On Thursday, May 19, 2022, we celebrate the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to enhance the knowledge and perception of digital access and inclusion, especially applied to digital services and tools.
At Abi Global Health we want to offer a service accessible to all audiences. Our in-house Tech and AI Labs are constantly developing new tools and features for our service and improving doctors’ and users’ experiences. We are pioneers in the way that healthcare is accessible anytime, anywhere and by all.
What is Digital Inclusion?
Digital inclusion is the act of making the web and other digital technologies barrier-free for everyone who wants to use them. These barriers might include a lack of skills or understanding by the user, or the lack of devices or connectivity to digital content. Today 1 billion people worldwide are affected by inaccessibility and are underserved by digital products (source accessibility.day).
Disabilities and impairments are usually categorized as visual, hearing, motor and cognitive. Nowadays, many resources are available to make digital tools accessible for these groups. However, according to WebAIM Million Report, 98.1% of home pages show at least one WCAG 2.0 Failure (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), meaning that they are not in compliance with accessibility standards and do not use the appropriate semantic markup. The average number of errors per home page is 60.9. Every error is an obstacle for many people, affecting their everyday life, especially in our new post-covid lifestyle, which is characterized more and more by the remote managing of our daily tasks.
According to WebAIM Million Report
How Can a Shift in Mindset Be Driven?
Accessibility and inclusivity are not achieved by simply being compliant with digital guidelines. Closing this digital equality gap is essential for helping all members to participate in society and to enhance their quality of life with technology.
A real shift in mindset on accessibility and inclusivity is possible by considering every single individual as unique. Disabilities and impairments can come in isolation, as a combination, as a spectrum and/or in varying degrees. For this reason, a digital project should not be designed for disabilities, but for all, because the environment, or the use of a product, can either empower or disable us. At some point in life, everyone will experience a disability. For example, all of us have experienced situational or temporary disabilities, such as being in a country where we don’t speak the language, or carrying a heavy suitcase in a building without an elevator, being pregnant, etc. The term “Universal Design” was coined by the architect Ronald Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life (source Design.ncsu.edu). By applying this principle we can significantly improve the user experience of our products and positively impact how people feel when they interact with them.
How is Abi Global Health Inclusive?
The mission of Abi is to build accessible health services that eliminate or reduce barriers for all people, including those with disabilities, the elderly, people with low-income, and people from other vulnerable socio-demographic groups. We understand that accessibility is not a simple act of following government digital guidelines, but also an act of innovation to develop more effective digital services.
There are three key features in which we overcome barriers to digital participation:
2. Connectivity: The obstacle of not having physical access to the internet or the prohibitive costs of getting online can be solved by accessing Abi consultation by SMS.
3. Digital skills: Direct access to our network of healthcare professionals can be provided by a simple QR code scan, facilitating the registration and onboarding process, and our service can be delivered from already familiar channels such as WhatsApp.
One of the first projects we undertook at Abi Global Health, was the development of a digital service for migrants and refugees in collaboration with an NGO to provide primary healthcare consultations to people with limited resources. Another successful example is a service dedicated to teenagers in collaboration with a public health service that provides anonymous access to specially trained healthcare professionals.
The innovation that arose from these projects is now included as standard features available for all our partners.
Why is Digital Inclusion Important for Businesses?
The possibility of having inclusive digital access has a huge impact on several aspects of our everyday lives. This includes working remotely, connecting with friends and family, and accessing healthcare by telemedicine.
For businesses, the benefits of digital solutions have also been substantial, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, as digital services have largely replaced face-to-face interactions. Additionally, major search engine algorithms prioritise websites based on accessibility, adding to the reasons why all businesses should prioritise these matters.
At Abi Global Health, we shape our services around accessibility and inclusivity from the beginning, providing enhanced user experience for both our clients and their customers.
Global Awareness accessibility day: https://accessibility.day/
WebAim Million report: https://webaim.org/
Shift Mindset on Accessibility and Inclusion by Sara Michelazzo, Head of Customer Experience at Thoughtworks: Talks.codemotion.com
Read more about Abi Global Health in Forbes and How Mobile Messaging Can Help The Fight Against Coronavirus