When the word accessibility is mentioned in the context of technology, most of our thoughts go straight to whether someone has the right device and internet connection to make it work.
Now we're focusing on making technology much more accessible to people in rural areas in that sense. However, a still underserved community when it comes to accessibility to technology would be people with disabilities (PWDs).
As today is International Day of People with Disabilities, Digi shared something special, especially for the visually impaired.
They presented their revised website and MyDigi app, which has improved accessibility features as part of their Yellow Hearts CSR initiative.
They also released an inclusive digital touchpoints playbook to inspire other like-minded businesses to build rapidly accessible digital platforms that will benefit more PWDs across the country. The playbook contains Digi's research and feedback from the PWD community itself.
It is published by two local social enterprises that work closely with the visually impaired community: Dialogue in the Dark (DID) and Make It Right Movement (MIRM).
"Including digital touchpoints, PWDs can provide the independence and tools to perform simple day-to-day tasks that the rest of us take for granted," said Brian Lariche, CEO of MIRM.
How it works
In terms of accessibility upgrades, they followed international standards for accessibility. Your improvements will address 4 challenges related to visual impairment: blindness, low vision, color blindness, dyslexia.
Screen readers have come a long way, but the technology still can't bypass some popular website designs. Some of the ways Digi is improving accessibility on its website are:
- Providing descriptive captions and alternate text that people can use to visualize images when they cannot be viewed.
- Readable fonts with no text embedded in images, making them easy to read and understand.
- Avoid italic and stylized fonts, which will improve accessibility for dyslexics and help screen readers pronounce words effectively.
- With high-contrast content, icons and buttons for users with visual impairments.
- Avoid content that flashes more than three times in a 1 second period to avoid users with photosensitive epilepsy.
- Migration from traditional image-driven CAPTCHA to scanned text with an audio alternative.
These improvements will be built into Digi's website and app, and the team will ensure compatibility with screen readers, audio and video transcriptors used by PWDs.
The upgrades are ongoing as they include suggestions to improve accessibility along the way so that they can accommodate PWDs in addition to the visually impaired.
Digi and the DID team / Photo credit: Digi
The statistics behind the decision
Digi reported in its press release that 1.2% or 400,000 Malaysians have bilateral blindness (visual impairment in both eyes)
4-8% of school children have dyslexia and 7% of Malaysians who are seniors have visual impairments due to aging.
They concluded that this decision made business sense as 71% of web visitors who experience inaccessibility leave the company without complaining or giving feedback.
Therefore, they wanted to create a better user experience for the visually impaired on their website and app.
“The world is on the internet, a fact that has become even more apparent during this pandemic. This season has similarly highlighted the inequality between those who have easy access to online experiences and are less likely to have them, ”said Philip Ling, director of sustainability at Digi.
"We strongly believe that inclusion is a fundamental human right, so we are taking steps to break down the barriers to accessing our digital touchpoints."
"This has the potential to empower other Malaysians with disabilities with a sense of independence to run their own errands and connect them to more socio-economic opportunities."
Philip Ling, Digi's sustainability manager
- More information on Digi's Yellow Heart Initiative can be found here.
- You can read our previous coverage of another Digi initiative for the visually impaired here.
Selected image source: Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd