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IMPROVE YOUR COMPANY'S ACCESSIBILITY BY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY

Speed up your business with these expert tips on "Improve the accessibility of your business by leveraging technology". Take a look and discover this TIP!

The ICT accessibility The design process is a conscious and deliberate one. The designer has to assume that people are diverse, with different capacities which in turn change according to the stages of their lives and, in addition, may be influenced by possible supervening circumstances.

In the case of ICT solutions, accessibility is achieved both by the capabilities of the developed solution itself and by the use of the capabilities of the platform for which it has been built, and also by its ability to integrate with additional solutions, commonly known as technical aids.

For example, an accessible app for a smart device uses the screen reader already included in the most common development platforms. Or an accessible web page will be used without problems with a swipe keyboard that has been installed on a PC.

ICT accessibility requires attention and care in all phases of an ICT solution.

From its initial design, to the different versions that are created throughout the lifetime of the solution. It is important to include the textual or multimedia information elements of an ICT solution in accessibility. Increasingly, the ICT solutions include documents or multimedia content inside. A accessible ICT solution also takes care of the accessibility of these elements.

A guide to understanding and developing accessible ICT solutions in EN 301 549 v 1.1.2 (see +)

ICT accessibility is a approach that seeks to ensure that information and communication technologies are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. It involves a conscious and deliberate design, recognising the diversity of individuals and taking into account possible changing circumstances.

Accessibility is achieved through the development of ICT solutions that take into account the different capabilities of people and adapt to the platforms on which they are used. For example, an application accessible for smart devices will use the screen reader built into the most common platforms. Similarly, an accessible web page shall be compatible with alternative input devices, such as a swipe keyboard.

It is essential to pay attention to accessibility at all stages of the development of an ICT solution, from its initial design to subsequent updates. It is also important to consider the accessibility of the information and multimedia elements present in solutions. Increasingly, ICT solutions contain documents and multimedia content, and a truly accessible solution ensures that these elements are also accessible to all people.

ICT accessibility is not only an ethical responsibility, but also an opportunity to reach a wider audience and provide an inclusive experience. By considering accessibility from the outset, companies can create solutions that are usable and beneficial for all people, regardless of their abilities.

Here are some practical examples of ICT accessibility:

  1. Development of a mobile application for visually impaired people: The application uses voice recognition technologies and offers an audio and touch interface to allow users to navigate and use all the application's functions without relying solely on the visual interface.
  2. Design of an accessible website for people with motor disabilities: The website includes features such as keyboard navigation, colour contrast options, adjustable font sizes and subtitles on videos, making it easy to access and use for people who have difficulty using a mouse or are visually impaired.
  3. Implementation of subtitles and transcripts in videos: Videos posted on an online platform are accompanied by subtitles or textual transcripts to ensure that hearing impaired people can access and fully understand the content.
  4. Use of facial recognition technology for biometric authentication: An online banking application uses facial recognition technology to allow users to access their accounts securely, eliminating the need to remember passwords and facilitating access for people with cognitive disabilities or writing difficulties.
  5. Development of alternative and augmentative communication tools: A communication application is created that uses pictograms, images and visual symbols to enable people with speech difficulties to communicate effectively and express their needs and wishes.

These examples illustrate how ICT accessibility can improve the experience and participation of people with different skills and abilities, fostering inclusion and ensuring that everyone can make the most of technology.

ChatGPT can help you improve the accessibility of your new business by using technology in a number of ways:

  1. Advice on accessible technologies: You can receive recommendations on the most appropriate technologies and tools to improve the accessibility of your products or services. ChatGPT can provide you with information on different technological solutions that facilitate access for people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive disabilities.
  2. Inclusive design: ChatGPT can provide you with guidelines and best practices for designing products, interfaces or websites in an inclusive way. This means considering the needs of all users, including those with disabilities, when developing your technology solutions.
  3. Accessibility analysis: You can get advice on how to perform accessibility evaluations on your products or services using automated tools or by performing manual tests. ChatGPT can provide recommendations on metrics and criteria to consider during this process.
  4. Development of accessible applications: If you are developing an application or platform, the ChatGPT can help you understand accessibility principles and standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to ensure that they meet accessibility requirements.
  5. Education and awareness-raising: ChatGPT can provide you with educational information about the importance of accessibility and how you can promote it in your company. This includes raising awareness among your team about the needs of people with disabilities and fostering an inclusive culture in the workplace.

