the whole supply chain for the benefit of all. With 70% of its members enjoying a turnover over $1 billion and 52% of those employing over 10,000 people, the Valuable Directory will be available to the collective to utilise and make informed decisions based on expert guidance. Hosted within the Valuable 500’s Digital Hub, the Valuable Directory connects members with disability experts around the world. Recite Me have been vetted by 21 revered thought leaders across the global disability space and will have the opportunity to provide consultation services to the Valuable 500 member companies. While Recite Me has only just been become a Member of the Valuable Directory, we have long championed the rights and needs of people with disabilities. Our assistive toolbar breaks down online barriers for users with disabilities, allowing everyone the opportunity to use the internet in the way that it is intended. Recite Me Founder and CEO, Ross Linnett says “I am incredibly proud that Recite Me has been named as a Member of the Valuable Directory. It is fantastic that we will have the opportunity to support 500 of the most influential companies and CEOs in taking action to accelerate progress towards disability inclusion. At Recite Me diversity, equality and inclusion is at the very core of our culture. Supporting these incredible organisations is another step in our journey to creating an inclusive world where we can all thrive.” As an industry leader we have an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind. Through our position as a Member of the Valuable Directory we will play our part in building an equitable future with no limit to what we can achieve.
As National Careers Week 2022 kicks off, we’d like to highlight the importance of web accessibility in creating both diverse and inclusive workplaces. Website accessibility and inclusion factors have never been more important in the careers and employment sector, as now more than ever before, job searches and recruitment drives are taking place online. “Accessibility is often forgotten about when speaking about diversity and inclusion, but it is the missing link. You can have the most diverse workforce…but if anyone experiences barriers to access then you haven’t ensured inclusion for all.” Michael Bach, in his book, Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right What is Inclusive Recruitment? Inclusive recruitment covers the entire candidate experience from discovery and attraction right through to application, onboarding and beyond. It is the process of being able to offer a barrier-free experience where everyone is able to embrace and fulfill the full recruitment journey on a level playing field. It is worth noting that diversity and inclusion are not the same thing and improving one will not automatically solve problems with the other. What Sort of Barriers do Applicants Face Online? Typically, when recruiters and employers think of accessibility, they consider only the physical access needs of disabled candidates and employees. This is a short-sighted view, as in addition to physical access barriers, there is also a multitude of other disabilities and conditions that need to be accommodated in the nonphysical world. Examples include: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Epilepsy Another disadvantage for people viewing content online can be if they speak English as a second language. Candidates and employees who struggle with any of the above have a much harder time finding and staying in employment, as the information on websites is not as easy for them to access, read, understand, or act upon. Did you know…? Only 51% of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Nearly 40% of disabled applicants feel insecure about getting hired as they believe employers will disregard their application based on their impairment or condition. On average, disabled people apply for 60% more jobs before finding one. Only one in three job seekers think employers and recruiters make online job applications suitably accessible for disabled people. Only 26% of jobseekers think employers and recruiters make online job applications suitably accessible for people who speak English as a second language. Why Should Employers Provide an Inclusive Candidate Journey? The key for employers is to alter their perceptions and the way they think about disability, and make positive changes to the way they attract, recruit, develop, and retain disabled employees. Many companies shy away from web accessibility and inclusion factors as they perceive them as being complex, expensive, or simply too difficult to workaround. However, this is a misperception, as the average cost of making an accommodation for a disabled employee is relatively low and data shows that employees with disabilities take less time off and tend to stay with companies for longer. Other key advantages include: Drawing from the widest pool of talent available. Discovering new skill sets - neurodiverse employees are often creative thinkers and strategic problem solvers. Acquiring high-quality staff who are skilled, hardworking, loyal, and highly motivated. Improving innovation thanks to the wider perspective gained by having a more diverse team. Creating equal opportunities that make everyone feel included. Demonstrating fairness in the workplace. Improving staff morale. Showing customers and other businesses that you are committed to equality in the workplace. Increasing revenue and profits - there is growing evidence of links between improved inclusion and financial success. Did you know... During 2021, Recite Me witnessed a surge in recruitment companies and in-house talent teams using our assistive technology to create inclusive candidate journeys. Across our career and recruitment clients specifically, our data shows: A 150% increase in the use of our accessibility technology to customise application experiences in 2021. More than 488,942 web pages were viewed with Recite Me technology by people searching for their next careers in 2021. A Case Study: Morson Group Morson Group is a global technical recruiter that adopted Recite Me accessibility technology in 2019. The Morson team is confident that by educating their clients about accessibility and providing an inclusive candidate journey that they can improve the lives of their contractor base and their own employees. Everyone should have the opportunity to find their dream job. With our assistive toolbar installed on their site, Morson Group has dramatically increased their reach, enabling 27% more of the UK population to access their online content than before. In January 2021 almost 4,000 people utilised Recite Me web accessibility tools on the Morson Group website to help them with their job search. “Recite Me technology ensures every part of our recruitment process is accessible to everyone, from browsing to making an application. By employing Recite Me, we can ensure that every candidate gets an equal chance at developing their career by being able to access the same opportunities to gain and maintain employment.” Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing A Case Study: SNC Lavalin With over 50,000 employees spread across operations and offices around the globe, SNC Lavalin is a world leader in consultancy and project management in a range of industries. The brand is well known for its diversity policies and active approach to thinking and working differently. So their recruitment team is always looking for people who experience the world in different ways. “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 Useful Links for Recruiters and Job Seekers There are some great companies out there who specialise in creating awareness and removing barriers to help disabled applicants into work: RIDI – a non-profit initiative with a goal to create disability confident recruiters and help reduce the UK disability employment gap. Inclusive Employers - the UK's first and leading membership organisation that supports businesses trying to develop more inclusive practices within the workplace. Recite Me are proud to list Inclusive Employers as one of our clients. Verdica – A recruitment agency specializing in diversity and inclusion, offering services to “Find a job with an employer who ‘gets’ YOU.” Accessibility Versus Inclusion Or to put in another way, equality versus equity. Forbes Magazine highlighted a good example of this in their article about equity and accessibility in the workplace, where it was explained that equality would be giving everyone a house to live in, whereas equity would be giving people in tropical climates extra cooling systems and mosquito screens, and those in colder climates better insulation and heating. The same principle applies to web accessibility. Complying with accessibility guidelines and adopting an accessible website build are great steps forward. But compliance alone does not enable users to create a fully customisable experience that works for every individual. "What makes a website truly inclusive is giving people as many choices as possible so they can modify their own view and consume the information in a way that is personalised and tailored to their individual needs. It is in this area of advocating web accessibility, but also promoting digital inclusion at a much higher level, in which Recite Me sits. to put it simply, accessibility + usability = inclusion” Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder & CEO How does Web Accessibility Technology Work? Recite Me’s assistive toolbar supports a diverse range of applicants, recruiters, and staff in the workplace by providing a variety of tools that allow users to create a fully customisable experience. Our accessibility features can either be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use. Users can: Personalise font size, type, and colour options to make each web page easier to read. Utilise the mask screen tool, which isolates parts of the page to help with focus. Use the ruler tool to make reading easier. Download content as an audio file as an alternative to reading. Convert page content into over 100 different on-screen languages. Have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages. Customise PDF documents and have them read aloud or translated. Over 3500 organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities. To find out more or to book a demo please contact the team today.
As boots.com launch Recite Me accessibility and language support across their online store, it is the perfect opportunity to sit down with the Director of e-commerce at Boots.com Paula Bobbett, to discuss the direction and commitment Boots are taking on D&I and how they support their diverse range of customers and website visitors. What is your D&I mission for this year and beyond? Our business vision is for DE&I to be at the centre of everything we do. So that means applying a DE&I lens to all our initiatives and activity eg launching new a product, a marketing initiative, how we engage with our suppliers and customers or the culture we create for our own team members. What are you doing across your digital landscape to be inclusive? We know that shopping online or in-store isn’t as easy as it should be for everyone. Hence why we’ve launched Recite Me to make it easier for people to navigate our site in the way that works best for them. We have also worked on a Boots best practice guide for our suppliers to ensure they also have this front of mind. Can you share some D&I best practice examples Boots have implemented to support customers? Boots is the Purple Tuesday Health and Beauty Sector Sponsor and as such customer inclusion is high on our priority list. We are taking a holistic approach to supporting disabled customers and patients both from a physical accessibility perspective and an inclusive customer service perspective. We regularly update our customer service training and last year we included some foundational learning on unconscious bias and how, if unchecked, our assumptions can sometimes affect customer interactions and ultimately the service we provide. We also introduced the hidden disabilities sunflower scheme in all of our stores and provided our team members with associated training to help them understand more about some of the challenges our customers, patients and colleagues with hidden disabilities might be living with, as well as making some practical suggestions about how to meet their needs even better. We have team members who are trained to provide help and support to customer with cancer. Our Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists are pharmacists who’ve had extra training, developed by Macmillan and Boots, to support people affected by cancer. Their extra training helps them to understand the needs of customers / patients with cancer and provide information about medication as well as just being someone just to talk to. We also have Boots No7 Macmillan Beauty Advisors in our stores who understand the impact side effects of cancer treatment can have on how customers with cancer feel about themselves. They provide support and free beauty advice to help customers feel empowered and equipped to overcome some of the visible side effects of cancer treatment if they want to. Concluding message you would like people to take away We hope that Boots is for everyone, no matter who our customers are or the way they chose to shop. By partnering with Recite Me we are aiming to support our ambition to make Boots accessible to all.
