Sky Has Joined AppleVis, and We Would Welcome Your Feedback on the Accessibility of Our Various Apps

Accessibility Advocacy

Hello AppleVis Community,
Just to quick note to let you know that Sky, leading TV & broadband provider in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, is now on AppleVis.
Sky has a range of apps and services across Apple's various platforms, and we are keen to hear from you and interact with you as we continue to work on developing those apps and services to ensure they are accessible for all of our customers.
We are aware that some apps require development in this area, and changes don't always come overnight, but we are committed as a company to being best in class.
We look forward to hearing from you and receiving ongoing feedback.



Submitted by Bingo Little on Thursday, November 10, 2016


Reading the comments about the new Sky Q app, there appears to be a mixed picture. One or two are saying they really enjoy it, but it's clear there are some serious limitations and problems as the comment immediately previous to mine would indicate. I like the sound of the sky q upgrade, but would be concerned if I were able to do less than I currently can. In light of this I want to ask some clarificatory questions:

1. Is it true that recordings cannot be removed from the Sky Q planner using the app? If so, why so and what solutions are there for those of us with no sight who want to do this?
2. Is it true that one cannot play recordings on the TV using the app and that through the app one can only watch them on an iPhone or iPad? If so, wy so and is this likely to change or is this how sky Q is meant to work for everyone, blind or sighted?
3. Does the app have remote control functionality - changing channels, pause, rewind etc. or does that have to be done through a physical remote? Is any remote functionality the app has accessible?

I apologise if these questions read a little like a cross-examination, but to upgrade does require a degree of human investment (taking time off work to allow any installer to attend, for example) and even if it is a reversible process, that is rather a lot of hassle. I don't want to be lumbered with an app that has a lot of outstanding accessibility issues.

As the comment says above I am using the new app at the moment and you cannot play a recording and watch it on your TV at the moment so it is a guessing game at the moment on the app that when you want to watch West Wing on TTV you cannot play it via the app you have to go into your recordings scroll down and play every single episode and hope that you find the one episode that you are watching and at the moment they all come as like the iPhone they come as apps so That when you open one of these apps you have a subfolder up with those episodes in there I have also noticed that if two people are on the app at the same time the app becomes on usable as it is struggling to feed two people at the same time Another thing I have noticed on the new app is that it recycles every 20 seconds so if you are scrawling with your finger right you may get down to your fifth program and then it stops and bring to back to the very start again as if it is refreshing A good plus with the new app is that if you record an audio descriptive sure like a movie or TV series you can download it onto your iPhone or iPad or phone and bring it with you on the train or the bus and watch it with audio description that is very handy with the new app And if you want to watch TV in bed are in another room which your iPad or iPhone you can watch it via the TV guide on your phone and it also has audio description on that So at the moment if I want to watch a recording on the TV I must do as follows I go into the iPhone app go into recordings find say the West Wing come down how many times I must press down at the moment it is nine times close the app open up recordings on the TV go onto A-to-Z then press down nine times and press play that is at the moment the way I use the recordings on the TV which is very time-consuming annoying very annoying and irritating I do find that they have sky have gone very backwards with this app and box it is very basic you cannot change the contrast are colour of the box to indicate what is on the screen it is very hard to read it if you have poor eyesight it is too bright so I would prefer if they had black on white or yellow on black did you not give you any of those options there is no options there at the moment for that And when you are in your recordings you cannot scroll down your recordings and it highlights up yellow to indicate that the show is audio description again sky have messed up dad and have taken that away again why I do not know why they have done that it worked it was not broken do not fix it Also their new remark control is very awkward for visually impaired people are blind people as you cannot delete shows via the remote control any more as the coloured buttons do not work anymore you must go into your recordings and say again on the West Wing you press right once and it will be undelete are you scroll down there is a subfolder which will bring you onto series link channels as well so again it's all folders in folders in folders Anyway must go and I will watch the rest of the apprentice with Lord Sugar very good episode tonight enjoy

Submitted by Michael on Friday, November 11, 2016

Yes you can use Skype pass app with the new sky Q bot is has limited functionality You can view TV guide scroll down the TV channels you can also do a search and you can find programs to record and it will set them on to the sky Q app sorry Q box But again you cannot view your recordings are play your recordings in the old sky plus app for the new sky Q

Submitted by Bingo Little on Saturday, November 12, 2016

So, it is still a tale of work-arounds and mixed messages. I do think Sky need to respond to this thread as quickly as possible and try and account for some of these difficulties. I hate to be the lawyer about this, but as a contract lawyer I feel obliged to point out that there is an implied term in our contract with sky that Sky will provide services exercising reasonable care and skill (See Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 s.13) and if there are such serious shortcomings as this in the app it is at least arguable that this term (which might be classified as a condition) has been breached. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for the engagement Sky has demonstrated with this community. #but, you know, sometimes engagement is not sufficient from a commercial company. If there really are as may things that do not work as are being suggested, that is a matter of very serious concern.

Submitted by Michael on Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It seems that sky seem to be either very busy or sky seems to be either very very busy that they do not seem to be posting back to any of these posts They open up this forum room for us to give our feedback on their apps yes as you can see none have them have come back in the last while we are giving good feedback it would be great if sky would come back to us and say yeah we are looking at these new apps in progress et cetera et cetera Having recently installed the new sky Q app I find it is very lacking in accessibility you have to double tap the icons maybe twice are three times for it to go into work properly it does not focus properly there is a lot of issues with it so come on Skype you need to come onto this room and answer the questions will you be fixed in these apps in due process are are we forgotten about as it seems to be and again I do not know why sky does not give out their app to blind our vision impaired users for us to try Dees and we can squash the bugs in them very on early on in the process it is called beta testing sky so please try and implement this maybe for us

Submitted by SkyAccess on Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanks for all of the above comments. Michael I assure you that we are still monitoring the forum, most recently posting approximately ten days ago. Yes there do appear to be some limitations to the current version of the Sky Q app. The inability to manage recordings fully is not an accessibility issue as such, but I understand that it has a greater impact on VI users.
I am not in a position to say any more at this time, but I am in conversation with colleagues and hope to give more clarifications to the above questions in the next week or so.
In the meantime if you could provide details of any VoiceOver navigation issues affecting the app that would be appreciated. My own sense is that the iPad app is in a good place, but there are some issues to be ironed out in the iPhone version.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Monday, November 21, 2016

@SkyAccess thank you for getting back to us and I think the negative comments you're getting at present are borne of frustration at not being able to do what one would like, rather than the view that you have ceased monitoring the forum. Speaking for myself your engagement on here is very much appreciated. Having said that, and from the point of view of someone who could possibly look to upgrade over Christmas, it really would now be helpful to get some definitive word on what one can do, and what one can't do, with this app. For example, I would really like an answer to the question: if I have no sight, does the sky q app enable me to set a recording, find that recording and (if I can't watch it on my TV) at least send it to my iPad, all within the app? Am I able to interact with On demand content and, if I can't watch it on my TV, at least watch it on my iPad through the app? When I got Sky+ originally, long before the days of apps and suchlike, all I was able to do was change channels and set recordings on the sky website. Finding them using the physical remote was a matter of pot luck. I do not want to get Sky Q and be cabk to those primitive days again. I know sky Q is a potentially fantastic product and am totally sold on that, but I think some realistic appraisal would also be very helpful. I also realise that you are not able to say as much as you would like owing to terms and conditions of employment, but we all of us interested in this thread are loyal customers to sky (and again speaking for myself I very much enjoy it for the moast part) and I would suggest that raises a correlative right to make an informed choice.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Monday, November 21, 2016

Unfortunately, the latest update has not fixed the longstanding bug with news stories. Voiceover only reads the first story, and swiping through to the others is just met with silence. This bugg has been present for over a year now, and I wish it wasn't as sky sports used to be a perfect sports app, far more intuitive than anything else out there I thought. as it is, I very rarely if ever use it now I'm sorry to say. Is there any news of progress on this?

Submitted by SkyAccess on Friday, December 23, 2016

The below is a duplicate of a response I posted on the Sky+ site entry. Apologies to the site admins if this is not ideal.
Hi all and once again thanks for the comments. I absolutely understand your frustration. Firstly to answer one point, the agent you spoke to may not have been aware of our activity here as I am not a member of the Accessibility department directly, or a developer, I am a member of our Change & Improvements team. I assure you that I am not simply here of my own accord, though the accessibility issue is close to my heart.
Large company as we are, our developer resources are limited and always in demand. The Sky+ and Sky Go apps have received quite limited development in recent months, and as you know the accessibility challenges have not yet been addressed. Maintaining accessibility, and not just getting it in the initial release is certainly an important learning area for us. I will try to get more info on these apps.
The Sky Q apps, unlike some of our legacy apps, have been designed with accessibility in mind from the ground up, and though there are a few tweaks needed particularly on the iPhone version, the apps are in a good place from an accessibility perspective I believe. Sky Q is still a young and evolving platform, and so functionality is more limited in some areas. I have raised the issue of this having a disproportionate effect on visually impaired users in terms of the planner functionality. The team are currently focused on other elements of the project, but I will push for a clearer roadmap in the new year.
We will shortly be releasing a VoiceOver User Guide for the iPad version of the Sky Q app.
Other apps such as Sky Sports and Sky Kids are being worked on in the background.
I am not alone at the company in advocating for accessibility and more and more people who matter to us are understanding the message. We have engaged with the RNIB on a regular basis and have been training developers in accessibility. It is something we are taking seriously, even if change is not as quick as you would like.
Where we have visibility of roadmaps and I am permitted to share the information in a public forum, I will do so.
We have also had discussions about whether we could bring external app trialists on board and how this might work, and will post here if we are going to implement anything in that space.

