Usability and accessibility research
We believe in accessible communications for everyone.
This section covers research in a number of related areas: usability of devices and services, and accessibility, particularly in relation to older people and those with disabilities; specific communications technologies such as audio description and text relay; and the accessibility of communications services for the purposes of active citizenship.
For older reports, see the National Archives.
The access and inclusion reports focus on issues such as take-up of services, devices, affordability and engagement with the communications market as well as outcomes for consumers in vulnerable circumstances in the sectors we regulate – broadband, phones, television and postal services.
These reports focus on consumers whose ability to participate in these markets and society may be affected by factors such as their age, disability, income and their experiences of the communications and postal markets.
We have conducted a wide variety of research into the various technologies and services available to widen communications access, for example relay services, apps, audio description, and subtitling.
Ofcom text relay services research Oct 2015
Ease of accessing bills Feb 2012
Ofcom relay services Feb 2011
Voice calls for deaf people Jul 2009
Provision of access services Mar 2006
Subtitling: an issue of speed Jan 2005
In an effort to understand consumers' needs, we research the experiences of disabled customers and other users of access services.
Citizens and communications services Oct 2014
We have conducted analysis looking at the proportion of UK adults who are digitally excluded, including those who do not use the internet or have access to the internet at home, or have access to any connected devices. This analysis looks at the likelihood of digital exclusion by a number of different characteristics including; age, living alone, having a condition that limits or impairs their use of communications services, being financially vulnerable, and having more than one of these characteristics. We also provide population estimates based on the analysis, which are provided as a range, with a lower and upper bound.
This analysis was conducted using Ofcom’s Use of communication services, consumer omnibus. This survey looks at the access and use of communications devices and services among non-disabled and disabled consumers, and monitoring disabled consumers’ limitations and preventions of use caused by their disability.
We have conducted analysis looking at the proportion of UK households, with under 18’s in the household, who are digitally excluded including those who do not have access to the internet or connected devices at home, or have limited access to the internet and devices. This analysis looks at the likelihood of digital exclusion among these households, by socio-economic group. We also provide population estimates for the number of UK children impacted based on the analysis; these are provided as a range, with a lower and upper bound.
This analysis was conducted using Ofcom’s Technology Tracker 2020 (data tables can be found on our Statistical release calendar 2020). This survey tracks the attitudes and behaviour of UK consumers with respect to residential telecommunications, broadcasting and the internet.
Fieldwork for the Ofcom Use of Communication Services, Consumer Omnibus survey took place from the 26th February – 10th March 2020; the data tables for this study are published here. This survey looks at the access and use of communications devices and services among consumers with and without limiting or impacting conditions, and monitors the limitations and preventions of use caused by their limiting or impacting conditions.
Fieldwork for the Ofcom Technology Tracker CATI omnibus survey took place from the 12th February – 5th March 2021; selected data tables pertaining to digital exclusion of children in 2021 are published here. Further data from the survey, including key Technology Tracker statistics, will be published in May 2021.