Being accessible online is vital in creating cohesion between you and your customer. The internet and its online space may be the only form of interaction with your audience and it’s crucial that everyone has an equally brilliant user experience - regardless of the language they speak or any disabilities they might have. Focusing on Generation Z (Gen Z) in particular, this consumer base is massively shaping the future of the economic world, and in this they’ll be the first to point out when a brand isn’t being authentic. According to research carried out by Campaign (2022) the key digital takeaway for 2022 is that those companies that marry purpose and authentic values with ease and accessibility (and ideally inspiration) will continue to thrive. It’s 2022. If you’re not providing accessible features such as Recite Me, then you bet someone else is. This could be the ultimate decision for a consumer, between choosing you, or a competitor. Take a leaf out of our book and make these quick and simple changes to improve your business now and listen to your target audience! What Is Accessibility And Why Do We Need It? When we break down the meaning of ‘Accessibility’, we focus on the website tools available to create a universal online space. Long gone are the days where face-to-face interaction was a brands’ only form of purchase, the internet has brought another dimension into the customer journey and it’s important that brands adapt. As we move forward to becoming an inclusive society, we recognise the importance of everyone having equal access to website content. Every user who roams the internet deserves to have customisable touchpoints to enhance their user experience, and by using a web accessibility tool, this can be achieved. Businesses need to view accessibility online software as a human necessity rather than an added extra. It’s a means of providing equal online access for anyone around the world - so who exactly does it help? Disabilities And Accessibility Did you know that at least 15% of the world’s population have a recognised disability? In figures, that’s over one billion people, and accessing the internet is one of the many barriers they face during their day-to-day lives. Those who are most susceptible to these barriers are people who struggle with: Decreased vision Learning difficulties Literacy Language/linguistic problems Attention disorders Physical disabilities By not meeting their needs as a company and providing the assisted technology they need, you’re failing to provide inclusivity and are isolating people with disabilities. It’s also worth mentioning that this is something Gen Z will not take lightly. Who Are Generation Z? According to Student Voices, Gen Z can be defined as the group of individuals born after 1995, however this date varies from source to source. To generalise for these purposes, it is the individuals who were born in the late 1990s and early 2010s. They’re the first generation to not know a life without the internet which has led to them being extremely tech-savvy. When it comes to trends, Gen Z expects a lot from brands digitally, with 43% demanding an online experience that is easy to navigate and 36% needing a seamless checkout with multiple payment options. They find it difficult to be loyal to companies who aren’t authentic and are moving towards a feeling of inclusivity and cultural identity. Aligning these expectations together, you can start to paint a picture of what your brand needs to do in order to unlock the trust of Gen Z’ers. Our Success Story With Recite Me For a bit of background information, Homes For Students is one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. Offering over 32,000 beds and counting, we are growing at an exponential rate, and our online presence has been pivotal in this advancement. Our target demographic is, in summary, potential and returning students looking to book a place to stay near their university of choice, with the majority making up Gen Z. We installed Recite Me on the Homes For Students in April 2021, and have not looked back since. This versatile toolbar has given us a world of possibilities, all within one webpage, and allows us to reach web users we may not have been able to before. At a touch of a button, the Recite Me service can be launched, providing a text to speech function, fully customisable styling features, reading support aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. How Has This Benefited Us? There are so many ways that using Recite Me has benefitted us as a company. Here are a few below: Within our market, the ability to change the language feature has allowed us to reach those whose native language might not be English, e.g., international students and parents. Most website content on our platform is text based and Recite Me allows those who may struggle sight or reading to have the information read out loud to them. The colour wheel feature gives students with colour blindness an opportunity to change the theme to suit their preferences. We have been able to connect with a larger percentage of our target demographic, offering accessible ways for students to digest information and aid the booking process. Has allowed us to demonstrate our stance on diversity and inclusion, showing how we’re making changes to do better for the wider good. From an employee perspective, it has improved the quality of working for us by giving the ability to switch content to their preferred language and adjust font and style to help make their job easier. In summary, installing and setting up Recite Me has been a huge achievement for us at Homes For Students. It’s been a milestone in our journey as it has physically allowed us to synergise our values with our website
Boots has launched a suite of digital accessibility and language tools on boots.com to help those customers that struggle to shop online. More than 13 million people in the UK experience barriers when shopping online, and this new technology with allow those customers to create a customisable and inclusive shopping experience, making it easier for them to navigate around the website. Boots is the first retailer in the UK to offer the Recite Me technology on its online store, making it more accessible for the 37 million monthly visitors to boots.com. For customers who have visual impairment for example, the new tools can change the font size, isolate sentences and swap the colour of the page to make it easier for those customers to read. The Recite Me assistive toolbar also includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options and an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 texts-to-speech. These features give control to website visitors to manage how they view and interact with content to suit their individual needs. Paula Bobbett, Director of E-Commerce at Boots UK said: “We are delighted to be launching this market-first technology to boots.com, helping customers to customise the site to suit their own needs. The launch of the Recite Me accessibility tools help those customers who find it more challenging to shop online to browse, shop and manage their accounts hassle free.” To explore the accessibility support Boots now provides check out boots.com and click the Accessibility Toolbar option at the top of the homepage.
Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) now provides an inclusive online experience to support over 1.7 million fans to book tickets and understand online content barrier-free. The ninth edition Rugby League World Cup is due to take place in New Zealand in 2022 and is the first tournament to be held in the southern hemisphere. RLWC2021 will be a breakthrough moment in the tournament’s history with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being staged together for the first time later this year in England. To support diversity and inclusion, visitors to the RLWC2021 website are now able to access a wide range of accessibility and language support tools to customise their digital experience with Recite Me assistive technology. Providing an inclusive experience is essential to support over 20% of the population who may encounter online barriers due to having a disability, learning difficulty, visual impairment, or if they speak English as a second language. The Recite Me assistive toolbar on the RLWC2021 website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options and on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 35 texts to speech and styling options. Upneet Thandi, Head of Marketing at RLWC2021, commented, “Accessibility and inclusivity are extremely important to us as an organisation and we are committed to ensuring all customers can access information and services in a way that best meets their individual needs. “Diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of our values as a tournament, so we are incredibly proud to be able to provide Recite Me’s innovative assistive technology across our website.” RLWC2021 is committed to making an entire experience for customers enjoyable and accessible with assistive technology. Supporting those who find the digital world an incredibly intimidating place is at the top of their agenda to ensure users are equipped with the tools needed to adequately understand or communicate. Ross Linnett Recite Me’s Founder and CEO commented, “It is important to provide an inclusive online experience, where everyone can use our digital world in a way in which best suits their needs. As more organisations provide accessibility tools online, those who face online barriers can access information and services hassle-free. The digital world must be accessible for all.” To explore accessibility support, go to the RLWC2021 website, and click Access at the top of the website.