Submitted by Steve on Saturday, December 31, 2016

Just to say I use the Sky Q app on my IPhone on a daily bases to set recordings and watch what I've recorded, either on the app or by downloading the programme to the On my IPhone section of the app and find it pretty accessible so thank you to Sky for that.
One thing that would be good in a later update (not really an accessibility thing though) would be the ability to use the app to play a programme on my sky q box so I can watch it via my TV. does that make sense? I never used the Sky + app but am I right in thinking this was possible with that app?

as Sky didn't answer your questions directly, I'll have a go as someone who uses the app daily if I may...
You can set recordings on the Sky q App, either by finding the programme you want in the TV guide or searching for the programme. You can't play a recorded programme on your TV with the app but you can play recordings on your IPad or IPhone. You can't delete watched recordings which is really annoying though not an accessibility issue as such. You can interact with on demand content although it won't have audio description if you need it. I hope this helps, if you are still considering getting Sky Q, on balance, I would say go for it.

I don't have sky Q, only Sky plus but I think one of the previous posts by sky on this topic does mention that you can in fact use the sky plus app to control your sky Q box to play recorded programs on your TV and manage the recordings I think you can also use the sky plus app to control a sky Q box in exactly the same way as you can a sky plus box.

I will correct you there I have had the sky plus app and use that very well I know I have moved onto Sky Q and no you cannot watch recorded shows on your TVV at the old sky plus app it does not work that way it will only allow you to search for programs and record them in the sky plus app it will also allow you to The old sky plus app will allow you to do a search and will let you record a short via the sky plus app but only a once off it will not allow you to do series is only the sky Q app will allow you to do series is when you have a Sky Q so in brief note the old sky plus app will not allow you to control your Sky Q it only gives you basic options as I said you cannot watch a recording because you cannot access any of your recordings on the old sky plus app so therefore it is quite limited you can do the basics but that would be about it so hopefully they update the Sky Q app because that is very nice XS a bell at the moment you need to be double tapping quite a lot and it is very glitchy so hopefully sky fixes this is you as they have recently updated the sky sports app and also the sky plus app so hopefully they will catch up and do this because it needs a lot of updating

Submitted by Steve on Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hi Sky Access.
Since the latest update to the sky Q app, the video player both on live TV or recordings/catchup has become inaccessible to voiceover users, unless anyone else can tell me how to work around it. basically I can now only hear how long a programme has played for an how long is left, I can't fast forward anymore like I used to be able to-- very annoying as means I have to listen to the ads!

Submitted by Andre Louis on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Greetings. As a previous Sky Plus subscriber, I thought recently to upgrade to Sky Q, but honestly I'm not sure I'd have bothered had I known about the rather unfortunate lack of in-house testing done on the Sky Q app, with regards accessibility.
Sky Plus was average at best, but I could at least get what I wanted, done. I could change the TV channel from the app and my box would switch to whatever channel I'd chosen. In the 'NEW' Q app, no such functionality exists.
Typing in a number on the remote itself isn't bothersome of course, it's a remote, it has standard controls, but if you didn't know the number of a channel, it was easy enough to look it up in the Plus app, and tap the button to the left of the channel, for your box to then switch to it.
Also with Q, not always knowing if you're in a menu proves rather fun sometimes. Type in a number for either nothing to happen, or you to end up playing radio, or the wrong channel, or once, even making the box turn off as far as I could tell.
I strongly wish for the remote section to come back in the Q app, it gave me a sense of freedom and not having to wonder where my children left the remote at any given time.

My main and most upsetting gripe with the app is now it is impossible to play recordings back on the TV from the app. When my children were younger, I'd load up Plus, find the program they wanted to watch and tell it to play, which it would do. Very simple, very effective.
Now with Q, I can play it on my device, download it to the box but... Not actually play it on the box. Why?
I'm now left to wait for my wife to choose to play recordings back for me on the TV, like in the 'Good Old Days' and it's quite frankly irritating and a huge step back.
I used to feel empowered, independent and like I could do what I wanted, with the TV service I pay for. Now I'm back to having to get help to play content back where I want it. I don't want to always play content on my phone, just because I used an app on my phone to start it, and nor should I be forced to.
I *strongly* believe this was entirely the wrong step to take, and is a regression not a progression in terms of accessibility and usefulness with regards the Sky Q app, and can only hope that this kind of functionality will be addressed again in the future.

Just because there's a lovely new touch-based remote, and just because we can search with our voice, that simply does not suit everybody and nor should it have to.
What's wrong with starting a program playing back on the big-screen when I have friends over, and no sighted person in the house to help me set that up? Should we be relegated to all cramming around a phone speaker just because the powers that be, have decided 'Well, why would people ever need that functionality anyway?' No, I don't think so. It is not acceptable, and I refuse to stand for it.
I **WANT** my independence back, and I will campaign for it until I am heard officially, the best way I know how.

Who's with me?

Submitted by Donal on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Good morning,

As someone with extensive experience in both software development and more relevantly usability, I would like to comment that (in my view of course) the Sky Q app, when run on an iPhone, is a dreadful user experience. Here are just some of the issues that degrades the interaction and means that Sky Q is a significant retrograde step from SkyPlus.

1. On launching the app, one is presented with a menu including TV guide, Catch-up TV etc. The Based on prior knowledge, one assumes that these elements are available for interaction, however one must press a "hamburger menu" button in order to do so. this menu button is some way down the screen (according to tab order), thereby making the interaction clunky at best, confusing at worst.
2. The old SkyPlus app had the facility to search for a programme using the TV guide, then to select that offering and play back on the television. given the lack of accessibility of the EPG on sky boxes, this was invaluable. Sky Q does not offer this facility and to some extent renders the platform useless. Not everyone wants to watch programmes on their i-Device.
3. some buttons on the app are poorly labeled; for example "search icon" etc.

I could go on about the usability issues here, but I really cannot recommend this app at all.

Submitted by SkyAccess on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Many thanks for the feedback on this app. To address your points.
It is true that the app does not currently include remote control functionality, meaning you cannot change the channel on your TV, manage your Planner or select programmes from your Planner to watch on the TV. As mentioned elsewhere on this site I believe, this is a limitation which is known and the functionality is on the roadmap for future development. We fully acknowledge though that it's current ommission has a more significant impact on this community, as the app would be your primary method of managing your Sky system. I have fed this point back to the development team.
You should be able to set recordings and watch on the app at least, though again we acknowledge this is not yet the full functionality you would like to see.
I am disappointed to hear that navigation is proving difficult. The team made a concerted effort in developing the Sky Q apps to ensure VoiceOver accessibility. However we are aware at this stage that the iPad version received more attention in this respect, and that some rough edges remained in the iPhone version. I have reproduced your experience Donal and see what you mean. Those elements should ideally be removed from the tab order on this screen. A tip in the meantime would be to explore the screen and find the Hamburger menu button in the top left and go from there. If you open this menu, then the list will appear and be active. Another issue is the menu doesn't slide away when it should, so again exploring is the best option, in TV Guide for example, find the channel list on the very right and double-tap to dismiss the menu. The few poorly labelled buttons are known, but I will raise these again.

Submitted by Donal on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

In reply to by SkyAccess

Hi there,

Firstly, I should point out that the intention in my post wasn't to "shoot the messenger". You've kindly joined this site, and your participation is appreciated.

Regarding your exploration tip: the issue there is that, to the voiceover user, that menu isn't in the top left; It's way down the tab order. I think, were I doing the UX on this project, I'd divide it into two phases:

1. Solve UI issues such as button labeling and navigation issues;
2. remote control functionality. The latter is something that isn't specific to blind users, though as you state, its lack does impact users who rely on Voiceover more than others.

Regards and again thanks.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Tuesday, April 4, 2017


I appreciate that sky Q is a work in progress. However, if you take these issues with the ones that have now crept into the sky+ app, blind consumers are faced with a double-edged sword: go one way and you lose the ability to use the remote, select recordings and play them on the big screen; go the other and you can't read the planner. It's worth reiterating that I appreciate skyAccess' engagement with this forum, and I have no reason to doubt that you are making representations about the issues we raise, but it does not seem that other Sky departments are as persuaded by your representations as they should be. We now have two TV-watching solutions that are, in different ways, profoundly unsatisfactory due to their supporting apps, and although I know you are aware that this impacts blind consumers more than others I'm not sure how far this awareness is shared within sky. The evidence would suggest that your representations have not yet been fully taken on board.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Friday, May 12, 2017

Hi. I've just spoken with Andy at New Media which is the department of sky that manages the apps. They have told me they have had 20 people so far report the issue with the planner and search results not reading but they say they are aware of many more that have been on forums but have not raised the issue with them. This is a numbers game and Sky have said that basically the more people report it the higher the priority it will get. Please please call Sky and report it on the usual number. Mentioning the issue on here, no matter what our friend from sky says, will not get the issue escalated.

Submitted by Andrew on Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hello SkyAccess

Is there any update on the development of the Sky Q App? I have just got Sky Q and like many on this forum I am really disappointed at the omission of remote controle functionality within the app and being able to explore and request on demand Tv to download to the Sky Q box.

A lot of people have been saying the omission of the remote controle feature within the Sky Q app is not an accessibility feature. I would argue that it most certainly is an accessibility feature. In fact without this feature it is virtually impossible for a blind or partially sighted person to use the TV guide independently.

Another important point I would like to make is why should Sky need to use apps or other third party technology to make their system accessible? The best feature I think we all dream about is a Sky system that has its own off the shelf screan reader to read aloud navigation and menus. For all the cutting edge technology their is housed within Sky Q, I'm sure this would be a reasonable achievement.

I have some little sight left so can get very close to the TV to change Chanel and navigate. But I would be so happy to see the Sky Q app fully accessible and finally a screen reader for the Sky Q hardware.

