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On average, 1 in every 5 people has a physical, visual, auditory, cognitive, or neurological disability. That’s 20% of the population. Yet financially, this group accounts for up to 37% of all healthcare expenditure. By very nature, individuals with disabilities need more regular checkups, treatment, and assistance from health organisations. That’s why healthcare providers must make the information on their websites accessible. Otherwise, disabled people face further barriers and risk receiving an unequal standard of care. Who Needs Help Accessing Healthcare Online? People go online for several healthcare-related reasons, including: Finding a doctor Making appointments Researching symptoms Paying medical bills Buying medical insurance Accessing test results People with physical impairments and injuries may struggle to use smaller devices like smartphones and tablets to do this, and may also have difficulty using a mouse. But it’s not only physical disabilities that need to be accommodated. Hidden Disabilities Websites need to be accessible so that people with hidden disabilities like cognitive and neurological disorders, visual impairments, and language barriers can access the information easily. This involves making adjustments for internet users with a range of conditions, including: Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Autism Epilepsy Deafblindness Colour blindness Speaking/reading English as a second language Our Aging Population Over 703 million of the global population are aged 65 years or over, and this figure is projected to double to 1.5 billion by 2050. As the ageing population increases, so does the overall percentage of people with disabilities, visual impairments, and hearing loss. Often, multiple accessibility adjustments are required to support the elderly online because many already struggle with one of the hidden disabilities listed above combined with the general barriers brought on by old age. A Global Perspective The total number of people with a disability is estimated to be over 1 billion, making the disabled the largest minority group in the world. And that number doesn’t even account for visual impairments, cognitive and neurological disorders, or linguistic disadvantages. Plus, as many learning difficulties and neurological conditions go undiagnosed, the actual figures are likely even higher. Sources: WHO, United Nations Accessibility Law Making information about healthcare accessible to all citizens is vital so people can access information and make the right decisions about their medical needs. But it’s not just the right thing to do. It is expected by law that service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. UK – The Equality Act of 2010 states that providers must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people online. USA – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that companies make accommodations for disabled users with specific regard to web accessibility. Australia – The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires equal online access for people with disabilities. Private Vs Public Sector In many countries, public sector bodies are expected to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 accessibility Level AA standards. However, it’s not just public bodies that need to consider online accessibility. Private health organisations need to provide support too. After all, an inaccessible website means that 1 in 5 people are unable to access your services. The consumer spending power of disabled people and their families is considerable. In the UK, it equates to £24.8 billion per year. In Australia, the total disposable income of the disabled market sits at AUD54million per annum, while in America, the equivocal figure is a whopping USD490 billion. Web Accessibility Guidelines Accessibility laws and the WCAG are based on four cornerstone principles that allow anyone to access and use web content. You can download a summary of the regulations here, but some of the key points include: Using a content management system that supports accessibility Being keyboard friendly Using headings correctly to structure content Avoiding heavy text environments Using alt text tags for all images and videos Using high contrast between text and background Giving descriptive names to links Making documents such as PDFs, Microsoft Word docs, and any other online forms accessible Ensuring page headings are displayed correctly Allowing people using screen readers to navigate around the website easily Adding web accessibility software Web Accessibility Software from Recite Me The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar makes it possible for websites to easily comply with the four cornerstone principles laid out in the guidelines by ensuring that online content is: Perceivable – Our toolbar allows content to be perceived either via sound or enhanced visual means. Understandable – Our styling features allow people to change how content is displayed for personal ease of use. Operable – Our technology allows users to track their location on a page via the screen reader navigation feature. Robust - Once Recite Me is installed on your website, you will receive regular updates and always have the latest version. With our accessibility software installed on their websites, health organisations worldwide can offer their users barrier-free access to critical information. It’s about more than simply making a website accessible, though. The ability to make multiple adjustments to suit individual needs results in 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. 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.. "The Recite Me team have been great. The fact that we could incorporate all of these features onto our website with the click of a button was a real cure for us" Simon Culley, Communications Officer, Healthwatch Torbay We are proud to work with a number of leading healthcare providers already, including several NHS trusts, various regional healthwatch community groups, multiple health charities, and many private healthcare companies. Healthcare Sector Data Over the 12 months, Recite Me made thousands of health-related website pages accessible. Our data shows that: The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched 83,809 times Over 360,379 health-related web pages were viewed using the toolbar On average, Recite Me users viewed 4.3 pages of an accessible website per visit, almost double the internet average of just 2.5 pages per visit. Over 37,000 individual styling changes were made by users accessing healthcare sites. Over 120,000 pieces of content were translated into multiple different languages including Arabic, Polish, Portuguese, Italian and Finnish. Case Studies The Government of South Australia Our toolbar data from the SA Health website shows that over the last 12 months: Over 41,000 web pages were viewed using the Recite Me toolbar. The average website journey was 5.57 pages per visit, way above the internet average of 2.8 pages. The most commonly used feature was the screen reader, with 64% of toolbar users choosing to have content read aloud. Over 20,000 pieces of content were translated into Chinese, French, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Spanish. NHS Public Health Wales In the first month of launching the Recite Me toolbar, there were over 1600 unique users. “We know the information on our website needs to be available in different formats and languages to reach our diverse audiences, so we worked hard to find a solution that makes the information we publish online more accessible.” Rebecca Fogarty, Engagement and Collaboration Manager at NHS Public Health Wales Become Inclusive Today By choosing not to make websites accessible, healthcare providers are creating access barriers to many people who need help the most. We urge all public, private, and non-profit organisations in the healthcare sector to make sure their web content is fully accessible to everyone by taking the following steps: Ensure your website build is up to date for accessibility best practices and the relevant legal requirements. Develop a thorough understanding of the WCAG and ensure any required updates are completed for compliance. Look into assistive technology solutions like the Recite Me toolbar that combine accessibility and usability to create an inclusive online experience for all users. You can find out more about the healthcare organisations 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.
