Skip to main content

This Get Online Week, let’s fix the digital divide for disabled people

Did you know that nearly 1 in 5 adults lack the most basic digital skills needed for everyday life? 

Get Online Week is an annual campaign run by leading digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation. For one week in October, their community partners host hundreds of free digital skills events to help people to get online safely, confidently and affordably. 

Good Things Foundation is therefore on a mission to fix the digital divide. They aim to do this by increasing awareness of digital exclusion, improving access to devices, data and promoting digital skills training.

Promotional graphic from Good Things Foundation. The image shows a grandparent and grandchild laughing together as they look at a computer screen, with a pink background behind them. Text reads 'we're proud to be supporting Get Online Week, the UK's largest digital inclusion campaign'.

Disabled people and the digital divide 

Disabled people can often be disadvantaged when it comes to accessing the online world. Reduced educational and employment opportunities can mean that young people don’t have the opportunity to develop important digital skills, and perhaps don’t know where to turn to find inclusive training and upskilling opportunities.  

Research by Lloyds Banking Group in 2021 revealed that: 

  • 32% of disabled people surveyed do not have even the most basic digital skills.  

  • Of the 11 million people who do not have the ‘Essential Digital Skill for Life’, more than half have a disability or impairment. 

  • People with multiple conditions are at the greatest risk of digital exclusion.  

This disadvantage feels even more profound when you consider the numerous benefits that having digital skills can bring for disabled people. Being able to access the online world with confidence can help people to connect with others and find a community, research tips and tricks for making everyday life more accessible, and better plan for hobbies and leisure time. 

The importance of digital accessibility 

However, a lack of digital skills isn’t the only thing that prevent people from getting online. For many disabled people, issues with digital accessibility can also create barriers.  

As explained by leading digital accessibility agency HeX Productions, these access barriers can include: 

  • Auditory barriers affecting Deaf people and those with hearing impairments, e.g. a lack of closed captioning on video content. 

  • Cognitive barriers affecting people with learning disabilities e.g. websites that are difficult to use or navigate. 

  • Visual barriers affecting people who are blind or with sight loss, e.g. images without alt text or websites without the ability to zoom in and enlarge text. 

  • Physical barriers for people with neurological conditions or mobility challenges e.g. websites where you can only interact using a keyboard and mouse, without any assistive software. 

Therefore, there are many steps that individuals and organisations can take to help reduce the digital divide and ensure the online world is inclusive for disabled people too… and one of the most effective ways to do this is by ensuring your website and online platforms are accessible for as many people as possible. 

Here at AccessAble, inclusion is woven into everything we do – including through our website, app, and social media platforms. As a leading provider of accessibility information, we have made the online search function on our homepage as easy and seamless as possible to use, and ensured our Detailed Access Guides clearly communicate the information people are looking for when visiting a venue. Head to AccessAble’s website now to give it a try! 

Do you want to improve your digital skills? Head to Get Online Week’s website to find out more about this year’s campaign and search for events near you! 

Web Content Manager