I've actually requested to have my old Sky HD system put back in place as I am in a cooling off period. After reading this forum I am wondering whether it's worth holding on to Sky Q for the future developments. I'll probably want to go back to Sky Q in the future and knowing my luck it will be more expensive. I got a very good deal of £60 upgrade.

Thank you SkyAccess for joining this forum.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Monday, May 29, 2017


Just checking this topic since last I posted a few weeks ago and thought I would take the opportunity to reiterate two points I have made earlier and on neither of which there appears to have been substantive progress:

1. The double-edged sword: we now have two TV-watching solutions from sky, namely sky Q and Sky+ available to us. The current state of app development means that both are significantly limited in different ways. Buy SkyQ and you lose the remote control functionality, the ability to use the app to watch programmes on the big screen, and the ability to delete recordings. stick with sky+ and you can't navigate the planner with Voiceover. I termed this a double-edged sword a few weeks ago in the hope that by doing so I would really, really focus the mind on what is giving rise to all this frustration on here, namely that neither solution works well and it's merely a choice of which mistakes or limitations the blind consumer is willing to tolerate. Given that my intention was to focus the mind on the horns of this dilemma, and notwithstanding that I recognise and appreciate sky's engagement with this forum, the lack of progress or indeed response in the intervening time has been really very disappointing.

2. A while back, I believe under this post, I also highlighted ongoing accessibility issues wwith the sky Sports app. Most prominent among these was the inability to navigate through the top stories screen, with voiceover only reading out the first of the top stories and remaining silent on all the others. This is not an issue with sky News, where everything still works as it should. I do not understand this. Albeit that I am no expert, the setup of the news and sports apps looks very similar, so why one should work and the other not is a mystery. In any case, that this bug has persisted for a couple of years now is again very disappointing.

I understand that resources are limited. But that argument can only go so far. I'm not sure it's a good enough answer in light of all that I have said.

Submitted by EmmaM on Monday, July 10, 2017

I am newly blind, having had some limited sight for a few years. We have sky q which I could work ok with limited sight but now is completely inaccessible. I can't navigate the menus on screen at all! And the sky q app is good using voice over but doesn't provide audio description which makes the programmes vastly reduced. This needs to change, I shouldn't have to have sighted help to enjoy the sky q we pay for!

Submitted by Lee on Monday, July 10, 2017

Hi, Just to add what Emma has said re Sky Q. I find it very odd that if you have an AD recording on the Sky Q box (main or mini) that when you try to use the box to play that recording back it doesn't give the AD track. Why is this? Or is there a way of playing it that I'm missing? If you can record AD/play live AD why not the recordings.

Submitted by SkyAccess on Monday, July 10, 2017

Hi Emma and Lee, thanks for your comments. Regarding audio description in the Sky Q app, if you are watching a show in the Sky Q app while inside the home, if the show has AD then you should be able to access the AD in the app as you are effectively streaming from the main Sky Q box. At this time we cannot offer AD for On Demand content, or internet streaming content (such as live TV while outside the home), though hope this will become available in the future. Lee, if you are watching a show which had AD when it was live, then the AD should be available in the recording too. As that is not entirely an Apple related question, and may require more assistance than I can give in this forum, may I recommend you call our Accessibility team on 03442410333 in the UK, or 0818719809 in the Republic of Ireland. Many thanks.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Monday, July 10, 2017

@SkyAccess please could you answer the queries that have been raised, not just by me, but by others about the Sky+ ongoing issues? it is so, so unsatisfactory that both SkyQ and Sky+ are falling short in terms of accessibility so dramatically. For my part, every time and update to Sky+ is released I hope against hope that the planner functionality will return, all to no avail. I would upgrade to SkyQ, but it seems that if I do so I shall simply be swapping one set of issues for another. In recognition of the fact that Sky are engaging with this community I really am trying to be as polite as possible about this; but as I think alex Wallace has said elsewhere on this site, it is as though Sky have pretty much decided to abandon Sky+ in the expectation that we will all upgrade. That would be a reasonable enough policy, were it not for the fact that SkyQ is itself limited in terms of accessibility, albeit in different ways. I am fully aware of the response that seems to be put out there of late, namely that if you're worried about these issues you should report them to Sky. Well, I have done that but no progress has been made. We all have fairly pricy contracts with Sky and I would have thought that more weight would be accorded to this factor.