Volkswagen Financial Services Careers have launched accessibility and language support on their website to enable all web visitors’ access to Volkswagen Finance job opportunities easily and barrier- free. Volkswagen Group UK is the country’s largest importer of vehicles, employing over 1,800 people nationwide. As an inclusive employer, VW wants to attract a wide range of talent, create a diverse and inclusive workplace, and provide equality. 14.1 million people in the UK have some form of disability and they can often encounter obstacles when applying for jobs online. By providing Recite Me’s suite of accessibility and language options those who once experienced friction can now access job details with ease, creating an inclusive candidate journey. Mike Todd, CEO at Volkswagen Financial Services, added: “More than ever, it is vital that everyone can have equality in the workplace and has access to the information they need to make informed career choices and create opportunities for themselves. It’s a customised experience that we hope will increase the diversity of our applicants to enhance our skill sets and open up a wider talent pool that supports our values of equal opportunity in the workplace.” The Recite Me assistive toolbar on the Volkswagen Careers Website supports people with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments and people who speak English as a second language. A recent report has concluded that visitors have on average viewed 7.15 pages which compares favourably with an internet average of 2.8 pages per visit. The work so far has found that nearly 500 pages on the Volkswagen Financial Services website have been reviewed using the Recite Me toolbar. Website visitors are able to customize their experience through a range of features such as text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices and many other features. The Volkswagen Financial Services Careers website is now a place where everyone can find their dream career barrier-free.
The easy answer is that web accessibility is now such an important consideration that you simply cannot afford for your website not to be accessible. But, of course, there is more to it than that… We’ve come a long way since the early days when US astronomer Clifford Stoll submitted an article entitled “The Internet? Bah!” into a Newsweek publication, boldly predicting that the internet was no more than a passing fad. Obviously, he couldn’t have been more wrong, and today the internet is an essential tool and a more valuable source of information than ever - and it’s not going anywhere! Just like the internet itself, accessibility is by no means a passing fad. So if you commit to having a website for your business at all, then why not make it fully inclusive and accessible, rather than alienating groups of users and consumers? The modern world is embracing diversity and equality like never before. So we urge you to consider the needs of all of your website users, and adapt to meet the needs of those with disabilities that include: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments Key Reasons to Ensure Your Website Is Accessible 1. Revenue: Making your website accessible to all consumers is the smart thing to do. The business case for accessibility varies based on the type of organisation, but particularly in commercial companies, justification is required before resources can be allocated towards it. At Recite Me, we are confident that the benefits outweigh the effort and costs. A recent research study of Fortune 100 companies discovered that having a robust online diversion and inclusion policy is a common denominator among high performing businesses. Plus, there is an abundance of information and statistics that refute the argument that return on investment is too difficult to measure: Worldwide, the online spending power of people with disabilities is over AUD2.2 trillion. The total disposable income of the Australian working-age population with disabilities is AUD54 million. 86% of users with access needs would spend more if there were fewer barriers. 83% of people with access needs limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible. 71% of users leave a site that they find hard to use. Ultimately, users will click away from inaccessible websites and spend their money elsewhere. So there is a clear case that making a business accessible online as well as in-person should lead to an increase in profits. Despite this, fewer than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access the disability market. 2. Improving User Experience: Making your website accessible to all consumers is the right thing to do. It is a commonly agreed principle that everyone should have access to information online. Microsoft’s application guide for developers specifically states that designing inclusive software improves usability and customer satisfaction. This is something that the team at Recite Me can verify from experience. The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, believes that the internet should empower all members of society by making information accessible to everyone. “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect…The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability.” Sir Tim Berners-Lee Inclusivity online becomes increasingly relevant when you consider that: At least 10% of Australians have a learning difficulty that can make accessing information online difficult. 1 in 6 people in Australia live with a disability that can make accessing information online difficult. There are almost 1 million residents in Australia who don’t speak English as their first language. 21% of Australians speak a language other than English at home. 3. Compliance & Legalities: Making your website accessible to all consumers is a thing you must do. Nowadays, it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. So to avoid lawsuits, companies are required to adhere to national and international standards and guidelines. A few examples are as follows: In Australia - The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires equal access for people with disabilities. Section 5 of the law describes explicitly that inaccessible web content is discriminatory against people with disabilities by treating them “less favourably” than those without a disability. In addition, all non-government websites were required to meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) by the end of 2013. In the UK - The Equality Act of 2010 states that providers must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people online. Furthermore, the final deadline for all public sector bodies to meet the new accessibility regulations for public sector websites and applications passed in 2020, with further rules for private sector compliance expected to follow in due course. In the USA - Web accessibility regulations are covered under various federal laws, including The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires that companies make accommodations for disabled users with specific regard to web accessibility. In the European Union – The European Accessibility Act requires that all businesses operating in the e- commerce sector meet minimum accessibility requirements. Worldwide – The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been developed to provide a set of core principles and minimum standards to meet the needs of consumers internationally. These guidelines define how content should be made more accessible to those with disabilities, and are the premium standard for organisations globally. Despite the increase in accessibility guidelines and legislation in recent years, companies around the world are still failing to meet minimum requirements: In 2019, an evaluation by WebAIM concluded that 97.8% of homepages failed to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Web accessibility lawsuits are becoming more common. A landmark case was lodged against Coles Supermarket in 2014 when a visually impaired user spent eight hours completing an online order. Coles are not alone. Which-50 recently confirmed that several leading apps and websites in Australia do not fully meet WCAG requirements. With this in mind, it is essential that all commercial companies, educational institutions, non-profit organisations, and governmental bodies are aware of the national and international guidelines that apply to them. Particular attention should be given to developing a thorough understanding of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and ensuring compliance. Ready to Embrace Accessibility? You should be! Aside from the financial, ethical, and legal advantages, there’s also a significant feel-good factor associated with inclusivity that boosts morale across an organisation. If you would like to book a demo of the Recite Me assistive toolbar to help you towards your inclusivity goals and optimise your business for success, please feel free to contact our team. Installations of the Recite Me toolbar onto third party websites supports millions of users each year. Our 2020 stats recorded: Over 4.5 million launches of the Recite Me toolbar Over 21.5 million accessibility toolbar features used Over 9 million website translations in over 100 languages Nearly 10 million pieces of content read aloud in 35 languages Over 1.4 million styling customisations 2,600 audio files downloaded Article Data Sources: Click Away Pound, WHO, United Nations, Data Reportal, Australian Network on Disability, Learning Difficulties Australia, Australian Government Department of Health, IDCommunity.