As National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, we are celebrating alongside some of our amazing apprenticeship clients on the positive impact they bring to employers, individuals, and the economy. QA Higher Education (QAHE) provides learning solutions and the right skills for tomorrow’s challenges, driving the digital revolution. The private UK higher education provider works in partnership with universities, colleges, and education specialists to recruit, market and deliver a range of programmes from foundation level to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. QAHE and its partners have more than 10,000 students studying from over 100 courses, across 9 teaching locations in the UK. Diversity has always been a central focus for QAHE, and the digital developments are pivotal in ensuring educational resources and courses are available to all audiences. Online accessibility tools are sophisticated and necessary to open digital resources in an inclusive way. 2020 brought unprecedented challenges, from lockdowns to isolation and remote studying and working, forcing us all to develop new routines and workarounds to the ways we were accustomed to carrying out our everyday tasks. Students were forced to transition to online learning, almost overnight and educational institutions needed to move quickly to address their learners' needs. At its heart, QAHE is championing education for the digital revolution to equip students with the potential to thrive in their chosen careers by powering their potential. Recognising that not everyone learns or comprehends information in the same way, QAHE has removed online barriers to ensure everyone is supported online including people with disabilities, learning difficulties and visual impairments using customisable assistive technology. QAHE Website Manager, Estelle Marasigan, explains why accessibility is so important: “QA Higher Education prides ourselves on being a company that goes the extra mile to offer our audiences the highest quality of service, communication and educational resources. Introducing Recite Me’s assistive technology on our website to help make our online experience inclusive and equal to all of our audiences is central to our mission as an educational provider and part of our ethos. Recite Me functionality enables everyone to customise their web page in a way that works best for them.” The Recite Me assistive toolbar on QA Higher Education website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options and more to support our diverse range of visitors. You can explore the customisable toolbar on the QA Higher Education website by selecting the Accessibility button at the top of the page. For more information on how you can provide inclusive remote learning, book a demo with a member of our friendly team.
Aligning the physical accessibility of homes and public spaces to digital accessibility is a key focus for housing organisation, Get Living, who create places where people live, work and play, and feel part of diverse and inclusive communities. Providing 3,000 homes to rent across London and Manchester, Get Living are leading the way to inclusive housing. The journey of ensuring people can find accessible places to live starts online. So, to support customers who experience digital barriers, Get Living uses Recite Me assistive technology. The toolbar features which include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, and customisable styling options., can be used to support those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, as well as a language tool for over 100 languages. Steven Osei, Head of Brand Experience at Get Living, commented, “We create places where people can call home and belong to real communities. “Since taking over the Athletes’ Village for the London Olympics and Paralympic Games, we’ve continued to design and build our homes, communal areas, and public realms with accessibility at the fore. Creating places where people feel welcome and safe is key to helping communities within our neighbourhoods feel as inclusive as possible. “Not only must our physical spaces feel accessible and inclusive, but also our digital spaces. The Recite Me accessibility toolbar removes many of the barriers that those who are neurodivergent or visually impaired come across when navigating online. Launching the toolbar on our website is our first step towards ensuring an enhanced accessible digital experience across our key touchpoints.” Assistive technology supports the 1 in 5 people in the UK with a disability by enabling access to online information in a way that best suits a user. To access your selection of assistive tools on the Get Living website select the Accessibility icon located in the top right on desktop and in the menu on mobile. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience book a demo with a member of our friendly team.
The digital world is an integral part of today’s society, and approximately 59% of the global population are active internet users. That’s a massive 4.66 billion people! But what about people who can’t use the internet due to access barriers? Assistive technology enables people to access resources, information, and advice online allowing them to live more independent, productive, and healthy lives. But there’s a problem… The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that only 10% of people have access to the assistive technology they need. Although this is a disappointing statistic, the popularity of web accessibility tools is on the increase, and savvy companies are quickly realising that assistive technology is a must to ensure continued success. Why Assistive Technology Is Becoming So Popular Organisations that provide options to customise experiences on their websites offer support to individuals who are most susceptible to disadvantages online. This includes those who struggle with literacy, learning difficulties, decreased vision, attention disorders, physical disabilities, and language/linguistic problems. Welcoming people with varied disabilities and access needs is the right thing to do. But recently, many businesses have become aware of the additional benefits of improving their website accessibility ratings: Increased revenue – The disability market is huge. Current data suggests that at least 15% of the global population are living with some sort of disability that can inhibit website accessibility. Better branding – Demonstrating corporate social responsibility and community support is important, and more positive experiences on your website mean a better brand reputation and increased customer loyalty. Better SEO results – web accessibility factors are continually becoming more heavily weighted in search engine algorithms. Reduced legal risk - It