Submitted by StevenM on Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hi. it now seems that if something has been recorded with AD on it, you can't watch it with the AD track through the app. This has been possible previously and when someone else rased it above I thought they were mistaken but it seems they were quite right. Along with this issue, and the reduced accessibility of the player (I used to be able to rewind/fast worward through my programmes on the app and now I can't) I feel the Sky Q service has actually gone backwards. One of the reasons for getting Sky Q was that the app would allow me to access my recorded programmes in an accessible way now that this is being chipped away at and you are not providing any satisfactory answers, I feel I need to consider my continued contract which ends soon. I pay Sky a lot of money and don't feel I'm getting a comparable service to sighted users, not only this, but I'm getting a worse service than I was when I got Sky Q last year.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hi all. I've finally managed to get back on here after bricking my IPhone running the IOS11 beta. It got bricked during a restore to the extent even apple couldn't resolve it so was given a replacement. Re the on-going issues with Sky, can I suggest we combine forces and consider our options whether that be initially a formal email to sky with all parties signing it in some form (someone could create one and then forward it to the next person and so on until as many people as possible have forwarded it to acknowledge their agreement), or one of us could contact RNIB sign posting them to this forum and seeing if perhaps they would support more formal action i.e. a group letter to the chief executive or even possible legal action. I and many others on here have shown restraint and understanding to the difficulties sky may have in resolving this but personally my patience has run out. Could anyone who would like to be involved please state such in the comments and then we can get something going. If you know others affected please ask them to come on here and do the same. Could the sky representative on here please forward this thread to someone more senior to make them aware of possible repercussions.

Submitted by SkyAccess on Friday, July 14, 2017

Hi. To those reporting issues accessing AD in recordings in the Sky Q iOS app, we are currently investigating this. Could you please describe step by step what you are doing so I can give the best possible information to the developer team. Also, is this happening on iPhone, iPad or both? Many thanks.

Submitted by SkyAccess on Friday, July 14, 2017

Hi Peter. We do have regular contact with the RNIB, and I do report on what is said on this forum. That being said, I will in no way try to disuade you from your suggestion, and will absolutely bring this post to the attention of others. I mean it genuinely when I say thank you for working to improve the accessibility of Sky products.

Submitted by Lee on Friday, July 14, 2017

Hi SkyAccess. Basically on the box you record a programme with AD. On the Sky Q app (iPhone) you can find the recordings tab. By the way that isn't easy to select. You find the program you want to play on the box via the app. The program plays on the tv but the AD track is missing. Now is this because when I'm trying to play via the App I've set it up to use AirPlay as I hadn't figured a way to directly play the program via the tv in any other way. Does that make sense?

Hi Lee. how do you even make your recordings play through the tv as I can only play my programmes through the app. to sky access, my process as lee as indicated above. i select the recordings tab in the iphone app then choose my recording which used to then play with ad but now doesn't.

Submitted by Lee on Friday, July 14, 2017

Hi Steve, AirPlay allows you to play any app that can access media via the tv/box you choose. So what I do is open say audible and select a book. Then from the book you have an option of AirPlay. If you select this you then have options to select where the output goes. So by default iPhone. I have 2 Sky Q mini boxes and the main Sky Q box. They are kind of random numbers but with trial and error you can work out which is which. Select this. Once done audible or any other media will then play via the box selected. So I then go to the Sky Q app and follow the above to play the recording. The bit which is odd is that the recording was made using AD so in theory it should play with that track as directly picking it from the box will play it back. I'm simply choosing a different way to play output I thought.

i'd never thought to use air play before. just done it and it worked a treat so thank you. if there was a way to use the sky q remote to fast forward through the ads i'd be even hapier lol

Submitted by SkyAccess on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hi All. Just a note to let you know that the Sky Sports for iPhone app has received a major update and can be downloaded from the App Store. VoiceOver support is vastly improved from the previous version, though there are a few niggley issues to be looked at. Your feedback would be much appreciated.

Submitted by Mike Taylor on Monday, September 4, 2017

Great to have Sky Access here. I don't want to duplicate my posts over various threads, so all I will say is that I recently contacted Sky about the planner and remote aspects of sky plus. While it is currently not possible to do anything other than select the different programme categories, this makes the planner in-possible to access and use. It is also not possible to rewind or fast forward, when using the sky plus iOS app.
Hopefully this will improve soon. When thinking about testing though, I would ask sky to again.consider allowing testing externally as well as in-house. This will give greater numbers in user feedback, which will enable the developers to pin point any issues.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Monday, April 16, 2018

HI. Hopefully a sky representative will respond to this. I upgraded to Sky Q three weeks ago. I'm totally blind and live alone. Firstly, the only way to play something specific on the box is with voice recognition. While pretty good, if you don't know the exact name of the programme you want or if there are similar entries then the messages displayed on screen are useless. When upgrading I was told that to use the app I needed sky multiroom costing me an extra £12 a month despite not wanting the extra mini box. Then yesterday when having a discussion with your colleagues about the lack of accessibility, I was advised I didn't need multiroom to use the app. However, frustratingly now that multiroom has been taken off my account I can no longer see the list of recordings in the app that are on my box. I don't want to play them in the app, I just want to be able to see what is recorded so I can tell the box to play it. As I'm also unable to delete programmes from the box using the app everything I record is still on the box so it's going to get even more tricky to use with voice recognition even if I could see the list of recordings on the app. I'm very close to having sky removed altogether. Really not good enough and tomorrow afternoon I'm going to seek legal advice from a solicitor, CAB, speak to OFCOM and do what I can to try get something happening as I'm sick of being fobbed off. Yes, individual staff are polite and do what they can but as an organisation nothing seems to be changing. If anything getting worse despite the help of the accessibility team who unfortunately seem to have very little info. If anyone else would be interested in helping me take this further then please email It's not as though I'm just moaning, I've offered to do beta testing for the app and even the box on the software if possible and if anything is close to improving things. At the very least those who will need multiscreen just to have the tinyest bit more access to their recordings shouldn't be being charged the £12.

