The digital economy offers the potential to deliver a socially inclusive infrastructure that enables easy and effective access to a full range of digital services including: the Internet, media, commerce, health, transport and leisure activities. Meaningful access to technology however, goes beyond simply providing the relevant equipment. It requires that users have the necessary skills and knowledge to use the equipment, as well as the ability to understand and appropriately integrate the information.
The Accessibility activity is taking the first steps to provide the tools required for meaningful access, for older adults and disabled people by addressing the widening ‘accessibility gap’. Research is exploring the current barriers to access (created by the technology and the user experience) and evaluating existing and new technologies to understand user behaviour, attitudes, usability and contexts for use.
Ongoing research strands include work on understanding the cognitive underpinnings of IT use; developing alternatives to traditional 'point and click' computer interaction through the use of gesture or touch; improving on-line navigational support; providing more accessible means of accessing eHealth information and services; and developing accessible multimedia maps/directions for disabled people to navigate to specific building locations.