is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. Why Choose Recite Me? Recite Me works with organisations around the world to provide assistive technology on websites. Our accessibility toolbar removes the struggle for individuals who would otherwise need to provide their own support to access content online. And it’s worth noting here, that individual assistive technology solutions are typically very expensive and do not offer the same level of usability or functionality that our toolbar does. The Recite Me assistive toolbar unlocks hassle-free access to online content by offering features such as translation, a screen reader, styling options, and a range of reading aids. These functions allow for multiple adjustments to suit a combination of needs and a range of individual or co-occurring conditions such as: Dyslexia Dyspraxia Dyscalculia Hyperlexia Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) Developmental Language Disorders Accounting for multiple and co-occurring disabilities is important as, for example, it is estimated that at least 60% of the neurodiverse community have more than one condition. “Research shows that those who struggle with reading often struggle with math, and vice versa. Dyslexia and Dyscalculia are different, but they often co-occur. Reading and math differences aren’t the only examples. Dyslexia and ADHD also often co-occur.” Amanda Morin, Author specialising in leadership, education, and development. User Feedback Recite Me now supports over 2500 websites in providing inclusive online journeys. Our assistive toolbar has been launched over 2 million times, and over 10 million web pages have been viewed using our accessibility technology. Our Clients We are proud to work with several leaders across a wide variety of industry sectors including education, e-commerce, finance, technology, utilities, healthcare, construction, leisure and entertainment, non-profit, sports, and transport. Over the years we’ve had some fantastic feedback: "I reviewed the Recite Me product. Just 15 minutes later I was convinced that it was a must for enabling accessibility on our website and on-line portals" (Mark Abrams, Chief Executive of Auriga Services Ltd). "With the Recite Me toolbar available on our website, the entire online experience is more accessible and personal for every visitor" (Chris Stafford, Chief Executive, Curve Theatre). "Recite Me is an excellent way for us to be able to provide additional online tools and services for those visiting our website and increase the level of accessibility quickly and easily" (Mark Harrison, Head of Inclusion, University of London). "It is important that we have tools like this, that reflect the diversity of our fan base, ensuring that everybody can connect with our Club easily and in a way that suits their individual needs" (Rachael Lomax, Access Advisor, Everton Football Club). Industry Experts Professor Amanda Kirby is the CEO of Do-IT Solutions Ltd, a company specialising in increasing awareness and helping neurodiverse candidates into employment. “It is easy for me to talk about Recite Me as we think it is brilliant when wanting to engage as wide an audience as possible. It is really easy to operate and provides everyone with a unique set of accessibility features and personalised choices. " Daniel Cobb is an advocate for disability inclusion and has dyspraxia. He used the Recite Me toolbar when he came across challenges trying to search and apply for his dream job online. “The process of job hunting is mentally very draining for most job hunters but being dyspraxic makes it significantly worse. To be able to use the accessibility tools on the website ensures I can process the information with greater efficiency and therefore reduce the visual fatigue I experience from using websites.” Individual Users A focus group of Recite Me users brought together by the UK’s leading disability charity performed some testing on our toolbar. All participants previously encountered obstacles when accessing content online. When using the toolbar, the focus group were in agreement that they would use the tool again and that they’d be more likely to use a website again if they knew that their accessibility needs were accommodated. Here are some of the user comments and feedback… “It doesn’t strain or hurt my eyes when I read now.” “It’s remembered my settings across different sites, I really like this” “It shows that they’ve given accessibility some thought, and that goes a long way with me.” “Being able to change the background to black is a real bonus for me - I get dry eyes so this extends the amount of time I can stay online.” “If a place I’m planning to visit has an accessible website, I think they are more likely to be accessible when I get there.” Even outside of testing scenarios, we have received some fantastic feedback from individual users who have had access to the Recite Me toolbar through our client’s websites. “I have Autism and Dyslexia and found that when using the Council’s website, I can change the font to Dyslexia font and add a ruler to keep my place, which really helps me to understand the information I need to stay independent. I am happy that the council use Recite Me as it is very helpful.” Maria, a Sefton Council Resident Tracking the Positive Changes Recite Me is proud to be a Disability Confident Employer and has several employees within our team who can relate first hand to the benefits of our web accessibility technology. In line with our diversity and inclusion policies, more and more careers and recruitment organisations are now ensuring that they offer equal opportunities to all by making online applications accessible with the use of assistive technology. Since 2020 there has been a 150% increase in the number of career web pages being viewed by a diverse audience. The Benefits of Offering Web Accessibility Technology By now, we hope these are already clear. Happier customers, happier clients, happier employees, plus increased revenue, enhanced brand reputation, and better SEO optimisation. What’s not to love about all that? We’ve probably done enough self-promotion in this article already. But in addition to all of those benefits, we could also wax lyrical about our stats that show how including web accessibility in your business development strategy also: Improves employee satisfaction Increases productivity Reduces staff turnover Leads to more effective working strategies So… Is YOUR organisation ready to offer equal access to online content for all? The Recite Me toolbar is a cloud-based technology that can be installed on most websites in under an hour. Join the hundreds of companies who have already adopted our inclusive software by contacting our team for more information, or by booking a toolbar demonstration.
Today’s world is totally based around web access and since the onset of COVID this has become even more prevalent. Let’s take a moment to think how much of our daily lives involve looking at and interacting with a website: Researching a product or a topic Shopping Researching a company Applying for a job Ordering a takeout Surfing on social media Banking Paying a bill Claiming a government benefit Buying/Selling/Renting a House/Apartment Sending a gift/card/flowers Booking a holiday/travel/commuting Listening to music Installing new software…the list is endless, isn’t it? Now imagine that you are dyslexic*. What obstacles would you face to achieve what we have all come to take for granted as a part of everyday life. As a Neurodiversity Consultant for Creased Puddle and as a mother of a dyslexic child, I know only too well how this can disable a person who does not see themselves as disabled at all. However, they are disabled by an environment, which does not always make allowances for neurodivergent thinkers. Companies are constantly aiming to attract top talent. The millennial generation consciously look to work for organisations who take their neurodiversity pledges seriously and this includes the whole client/employee journey. The company website itself is the start of that journey. Reading volumes of block text on a screen, in a font and colour that is not dyslexia friendly can cause challenges with executive function*, stress and headaches for many neurodivergent thinkers, not only dyslexics. The clarity of the sentences used can cause difficulties for autistic people too. How often are large volumes of text on websites wordy and ambiguous. Competency Framework explanations come immediately to mind for me, using sentences such as, “you will be required to develop business relationships”. An autistic client once said to me, “How do I build a relationship with a business? It is not a person.” A much better explanation would have been…” you will be required to develop a network of contacts within the organisation…” So how can ND users get the most from their web experience? At Creased Puddle we use Recite Me Website Accessibility Software to ensure our message reaches everyone. Recite Me is a cloud-based assistive technology toolbar that allows website visitors to customise your content so that they can consume it in ways that work best for them. The unique toolbar 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. We have found that it not only provides flexibility for the neurodivergent user, but everyone can benefit, we’ve even used it on our training to show what tech can do. We want to encourage organisations to embed the principles of an inclusive neurodiversity strategy for future generations. The impact on clients and customers should not be undervalued or ignored. * “Dyslexia is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. It is about difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills.” (British Dyslexia Association) * Executive Function includes processing speed, working memory, time management and planning and organisational skills. * “Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them”. (National Autistic Society) Remi Chappell – Neurodiversity Coach and Trainer, Creased Puddle Ltd
Leading UK property company, British Land is taking a responsible approach to reducing digital barriers by utilising online assistive technology. By thinking differently, British Land has unlocked the power of physical and digital innovations to change lives for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. Taking their commitment to diversity and inclusion further, British Land has created a customer advocacy group, ‘Access for All’ that encourages their customers to share their knowledge and ideas to help improve customer experience, with topics such as retail accessibility, what makes an accessible workplace, and digital accessibility. Last Wednesday, Recite Me had the pleasure of joining British Land at their quarterly ‘Access for All’ event, along with two other panellists, Darren Rowan, Global Program Manager and Accessibility Lead for Eli Lilly and Patricia McLoughlin, Director of Change Management at GSK. Ross Linnett joined the group to discuss digital accessibility and the effect assistive technology has on the e-commerce and recruitment industry. Statistics show that the online spending power of those with a disability and their families in the UK is £24.8 Billion. However, fewer than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access this disability market. British Land’s leadership in this space was recently recognised by the Business Disability Forum who awarded them a Disability Smart business accreditation. The accessibility tools on the British Land website enable users to customise their digital experience in a way that best suits them. Features include screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options, and 35 text-to-speech and styling options. Ginny Warr, Head of Procurement at British Land commented, “We started looking around for accessibility tools and the options that were available to meet British Land’s requirements. The Recite Me tool offered a cost effective, fast to implement solution. The key attraction of this solution was that we did not need to make significant investment in our existing web site and intranet platforms to implement this accessibility tool kit. Ginny concluded by saying ‘This is not about disability; this is about taking a responsible approach to making sure that all of our digital content is available to all our customers and employees. We believe that everyone should have equal access to these online resources – barrier free.” To access your selection of assistive tools on the British Land website select ‘Accessibility Tools’. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience book a demo with a member of our friendly team.