Accessible Party Manifestos?

Peter Abrahams

Written By:
Published: 19th April, 2010
Content Copyright © 2010 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

With the issuing of the main party manifestos the elections in the UK are now in full swing.

With catch phrases like:

  • A Future Fair for All (Labour)
  • 4 Steps to a Fairer Britain (Lib Dems)
  • We are all in this together (Conservatives)

You could be lead to believe that inclusivity was important to all the parties and that would include fair access for people with disabilities. What better way to show this than by creating accessible manifestos which could be retrieved and then access by anyone whatever their level of disability.

So I thought I would look at the manifestos of the major parties, if I have time I will extend this review to other parties.

So in alphabetic order:


The manifesto page on the website clearly states that the manifesto is available in alternate formats and the audio version is available in downloadable chunks on this page.

There are two versions of the PDF one of which is much bigger than the other (3 MB v 77MB) but there is no explanation what the difference is besides the size (judging by the file name the bigger one is a higher resolution which is only relevant if you want to print it out on a quality printer).

The problem with both of the PDFs is that they are not tagged or bookmarked so they are not fully accessible.


The manifesto page does not include any information about alternative formats and does not give any information about the size nor the format of the downloadable version (it is 1.4MB PDF).

The PDF has bookmarks for the chapter headings and it is tagged. Unfortunately the tags are little use as they do not describe the structure of the document. The bookmark for the chapter on Growth does not work and worse still all the content of this chapter is not in the structure tree so does not get read out by the Read Out Loud function.

Lib Dems

The manifesto page does point to alternative formats if you look carefully ('More versions' is not such an obvious heading as 'Alternative formats') and the PDF versions are defined as such but the size is not given (it is 0.9MB).

The PDF version is not tagged or bookmarked.

The Result

None of them get it right but:

  1. Conservatives have the most complete and most easily found set of alternate formats. Shame that the PDF is not up to scratch.
  2. Lib Dem with alternative formats available if not obviously.
  3. Labour do not have any available accessible formats. It seems that a technician had some understanding of accessibility but did not know how to put it into action.

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