Insights Ofcom publishes second annual report on accessibility of electronic programme guides


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

Ofcom explains that to help people with sight impairments navigate between TV channels more easily, it 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.

Ofcom’s 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.

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

Ofcom has 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. To access the report, click here.