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Ofcom Publishes Annual Report On Accessibility Of Electronic Programme Guides

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Ofcom has has published its second annual report on the accessibility of electronic programme guides (EPGs).

On-screen TV guides help people plan their viewing and discover new programmes. But people with visual impairments can find EPGs difficult to use.

To help people with sight impairments navigate between TV channels more easily, Ofcom introduced changes to its EPG Code so that certain features are incorporated as standard:

Text to speech – channel information, and the text necessary for navigation, are available as speech;

Filtering and highlighting – programmes with audio description, and those with signing, are highlighted or listed separately;

Magnification – users can magnify or enlarge EPG information; and

High-contrast display – users can switch between the default and high-contrast display.

Said Ofcom: “Our second annual progress report, which is the first to cover a full year of reporting, finds that EPG providers are continuing to work on implementing these required accessibility features. A number are carefully considering accessibility as a central part of their planning and product design and are working closely with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Others are involving user-testing at many stages of their product development.

We acknowledge that it takes time to implement all the EPG changes required, given the length of product development cycles. But we also have concerns that some providers may be falling behind. By next year’s report, we expect all EPG providers to have put their detailed accessibility plans into practice. In the meantime, together with the RNIB, we will continue to engage with EPG providers to ensure that the necessary progress is being made.

We’ve also worked with the RNIB to create a video where people with sight impairments share their experiences of watching TV and reveal why EPG accessibility features are so important.”

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