SeeAbility: “ReachDeck helps us to make digital inclusion a reality”
SeeAbility is a charity that provides support to people who have learning disabilities, autism, or sight loss. Using ReachDeck, they’re keeping accessibility and inclusion at the heart of their digital communications.
SeeAbility supports people to live, love, thrive and belong as equals in society. They’ve been active in supporting the sight loss community for more than 220 years. Using ReachDeck, they’re keeping accessibility and inclusion at the heart of their digital communications.
- ReachDeck supports SeeAbility’s vision to be at the forefront of accessibility in their sector. “ReachDeck goes a long way to achieving this goal”
- Its features provide “extra functionality that our built-in website tools alone can’t provide”
- The ReachDeck toolbar provides their audience with assistive features delivered by a “well-known, established product”
SeeAbility is a charity that provides support to people who have learning disabilities or autism, who may also have sight loss.
As one of the oldest disability charities in the UK, SeeAbility has been active in supporting the sight loss community for more than 220 years and for the last few decades has focused on supporting people with learning disabilities or autism. The team specialise in supporting people to live ambitious lives and achieve things they never thought possible. They do this through:
- Providing specialist accommodation and support services in England
- Offering support and championing better eye care for people who have learning disabilities or autism
- Supporting people with learning disabilities or autism to find a job through their supported employment programme and improve their digital skills.
Through everything they do, SeeAbility is helping people with disabilities to achieve their ambitions. They’re also challenging assumptions, attitudes and existing policies to drive lasting change for the future.
SeeAbility are incredibly passionate about the work they do to support and improve the lives of people with disabilities. As they advocate for equal opportunities, it’s only natural that accessibility is at the centre of all their communications.
Speaking on this, Kat Akass, Head of Marketing, Digital and Communications says:
“We have always provided accessible information and produced easy-read documents for our eye care work. Most recently, our focus has been on ensuring much more of our information is in an accessible format. We want to be at the forefront of accessibility in the sector and help other organisations improve their offering too.”
Many of the people SeeAbility supports, and a growing number of colleagues at the charity, live with learning disabilities, autism or sight loss. If digital content is not accessible, these users will be unable to access their online services or information.
"We want to make inclusion a reality."
Kat Akass, Head of Marketing & Communications
1 in 7 people globally have a disability. Inclusion is something that should be on everyone’s mind, because we all deserve to be able to participate in the digital world.
Since the pandemic, more and more organisations are recognising the importance of digital inclusion. Over the past few years we’ve seen more and more essential communications being delivered in a digital-first way.
Reflecting on this, Kat highlights:
“We have moved a lot of our fundraising activities online, including virtual fundraising events. During the height of the pandemic, it was vitally important that everyone was able to understand the communications coming from the UK Government on what to do. We set up a hub on our website to signpost our audience to the official guidance and have made it an internal priority to offer easy read versions as much as possible.
It’s extremely important that our digital offering is accessible. No one should be excluded from using websites or reading documents at a time when digital communication is all encompassing. We’re proud to work with partners including ReachDeck to support SeeAbility in improving the accessibility of our digital communications.
ReachDeck is an all-in-one digital inclusion solution. It helps organisations make their online content accessible and usable to everyone. Its main features are highlighted below:
- The ReachDeck Auditor scans websites for technical accessibility and readability issues. Readability is all about how easy or difficult it is to read something.
- The ReachDeck Editor is an editing tool that supports teams to create content that’s easy for everyone to understand.
- The ReachDeck Toolbar is an accessibility toolbar that offers assistive features to online users. It adds text-to-speech, reading and translation support.
Speaking about the decision to add ReachDeck to SeeAbility’s website, Kat explains:
ReachDeck was the natural fit for us as an organisation committed to accessibility for our users. It’s well-known within the disability community and gives us the extra functionality that our built-in website tools alone can’t provide.
Recently SeeAbility redeveloped their website to make it more accessible and inclusive than ever before. They used ReachDeck to support them along the way.
The team used the ReachDeck Auditor to identify accessibility problems. More specifically, errors that would make them non-compliant with WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). WCAG set the international standard for web accessibility.
Using handy downloadable reports, the team were able to prioritise action and make improvements.
Speaking on the results Katie Humphries, Website and Accessibility Consultant at SeeAbility tells us:
“We worked with our Eye Care Champions and Associates, who have lived experience, to make sure the improvements suggested by ReachDeck made SeeAbility’s website easier to use. But we also wanted to offer additional features for those who needed them.
The ReachDeck toolbar has features that we weren’t able to easily implement within the website design – for example, a language converter and text magnification.”
The ReachDeck Toolbar allows organisations to instantly add speech, reading and translation support to their website.
We should all be doing everything we can to make websites and digital offerings accessible. Accessibility tools can often be expensive, or unavailable when using a different device, so providing these tools for free for our audience is an important part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
It’s important to note that not everyone has access to the tools they need. In fact, only one in 10 people in need have access to assistive technology products due to the high costs.
Commenting on the Toolbar’s design, Katie said:
“It’s easy for people with disabilities to recognise what the ReachDeck Toolbar is. For example, the icon to turn the toolbar on is universally recognised. It’s a well-known, established product that many of our users will be familiar with using, which made it an easy choice to include.”
When it comes to producing content that’s easy to understand, Kat Akass, Head of Marketing, Digital and Communications at SeeAbility said:
“We’re using the ReachDeck Editor to help us to reduce the reading age of the content on our website. We’ve also trained our colleagues to use the Editor tool so that they can write blogs, offline communication and presentations in a more accessible way.”
All three of ReachDeck’s features have become invaluable to the SeeAbility team, as they continue forward on their accessibility journey.
Looking to the future, Kat says:
“Accessibility is becoming more and more recognised across all sectors. This means that organisations are becoming more accountable when they don’t offer accessible websites or documents. For those who want to make their digital offering fully accessible, ReachDeck goes a long way to achieving this goal.”
“Even if your offering is as accessible as possible, the additional tools ReachDeck offers can help users and help your staff learn how to write in an accessible way.”
ReachDeck is helping SeeAbility make their digital services even more accessible than before. See how ReachDeck can make a difference in your organisation.
Breaks down communication barriers. Improve the accessibility, readability and reach of your online content.