Submitted by alex wallis on Monday, April 16, 2018

Hi Peter, I really feel for you, sky don't give a damn about accessibility, instead they post regular updates to there account maintenance app my sky.
It took sky over a year to fix the planner accessibility issue introduced for sky plus users with ios 10, really we as blind users are below the bottom of the heap as far as sky are concerned, we gave them loads of good feedback on ways the sky plus app can be improved for blind users, i.e rotor support, bulk delete for shows, lots of other ideas. guess what they don't give a damn about any of it as an organization, the sky rep called sky access on applevis is polite but no disrespect to him, he is the monkey not the organ grinder he can make no decisions and seemingly has little influence on priorities.
I must admit this state of affairs does concern me, as I understand it new sky customers are forced on to sky q, and I believe sky q is now the only box available when you join sky, so what happens when my existing box breaks. also my dad has muttered in the past about going on to sky q because of it supporting 4k tv or something visual anyway that I don't need that sky plus doesn't support. so basically I am going to have to keep holding him back just so I can have quality of life and control over my own tv watching. also I don't like the thought of all recordings being done on one box and him being able to snoop through what I watch.
I think maybe contacting the in touch program on radio 4 could be a good idea, and also maybe the consumer affairs program you and yours, I would gladly join in with this effort, as sky have shown utter contempt for our needs and suggestions as an organization.
also, they keep claiming that sky plus as a system isn't retired, yet they have only posted I think its one update in the past two or three years.
I think also sky has two many apps and should consider shutting several of them down to allow for targeting and better use of resources. I would say surely you have grounds for getting out of your contract as effectively you have a next to useless service. though I believe that virgin media also suffers from poor accessibility as well.
this is symptomatic of a wider problem though in that a lot of on demand tv apps suffer with poor accessibility or even total inaccessibility, the digital economy bill mandates that on demand tv systems should offer audio description, but I believe don't stipulate that they have to be accessible.
I also find the situation with most dvds utterly bazaar in that they offer audio description but without accessible menus, the only ones I have come across that are acceptions to this are the bbcs doctor who dvds, so of course there are ways around it for dvds but point is its not so easy if you want to watch one on the tv alone without jumping through hoops of pulling the audio off etc.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Monday, April 16, 2018

Thank you for your support. Sky have said that I can downgrade at any time even outside of the initial first month but of course sky plus still has its issues as well. I don’t think cancelling my contract should be an issue although my ultrafast 1 Gb fibre broadband connection relies on me keeping TV package to some extent. They have also told me that they have sky plus boxes still in production as they still have a significant number of customers on sky plus and new blind customers should be able to opt for those boxes due to the access ability issues. Person either, I feel that that is just a way of avoiding their responsibilities to ensure the new service is accessible. I’ll post on here tomorrow evening if I find out something helpful after making my phone calls. If anybody else wants to support my action please post here as we all need to stick together to make this happen.

Submitted by alex wallis on Monday, April 16, 2018

hmm I wonder if it could be worth writing to the ceo of sky, with it being such a big organization maybe he isn't aware what his underlings are failing to do further down the chain. unfortunately I doubt people like rnib will be any help they exist souly to look out for themselves and were certainly useless when I tried to enlist support from them about my 5's accessibility.

Submitted by Brennen on Monday, April 16, 2018

hi do you guys have any apps available in the u.s.

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hi. To see an update on Sky's response to my action against them re sky accessibility please see the forum "Has anybody in the UK tried the new Sky Q app?"

