The importance of accessible websites during uncertain times

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The Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) pandemic has seen us all have to face up to the reality of unprecedented changes in our daily lives.

The uncertainty around the pandemic means we are all very worried and scared, and we need to be kept up to date with the latest information and how it will impact our lives, jobs, and the services we use.

Now that the majority of us are working from home or looking after a family at home, it means that the internet has taken an even more important place in our daily lives.

The internet just took center stage

Quite simply, we must now go online more than ever before in order to conduct our daily business.

So much so that internet service providers like BT’s Openreach have reported a 20% surge in internet use recently.

This could be to access information about income protection and benefits on the HMRC website, check out the new opening times of a local pharmacy, order groceries online for the first time, or read the NHS’ COVID-19 related information online.

This is why it’s crucial to ensure that all websites and their content are accessible and inclusive for everyone, including people with disabilities (approximately 20% of people in the UK) and those who speak English as their second language.

Yet evidence like the Click-Away Pound 2019 survey shows that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many UK consumer websites aren’t accessible to people with disabilities.

For example, the 2019 survey results show that nearly three-quarters of online consumers who are disabled (69%) will click away from websites that they find difficult to use due to the effect of their disability.

So if people are being told they now have no choice but to go online to access information, services, and goods, what happens if a website is inaccessible to them?

It doesn’t bear thinking about given some of the reported waiting times people are spending to get through to organizations like HMRC (around 10 hours!) on the telephone.

Make your website accessible for free

That’s why here at Recite Me we are 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 so that vital information can be understood by everyone.

Each bespoke landing page will automatically launch the Recite Me accessibility and language assistive toolbar, helping people with disabilities, visual impairments, learning difficulties, and people who speak English as a second language to stay well-informed.

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

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.

Ross Linnett, Recite Me CEO and Founder said: “When information is vital, it is vital that information is accessible and inclusive for all.

“If you think your business needs help to make your COVID-19-related online information accessible and inclusive to all your staff and customers, please contact us now.”

Learn how to make a website accessible here.

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