The Race to get everyone online by 2012 kicked off on 12 July yet in the stampede to the digital finishing line – Disabled and Deaf people will still be left at the starting block. There is no chance of the 48% currently offline getting online by 2012!

Why? Start by looking at the image opposite – can you read the title? Block pink capitals on the top left of the image?

Inside it is even harder to follow, I wonder how someone who is partially sighted, blind, Deaf (BSL user), dyslexia, has learning disabilities is supposed to read it and find out what is in it for them?

I’m dyslexic and I’m struggling to read and understand it.

There are no other formats available, the irony being also no indication how to obtain it in print format either (large print, Braille anyone?) you can only download it. Let me know if it works with your screenreader.

It doesn’t bear well for the 48% of Disabled people mentioned in the report as not being online.

Raceonline 2012 website videos are not subtitled or BSL interpreted, nor transcripts offered. Why is that? Mind you none of the political parties seem fare any better – including the new coalition government.

The Manifesto itself is in PDF format that includes lots of text, text and more text, lots of block capital text, pink writing on white background, white writing on yellow. It’s colour scheme was clearly not designed with Disabled readers in mind.

Pesky People is frustrated that again and again government and the Digital Taskforce  fail to take on board the basics of accessible information online and the fundamental issues we have accessing such content.

It doesn’t recognise that if 99% of websites are inaccessible to Disabled people what’s the point of getting people online if they can’t read the content with their screen reader software? Watch the video if the are Deaf because there is no BSL or subtitles? Or presentations are watched online in powerpoint but it has no voice over? Where are the links on the pdf so you can use the tab button to jump pages?

The United Nation’s Global Audit of Website Accessibility makes depressing reading.

The DWP wants to make every job seekers allowance applicant apply for their benefits online and the Manifesto recommends that:

DWP should introduce an expectation that people of working age should apply for benefits online and have the skills to look for, and apply for, work online. They should work with Race Online 2012 partners to provide support to those that need it.

If you over 25 and single you will receive £65.45 a week are you going to spend £20/month out of the £240 you get in benefits on getting broadband access at the expense of eating, paying your rent and bills? I doubt it. That £20 is a lot of money.

You can’t find the best broadband deal unless you have internet access. You won’t find it on the High Street.

If you are Disabled and need to use assisted technologies – that equipment costs money and isn’t cheap (that is if you know about it in the first place),

Access to Work might pay for it in your job but there are NO resources readily available to if you are Disabled and need that equipment at home. Social Services won’t provide it. Unless you qualify for the Home Access Scheme – no chance.

Ok we get the 48% of Disabled people currently not online connected up and the government meets it’s targets. What websites are that 48% going to access?  For many that 1% of websites that are fully accessible is going to be hard to find.

Video and audio is now also heavily incorporated into websites so is the use of Javascript so where are the Subtitles? Audio Description? The BSL interpretation? The text transcripts? Alternatives available when you can’t view a website because it uses Javascript?

In my quest to dig into the Manifesto for a Networked Nation to  see what it means in real terms for Disabled and Deaf people I come to to the conclusion that that the digital stampede is stamping all over us.