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hi all. Apologies for the slow updates but this is a lengthy process which is not yet over. I'm going to copy a letter I've received from Sky's legal team but needless to say, I have a lot of questions. Please do not all start calling Sky customer services to ask for a refund of sky multiroom charges as I'm trying to clarify if and how sky intend to make blind customers aware of this etc. Please be aware in my grievance I haven't just focused on Sky Q as I too have been there for all of the other issues relating to other Sky services including Sky+. See letter below and more to follow soon. This is now being escalated to CISAS who have 20 day to consider my grievance and their decision and any recommendations that come from it are legally binding and Sky have said they will abide by them. I do not have to accept the decision of CISAS and can progress this to court if I feel it's. Disappointingly only one person off here offered any kind of input or help but I'm guessing those affected will be wanting their refunds.
Dear Mr. Holdstock
Reply to formal complaint of alleged indirect discrimination and failure to make a reasonable adjustment
We refer to letter of 27th May 2018 and further to your recent discussions with our Customer Priority Department. While we have taken full note and careful consideration of your comments, we do not intend in this letter to reply directly to all of your allegations against Sky, and its alleged failure to comply with its legal obligations to you. We understand that your core concern is to be involved with Sky’s continued development of features and services (in particular relating to Sky Q) to improve the quality of service Sky offers to its blind and partially sighted customers.
While we deny any discrimination in the Sky Q services we make available to blind people or any breaches of relevant Ofcom requirements, we acknowledge that there are opportunities to make certain aspects of our services even better and we are committed to doing so. In particular, we are making certain functionality of the Sky Q Multiscreen subscription available without additional charge for our blind customers, so that they may properly navigate a list of their Sky+ recordings via the Sky Q app. In addition, we will be providing greater awareness to our customers of the Voice Search and Voice Control button on the Sky Q remote control. By pressing down this button (which is on the top right of the remote control) customers can ask to be taken to specific programmes and/or Sky+ recordings they have made. While this is not a complete solution to the text to speak issue you identify, it does provide a mechanism to play content on the main screen, while we develop a comprehensive and fully integrated approach to meeting this challenge.
In addition to the measures set out above, we would like to invite you (at our expense) to visit our offices to give you the opportunity to meet the product teams to discuss your experience with them and share your insight on high quality, customer-focused, high tech solutions for our visually impaired customers.
We would also like to offer you a full refund of amounts paid by you to date for your Sky Q Multiscreen subscription.
Yours sincerely,
Rafat Rasul
Paralegal, TMT & Litigation

Submitted by Peter Holdstock on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Just my reply to Sky's last letter. Happy to hear your thoughts.
Dear Mr Rasul

Thank you for your letter dated 12 July which despite my prior request for it to be sent by email as I am blind and therefore unable to read a printed letter, I actually only received an email copy on 17 July and when speaking to your colleagues on the Priority Customer team only yesterday, a number of them confirmed that they had spoken to your team and as of yesterday the letter hadn’t been sent. I clarify this only for the purposes of keeping a full timeline of events).

I will do my best to cover points made in your letter in order;
• “we do not intend in this letter to reply directly to all of your allegations against Sky,” – will I receive a further reply re my other issues or is there good reason why you are not able to address these?
• “We understand that your core concern is to be involved with Sky’s continued development of features and services (in particular relating to Sky Q) to improve the quality of service Sky offers to its blind and partially sighted customers.“ – This was not my core concern at all and my enthusiasm to be able to assist with addressing accessibility issues on the Sky platform was purely to support Sky as a typical blind user of the system and for me not to seem like someone criticising without showing a willingness to aid the changes needed.
• “In particular, we are making certain functionality of the Sky Q Multiscreen subscription available without additional charge for our blind customers, so that they may properly navigate a list of their Sky+ recordings via the Sky Q app.” – Genius idea, who came up with that? That would be my idea and for six months I asked for this and despite asking for it as a reasonable adjustment staff on both the Accessibility team and the Priority Customer team insisted that it would not be possible. Even when I attempted to make a complaint, an Accessibility team manager (Careon) replied on 8 May by email making it quite clear “this is Sky’s position on the matter” and giving me the impression that this position would not change. – This is the failure to make a reasonable adjustment. I acknowledge that it may not have been obvious for Sky to anticipate that such an adjustment would help, but once I requested this as an adjustment Sky cannot claim that it wasn’t reasonable for them to know this.
• “In addition, we will be providing greater awareness to our customers of the Voice Search and Voice Control button on the Sky Q remote control.” – I mentioned the issue of Voice Recognition and the problem of silent messages appearing on the screen which then stop Voice Recognition and other remote functions from working. I suggested a simple bleep to let the user know some kind of interaction is needed would be helpful. No mention of this and this could make Voice Recognition an unsuitable option for those completely blind and less technically minded.
• In regard to your invitation to come to your offices, meet the product teams etc, I would very much like to accept that offer and I look forward to hearing from someone to arrange this.
• In regard to a refund of my Sky Q Multiroom subscription, while I am grateful for this, I am disappointed that no offer of reasonable compensation for the significant stress, use of my time (literally tens of hours), the impact of offensive statements made by Sky employees directly relating to my request for a reasonable adjustment due to my disability such as “well you chose to have Sky and other services are available” and “Why would we give you Sky Multiroom for free when we wouldn’t do it for anyone else”. The latter statement came from a manager on the Accessibility team which I feel makes it even worse. Indeed, to make matters worse there was no reference to these allegations in your reply. Did anyone actually listen to the phone calls as I suggested? Do they still exist or has the length of time passed meant that they have been deleted?

Also, how does Sky intend to make blind customers aware of this offer and will the offer be backdated as you have for me?

I appreciate there are several points you may want to come back to clarify and so I’m open to still communicating and attempting to resolve this matter. However, in the meantime I will be escalating my case to CISAS as I feel they will be better placed to get to the bottom of some of my concerns and make an appropriate and independent judgement.

Given the lengthy nature of this process so far, I would kindly request a reply by email within seven days from my sending this email.

Kind regards