With more and more aspects of everyday life going digital anyone who can’t easily access the online world is at an immediate disadvantage. Approximately one billion people globally have a disability, and they can often face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites. A lack of online access can have a big impact on real life from looking after to our finances to getting a job. Why has web accessibility become important in recruitment? Web accessibility is fundamental to the goal of a more diverse and inclusive workforce. The pandemic has accelerated a shift towards online recruitment; it is more important than ever for employers to provide a digitally inclusive employment journey. From discovering candidates online, to remote interviews and onboarding, this digital hiring journey has amplified the disability gap in recruitment. What does the disability gap in recruitment look like? It is quite shocking to hear that only a third of jobseekers think that recruiters and employers currently provide accessible job applications. This could explain why disabled jobseekers apply for 60% more jobs before securing one. Almost 40% of disabled applicants feel anxious about the process of applying for a job because they think that their application will be instantly dismissed due to their disability. Inaccessible websites are further worsening the disability gap in recruitment - 71% of users will leave a site they find hard to use. The fact that 98% of homepages still don’t comply with the World Content Accessibility Guidelines demonstrates that many organisations still have a fair way to go before achieving online inclusivity. Acknowledging this issue is an important first step for companies looking to recruit in a truly diverse and inclusive way. In an effort to reduce this disability gap Recite Me have joined forces with APSCo to support the recruitment sector to become more inclusive online. What are the benefits of a diverse workforce? A diverse workforce provides a richer and more innovative team for any business. For example, neurodiverse employees are often creative and strategic thinkers. This can allow for better problem-solving amongst teams as varying perspectives often offer a fresh approach to overcoming business challenges. Additionally, being firm about equal opportunities creates a positive culture in the workplace and boost morale. How can companies support web inclusivity? Compliance: Ensure that websites comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). We have written a useful article explaining the guidelines. More inclusive website design: There are a range of factors that should be considered when designing a website. This includes using alt text for images, using headings to structure content and giving descriptive names to links. For many organisations inclusive website design does not seem to be a priority as 98% of homepages do not comply with the World Content Accessibility Guidelines. Assistive technology: This helps people work around challenges so they can learn, communicate, and function better. Assistive software allows adaptions to be made to account for several barriers including learning difficulties, visual impairments, disabilities, and varied linguistic needs. Tell me more about assistive technology The Recite Me Assistive Toolbar allows web visitors to customise your digital content, so that they can consume it in a way that works for them. With the Recite Me toolbar 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 Convert text into over 100 different on-screen languages Use text to speak functions in 35 different languages Use a screen mask and ruler for better focus Use the toolbar’s built-in dictionary and thesaurus To see how the Recite Me Toolbar has already helped many recruitment organisations make a positive change online read our recruitment case studies.
Did you know? Only 51% of applicants from disabled people result in an interview, compared to 69% of non-disabled applicants. Searching and applying for jobs is a daunting prospect for anyone. This can be amplified for those who face online barriers when reading and understanding online information. We caught up with Jo Major, who has recently launched Diversity in Recruitment to drive equality, diversity, and inclusion onto the agenda of recruitment businesses, no matter their size or capacity. Previously working at APSCo (The Association of Professional Staffing Companies), as Head of External Relations, Jo discovered that many recruitment businesses wanted to attract a diverse talent pool but did not know where to start. Diversity in Recruitment’s website now provides Recite Me online accessibility and language tools to support those with additional needs online. Features include 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. What has been the career journey that has brought you to where you are today? I have worked in the recruitment industry for over 21 years, 17 years as a billing recruiter before I moved into L&D where I worked for an inspiring manager who was super passionate about equality, diversity, and inclusion. He gave me the fire in my belly to educate myself and others on how you can tackle inequality in the recruitment process. What is the reason behind setting up Diversity in Recruitment? I decided that I needed to do more across the sector, especially when it came to helping small recruitment businesses and independents get to grips with D & I. My role at APSCo gave me the opportunity to look across the industry as a whole and discover the many recruitment businesses that wanted to do something but didn’t know where to get started. What services do you provide at Diversity and Recruitment? It’s a blend of advice and training. I have designed three different programmes that will support start-ups, recruitment teams, and business leaders with Diversity and Inclusion. Training is centred around the role of a recruiter; we look at the complete 360 recruitment lifecycle and help recruiters weave inclusion into everything they do. Why is it important to you to encourage businesses to provide a diverse and inclusive recruitment process? I believe that everybody has the right to a fulfilling and successful career – but I don’t think the services of recruiters are accessible to everyone. We have a huge amount of power and influence over the UK jobs market, collectively we can turn the dial (part of a quote from that inspiring manager I mentioned!) on under-representation by creating an environment where every person is welcome and has equal opportunity to secure great work. We need to first understand the barriers minoritised and under-represented candidates face and then do the work to break them down. Why is it important to you to provide an inclusive online experience with the Recite Me accessibility toolbar? Because an in-accessible website should NEVER be the reason someone is unable to apply for a job. For so long we have designed websites to sell our services to clients, we are recruiting in very different times now and that requires a different approach. Your website is the shop door to your business, you should make it clear that everyone is welcome and make sure that door can be opened by everyone. For me, you can’t have a commitment to D & I if your recruitment services remain exclusively accessible to some candidates and closed to others. What do you hope for in the future of the recruitment industry? The industry is standing on the edge of change and with the insight, tools, and confidence it can do something very powerful. Under-represented and minoritised candidates are not a fad, fashion, or hot topic – this is about making sure that someone’s identity isn’t a reason they don’t get to apply for a job right! I am so encouraged by the work of so many recruiters and business leaders who have reached out to me since I launched Diversity in Recruitment – it has just reinforced my belief that we are looking ahead to what the industry will look like tomorrow. To find out more about the importance of Diversity and Inclusion roles within the workplace explore our latest in-depth support blog on how Diversity & Inclusion Professionals Champion Web Accessibility...
