West Devon Borough Council has bought a revolutionary accessibility tool for its website. The cloud-based technology will have a huge impact on the Council's website ensuring disabled residents and visitors can access information much more easily.

A person using an iPad with a desktop computer in the background.

Called 'Recite Me', the assistive technology will help the Borough Council make their website completely accessible with a wide range of options and settings.

This fantastic addition to the Council's website will overcome obstacles for residents, and visitors, who have a range of disabilities including those with conditions like dyslexia, learning difficulties and visual impairment. 

Ten percent of the population is thought to be dyslexic, and with one in five people having some kind of disability, there is clearly a need for information which is easily accessible in a format that can be personalised for each individual's needs.

There will be easy-to-use functions such as an option to read text aloud, including on PDF documents.  Along with the capacity to personalise font sizes, text colours and backgrounds to make text easier to read.  You can even use the built in dictionary and thesaurus to look up any unfamiliar words.

For those residents and visitors who don't speak English as their first language, the website will also be able to translate pages into over 100 languages at a simple click of a button.

West Devon Borough Council's, Cllr Chris Edmonds, Lead Member for Resource and Performance, said: "This is really exciting news for our residents and visitors who might need to pay, report or apply for our services online.  It will ensure that everyone is able to fully access our information with this brilliant technology.  We've committed to this product for three years initially to invest in our residents so we can keep improving our engagement with them. 

"We need to remember though that this toolbar won't just benefit anyone with a disability.  There are many people including elderly members of our community who will get value from increasing line spacing, font size or by changing the background colour.  Other tools included are a ruler, a magnifying glass and a screen which cuts out background distractions and focuses entirely on any one specific area at a time. 

"There are over 100 languages available for anyone who has English as a second language, so they can very simply translate any webpage.

"Residents who in the past might have had to call our contact centre for information or rely on friend or family's support will now be access our information easily online. 

"I encourage everyone to try the new toolbar.  If you need help or support to get started with Recite Me, contact our Localities team who will be pleased to help."

To try the new assistive technology, Recite Me, go to www.westdevon.gov.uk and click on the "Enable Accessibility Tools" at the top right of the screen.

If you, or a member of your family, is having difficulties getting started with Recite Me, please contact accessibility@swdevon.gov.uk and a member of the team will come along and help you.

22 June 2020