The transition into the 2020s marks a time the world will never forget. The physical world came to something of a standstill in 2020 while organisations across the globe made concerted efforts to maximize their online presence to ensure continued support and service to clients. In this extraordinary era, extraordinary measures were needed to keep up with times. At Walsall College, we pride ourselves on being a further education provider that goes the extra mile to maintain communication and quality of service.
Part of our commitment to providing the best possible online experience includes the additional layer of inclusive software to our website. By utilising accessibility and language technology solutions from Recite Me, we have supported over 12,000 people to read and understand the content on our website barrier-free, and the Recite Me toolbar has been launched on our site 34, 708 times in 2020.
The unique assistive toolbar helps everyone to customise their online experience to suit their own individual needs. 2020 data shows that 48,773 pieces of content were read aloud using the text-to-speech engine and 8,247 pages were translated into a different language, including Turkish, Spanish, and Dutch. Other support tools include styling and reading assistance. 3,997 styling changes were made in total, including alterations to font type, size, and colour, and overall colour contrast between background and foreground.
Studies show that 1 in 5 people have impairments that make accessing online information challenging, and excluding 20% of the population is not something that the college was were prepared to accept. With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to push people online, website accessibility factors are at the forefront of business development in 2021, so we were incredibly proud to be ahead of the game and become one of the first organisations in our sector to install innovative assistive technology on our web pages in 2020.
We chose to install the Recite Me assistive toolbar to make our website not simply accessible, but truly inclusive to all. The internet can be an incredibly intimidating place for those with disabilities, and anyone lacking the tools they need to adequately understand or communicate are at a significant disadvantage. This includes internet users who have decreased vision, struggle with literacy, are autistic, speak and/or read English as a second language, suffer from attention disorders, have a learning difficulty, or are affected by physical disabilities.
The Recite Me toolbar includes fully customisable styling features, reading aids, and translation tools, meaning our web pages can now be consumed in a way that is personalised and tailor-made to each unique website visitor. This includes the ability to change font size, type, and colour, adjust overall colour contrasts, strip away distracting graphics, download content as an audio file, convert content into over 100 different on-screen languages, or have the page read aloud in a choice of 35 different languages.
We couldn’t be happier with progress so far and are extremely proud to be a digitally inclusive company that values each and every online visitor. If you would like to know more about our inclusion policies or want to learn about increasing your own website accessibility rating, please contact XXXX for further details and referral information.