Giant Group PLC is providing an inclusive online candidate experience with accessibility and language options on their website to support a diverse range of individuals. For almost 30 years Giant Group has provided specialist, end-to-end workforce management software that supports large and small recruitment agencies, corporate companies and contractors, internationally. Giant invests heavily in a cloud-based software which ranges from candidate sourcing and on-boarding through to timesheet management, billing, and payroll. Their aim is to offer transparency, honesty, and support to their clients. 1 in 5 people (17.9%) in the UK are disabled and often encounter obstacles online when searching and applying for job applications. Only 51% of applications from disabled people result in an interview and this is due to online barriers that prevent access to job applications information. By using Recite Me assistive technology those who are visually impaired, neurodiverse, or who speak English as a second language can gain access to job opportunities hassle-free. The assistive toolbar on Giant Group website offers users features such as translating content into different languages, read aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font type, and size, that enable those job-hunting access to vacancy information and support. Giant web users can customise their inclusive candidate journey online by clicking the “Accessibility and Languages” button at the top of their website. https://www.giantgroup.com/. Recite Me is quick and easy to implement on your website. Join the thousands of companies who have already adopted our inclusive software to make the digital world accessible for all.
In the post-COVID-19 economy, the youth workforce is likely to be the sector most called upon to contribute to recovery efforts. To do so, they will need the necessary knowledge and skills to address current issues and confront future disruptions. This is a problem. With many degree programs moving online, some students are disadvantaged because information on websites is not accessible. On an individual level, this means some students fall behind in their studies or are unable to complete courses. On a broader scale, general lower academic achievement translates into a longer-term economic cost because the workforce is less qualified. Accessibility Barriers Students who face the most significant barriers online include those who have visual deficits, physical disabilities, and learning difficulties: Students with disabilities represent 7.7% of all domestic undergraduates in Australia. That’s over 61,000 people. 7.4% of Australian university students with a disability report have learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADHD. 5.5% of Australian university students with a disability have significant visual deficits. Sources: Adcet, University of Melbourne Language Barriers Literacy and language issues, including speaking and reading English as a second language, can also contribute to web accessibility barriers. Australia has more international students than any other country worldwide. Numbers for the last couple of years are skewed by students returning to their home countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, statistics from University Rankings show that international students typically account for around 21% of undergraduates in Australia, while the international average is only 6%. Many Australian universities have reported significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the drop in international student numbers. So prioritising websites for multi-lingual access should be a top priority. Australian University Websites: Current Status As public-facing organisations, universities should comply with the World Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Level AA, under anti-discrimination provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. However, a recent study by Ariadne Web Magazine discovered that 98% of sites failed to comply. This indicates the vast majority of Australian universities are not doing enough to provide equal access to online resources, and that people with disabilities will likely face significant barriers as a result. The Future of University Education Whether due to continued social distancing regulations or simply because universities find it a simpler and more efficient way to teach, remote and distance learning courses look to be here to stay. An American study by EducationData.org determined that in 2020, 43% of academic institutions offering higher-level education courses invested in additional resources to aid remote instruction. Yet, 76% of institutions still believe that online learning platforms need to be more accessible to students. With a much higher percentage of overseas students and the current level of compliance to WCAG, it is feasible to assume that the equivocal percentages for Australian universities would be similar - if not even higher. Although open-source online learning platforms like Moodle enable education providers to create personalised learning environments for their students, no online learning portal can accommodate unilaterally for the broad spectrum of barriers that students face. That’s where assistive technology can help. Using Assistive Software to Promote Inclusion At Recite Me, we are firm believers that every stage of education should be inclusive. Our unique assistive toolbar is an accessibility solution that allows students to customise a website in the way that works best for them. Our technology compensates for numerous access barriers, including: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia Autism ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments How Does It Work? The Recite Me toolbar comprises several accessibility features that 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 the past 12-months, educational organizations providing Recite Me accessibility and language tools have supported over 600,000 students online to access barrier-free resources on 3.6 million web pages. On average each user is viewing over 6 pages per visit with the toolbar active. This is well over the internet session average of 2.8 pages. The Benefits: A Case Study The University of London was one of the first educational institutions to embed the Recite Me toolbar onto their website. In just six months, engagement and interaction with the toolbar was significant: 43,000 toolbar launches 131,500 features used 31,000 pieces of content translated 97,000 pieces of content read aloud 11,000 styling customisations A Message to Educators We encourage all universities to ensure online classes and study materials are inclusive so that course content is as easy to access and digest as it would be in a classroom or lecture hall environment. If you’d like more information on how your organisation can become more inclusive by utilising Recite Me assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together, we can make a difference and provide all Australian university students with equal education opportunities online.
