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Social media allows anyone with an internet connection to connect with other people and participate online, but for people with a hearing, sight or mobility impairment, social media websites and applications are not always easy to use. New research by Media Access Australia examines the accessibility of the most popular social media tools and shares practical advice from users on how to overcome inaccessible features.

The Mobile Matters report by project coordinator Leo Fieldgrass details the findings from a year-long youth participatory action research and advocacy program that involved over 100 Melbourne VCAL students. The student researchers documented the challenges faced by them and their peers and made recommendations to industry for changes to better support young consumers.

Students from the Youth Advocates Project by the Brotherhood of St Laurence have a clear message for telcos and regulators: "We want you to understand what it's like to be a young mobile consumer: we don't just use mobiles for mucking about. We use them for jobs and shifts, school, parents, and emergencies".

This research marks an exciting new phase in ACCAN’s advocacy for a fairer and more competitive communications market. Using qualitative and quantitative methodologies, the research goes to the heart of consumer relationships with their telecommunications providers and looks at why decisions in the market so often result in issues down the track. It helps us to gain insights into two broad areas:How are consumers navigating the telecommunications market, specifically in relation to experiences with confusion, information overload, and determining value and risk, and how can they fare better?

The Mind the Gap report, authored by Dr. Linda Leung from the University of Technology Sydney, explores the experiences of refugees as communications consumers in Australia, and describes a trial education program aimed at developing higher level communications literacies during the settlement process.

This short report details the development of the Newell Network website www.newell.org.au, a growing community-based space that empowers individuals with complex communication needs and support organisations to share information about telecommunciations products that work for them. The reflections on the project from Novita Children's Services and partners are a valuable record of the collaborative potential in a web 2.0 approach to empowering people with disabilities.

Only one household out of 30 in the Kwale Kwale, Mungalawuru, and Imangara communities in Central Australia is connected to the internet.  

The Home Internet for Remote Indigenous Communities provides a baseline study of communication use in these three remote communities. It includes an overview of existing policies, demonstrating the significance of the intersection between communications and social policy for indigenous consumers living in remote communities.

The Another Barrier? report provides a snapshot of the challenges faced by not-for-profit organisations and the people they support in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. As Australia moves into the era of the digital economy and the National Broadband Network (NBN), not-for profits are increasingly finding themselves as brokers of phone and internet access for their clients who continue to struggle with the basics of availability, affordability, and accessibility of ICT.

Telecommunications and Deafblind Australians provides the results of a survey of 71 respondents experiencing deafblindness and is the first research of its kind in Australia to focus specifically on telecommunications access and usage. The research, conducted by Able Australia and supported by a grant from ACCAN, calls for better support for deafblind Australians to access the customised telecommunications solutions that are vital to their day-to-day lives.

Research by Council of the Ageing (WA) has found that very few senior women are going online due to a lack of skills, anxiety about technology, cybercrime fears and problems with service providers. A research-based qualitative study supported by a grant from ACCAN, Where do I Start? Female Seniors and the Internet documents the experiences of 50 women in Western Australian, some who had used the internet before and some who had not.

The Footscray Legal Community Centre (FCLC) together with ACCAN has released a report entitiled Taking Advantage of Disadvantage: Case studies of refugee and new migrant experiences in the communications market, finding that in many cases telcos are taking advantage of this already disadvantaged and highly vulnerable group.

Fair Go: Complaint Resolution for Digital Australia offers insights into challenges faced at a time of rapid changes to the digital environment. The Occasional Paper, written by John T.D. Wood, was commissioned by ACCAN in order to broaden and stimulate debate regarding external complaints resolution schemes.

The tragic events in Queensland have demonstrated many of the strengths and unfortunately some of the weaknesses of Australia’s emergency services and warnings systems. This report explores one important dimension of our emergency management framework, namely access to emergency services and emergency information by people who have a disability, particularly those who are Deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment.