Yesterday Gordon Brown outlined the Labour government’s plans for Building Britain’s Digital Future at The Hub in London.

I followed on Twitter not being one of the lucky ones to be invited there in person.

So who did attend to represent Disabled and Deaf people?

This post focuses on the presentation of speech digitally – from a disability/deaf access point of view. A future post will review the plans.

The video of Gordon Browns’ speech is available online but it is not

  • Audio Described
  • Subtitled (closed captions) (which can be embedded on any youtube video content)
  • British Sign Language Interpreted
  • transcribed into easy print or pictorial format for people with Learning Disabilities using visual software such as POINT

Maybe Pesky People should not be disappointed at the inconsistency since NONE of Gordon Brown’s speeches on No 10 website are audio described, subtitled  or signed. I have discovered that @mhawksey posted the same video – with twitter subtitles but was not able to get that to work.

This is a common problem across all websites – they offer little or no access for Disabled or Deaf people (99% of websites are inaccessible). Britain’s Digital Future should be addressing this basic flaw.

The Un declared Digital access as a human right issue in 2006 – what’s changed?

Two disabled=As we go closer to the polling stations – the other main political parties do not fare any better from our snapshot review online.

The Conservatives website video has closed captions – they do not work. The LibDems are missing alt tags. Not to mention what’s missing from all of the parties website accessibility statement.

Gordon Brown’s speech can be read in full here.

The transcript does not include the question and answer session that followed.

I did gather from yesterday’s Twitter  feed (hastag #bbdf) the first question was about disability and digital access. But have no idea what his response was.

Yesterday this text transcript of Gordon’s Building Britain’s Digital Future speech was available on No 10’s website with the video on another government department  website (for Business Innovation and Skills BIS website. Why they were not together today they are available side by side on both websites. I assume there was live subtitling or BSL streaming either?

This shows that the very fundamentals problems of web accessibility and digital inclusion.

Disabled and Deaf people are clearly missing from the government’s own policy and practice when it comes to uploading content online.

This is not digital inclusion. How can we make informed choices about our country’s policies with this kind of access?

Government  and all political parties needs to lead by example. The new Equalities Bill has just been passed including key reference to digital accessibility and disability discrimination – some 14 years after the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) became law.

18.6% of the UK population who are Disabled or Deaf (of working age) face as many virtual barriers and online discrimination as we already experience (and continue to experience) in the real world –  in education, employment, leisure and culture, shopping, housing and transport.

The Office for Disability Issues is testing out an accessible media player.

Gordon Brown should be ensuring it is used on the No 10 website and all other government websites. Why aren’t these departments talking to each other?

The last word on Britain’s Digital Future goes to the  announcement of No10’s iphone video on youtube.

The iphone application was launched yesterday. Do you see any options for audio description, subtitling, BSL interpretation? Me neither.

No 10 launches its iphone application on 22 March 2010

If you click on the RSS feed on the right hand side of the you tube videos it also takes you to a ‘Read More’ section. Click on that, it takes you to the video – on youtube. Where is the rest of the information?

An iphone is expensive on contract or pay as you go – so how many Disabled or Deaf people can afford one?

Currently 50% of Disabled and Deaf people of working age are in work compared to 80% of non disabled people. 1.3 million disabled people are available and want to work.

Key facts:

  • only 1% of websites are fully accessible for Disabled and Deaf people
  • Disability remains a  key source of Digital Exlusion (Oxis 2009 report )
  • 42% of Disabled people or those with long term health problems are online compared to 75% of the population with no health problems or disabilities

The Shaw Trust website outlines that:

  • There are currently 1.3 million disabled people in the UK who are available for and want to work
  • Only half of disabled people of working age are in work (50%), compared with 80% of non disabled people
  • Employment rates vary greatly according to the type of impairment a person has; only 20% of people with mental health problems are in employment
  • 23% of disabled people have no qualifications compared to 9% of non disabled people
  • Nearly one in five people of working age (7 million, or 18.6%) in Great Britain have a disability
  • The average gross hourly pay for disabled employees is £11.08 compared to £12.30 for non disabled employees.

Source: Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey, Jan – March 2009