The whole point of having a company website is to showcase your products and services to as broad an audience as possible. So why not make your website accessible and inclusive to as many people as you can? After all, the internet is a daily fixture in most people’s lives. So much so, that recent studies show the average person in Australia spends around 6 hours and 13 minutes online every day. That’s close to 40% of our waking hours spent on the internet! Virtually everything we do requires us to spend time online, whether it’s banking, paying bills, shopping, reading the news, or booking a holiday. So it is essential that websites are not just accessible, but usable by all. Everyone should have the opportunity to access online content, yet over one billion people globally face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites. “The one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?” Steve Krug, Website User Experience Expert Recite Me assistive technology provides your customers with the online tools they need to understand and engage with your products and services. It also allows you to support people who are neurodiverse, visually impaired, speak English as a second language, or are of old age. Using our software isn’t just the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. Here’s why… Over 575,000 People in Australia are Blind or Visually Impaired The term ‘visual impairment’ covers various issues, including partial blindness, deafblindness, and colour blindness. For those who struggle with these conditions, accessing information online is difficult. The text size and font used, the layout, and the colour contrasts between the text and the background can all create barriers to reading. Up to 15% of the Australian Population has a Learning Difficulty The most common learning disability in Australia is Dyslexia. It affects at least 10% of the population and impacts many levels of comprehension, including reading, writing, and spelling. ADHD is the second most common learning disability. ADHD is a hyperactivity and attention disorder, and those who have it will typically have problems focusing and can be easily distracted. Other prominent learning difficulties include Hyperlexia and Dyspraxia. Hyperlexics can read words but not necessarily understand their meaning, while Dyspraxics often have language problems and experience a certain degree of difficulty with thought and perception. 21% of Australians Speak a Language Other Than English at Home While many of us may speak a second language, most of us would default to our mother tongue to research and communicate online. Even something seemingly simple like finding contact details to email a company or call a customer service or sales helpline can be challenging when you have to navigate a website in a second language. Not to mention more complex tasks like researching financial options, shopping online, using booking sites, or filling in online forms and applications. One in Six People in Australia has a Disability Disabilities come in many forms. The stereotype of a disabled person is typically someone who is physically impaired or wheelchair-bound, and most companies tend not to think of this affecting online access. In reality, however, the term covers a whole range of mobility and cognitive issues. For example, someone with a physical mobility problem in their upper body may be a keyboard-only user. In contrast, someone with epilepsy may not be able to access sites with media or graphics that could cause a seizure. 3.8 Million Australian Residents Are Aged 65 and Over The internet is an essential tool in assisting older people in leading independent lives. As the ageing population increases, so does the percentage of the entire population with disabilities and visual impairments. More accessible websites are required to reach this part of the community so that the elderly do not become excluded online or miss out on valuable information and services. 1 in 7 Australians are Affected by Hearing Loss That means one in every seven consumers are predominantly reliant on the internet rather than a face to face or telephone conversation to access the information, products, services, and assistance they need. Couple this with the fact that many who suffer from hearing loss are also older, disabled, speak English as a second language, or have a learning difficulty. This makes the need for more accessible websites even clearer. How Does Recite Me Assistive Technology Cater to All Accessibility Needs? Recite Me assistive technology gives users the ability to fully customise the look of a website for personal ease of use. Our toolbar comprises several accessibility features that can be used individually or combined to make multiple adjustments that account for all access barriers: Personalisation of font size, type, spacing, and colour. Options to change the colour contrast between text and background. A screen mask to provide colour tinting and block visual clutter. A “text-only” mode that strips away any media or graphics and allows users to reposition text on the screen. Additional reading aids such as an on-screen ruler. A language converter that can translate text into over 100 different on-screen languages. Options to download content as an audio file. Text can be read aloud at different speeds with either a male or a female voice. Text-to-speech functions in 35 languages. A built-in dictionary and thesaurus to check word definitions. What Have You Got to Lose? A whole lot! Let's count the ways that your organisation is limited without an accessible website: The ability to reach a wider audience - 71% of users leave a site that they find hard to use, and 83% of people with access needs limit their shopping to websites that they know are accessible. Increased traffic and sales conversions - 86% of users with access needs would spend more if there were fewer barriers. The online spending power of people with access needs in Australia is over AUD54 million. An enhanced brand image and reputation – stand out from your competition by demonstrating social responsibility through being inclusive. Fewer legal implications - it is expected by law that businesses and service providers do not treat disabled people less favourably. So really, the question is why wouldn’t you want to make your website accessible and inclusive, rather than why you would. Want to Know More? To date, we have installed our software on over 3000 websites across various industry sectors, so we have the knowledge and experience needed to guide you through the process and make your transition towards inclusion a seamless one. Contact our team today for further information and learn more about providing an inclusive and custom experience for your website users. You can also book a live demonstration of our toolbar. Data Sources: WHO, United Nations, Data Reportal, Australian Network on Disability, Learning Difficulties Australia, Australian Government Department of Health, IDCommunity, Click Away Pound.
Dyslexia Scotwest Receives Over 18,000 Recite Me Launches to Help People Read and Understand Online Content
Dyslexia Scotwest provides an inclusive online experience to support those who face barriers when accessing digital information and services. Since May 2020, the Recite Me toolbar has received over 18,000 launches on Dyslexia Scotwest’s website, supporting people to read over 27,000 pages of content. With over 3 decades of experience and knowledge, Dyslexia Scotwest provides help and support to people in the West of Scotland with varying degrees of dyslexia. Information and support on Dyslexia Scotwest’s website are accessible for all regardless of disabilities, learning difficulties, or language barriers. Duncan Cumming, Chief Executive Officer at Dyslexia Scotwest, commented “As a well-established charity that helps and supports anybody with an interest in Dyslexia, we believe that it is vitally important that our website is informative and highly accessible as possible. “We are therefore delighted that so many of our service users are benefiting from the Recite Me software which is incorporated into our website.” The assistive technology on Dyslexia Scotwest’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. In support of Learning Disability Week, Recite Me is raising awareness and shedding light on the amazing work of organisations like Dyslexia Scotwest. To access the customisable toolbar on Dyslexia Scotwest’s website click ‘web accessibility tools.’ For more information on how you can provide a diverse and inclusive digital world book a demo with a member of our friendly team.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) provides an inclusive digital experience to support those with learning disabilities and attention issues online. The NCLD was founded in 1977 as the Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities and since has worked tirelessly to create an equal society for all, providing the skills needed to succeed in school, at work, and in life. The NCLD uses Recite Me accessibility and language tools on their website, to enable users with a disability, learning difficulty, visual impairment, or those who speak English as a second language to read and understand online content. 70% of websites in the US have critical accessibility issues, leaving those vulnerable with a lack of information and services. The assistive technology on the NCLD’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. Grace Aiyedogbon, Communications & Advocacy Specialist at NCLD commented “Our mission is to improve the lives of the 1 in 5 children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues-by empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools, and advocating for equal rights and opportunities. “It is essential to provide accessible ways to engage with NCLD’s content to serve and accommodate our growing community of diverse learners.” To explore the customisable accessibility and language toolbar go to the NCLD’s website. In support of Learning Disability Week, Recite Me is raising awareness to fight against social isolation and discrimination for those with learning disabilities. For more information on Learning Disability Week, go to Mencap. For more information on assistive technology book a demo with a member of our friendly team.
Learning disabilities and learning difficulties are not the same thing. A learning disability is significant and lifelong. It starts before adulthood and affects a person’s development. This means that a person with a learning disability will be likely to need help to understand information, learn skills and live a fulfilling life. Some people with learning disabilities will also have healthcare needs and require support to communicate. Learning difficulties such as dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, and hyperlexia can also create complications in daily activities. However, conditions like this don’t affect general intellect. For example, people with dyspraxia may find simple tasks like tying their shoelaces difficult. But this is a coordination and movement barrier, not an intellectual one. Likewise, people with dyslexia may struggle with spelling and reading, but this is not a marker of low intelligence. On the contrary, many dyslexics have superior skills when it comes to analytical and creative tasks. From the 14th through to the 20th, Recite Me is supporting Learning Disability Week. Join us as we learn more about learning disabilities and how we can help those affected to enjoy more inclusive online experiences. Learning Disabilities in the UK Statistics from Mencap suggest that there are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. That’s over 2% of the population. The level of support needed varies on an individual basis, and will depend on the severity of the learning disability and the combination of other disabilities or learning difficulties. It is possible, after all, for someone to have a learning disability and additional conditions. In fact, multiple conditions occur fairly frequently. It’s not uncommon for people with down’s syndrome or autism to have learning disabilities, for example. People with mild learning disabilities can lead full and independent lives and may only need assistance with things like finding a job and managing money. However, those with severe or multiple disabilities may need full-time care. Supporting Learning Disabilities Online People with learning disabilities may not be able to use a mouse, read the words on a website, or find their way around a busy screen. This means they are unable to participate in online activities that can directly affect their quality of life. Examples include: Shopping Banking Paying bills Applying for jobs Accessing general information Communicating with friends and family Barriers to accessing these services lead to further inequalities, increased vulnerability, and a higher chance of additional stress and mental health problems due to isolation and discrimination. “It is vital that we understand the needs of people who are excluded from society. It is only by focusing on their needs and rights, and working to remove the barriers they face, that people with learning disabilities will achieve their rightful place in society”. Mencap Charity Support There are several national charities and organisations that offer support and education to help people with learning disabilities, their parents, and their teachers: Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities The SCLD is committed to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities in Scotland by giving them a voice and the opportunity to be respected and included. The charity works closely with the Scottish Government to deliver The Keys to Life strategy. Scottish Learning Disability Week 2021, took place from the 10th-16th May. This year, the SCLD highlighted the importance of relationships and having other people in our lives. Adult Learning Wales Adult learning Wales focuses on the importance of removing barriers for people living with learning disabilities. They provide funding, courses, and support to help more people with learning disabilities into the job market. The National Centre for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) The NCLD has been improving the lives of young people with learning disabilities for over 40 years. Their goal is to create a society where everyone is included and provided with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in life. The National Institute for Learning Development (NILD) The NILD offers a range of one-on-one and small-group courses and workshops, geared towards helping educators understand and better meet the needs of students with learning disabilities. Assistive Technology The Recite Me assistive toolbar removes barriers for people with learning disabilities by allowing them to fully customise a webpage so it meets their individual needs. Features include: A screen mask to help with focus and concentration. Options to have content read aloud in over 35 different languages to negate reading difficulties. Full control over the speed at which the text is read aloud to allow for varying auditory preferences. Customisation options for text font, colour, sizing, and spacing, so that the look of the webpage can be tailor-made into the perfect format for every individual. A spell-checker and a fully integrated dictionary and thesaurus to help with comprehension. "The Recite Me tool has been really helpful in ensuring users can browse our websites without the need for specialist accessibility software. The toolbar’s extensive range of features means everyone, no matter what their needs are, can access our information. Libby Clement, Digital Communications Officer, SCLD How Accessible Websites Help Charities Over the last calendar year, Recite Me made over 350,000 charity and not-for-profit website pages accessible. Our data shows that: On average, Recite Me users view 4 pages of an accessible website per visit, almost double the average internet journey depth of just 2.5 pages per visit. The Recite Me assistive toolbar was launched on average 15,000+ times every month on the websites of national charities and not-for-profits. Smaller and more regional operations recorded toolbar launches of 5,000-12,000 per month. Over 770,000 individual styling changes were made by users accessing charity and nonprofit sites. Our translation options were the most popular features on not-for-profit sites, with some websites reporting as many as 20,000 unique translations. If you’d like more information on how your organisation can improve inclusion by utilising assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together, we can make a positive difference and provide equal opportunities online. Get Involved in Learning Disabilities Week The last year has been challenging for many people, and especially so for people with learning disabilities and their families. The theme of this year’s Learning Disabilities Week is creativity, as for many people, getting creative has been a great way to stay active, connected, and positive over the last 12 months. You can find more information, resources, and activities on Mencap’s Learning Disabilities Week website.
Student Unions are at the heart of all Universities, providing students with the services and support they need to make everyone feel included and make sure they have a fulfilling experience. Throughout their time at University students want to be heard and listened to. A Student Union is their voice and plays a crucial part in highlighting the interests and opinions of the student body. This has rarely been as important as it is during the COVID-19 pandemic. Student Unions are at the forefront of providing support to those that may face challenges with remote learning and access to online resources. For some students there can be barriers online in accessing information. This can be due to temporary or lifelong disabilities. Those with learning difficulties, vision deficits, language issues, and cognitive or neurological disorders can also face obstacles online if they do not have the tools they need to consume information online as others do. Reasons 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. When you stop to consider these factors, it becomes very apparent that the online world is in fact not as universally inclusive as it could be for all students. This is when badly designed websites and applications create barriers that prevent a significant number of people from using them. How Technology Can Help For students that face barriers online, it can be difficult to read and understand online information. Using assistive technology can give those students a voice and give them the support they need to play an active part in the digital world. By embracing technology universities can remove online barriers and enrich the online experiences of all students. If students are enabled with online resources, they have on-demand access to both learning materials and tutor assistance should they need it, but without needing to be within physical reach of their teacher. With online resources, education doesn’t have to stop when the school day finishes. With more independent online learning solutions, students can work at their own pace, while also having access to lecturers, resources, and assignments anywhere they have an internet connection. It has been proven that more technological ways of learning promote practical thinking and collaboration skills in students, rather than them simply memorising information. Plus, simultaneously, they are assimilating additional skills in the use of technology itself. “Accessible to all, rather than just available to all” Barriers Students Can Face While the use of technology may encourage individual learning, it is important to consider that not everyone learns in the same way. Different learning styles and different abilities must be accounted for, and digital materials must be inclusive of everyone with different needs. So education providers must ensure that information is accessible to all, rather than just available to all. Again, this is no easy task when you consider that: In the UK, there were approximately 94,120 (13%) new students who had a disability and started in 2017/18. Approximately 200,000 children in England alone have special education needs One in every five children has attention issues At least 10% of all UK children are dyslexic Some students learn in a second language All of these students are disadvantaged in different ways in an online environment, as it is almost impossible for any stand-alone online learning portal to accommodate the broad spectrum of barriers that face these students. That’s where assistive technology can help. Using Assistive Software to Promote Inclusion Studies have shown that remote learning can be effective, however, large scale remote learning is not something that many education providers were set up for prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true when considering the number of university students with varying accessibility needs. Providing equal access and the same level of inclusion online as with in-person teaching is a challenge without assistive technology to break down those accessibility barriers. At Recite Me, we are firm believers that university students need to be supported. Our unique assistive toolbar is an accessibility solution that allows students to customise a website in the way that works best for them, and in doing so compensates for numerous access barriers including: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia Autism ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments How Does Recite Me Assistive Technology Help? Recite Me’s assistive toolbar supports a diverse range of students by providing a variety of tools that allow web users to create a fully customisable experience. Students can get student union information with ease barrier free. The Recite Me toolbar comprises a number of accessibility features that 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. As people switched to online learning, Recite Me saw 3.7 million educational web pages viewed using the assistive toolbar. The spike in toolbar usage soared to over 18,000 unique users in May, an increase of 50% from January. Over the past 12 months, a staggering 625,000 toolbar launches were made supporting over 100 educational institutions including the University of London, Sunderland University, and Liverpool College.
At home learning and revision App, EdPlace provides online accessibility and language tools to support students to revise smart. 286,000 children in the UK have a learning disability, who may require additional support to revise for vital educational exams. To enhance at-home support and exam preparation, EdPlace provides online assessments, interactive activities, and English, Maths, Science and 11 Plus practice papers that cover the whole curriculum (from Year 1 to GCSE). EdPlace provides resources that are accessible for all students regardless of disabilities, learning difficulties, and language barriers. Since the launch in May 2020, 51,000 EdPlace students have used the Recite Me assistive toolbar to read and understand over 1 million pages of educational material to assist with remote learning. CEO Will Paterson founded EdPlace because of his own experiences at school. As a dyslexic Will faced a lot of challenges and set up EdPlace to ensure students can access relevant resources that are delivered in an engaging format. Will Paterson, CEO, and founder of Ed Place commented “I founded EdPlace because I was able to overcome my challenges of dyslexia in a traditional schooling system, principally because I was lucky enough to have amazing parent support. I wanted to use the huge advances in technology to foster this for many, not the lucky few. Our integration with Recite Me is a great example of this as the toolbar ensures our platform is accessible to all. A seemingly small achievement like getting a score in a subject you thought you didn’t understand can boost confidence and help unlock a student’s huge potential. Thanks to Recite Me, we’re able to provide this experience and help each and every child succeed in their learning.” The accessibility technology on the EdPlace app provides users with features such as translation into 100+ languages, read aloud, and styling assistance. This includes adjustments to colour, font type, and size. The assistive technology on EdPlace’s platform gives students and parents access to multiple features designed to support those with SEND needs. The ability to change a website's styling and enable educational activities to be read aloud supports students with Dyslexia. Toolbar data shows that students most commonly used the screen reader, followed by styling and translation tools. For more information on how you can provide students with essential additional online support contact us.
