Breaking Barriers: IBM Commits to Improve the Accessibility of SPSS for Blind and Partially Sighted Users

In July 2023, Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) launched a report highlighting the barriers faced by blind and partially sighted students’ when using SPSS, a data analysis software owned by IBM and used widely in colleges and universities.

Our report found SPSS to be inaccessible and unusable whilst running assistive technology, such as magnification and screen reader.

We called on IBM to update SPSS and ensure it is accessible by design, enable assistive technology to be compatible with the software without adjustments, and evaluate processes for the development and promotion of accessibility resources for blind and partially sighted users and education providers.

You can read the report here.

We are now delighted to confirm since the launch of the report we have had positive engagement with IBM.

TPT and IBM will be working jointly to form a team to review and resolve the issues our users have been experiencing. This team will review and test updates to the software to ensure assistive technology, such as magnification and screen readers, can be used alongside SPSS.

Emma Hughes, Director of Services at TPT, said:

‘This is a thrilling and unique opportunity to be working alongside IBM. We have brought the challenges faced by blind and partially sighted students using SPSS to IBM. However, the next steps are what we do best providing support and guidance for the wider world;  improve quality of services and products. The work with IBM is a perfect example of how we can have a positive impact.’

We look forward to developing this partnership in the coming months. Watch this space for further updates!

If you would like further details, or learn more about our education campaigns, you can visit our Education Policy webpages, or contact us at

If you are a student looking for support and advice, or a professional supporting a blind or partially sighted student, you can find the answers and support you need from our Student Support Service.

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