Here at the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) we are always looking for new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities, whether that’s online or ‘In Real Life’. So when we heard about Recite Me it certainly piqued our interest.
Recite Me is an online accessibility tool that allows visitors to your websites to customise your website in a way that works for them, whatever their accessibility needs might be.
Since adopting Recite Me many of our website visitors have told us how useful it is having an accessibility tool that is built into the website they are using, without having to rely on a combination of different software to make a website readable. We also like the fact that Recite Me offers analytics so that you can keep a track of how well the tool is used and which features are the most popular.
Although this is only one step towards making our digital presence more accessible, we felt it was an important one to make.
As with most accessibility tools, however, the proof is in the testing, so we asked Michael McEwan, a freelance journalist, and disability campaigner how he has found using Recite Me on SCLD’s website…
“My name is Michael McEwan, I’m a freelance journalist, and a regular contributor on radio and TV on disability issues.
Over the years I’ve been working with a number of different disability organizations and currently the chair of my local disability group. I have a learning disability and dyslexia, but that doesn’t stop me in any way.
I think I faced more challenges when I was younger, as there wasn’t the technology like today, with things like apps to provide extra support to people who needed it. Now it’s easier when I am doing emails as I have an app on my phone called ‘Speech to Text’- if you’re not sure how to spell the word then you can say it and the app types it. Back in the day, my word bank was a well-worn piece of paper.
I’ve just tried out the Recite Me toolbar to see how this would work for me, and it’s very easy to use. What I particularly like about it, is that I can scroll over text and the words are read back to me, also you can change the language to suit your needs – that really stands out for me because no website that I know of has this feature.
I would recommend this software to different organizations and companies for their websites and encourage them to focus more on online accessibility.
I reckon many people with a learning disability or difficulty, particularly dyslexia, would get put off using lots of websites as they have too much-jumbled information, especially when trying to fill out forms online.
Most of what we access is online – whether it’s shopping, paying bills or applying for jobs. Doing lots of everyday tasks online has really become commonplace, so there is a definite need for websites to be accessible for all, designed around both our needs and our limitations.
Simply – if people can’t access your website then they won’t revisit it, or buy any of your products online, and most importantly may miss out on an important service or job opportunities because of the way your website is presented.
Companies have a responsibility to give an equal chance to all, whether someone is using your website to apply for a job, or to buy a product or service. In an equal society, websites should be accessible to everyone. This toolbar is progress towards that, and I would encourage others to try it out.”
Michael McEwan, Freelance Journalist
Michael’s website – https://michaelmcewanmedia.webs.com/
The Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) is the lead strategic partner to the Scottish Government in the delivery of learning disability strategy and policy.
We are an intermediary organisation for the learning disability sector in Scotland, and we are committed to finding new and better ways to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.
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