It may be surprising to a lot of people out there, but blind people do actually love television!
However there are some major roadblocks in the way when it comes to finding out what’s on TV as many of the menus and guides on set top boxes, such as Sky Q for example, are entirely inaccessible. Until now that is!
There’s been a major announcement from British satellite broadcaster Sky that it is launching a new Voice Guidance feature on it’s Sky Q platform which will make it the first broadcaster in the UK to offer such a way for blind people to use their services.
Voice Guidance works by reading aloud what is seen on screen as you navigate around using the remote control. For example, when you go into the TV guide and go to BBC 1, it will announce “BBC1” and then if you press the right arrow button it might say “Eastenders, 7.30pm” type of thing. It can be enabled under ‘Settings’ and ‘Accessibility’, or by holding in the Voice Control button on your Sky Q remote and saying “Turn Voice Guidance On” or “Turn Voice Guidance Off”.
This is being rolled out from March 31st and will be available to all customers by the end of April. It’s a huge success story for the RNIB who have been campaigning on this for many years, and a small victory for all of us who have been sharing our experiences with companies like Sky for years. Expect demos and more on this to come in upcoming blogs.