Citizens Online joins the Disability Confident Scheme

A disabled person using a computer with assistive technology. The person is pointing at or touching the computer screen.

Citizens Online is a UK charity committed to researching, addressing and promoting the issues of digital inclusion. Digital inclusion is about ensuring the benefits of the internet and digital technologies are available to everyone. As an organisation, we’re all about inclusion and equality of access, so the Disability Confident Scheme really resonated with us.

Citizens Online is proud to be signed up to the Scheme. We are currently at the committed stage and over the next 12 months, we will be working towards employer status. As part of this work we will be advertising work experience placements for disabled people to come and share their expertise with us, as well as learning some new skills.

Inclusion cuts across all the work that we do as an organization. Signing up to the scheme has been incredibly helpful in enabling us to reevaluate our policies and procedures, training, and the culture in which we work. We will continue to make our organisation an attractive job prospect for disabled people and we recognise that this scheme will continue to help us on this path.

We feel it’s important to offer a good work/life balance to our staff and volunteers, encouraging flexible or home working when possible. We have employed disabled people and worked to ensure they are supported and have any equipment, adaptations or adjustments they might need.

As part of our commitment to the scheme we started using Browsealoud on our website in May 2019. This allows visitors to our site to hear the text, navigation instructions and descriptions of images on each page spoken out loud. By adding speech, reading and translation support to our website, our content is more accessible to those with print disabilities including dyslexia, low literacy, mild visual impairments and those with English as a second language.

Browsealoud is an excellent way to help us improve our website accessibility. It is simple to use by site visitors and doesn’t require additional apps or payment and is compatible with mobile devices. The friendly support we received from TextHelp, the creators of Browsealoud, made installing the software on our website very easy.

Browsealoud is just one step we’ve taken towards being a more disability confident organisation and we would recommend the Disability Confident Scheme to others as it provides a simple framework in which to improve our practice and also lets others know that we are serious about equal opportunities for disabled people.