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Making Software Accessible

In this smartbits, Anuradha Biswas outlines as to what it takes to make an software application accessible.

This is what she says:

“There are two parts legacy solutions and new apps and nowadays everything is about mobile apps. There are clear guidelines given out by different companies and some of it is universal like section 508 W3C WCAG and companies like Microsoft and Apple have something more specific to themselves.  All these can be used depending on your stack of technology and we need good designers who focus on user experience well to design it up. 

But again we have a lot of legacy applications we talked about and that requires a lot of re-engineering effort which means you have to go around hunting how to make it accessible and based on how much level of accessibility do you want to build in based on who your audience is? That kind of analysis is the main thing. 

The key thing is that if you design right upfront, social messaging is good and you get it out faster and your user community increases upfront and because it is catering to people with disabilities there is  a lot more awareness built about the product upfront and in the context of legacy applications it’s just more clean up to make your existing environment worthy of living .

You may also be aware that certain percentage of people have to be hired by a lot of organizations, government or people who work for government. People with disabilities have to be hired in their environment. How do you make it work for them? You have to go through that clean-up and there are tools mapped to technologies you have to use. 

If they are using off-the-shelf products for instance in the banking space, most of the core banking products have gone through the journey of revamping the solutions. Similarly, in retail take it segment by segment, they have re-architected it for accessibility .If you have to map it to your internal systems and at a system integration level software have to be made accessible.”

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