To make something accessible essentially means to remove any barriers that prevent some people from using it.
And accessibility is at the heart of believe housing, one of the north east of England’s largest housing associations.
believe housing feels it responsible for driving change and encourages its customers to expect more.
As Jill Ancrum, believe housing’s Communications Manager notes, raising customer expectations will help the organisation to achieve more, by being more ambitious, more vibrant and more inclusive.
She said: “Our vision, ‘we believe in life without barriers’, fits this ethos perfectly because if everyone expects more they can achieve more and we can transform lives together.
“It is this power of ‘more’ that will let people realise what is possible – change perceptions, raise aspirations and create inclusive, vibrant communities.
“After all, anything is possible if you believe.”
That includes ensuring that believe housing’s website is accessible to as many people as possible.
“Ensuring our customers are able to access our services is imperative to our business model.” adds Jill.
"This includes our online activities. We introduced the Recite Me toolbar in 2015, when the organisation was formally known as County Durham Housing Group.
“So it was a natural continuation as we relaunched as believe housing in April 2019.”
But why is Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar so important for believe housing?
Again, it’s all about removing barriers and giving the organisation’s 18,000 households the option to find out key information about their tenancy and the services in a way that suits their needs.
People are able to read all about their key responsibilities in terms of managing their tenancy online, like paying their rent on time and how to report a repair.
They can also find key information about the additional services believe housing offers, like its free training programme and employability service.
And giving them the option to find out this information in their preferred way.
Whether that’s in large print, audio or alternative colour templates, or in the customer’s first language, it’s about choice.
In terms of final thoughts, Jill offers some simple advice for organisations that may be hesitant to address inclusion and web accessibility.
She concluded: “There’s nothing to be hesitant about. Recite Me was recommended to me by a web developer back in 2015 and we’ve never looked back!
“Recite Me addresses so many options from one source and can only aid the overall customer experience.
“We’ve used Recite Me now for four years and it’s so simple to include in any website – just a bit of additional coding.”
As simple as that. So remember, to make your website accessible and inclusive, you just need to believe.
And add Recite Me.
100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people who have disabilities and people who don’t speak English as their first language…call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now.