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Council chiefs are using specialist software to help residents with accessibility issues

Council chiefs are using specialist software to help residents with accessibility issues

by Danielle Thompson (April 2020)

COUNCIL chiefs are now using Recite Me software to help local residents with accessibility issues to customise its website to meet their needs.

By clicking on Recite Me, people visiting Sefton Council’s website at https://www.sefton.gov.uk can use the service to read website pages out loud in different voices and languages, increase and decrease the size of the text and change the type-style – including into a Dyslexic-friendly font.

At this time when it is vital that everybody is aware of the messages about coronavirus that are so important to saving lives, Sefton Council is promoting the ability of Recite Me to translate information on the site.

Messages in Portuguese, Polish and Russian are being sent out through Sefton Council’s social media channels to highlight the translation service to people in those communities.

Cllr Paulette Lappin Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said : “Now, when it is so important that our coronavirus information reaches everyone including those for whom English is not necessarily a first language, our introduction of the Recite Me service to our website is an ideal way to target those communities.

“Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, our website has been seeing record numbers of visits with as many as 130,000 and 110,000 unique page views in the peak weeks. And our reach on social media is up with residents having the chance to see our messages almost 554,000 times.

“Also in the long term, Recite Me is a way of making our website as easy to use for as many people as possible, in line with our commitment to accessible communications.”

With Recite Me, Sefton Council website users can also change the colours and contrast of the screen, screen colours and contrast, use an on-screen magnifying glass, add a ruler to help keep their place on the page, view pages in a text-only mode and download audio files of page contents, which can be played back at a later date.

To use the service, visitors to the website just need to click on Listen and Translate at the top of every page. They will then see a toolbar of functions that will help make the pages more accessible for them in multiple ways. There is also a user guide to tell them more and an option to switch the service on and off.

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