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Ofcom Report Uncovers Major Accessibility Research Gap

Communications, technology and broadcasting companies are currently carrying out “very little research” into the accessibility requirements of consumers and the needs of disabled people, a new report has found.

The report, based on interviews with 20 companies, was prepared by i2 media research for the Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People (ACOD), a sub-group of the communications industry regulator Ofcom.

The report (
found companies are carrying out very limited user research into usability and accessibility, and even less into the specific needs of those people that required accessible products. Of the research that was conducted, most of it was “small-scale”, based around company workers, or family and friends, due to ease of access.

Reasons for the failure included higher priority being afforded to other technical issues, the report found: “One reason repeatedly given for the lack of user research was that technical issues took higher priority, to get products and services working. Usability and accessibility were referred to as secondary priorities.”

Other findings of the report included that senior level support of accessibility issues was often important to addressing disabled consumers’ needs, and that some companies had not considered accessibility needs at all, as they did not see disabled users as included in their target audience.

NOTE: For full details of the Ofcom study see section three, this issue.


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