Open call: UK tech and digital sectors must do better on inclusion

By Hilary Stephenson | 09/06/2017

The need to deliver inclusive, accessible digital products and services is a moral and commercial imperative and something which urgently requires more focus as the population continues to live longer and get older.

We recognise we can all do more, so today we are calling on the UK’s digital and technology sectors to commit to improving inclusion and accessibility in the industry.

Molly Watt speaking at Camp Digital 2016

There are currently more than 10 million disabled people in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics, representing about 15% of the population, and this number is only likely to increase.

But living with an impairment or disability of any kind should not exclude people from accessing the same online and digital services as everyone else, especially as the principle of technology and digital is to open access.

There is a misconception that creating accessible websites, for instance, will only cater for a small minority of the population and involve changes and additions that can increase the time and costs of projects.

This is simply not the case.

When we work with companies, we always advise building for the 5%.

This way, websites will be accessible to those living with a disability, but will also cater for the other 95% in the same way.

Our recent Camp Digital event in Manchester brought together hundreds of people from the technology and digital sectors and inclusion was a major theme of the conference. It was clear from the reactions of people in the room that this is an issue the industry is open to tackling, but we would like to see more companies step forward and make this commitment official.

As London Tech Week gets underway, this is the perfect opportunity for the technology and digital sectors to put inclusivity and accessibility at the centre of the agenda.

We have already been buoyed by the response we have had to this call to action, with Sport England and The Molly Watt Trust already pledging their support.

We hope to see businesses, brands and organisations joining us in this pledge in the coming weeks. If you’d like to add your name and let us know what you are doing to encourage a more inclusive approach, we are happy to share your updates and help to foster a community of good practice.

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