Examples of the invisibility of digital exclusion issues is, paradoxically, all around us. Today I’ve read the Independent Review of ICT User Skills by Baroness Estelle Morris (June 2009) which under the chapter ‘Who are the Digitally Excluded?’ says: An analysis of this data suggests the digitally excluded tend to be:
- socially excluded – often through unemployment, living in social housing, having low incomes or being single parents. 7.2m (15% of the UK adult population) are both digitally excluded and socially excluded.
- with few or no qualifications
No recognition of digital exclusion through impairment and the inadequate availability of the appropriate assistive technology.
Also today I’ve seen the BBC’s online article on training blind people to take photographs. Apart from my linguistic objection to labelling people through a sensory impairment, as though that was their sole defining feature, the BBC tells the story using video. Listening to it doesn’t give adequate descriptive information about the content of the images, or what is happening on the screen, and the captions (for people with hearing impairment) only tell you the name of the photographer. Needless to say, if you are using the low graphics version of the website there is no alternative text.
The exhibition Sights Unseen runs from 19 – 23 January at The Association of Photographers Gallery, 81 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4QS.