We are a newly formed company led by Disabled people (Director Alison Smith). Alison has 17+ years experience working in the cultural sector and now works as a freelance arts consultant.

Pesky People was set up as a direct response to the Digital Britain report and its exclusion of Disabled and Deaf people. It continues to campaign about the need for full accessibility to websites, digital content and products.

Since we started on 1 September 2009 Alison has been been shortlisted and received a number of Awards for her work with pesky People including:

We launched on 1 September 2008 as a blog www.peskypeople.wordpress.co.uk and are now a year old with the relaunch of our website.

It was initiated after Alison’s first visit to Birmingham Social Media Surgery where she got great advice about setting up a wordpress site.


  • 1.9.09 Ist blog: The Future is Not Orange – raise the issues of discrimination by Orange through Alison being mis-sold  a mobile phone and contract. The blog was picked up by Radio Shropshire and she was interviewed for the Eric in the Morning show resulting in being featured as part of the that day’s main news bulletin. The result was a big u-turn by Orange. The 2 year contract was cancelled. The post was retweeted five times and seen by estimated 10,000 people, with 161 visits in the first two days.
  • 8.9.09 – 3rd blog following Birmingham City Council launched new £3M website highlighting on twitter that BCC’s claims that their website was fully accessible to AAA compliance was completely wrong. Failings including the site not including alt tags, an accessibility statement redirected visitors to BBC my way, no options to change background colour etc. BCC changed it’s statement within hours from fully meeting to ‘striving to meet’ as result of Pesky People’s intervention (and others) via twitter.   Following this Alison got involved in BCC DIY hack day and advocated to improve the accessibility of the alternative site and as a result raised awareness of access issues in the WM digital community.
  • 18.9.08 – Recasting Power 4iP/BCC event – raised issues of web accessibility with Cllr Tisley on the panel. Promises tbat issues would be taken up clearly fell on ‘Deaf ears’ since we never received a reply . 4iP organisers insisted that BSL interpreters are off stage as ‘in the way of filming’ meant a missed opportunity for them to ensure the event was accessible to Deaf people online.
  • 8.10.09 – England’s Qualifier was streamed live online. The post Ukraine-v-England qualifier Deaf fans don’t count/ highlighted that organisers had no plans to subtitle programme. Blog was reprinted in major sections by TechRadar.com Postnote: OfCOM is no longer responsible for TV on Demand provided by broadcasters – the ATVOD is – a self-regulator body who we will be meeting in September 2010.
  • 23.10.09 Hello Digital : Digital Disaster – following Alison’s experience of attending event where no BSL interpreters were booked (despite advance discussions). Her complaints were retweeted internationally, public apologies from organisers followed and subsequently presented to WM Event Organisers their legal responsibilities to address accessibility issues. The number of hits reached 1,376 times in Oct 08 putting Pesky People on the map and again raising the issue of web accessibility within Digital community.
  • 23.10.08 The first Digital make over of Pesky People to change it from a blog to a website with support from Media Trust, Community Voices, Talk About Local awarded following TAL unconference event.
  • 3.11.09 By documenting a very delayed train journey on Virgin Trains (10 hours) to highlight inaccessibility, lack of communication with disabled or Deaf customers included pictures on Flikr and tweeting direct to virgin trains led to more than the £2.60 Alison was entitled to by emailing the bit.ly link as part of complaints form. Subsequently given full refund, first class upgrade back to Scotland, first class return tickets x 2 anywhere, bottle of wine, flowers and chocolates. Alison met WM Regional Manager and is in discussions over accessibility issues.
  • NDI 10 – In addition a Pesky People ‘promise’ was taken on by Digital Taskforce [that delegates would find out the level of accessibility on their website and get it addressed working with local disabled people) and I was asked to present to 2 of the 5 promises in 1 minute pitches at the conference to a panel. Wa:/Watch the conference with BSL and subtitle. I presented this in BSL rather than speaking to the conference also to make point of the issues needing to be taken on board.
  • The Workshop (Sheffield) The Director Mark Pierce decided to offer their accessible media player for free following my presentation at NDI10. Just launched (July 2010) Pesky People going to be working with them to promote it nationally and incorporates options to add subtitles (closed captions, audio description and text transcript). A wordpress plugin is being developed. User tested with the Shaw Trust.


  • Unltd 4iP Awarded £4,500 (including £1000 towards BSL support) April 2010. New website in development being produced by Laura Whitehead who is also Disabled http://Laura Whitehead who’s company Popokatea has produced this website. Accessibility elements include – alternative colour contrasts, ability to comment (and edit), video/audio responses, increase size, videos with Audio Description, BSL and captions.

Activities from August 2010:

B2Camp August 2010 – presenting 10 mins on Disability and Digital accessibility and development of OLIL

A11y Ldn – Accessibility unconference 21st September 201010-5pm ant City University. One of the organisers. Secured sponsorship from Talk About Local. Aims: discuss issues around cognative disabilities and accessibility to games, websites and digital content.

Association of TV on Demand– meeting CEO in September to discuss their delegated responsibilities and how they will address digital access needs when agreed by OFCOM (Oct 2010)