Ofcom propose more accessible Electronic Programme Guides

Posted: 22/07/2015 |

There are an estimated two million people in the UK with visual impairments and that number is increasing as the population ages.

Most people with a visual impairment have grown up with television and watch roughly the same amount of TV as everybody else. However, their choice of viewing can be restricted because the on-screen electronic programme guides (EPGs) can be difficult and time-consuming to use.

Most people take for granted the opportunity and ability to find out about new programmes but this facility this can be challenging for those unable to see the EPG properly. This access difficulty can also result in visually impaired viewers missing out on the wide range of programmes with audio description which is an optional commentary that works by using gaps in the dialogue to describe what is happening on screen. Over 70 channels make audio description available on many well known programmes.

Today, Ofcom is publishing proposals that most electronic programme guides should in future include a range of accessibility features to make it easier for people with visual impairments to use EPGs in the same way as everyone else.

These proposals include high contrast displays, the ability to magnify text, and the choice of whether to have programme and other information read out. All of these features are available in some EPGs, but none of them are available in all EPGs.

Ofcom’s consultation is available here and includes a PDF version that can be used with most screen readers, as well as an audio summary of the proposals.

You can respond to the consultation by using their webform or by contacting Jack Genovese by e-mail or phoning 0207 981 3725. Please send responses by 5.00pm on 30 September 2015.