Study: 62% think technology can level playing field for people with disabilities

Almost two thirds of UK citizens believe that technology has the ability to change the landscape for people with disabilities and companies in the sector must work to include accessibility as standard in new products.

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AbilityNet undertook a study with BT that looked at accessibility in relation to technology and found that 62 per cent of the population believe technology can be used to level the playing field for people with disabilities.

“For disabled people, technology is like night and day. It’s the difference between opportunities, in many cases on the same level as other people, versus no opportunities and limited options,” stated Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion, AbilityNet.

Even though this is the case, 71 per cent think that not all members of society are able to reap the full advantages of computers and the Internet, and almost everyone that was surveyed stated that people couldn’t enjoy a “normal life” without digital services.

Over half [54 per cent] stated that disabled audiences are too often overlooked by technology companies and developers, most stating that gadgets and devices are created with a mainstream or younger audiences in mind.

To address the problems with accessibility, 34 per cent think companies should invest in this as a priority and make sure it is factored into all future products and services.

44 per cent of respondents also added that education and training into tech development should focus on making sure that accessibility features are included as standard.

Social impact is increasingly rising to the surface when it comes to public expectations of what innovation should look like with 41 per cent stating that it should do something for the social good. Meanwhile 35 per cent think it should transform lives, 34 per cent want it to level the playing field for disabled people, and 31 per cent responded by saying it should solve the unsolvable.

The survey results came ahead of the UK Tech4Good Awards that looks to recognise the work done by technology companies to make products that are more accessible. Entry is free of charge with submissions able to put forward on the website across eight different categories and the entry period closes on 6 May.