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Keeping Essential Services Accessible Online for Everyone

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means that life is pretty strange for most of us right now.

A simple task like popping out to pay utility bills, buy groceries or visit a chemist is either not an option, or it requires us to engage with organisations in different ways than before.

In many cases the solution is the same – do it online instead.

But whilst using the internet to do a range of relatively simple tasks is common for many of us, it’s worth considering people who can’t get access the digital online world due to accessibility issues.

Digital exclusion caused by inaccessible websites

Businesses and public sector organisations aren’t fully serving the public by leaving some people behind – particularly the 20% of the UK population who are disabled and often face barriers that stop them accessing websites.

But there is a straight-forward solution to help keep essential services accessible online for everyone.

Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar is already being used by thousands or organisations across the world to make their websites accessible and inclusive.

For example, over fifteen UK public transport providers including Arriva UK Bus and Great Western Railway (GWR) have the Recite Me accessibility and language toolbar on their websites and see an average of 1300 unique people per month using it.

This means that if you have a disability and you still need to travel on public transport right now (e.g. to go to work), you can use these websites to do tasks like, check timetables and book your tickets in advance.

No hassle or fuss, regardless of your access needs.

Kevin Jones, Digital Product Manager at GWR commented, “As a company, GWR understands how important access and inclusion is for all of our customers. And while it’s crucial to consider physical accessibility for our customers, it’s also essential to consider digital accessibility.

“Adding Recite Me means our website is now more accessible for the one in five people in the UK (13 million) who have a disability. It also means people who don’t speak English as their first language can now translate all the content into over 100 languages at the click of a button. Thanks to Recite Me, GWR is now confident that we are providing digital access and inclusion to all of our customers. ”

Providing vital information to customers online for free

We are now offering to host a free accessible and inclusive landing page for any business to share your COVID-19 related messages to all staff and customers, to help you support your vulnerable customers online.

Recite Me CEO & founder Ross Linnett said: “Each bespoke landing page will automatically launch the Recite Me assistive toolbar.

“Recite Me has a range of features that include text to speech functionality, fully customisable styling features, reading aids and a translation tool with over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices.

“This will help people with disabilities, visual impairments, learning difficulties and people who speak English as a second language to stay well-informed about your key information.

“You can visit the dedicated COVID-19 support page on our website now to find out how the free accessible and inclusive landing page works and how to contact us to create a landing page for your business.”

You can also visit our accessibility checker online. It’s completely free to use and can be used to fix accessibility errors and boost your accessibility score in the tool.”

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