At Invillia, every Wednesday at noon, we stop for an hour to nourish ourselves with the tips, how-tos, good practices and trends selected by our specialists in Product, Agile, Back and Front, Mobile, Quality, Security and Data. A vital exchange of experiences for those who love the new. And essential for innovation to never stop. If technology is in the blood. We make sure to keep it circulating more and more_
IN THE VEIN_ Innovation within everyone’s reach_
In today’s article, we leave the main lessons learned from the inspiring Accessibility and Inclusion edition, presented by Julio Daniel, our expert on the subject.
What is Accessibility and Inclusion?
Accessibility is the set of measures with the objective of guaranteeing access and adaptation to a place, service, product or information, in a safe and autonomous way, for people with special needs. Inclusion is a value, a culture in which there is no differentiating perspective. It involves both Accessibility and breaking down the attitudinal barrier, commonly referred to as prejudice.
Worldwide there are 1 billion people with some type of disability, which represents 13.03% of the population (data from WHO). In Brazil, this number rises to 45 million people, which is equivalent to 25% of the population (IBGE data). The Accessibility and Inclusion area brings a giant differential to all of them, offering equal opportunities regardless of their capacity or circumstances.
Understanding the lives of people with disabilities
If we leave the theory behind, we can better understand the daily lives of people with disabilities. Listening to their word, witnessing their experience and acting with more empirical information, based on facts. Bearing in mind that, due to the issue of prejudice, many are afraid to express their feelings. When they see that we participate in their space, that we are interested in knowing their reality and solving their problems, they feel more comfortable in sharing opinions and it is possible to evolve together.
The following two testimonials are an example. One by a writer with several books on language and communication, and the other by a person with cerebral palsy with whom Julio Daniel actively collaborates in innovation and rehabilitation projects. His hero, as he affectionately calls him and inspires us.
“I was born cross-eyed (strabismus) and, after two corrective surgeries, I thought I could see like everyone else. But I still had problems driving, climbing stairs and playing sports” – Susanna Zaraysky, Writer – USA
This is one of the cases of hidden disability. Similar to dyslexia and color blindness. People can go years without knowing why some basic daily activities, including interactions with technology, are so challenging. Making digital products and services accessible and inclusive means benefiting them all, improving their world, whatever their degree of disability.
“I would like to be a singer, but people look at me strangely and I don’t know how to do that, maybe if I were like the others I could do it” – Agustin, 18 years old – Argentina, Cerebral palsy
Talking about how to make the world better for others, let’s meet Agustin. He lives in Julio Daniel’s homeland and has cerebral palsy, caused by abnormal developments in parts of the brain that control movement. At the moment, science cannot avoid these problems. But we, as people working on Accessibility and Inclusion, can make a difference with very little.
Through his programming background and in partnership with a colleague, Julio Daniel took advantage of an existing open source project (so-called inclusive programming) and adapted it to Agustin’s needs. With the “Enable by a Cam” software, he can perform the play, pause and stop actions, and control the subtitles from the movement of the face. Thanks to him, Agustin gained confidence, participates in karaokes and sings at parties :-). His happiness is only comparable to that of Julio Daniel, who opened a previously closed path. Quite an achievement, right?
Accessibility and Inclusion principles
It’s time to think about design and programming. But first, it’s necessary to understand the importance of the Accessibility and Inclusion principles. Let’s get to know some tips and their relationship with the WCAG guidelines. Applicable not just on websites, but on applications, software and video games.
1st Principle: Provide a comparable experience
Some people can see. Others can’t. Some people can hear. Others can’t. Some can move. Others can’t. Don’t just think about providing an alternative solution, instead think about how you can provide equivalent access for people with different types of disabilities.
With audio description, subtitles, alt-text on images. For example, the alternative text makes it possible to use a Text Reader to interpret the images, transforming the title and description placed during the upload into voice.
2nd Principle: Give control
Users must have the control to interact, access and complete all the tasks they want. People must have full control over their interface. Do not disable default browser controls such as orientation, font size, zoom.
For example, allow the user to easily stop animations and zoom. Note here that animations with a very fast frame cause problems for people with convulsions.
3rd Principle – Offer choice
Provide different ways to complete the same task. Adopting alternative ways of using the layout or completing an action is a good way to ensure that users will have the option to choose the one that best suits their needs.
For example, allow users to visualize data in tables and graphs, offer a grid and list option. This area essentially deals with mobile.
4th Principle – Consider the situation
People can access content in a variety of situations: such as at the office, on the bus, walking on the street or lying down. Each of them affects how they will use your interface, so be aware of that.
For example, provide good contrast and subtitles. Contrast is very helpful for people with dyslexia or vision difficulties. There are tools like Contrast Checker that allow to simulate and assess its degree based on text and background color.
5th Principle – Prioritize the content
Make sure key resources are easily distinguished from the rest. Before you start creating, it’s important to understand the content and prioritize the most important tasks and information.
For example, ensure that the most important content is easier to identify. This is more related to the information architecture, with the highlight of the CTA (Call to Action) buttons, where you want to execute a trigger.
6th Principle – Add value
How much value can a new feature add to the experience of different audiences? What you add must provide efficient ways to find and interact with content.
For example, provide integration with connected devices, voice, geolocation, vibration, text reader. Functions we’ve already been able to find in the Accessibility options on Android and iOS.
The various existing open-source libraries and frameworks also facilitate and accelerate the application of these principles. Which function as the reason for the change. From the simplest things, but with a huge impact.
In conclusion: Innovating without leaving anyone out
“Today’s products must be accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. Designing for users with disabilities is an example of how professionals can practice empathy and learn to experience the world from someone else’s perspective.” - Nick Babich, Developer.
Because among the target audience of any innovation there is always someone with special needs. And we have the role of alerting for this issue, involving the various stakeholders and team members. Evangelizing, inspiring, raising awareness, sharing the “what”, the “why” and the “how”. And thinking holistically, incrementally. Having Accessibility and Inclusion as a priority to not leave anyone out and fulfill the purpose and vision. This human question needs to be part of the journey. And it’s not antagonistic to the business. It enriches it. Allows reaching more people. It is often small actions that bring incredible results.
That’s what we believe at Invillia and what we’re committed to. Adding value, harnessing all the power of technology to make Accessibility and Inclusion something that is part of everyday life. Enabling everyone to enjoy what is most fantastic in each segment. It’s our Global Growth Framework in action. Engaged by Data, People and Action_
Let’s innovate together in an inclusive way!
Bibliography and Credits
- Accessibility SheIsACreative
- Inclusive Design for a Digital World. Regine M. Gilbert.
- Accessibility for Visual Design. Nick Babich
- Luciane Midori Kadomoto Bezerra. Psychologist-USP.
- Dr. Scott Rains: North American activist for Accessibility, Inclusion and Human Rights