Distance and remote learning have always been popular. However, in the ever-changing landscape of 2020 and 2021, many education institutions that offer regular attendance programmes have found themselves scrambling to switch to online and remote learning formats. But it’s not as straightforward as simply converting materials, lectures, and workshop plans into a digital structure. It is important to consider that not everyone learns in the same way. Different learning styles and different abilities must be accounted for, so digital materials must be inclusive of everyone, not just available to everyone. The Student Demographic Some students are disadvantaged in an online environment because information on websites is not as easy to digest as it would be in a normal classroom or lecture hall environment. Examples include students who have visual deficits, physical disabilities, learning difficulties, attention disorders, autism, or literacy and language issues, including speaking/reading English as a second language. In the academic year 2019-2020, government statistics reveal that 332,300 higher education students in the UK identified themselves as having a disability of some kind. This accounts for 17.3% of all home students. While numbers for the last academic year are skewed by students returning to their home countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, statistics show that in the 2018-2019 academic year there were over 485,000 international students for whom English was not their primary language. Internal Learning Portals Introducing Moodle! Moodle is an open source online learning platform that enables education providers to create personalised learning environments for their students. Used by many top colleges and universities, Moodle is the all-in-one integrated system that allows students to: Access course materials and upload work. See their grades, gain feedback, and contact tutors. Keep a library archive of their coursework from the beginning to the end of their entire course. Watch online videos and lessons. Use messaging services and forums 24/7. From an administrator’s perspective, Moodle helps keep student data safe, secure, and easily accessible in one centralised digital location. Tutors can easily share and manage learning materials, communicate with learners, and monitor progress/reports. Incorporating Web Accessibility Moodle is a fantastic learning resource and an effective learning platform. But, like any online service, it will only work if every student has equal access. That’s where web accessibility software like the Recite Me assistive toolbar comes in. At Recite Me, we are firm believers that every stage of education should be inclusive. Our unique accessibility software compensates for numerous access barriers including: Visual impairments Deafblindness Colour blindness Dyslexia Hyperlexia Dyspraxia Autism ADHD Speaking English as a second language Epilepsy Mobility and physical impairments Comprising several accessibility features that can be used individually or combined, Moodle users at universities that have installed Recite Me software can 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. Recite Me, Birkbeck University of London, and Moodle Birkbeck University of London has been using Recite Me on their public-facing website since 2017. In the autumn of 2020, the university improved its accessibility rating further by installing Recite Me on their internal Moodle platform. The results in just a few short months were astounding: The Recite Me toolbar was launched 81,279 times 11,596 unique individuals used the Recite Me toolbar on the Moodle website. 220,448 individual styling features were clicked Interestingly for lecturers, our data shows that the most heavily used function was the player, which demonstrates that students do have a preference for having course content read aloud, just as they would in a classroom or lecture scenario. Brett Lucas, Head of Digital Education at Birkbeck University of London commented, “Adding the Recite Me toolbar to Birkbeck’s Moodle site has been a great success for our students over the last year. It is playing an important part in our goal to make all our digital tools and learning materials easily accessible to all our students.” Web Accessibility in the Higher Education Sector Recite Me is proud to be working alongside many other leading education providers already, including the University of Sunderland, Cranfield University, York University, New College Durham, and Capital City College Group. Data from the last 12 months show equally staggering results to those that Birbeck recorded: The Recite Me toolbar was launched 1.7 million times Over 9 million pages were viewed with the Recite Me toolbar enabled Over 48 million individual styling features were clicked Again, the most popular function was text to speech playback The Future of Remote and e-Learning In 2020, 43% of academic institutions offering higher-level education courses invested in additional resources to aid remote instruction. Yet, according to a survey by EducationData.org, 76% of higher education institutions still believe that online learning platforms need to be more accessible to students. Either way, whether due to continued social distancing regulations or simply because universities find it a simpler and more efficient way to teach, remote and distance learning courses look to be here to stay. 33% of post-secondary school administrators indicate they will continue to offer both remote and online course options even after their campuses have reopened and normal operations resume The online learning industry is projected to pass $370 billion by 2026 A Message to Educators To maximise on opportunities presented by the booming remote learning market, education providers must ensure that information is accessible to all, rather than just available to all. But it is almost impossible for any stand-alone online learning portal to accommodate the broad spectrum of barriers that face their students. That’s where assistive technology can help. If you’d like more information on how your organisation can make a positive change towards inclusion by utilising Recite Me assistive technology, please contact our team or book a real-time demonstration of our toolbar. Together, we can make a difference and provide everyone with equal education opportunities online.
Recite Me has recently become a certified member of Cyber Essentials Plus - a government certified scheme that guards organisations against the most common cyber threats and demonstrates our commitment to cyber security. We caught up with Rob, Recite Me’s Chief Technical Officer, to delve deeper into the world of cyber security and what we do to ensure our SAAS product is secure. What do we mean by cybersecurity and what is the risk? Cybersecurity is a term used to encapsulate all necessary security actions, precautions, and considerations we should make as digital companies to be aware of the digital threats which face us and mitigate those threats as best, we can. It covers not only physical assets such as servers and laptop computers but also our cloud environments, transfer of information and much more. In the same way as you would not go on holiday and leave your front door open, in the world of digital information we must take precautions to not leave our digital front door open. Failing to do this could allow attackers to utilise a vulnerability such as a misconfigured application, an open port, or some unprotected files to steal sensitive information. The risk of not taking cybersecurity seriously could be that your companies (or worse still, your clients) personal/sensitive information is stolen. Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly common in today's digital society. These attacks can result in large sums of money being requested to restore files that a hacker may have encrypted and thus rendered unusable. This may all sound very scary, but whilst it must be taken seriously there are a lot of common-sense approaches you can take to keep yourself protected such as keeping applications up to date, checking that your firewall is configured correctly, ensuring you have solid backups in place and that your anti-virus software is up to date, etc. Should all tech companies have a cybersecurity strategy? Absolutely, it's imperative that all companies, both big and small, have a cybersecurity strategy so that they can both understand the risks but also mitigate and or plan for them. This strategy should be reviewed regularly so that it remains current as you never know when you may need to rely on it. What does Recite Me do to make sure their SAAS product is secure? At Recite Me we do several things to ensure that we're confident in our approach to cybersecurity. Our actions begin as low level as our development process and span through to regularly scheduled penetration tests and around the clock proactive monitoring. We take both our LAN environment into account with cybersecurity as well as our online (WAN) architecture and systems. We have recently undergone a Cyber Essentials Plus audit and we're happy to report that we passed with no issues, first time. Aside from the actions taken locally in our dev environment through to the server architecture that we use, we also apply a common-sense due diligence approach to onboarding 3rd party vendors. This is to satisfy ourselves that their security posture is aligned with ours and that we can trust them to perform their actions securely on our behalf. Does cybersecurity include people’s data, and what’s the best way to make sure this information is secure? Protection of data is one of the key goals of a solid cybersecurity strategy. As you can imagine, the protection of personal data, whether this be your own or that of your business and/or your clients is extremely important. Additionally, since the introduction of the GDPR in 2018 the legal obligations of all applicable organisations whether they be a data processor or a data controller, have been tightened. Failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR (which is aimed at keeping sensitive data private and protected) could result in business impacting fines. The best way to make sure this information is secure is to design and follow a good cybersecurity strategy across your entire organisation.