St Johnstone FC kicks off greater digital inclusion for football fans

One of Scotland’s leading football clubs St Johnstone FC has become the first professional football club in the UK to add Recite Me’s access and language software to their club website.

Ahead of the Chris Millar testimonial match with Aberdeen on Sunday, 8 July, the club has launched new software which makes the entire online content more accessible for those who are partially sighted or colour blind for example, or for those where English is not the visitor’s first language.

Supporters who access the Club website will now see a round ‘access’ button appearing in the bottom right-hand corner of their screen. If the visitor clicks on the button the Recite Me toolbar will activate at the top of the website’s navigation.

Offering a wide-range of functionality and customisation options, Recite Me software gives the visitor the option to change the font and font size and also the background colour – this may be of benefit to fans who are colourblind or dyslexic for example. It also offers a ‘text-to-speech’ function where content can be read out to the user. For visitors for whom English is not their first language the new software can translate content into over 100 different languages. The Recite Me toolbar also offers an integrated dictionary and a virtual magnifying glass amongst other beneficial tools.

Commenting on the Club’s launch of the new digital inclusion software, the Chairman of St Johnstone FC Steve Brown said “I’m delighted that Saints are leading the way in British football with the use of this software. I’ve seen the demonstration and it’s really impressive. It’s easy to see the benefits for supporters with a range of difficulties with vision and other disabilities which affect their ability to get the most out of the website, as well as for anyone for whom English is not their first language.

“This investment puts St Johnstone FC at the forefront of the use of this technology and is great for the club.”

Sandy Riach from the Scottish Disabled Supporters Association stated “This is a game-changing piece of software that opens up a whole new world to people with disabilities. All of the functions make using the club website even more accessible and user friendly. A great piece of software development which ticks another box in making the world a more inclusive place.

photo of Iain Kerr, a member of the St Johnstone Disabled Supporters' Association

Photo: Iain Kerr, a member of the St Johnstone Disabled Supporters’ Association

Access auditor Keith Ferguson said “I carried out an access appraisal at St Johnstone in 2016 in order to meet ScottishF.A. licencing requirements. It was clear to me then that the club took the subject of accessibility seriously and have worked hard at making improvements whether small or large. Having this software installed is another example of the club’s commitment to continual improvements and they should be applauded for being the first in the UK. My son is dyslexic and a keen football fan so I encouraged Sean to take a look at the application. His feedback was very positive, advising “It is a very clever system. The ‘text to speech’ function is excellent. I really liked the ability to change the font to whatever was easiest for me to read and being able to change the background colour made a huge difference visually, plus I had the assistance of the ruler which was an added tool I wasn’t expecting.

Ross Linnett, CEO & Founder of Recite Me said:

“St Johnstone FC are a club supported by a diverse and growing community in Perth and beyond, who all want to stay in touch with the club’s latest news.

“Nowadays people also want to be able to customise web content to suit their own preferences and they want it to work on their computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Football fans are no different.

“Recite Me’s access and language functionality truly makes St Johnstone FC’s website more accessible and inclusive for their fans and also for other users who may be looking to book facilities at McDiarmid Park. We hope to see other football clubs following suit and making their website more inclusive for everyone.”

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