Remember that ChatGPT is an assistance tool and does not replace the expertise of specialised accessibility professionals. It is advisable to consult with experts in the field to get specific and customised advice for your company.

PRACTICAL EXAMPLE OF HOW CHATGPT CAN HELP TO IMPROVE THE ACCESSIBILITY OF A NEW BUSINESS USING TECHNOLOGY:

Imagine you are starting an e-commerce company that sells fashion products online. You realise that it is important to ensure that your platform is accessible to people with visual impairments.

IN THIS CASE, CHATGPT CAN HELP YOU IN THE FOLLOWING WAY:
  1. Advice on accessible technologies: You can ask the ChatGPT about the most appropriate technologies and tools to improve the accessibility of your website. For example, ChatGPT might recommend implementing compatible screen readers and alt tags on images to make them descriptive for people with visual impairments.
  2. Inclusive design: You can ask ChatGPT for advice on how to design an accessible user interface. For example, you could ask about the right colour contrast to ensure better readability of content for people with visual impairments.
  3. Accessibility analysis: You can consult ChatGPT about the metrics and tools available to evaluate the accessibility of your website. ChatGPT can provide recommendations on how to perform accessibility tests, such as keyboard navigation and screen reader compatibility checks.
  4. Development of accessible applications: You can ask the ChatGPT about web development best practices to ensure that your platform complies with accessibility standards, such as the WCAG guidelines. For example, ChatGPT may suggest using semantic HTML and appropriate tags to improve page navigation and comprehension.
  5. Education and awareness-raising: You can ask ChatGPT for information on how to educate your team about the importance of accessibility and how to integrate it into the development process. ChatGPT can provide you with educational resources, such as online courses or accessibility guides, to help raise awareness in your company.

Remember that these are only examples and it is important to get advice from accessibility experts to adapt the recommendations to the specific needs of your company.

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CASE STUDY

Name of entrepreneur: Laura

Laura is an entrepreneur who is passionate about inclusion and accessibility. She has started a business selling beauty products online and has realised the importance of ensuring that her business is accessible to all people, regardless of their abilities.

To address this concern, Laura has decided to use technology as a tool to find accessible solutions.

THE FOLLOWING DESCRIBES HOW YOU USE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THE ACCESSIBILITY OF YOUR BUSINESS:
  1. Accessible web design: Laura hires a web developer specialising in accessibility to create an accessible website for her business. The developer ensures that the website complies with accessibility guidelines, such as keyboard navigation, alternative text for images and appropriate colour contrast. This allows people with visual or motor disabilities to easily access and navigate the website.
  2. Integration of assistive technologies: Laura researches and finds assistive technologies that can facilitate the interaction of people with disabilities with her website and products. For example, she integrates screen-reading software and options to increase text size for those with visual impairments. She also provides subtitles on product videos for the hearing impaired.
  3. Collaboration with organisations of people with disabilities: Laura contacts local disability organisations to get feedback and suggestions on how to improve the accessibility of her company. Through these collaborations, she gains valuable information about the specific needs of people with disabilities and how to adapt her website and services accordingly.
  4. Use of voice recognition technology: Laura implements a chatbot with voice recognition technology on its website. This allows people with motor disabilities or typing difficulties to communicate with the chatbot using voice commands, facilitating their shopping and product enquiry experience.
  5. Accessibility training: Laura ensures that her entire team, including customer service employees, are trained in accessibility and awareness. This enables them to better support customers with disabilities and respond to their needs appropriately.

With these measures, Laura makes her business accessible to a wide range of customers, which not only promotes inclusiveness, but also broadens her potential customer base. Through the strategic use of technology, Laura demonstrates her commitment to accessibility and establishes her business as a benchmark in her industry in terms of inclusion.

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