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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 "As there are well over 10,000 undergraduate students at ANU, we love that the Recite Me toolbar has so many different functionalities to help make the website accessible and easy to use so that we can reach as many students as possible. In addition, the ability for students to translate pages of the website into different languages is a great plus.” Kate Melhuish, Communications Officer at ANU Students’ Association 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.
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 Sir Robert McAlpine 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
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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 disabled 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.
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.
Global accessibility guidelines exist to ensure those who face access barriers are not excluded from online life. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the gold standard when it comes to web accessibility. But because technology is constantly evolving, so too are the guidelines. The new WCAG 3.0 guidelines have been in the drafting process since January, with an estimated publishing date of 2022. The new guidelines are set to make websites, apps, PDFs, ePub, and other emerging technologies even more accessible for people with disabilities. As an industry leader in accessibility, Recite Me is always ahead of the curve when it comes to accessibility standards. However, we appreciate that some of the terms, language, and jargon can sometimes be hard to follow. Here’s a run-down of what you need to know… What Is Website Accessibility? When websites, apps, and other digital products are designed, coded, and presented correctly, everyone can use them. However, when content fails to meet recognised accessibility standards, people with disabilities cannot read, understand, or use online information. Having an accessible and inclusive website benefits businesses, individuals, and society as a whole. However, the most recent research data from WebAIM shows that 97.4% of website homepages fail to comply with current guidelines. Who Needs Web Accessibility Assistance? One in every five people has some form of physical or hidden disability that makes accessing online content difficult. An access barrier can be any element of the design or formatting that prevents users from reading and understanding the content. The people most susceptible to access barriers are those who struggle with: Vision impairments, including colour blindness and deafblindness Learning difficulties like Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Hyperlexia Attention disorders like ADHD Mental or neurological conditions like epilepsy, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease Autism Language/linguistic problems Physical disabilities W3C and WCAG Explained We know the abbreviations, technical terms, and all of the different versions can be challenging to wrap your head around, so here’s a breakdown of all the key information. What are WCAG and W3C? WCAG is a set of measurable standards, specifically designed to make websites more accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG documents and updates are published by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C was founded in 1994 to develop common sets of standards for the benefit of all internet users. It comprises several member organisations and is led by Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist credited with the invention of the world wide web. Compliance Levels The WCAG provide minimum standards that businesses globally should adhere to. They incorporate principles for labels, headings, colour contrast, text size and navigation, among other factors. There are three levels of conformance: A – The most basic level of accessibility, comprising criteria that should be easy to achieve without much impact on website design or structure. AA - This is the level that most development teams aim to meet, and includes additional criteria to level A. WCAG AA compliance is now legally required for certain sites, and this is the level typically referred to when discussing ‘making a website accessible’. AAA – With even more benchmarks set above level AA, this is the most comprehensive standard of accessibility compliance. For a website to achieve this rating, it would need to comply with every listed success criterion. WCAG Version History At the turn of the century when the first WCAG were only recently released, less than 5% of the global population were active internet users, compared to 59.5% in 2021. As internet access increased and web technologies continued to evolve, updates and revisions were needed to ensure ongoing accessibility and inclusion factors were met. WCAG 1.0 – Published in May 1999, the original WCAG represented the first step in establishing guidelines for web accessibility, and was primarily focused on HTML. You can read the full WCAG 1.0 guidelines on the W3C website. WCAG 2.0 – Released in December 2008, this updated version of WCAG moved past basic HTML to encompass additional technologies. It also embedded the four cornerstone principles that still form the basis of today’s WCAG standards: Perceivable - Accommodating various sensory differences. Operable - Interface and navigation components must be usable by all. Understandable - Website information and operation must be consistent and understandable. Robust - Able to function using all applicable technologies. Read the WCAG 2.0 guidelines in full on the W3C website. WCAG 2.1 – More of a revamp than an entire overhaul, these updated standards came into effect in June 2018. The main additions addressed accessibility on mobile browsers, as smartphone and tablet use had become more universally prevalent. For example, ensuring options for content orientation so that users are not locked into portrait or landscape views if they cannot rotate their device. The full WCAG 2.1 guidelines are available on the W3C website. Why is WCAG the International Standard? By providing specific, technical, and measurable frameworks supported by in-depth documentation for implementation and remediation, WCAG delivers all of the methodology and techniques website owners need to ensure compliance. The guidelines are developed to be used by anyone involved in building and maintaining a website. This includes web developers, content writers, graphic designers, tool developers, accessibility testers, and anyone else who seeks to learn or better understand how to implement accessible online journeys. What are the Changes Between WCAG2 and WCAG3? WCAG 2.1 and 2.2 successfully served to bridge gaps in criteria from WCAG 2.0 as internet technology developed. However, WCAG 3.0 represents an entirely new model that includes improved approaches to testing and allows for more frequent updates so that it can accommodate a wider set of changing user needs and technologies. In addition to stipulations for the build of your website, some of the main changes in WCAG 3.0 relate to: Text alternatives Clear wording Captions Structured content Visual contrasts You can read the complete working draft of the new WCAG 3.0 guidelines here. How to prepare for WCAG3 While there will still be some overlap with previous WCAG 2.X versions, WCAG 3.0 includes additional tests and different scoring mechanisms. So for now, WCAG 3.0 is not backwards compatible with, nor does it supersede WCAG 2.X versions. However, once they become an official W3C recommendation, web developers and content creators will need to use WCAG 3.0 to maximise their web accessibility compliance efforts. In the meantime, we recommend you take the following steps to ensure you are up to date with current WCAG standards and are ready for when the 3.0 version becomes the new norm: Familiarise yourself with current WCAG standards (version 2.2) and make any required adjustments. Ensure your website meets the national and international legal requirements for your region: - The Equality Act (UK) - The European Accessibility Act (Europe) - The Disability Discrimination Act (AUS) - The Americans with Disabilities Act (USA) Check that your web design conforms to best practices and principles for accessibility. Look into assistive technology software to add further layers of usability to your website to make it truly inclusive. How Can Recite Me Help? At Recite me, we are doing everything we can to work towards conformance with the new WCAG 3.0 model and are here to help your organisation understand and adapt to new standards of web accessibility as and when they are implemented. As such, we have developed a range of web accessibility tools that support people online and allow us to advise website owners on issues and solutions. The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar Some of the most common barriers faced by internet users include: Not being able to read the text due to font, text size, or text spacing. Not being able to read the text due to poor colour contrasts between background and foreground. Not being able to use a mouse or touchpad. Not being able to focus on the relevant section of text. Being distracted by graphics and image carousels. With the Recite Me assistive toolbar, accessibility features can be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments for ultimate ease of use. Plus, once users have set their preferences for customisations, those settings persist for their entire journey on that digital platform and they are automatically applied the next time they return. 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. The Recite Me Scanner Alongside usability factors, the way a website is built is an essential consideration in accommodating varied accessibility needs. WCAG 3.0 outlines standards that website builders and owners need to follow. To identify non-compliance issues and fixes, Recite Me is currently beta testing an accessibility scanner that can: Identify any areas of non-compliance with WCAG 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. So far, the feedback has been fantastic, and we are looking forward to helping more businesses as they strive to provide even more inclusive online journeys. “It is a pleasure to work with a specialist provider like Recite Me who takes great care to understand customer needs. We are proud to be a digitally inclusive company that values each and every online visitor.” Subhash Mishra, Head of Digital Strategy, FirstRail 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. Across a whole range of sectors including employment, education, public sector, retail, sport, leisure, travel, utility services, charities, and not-for-profit organisations, our most recent stats over 12 months 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 Need help navigating your way around WCAG compliance or have questions about the new set of standards? Please feel free to contact our team for more advice, book a live demo of our toolbar, or read more about our accessibility scanner. Article Sources: WebAIM, Statista, InternetWorldStats.
The Government of South Australia Health provide thousands of people with a positive user experience on their website, with the support of accessibility and language options. 6% of the population in South Australia have a disability and require help in their day-to day lives, this includes when using digital technology to access vital online health information. The Government of South Australia, SA Health, is committed to protecting and improving the lives of all citizens by providing leadership in health reform, public health services, health, and medical research, policy development, and planning. To fulfil SA Health’s commitment to providing equal access to all health resources and services, they provide a suite of customisable options through the Recite Me toolbar to support those who have disabilities, learning difficulties, visually impairments or speak English as a second language. Assistive technology on the SA Health website provides visitors with support features such as text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text-to-speech voices and many other features. Residents of South Australia can customise their online experience to suit their own specific needs by clicking the “Accessibility” button at the top of the SA Health website.
CancerCare (US) now provides accessible information and services online to support a diverse range of website visitors. CancerCare is the leading organisation providing free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical, and financial challenges of cancer. To provide these vital services to website visitors, CancerCare has implemented Recite Me assistive technology, to remove barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language. 61 million adults in the US live with a disability that may prevent access to the digital world, putting individuals at a significant disadvantage. The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar on CancerCare’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. Christine Verini, CancerCare, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, commented, “CancerCare offers free support to anyone in the United States affected by cancer. In the same spirit, the Recite Me toolbar helps our website be accessible to the largest audience. All of our lives are touched by cancer at some point, and it can be an overwhelming and isolating experience. We hope that providing a more inclusive online experience will allow as many people as possible to connect with the support and resources they need and deserve during their cancer experience." To explore accessibility and language tools go to the CancerCare website. Find out more information about assistive technology or book a demo with a member of our friendly team.
The Australian National University Students’ Association now provides online accessibility and language tools to support students who face barriers when reading online information. The ANUSA is made up of 39 elected student representatives and a team of professional staff members that are responsible for advocating and furthering the interests of all students and members of the university. Almost 20% (3.96 million) of Australians have a disability and without additional online support, those who face barriers cannot access crucial information and services. To continue to promote the welfare, advocacy, and social life of students, the ANUSA has implemented Recite Me assistive technology to enable those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and those who speak English as a second language to take part in our digital world, an integral part of today’s society. The toolbar on the ANUSA 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. Kate Melhuish, Communications Officer at ANU Students’ Association, commented, “Our journey with Recite Me began with the 2020 ANU Disabilities Officer who was interested in making the ANUSA website as accessible as possible. As there are well over 10,000 undergraduate students at ANU, we love that the Recite Me toolbar has so many different functionalities to help make the website accessible and easy to use so that we can reach as many students as possible. In addition, the ability for students to translate pages of the website into different languages is a great plus.” To access the assistive toolbar on the ANUSA website select ‘Accessibility’ in the top right corner. For more information on how you can provide an inclusive online experience go to the Recite Me website or book a demo with a member of our team.