Being able to independently use the internet gives disabled people access to vital medical, travel, financial services. But also everyday services like grocery shopping and buying clothes online.

There are nearly 14 million disabled people in the UK, but we’re still putting barriers in front of them in the online world.

 

The Big Hack Study Findings

The Scope team recently presented at the TechShare Pro Conference 2019 to announce The Big Hack soft launch to an audience of digital peers.

Hosted by Ability Net and Google, The Big Hack team shared the stage with Apple, Microsoft and other technology industry leaders.

The team launched the results of their most recent study into the business case for inclusive design. It’s the first part of our broader research into how inclusive design affects how disabled people spend their money.

Read The business case for inclusive design: The Big Hack study findings (Resource Hub article)

Amongst these findings was the alarming fact that half of the disabled people surveyed who experienced problems buying goods or services through a website or app ended up not buying the product.

 

Online accessibility feedback from our Reporting Tool

The Big Hack website was launched in a beta testing phase in July 2019. Since then we have been gathering responses from disabled people through our online The Big Hack Reporting Tool survey.

Here is just some of the feedback we have already received about disabled people’s experiences with digital accessibility.

Quoted text reads "It shows a lack of care and consideration towards consumers which would be enough for me to use other services that do" from a Big Hack survey respondent.

 

The most frustrating thing about using the internet as a disabled person

“Having to root around business or public service websites to find their accessibility information, which often they don’t actually list. Things like if they have steps or lifts and being forced to email, waiting several days, phoning or just not using them then spending hours finding an alternative. Websites should provide information. Clearly. Upfront. In an easy to navigate and read way.”

Not everything is compatible with a screen reader.

Graphic text reads "There's a lack of online, text-based support when I cannot complete a task myself, without calling a number." from a Big Hack survey respondent.

 “Sites that claim to be disabled-friendly, such as TFL, and are not – then having to fight this, which can involve a tremendous struggle.”

“I find that the most frustrating part of the internet for me would be the increasing number of websites with a ‘cool’ look that affects usability. Form over function.”

 

How people feel when they cannot complete a task online

It makes me feel like I’m being penalised for being disabled

“It makes you feel frustrated because using online applications is supposed to be easier.”

Graphic text reads "I personally feel left out or left behind." Quote from a Big Hack survey respondent.

Frustrated, unwell, anxious and defeated”

“It actually makes you feel stupid and that you unnecessarily wasted your limited energy leading to fatigue for the rest of the day without accomplishing the task.”

 

What would you like to do online that you cannot because of accessibility barriers?

“I’d like to be able to deal with more things online without having to phone people – my autism makes phone calls difficult, especially since I have auditory processing issues.”

“I would like to be able to watch more videos online but I miss out on many due to the fact that such a high number are without subtitling.”

“I want to book wheelchair spaces for EVERYTHING online. Cinema. Theatre. Train. Taxis. Everything. I want to be able to book online. Easily. Not on the phone. Not via email over several weeks with a phone call later. I want all of it to be bookable online and easily.”

We would like to thank everybody who has taken part so far.

We will soon be making responses from The Big Hack Feedback Tool publicly available for press, policymakers and companies to report on industry-wide accessibility issues. Access will grant members to live, up to date responses and allow companies to respond to feedback.

 

How you can get involved

If you work at a company or own a business

  • Head to our Resources Hub for useful articles and practical guides on how to get started with inclusive design best practice.
  • Sign up to our newsletter to receive updates and announcements about our latest research findings and events.
  • Email bighack@scope.org.uk if you want us to collaborate with your business and become an inclusive design ally.

If you are disabled and want to report your experiences

Add your voice to the growing list by filling out our survey. If you are disabled or have an impairment that affects the way you use technology, share your experiences using The Big Hack Reporting Tool.

Answer 10 short questions about your experiences with websites, apps and online services and you could win a £50 gift from Amazon.

The reporting tool anonymously crowd-sources people’s feedback on their digital experiences. It allows us to understand where people are being let down the most online and respond with action.

Our next priority is to take this feedback to organisations, publicise the inequalities externally and work with partners and policymakers to take legal action.