Tech giant Amazon has published new research to increase awareness around Global Accessibility Day 2022. The survey, carried out by YouGov in April and May of this year, asked 1,084 UK adults with a physical or sensory disability about their relationship with technology.
Some of the results are unsurprising, like the fact that 77% of respondents said they use tech devices to help them with tasks such as answering the door and controlling their lights.
After all, a growing number of households rely on smart home and other tech devices to help run their lives. A
Statista Global Consumer survey conducted in the UK found similar levels of use across all surveyed UK households, with only 17% of respondents saying they had no smart home devices at all.
But while the Statista figures cover all types of use, with 77% of households saying they used smart home technology for entertainment, the YouGov survey focuses on the help that home technology can provide. Respondents said that, on average, they used smart home tech and other devices 13 times a day to help them perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult to do.
And the user base is growing. The number of people with a mobility impairment who use
smart speakers to control household appliances has doubled in five years, while four times as many of the same people use a
smart doorbell to answer the door.
Over a third of disabled people surveyed (36%) said that the use of smart security devices has made them feel safer.
Tech has impacted disabled people’s working lives as well, with just under a third (31%) saying that new technology has made their work easier or much easier, while 20% said that technology has helped to improve equality with colleagues at work.
But while these numbers are encouraging, only 1% of respondents said they felt that accessibility was a key consideration when devices are developed. And almost half of the people surveyed (48%) said they faced challenges in using new technology that others might not.
The figures highlight the fact that more work needs to be done to make technology accessible to all. During a virtual roundtable hosted by Amazon to discuss the survey findings, Dr Amit Patel, disability rights campaigner, said: “Technology can be a lifeline, but companies need to focus more attention on the needs of people who rely on it most.”
To find out more about Amazon’s accessibility features, visit the
Alexa Accessibility Hub. Or read more about
Global Accessibility Awareness Day.