London 20 January 2015 – MPs and others in parliament will be learning more about how technology can help disabled people at a showcase event today in Parliament organised by the recently launched Digital Accessibility Alliance. Leading charity AbilityNet will be amongst those showing MPs how disabled people are using technology to overcome some of the barriers created by inaccessible websites and digital applications (apps).

AbilityNet, BT and other technology providers will offer hands on demonstrations such as how a mobile phone can help a person with a visual impairment, specialist software for people with dyslexia and innovative text relay systems for people with a hearing impairment.

Sponsored by Helen Goodman MP and Kate Green MP, Shadow Ministers for Work and Pensions, the event is being held to highlight to the importance of digital policies for access to government ahead of the next election.

Nigel Lewis, AbilityNet chief executive said:

"The vast majority of day-to-day interactions with government and business use some form of technology but too many disabled people and older people are being excluded from fair access to the essential digital tools of modern life. They are being let down by poor design and poor enforcement of access and equality standards and laws."

"Public and commercial services need to be accessible for everyone, including disabled and older people. But many of the millions disabled and older people are unable to perform every-day activities such as filing tax returns, paying bills or booking hospital appointments."

"We help disabled people every day but we know that many people do not understand how modern technology can help overcome barriers. By showing Parliamentarians what solutions are available we’re hoping to build a cross-party consensus on the need for digital access and inclusion."

Senior policy experts in the field including Kevin Carey, Chair of RNIB and of the newly formed Digital Accessibility Alliance; and AbilityNet chief executive Nigel Lewis will address Parliamentarians at what promises to be a fascinating and informative event. 

Technology demonstrations will include:

- Smartphone apps to help older and disabled people, by Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion, AbilityNet.

-  Assistive technologies for people with dyslexia, by Neil Cottrell and Abi James of British Dyslexia Association.

-  Next Generation Text relay service for deaf people, by Lorna Stephenson of BT.


Notes for editors 

1. About AbilityNet

National charity, AbilityNet, has over 20 years’ experience enabling people with disabilities to access technology and the internet at home, at work and in education.

Globally acclaimed for its expertise in workplace disability management as well as website accessibility issues, AbilityNet has clients in the private, public and voluntary sector including FTSE 100 companies and the websites of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics. 

The Charity’s Patrons are Sir Terry Pratchett OBE and Baroness Martha Lane-Fox of Soho, former UK Digital Champion.

2. About the Digital Accessibility Alliance 

The Digital Accessibility Alliance was announced by the UK Government in December 2014 and brings together key players from government departments, regulators, local government, business and the not for profit sector.

Bringing together the previous eAccessibility Forum and the One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition, its role is to encourage compliance with relevant legislation, promote universal access to digital services for older and disabled people and generate and promote good practice in delivering eInclusion.

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