New report highlights the importance of technology for people with sight loss

Technology is increasingly an imperative for people with sight loss, not a nice to have or an optional extra.

As part of a strategic partnership across the sight loss sector, sight loss charities have created a new briefing paper to illustrate the need to do more.

Produced and published on behalf of a sector wide working group, the report gathers existing evidence from many different sources and collates it into one resource. It outlines of the role of technology and digital access, current levels of take up and the barriers faced by blind and partially sighted people.

Gary Brunskill, Chair of the Access to Technology - Sector Working Group and Specialist Lead for Assisstive Technology and Digital Inclusion at RNIB said: We need to increase blind and partially sighted people’s access to technology, information, and digital services, particularly through digital channels. Digital enables blind and partially sighted people to live more independently, stay better connected and engage with the world, so it is essential more people can use it confidently.

Key findings in the research

The key findings in the research report show:

  • People with sight loss are twice as likely to be digitally excluded when compared to the general population.
  • If current trends continue, over the next six years, nearly all people across the UK will be online, yet it will take an additional eight years before nearly all people with sight loss are online.
  • Blind and partially sighted people equipped with digital knowledge and skills could take advantage of the benefits of technology such as improved communication, access to information and access to services.
  • Effectively tackling barriers associated with the factors of age and knowledge is likely to reduce the divide and speed up the adoption of technology by blind and partially sighted people, but the role of both digital exclusion and digital capabilities must be considered as a sector wide strategy is developed.
  • Further research is required to better understand which audiences to target, how to reach them and how best to boost their knowledge of and opportunities to engage with digital.

Future research

The report sets out the evidence base around sight loss and technology at the time of writing. It is now more important than ever to undertake further research to expand this evidence and to identify and fill evidence gaps.

Continuing to develop and expand our knowledge around sight loss and technology will help us better understand which audiences to target, how to reach them and how best to boost skills, knowledge and opportunities to engage with digital.

More information

Click here to download the full report.

For more technology research reports visit our Knowledge and Research Hub.

Visit the Technology for Life resource hub for introductory guides to help you understand the basics of different products, keep up-to-date with the world of technology, and get your digital knowledge flowing.

Date: 29 September 2021