Digital India, A door not a Barrier

A new government has been formed in India last year. After Sri Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India I too am equally enthusiastic as a common man. Continuing his visionary leadership, he started promoting India to the world on various grounds. Digital India is one of the prime areas the government of India is looking at. The information of government policies, schemes, programs, laws are already digitalized and available on government websites.

Do you think this information is available for everyone? Everyone here refers to those have disabilities. Being an Accessibility consultant I am bothered if the information reaches every citizen including those with disabilities. After the introduction of GIGWExternal Website few years back I heard some traction on the efforts to make the digital content accessible. With the faith I have on Sri Narendra Modi I thought the effort will be accelerated. To bring the importance of digital content accessibility to the people of India I am writing this article providing the insight into the Prime Minister of IndiaExternal Website.

To understand the accessibility of this website , I have used the latest Mozilla Firefox browser, free NVDAExternal Website screen reader and only a keyboard to interact with the website. Below are my quick pointers that can enhance the experience of people with disabilities with PMIndiaExternal Website website.

Quick Accessibility pointers on PMIndia home page

The emblem provided on the page is not informed to blind users who use screen reading technologies. Screen reader is a piece of software used by people with visual challenges to interact with the computers and read aloud the content of the page. The picture should be made available to them by providing appropriate alternate text information. Download free NVDA screen reader to experience the same.

The icons Facebook, twitter and YouTube does not have a link text. So screen readers just say “link “when users navigate to them. They does not know what happens if the link is clicked. Providing appropriate link text such as “Connect with Modi on twitter” will give the information exactly what happens on activating such link.

The slider with various pictures on the page automatically changes. The low vision users who cannot immediately understand the photos will not be able to pause the slider and check them. These images are even not available for those who use screen reading technologies. This slider photos will also be difficult to those who have problems remembering people or things.

The content of the page have poor contrast for many elements as detected by wave automation toolExternal Website. Users with low vision benefit with content that have sufficient color contrast between foreground and background.

I would like to bring the attention of the Prime Minister to tap on the digital accessibility concerns of people with disabilities. Doing this will help people with age old difficulties, people who have temporary disabilities, those who view digital content on portable devices and those who have slow internet connection etc.

My final intention is to see digital, accessible, inclusive India. Digital content should open doors for people with disabilities but should not become barrier. Only a careful thought and little awareness is required .

Rakesh Paladugula

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