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The great debt of digital accessibility in Chile

The internet was born with the promise of creating a new public space where transversal societies could coexist. While it is true that it has been an excellent meeting place for multiple interactions, mainstreaming has not been fully realized.

One of the biggest debts of this great promise is accessibility to digital. What does that mean? It means that the products should be able to be used by everyone without friction.

It is fair to say that companies in Chile have made rapid progress in the aspects of the customer experience in online shopping, however, as a result of the pandemic, people were forced to use digital services, leaving in evidence the great gaps to the time to create products designed for every user.

Likewise, it should be taken into account that the focus of the business should not be lost in the user experience. This depends on the reality of the company and the role of the Product Designer is key to uniting these two realities.

In this regard, Meddy Veloso, Product Designer at Imagemaker, who has vast experience in User Experience (UX), Customer Experience (CX) in the retail area and today leads the implementation of accessibility in one of our largest clients, tells us 3 key things we can start to do to start a true digital adoption with a focus on accessibility:

1. Raise awareness

To demonstrate the importance of the subject, it is key to understand that a disability situation can happen to anyone, understanding that this is a condition that affects any of our senses either temporarily or permanently.

It is important to understand that also makes this type of product could benefit those people who regularly have their senses functioning correctly, but due to circumstances or moments they lose them. For example, the person who is making a transfer on the street, in that minute his concentration is not 100% focused on the transaction but is also directed to the obstacles in his way, to take care that his phone is not stolen, among other things. In other words, disability is not something alien or distant.

Although this awareness is beginning to gain strength in Chile, we can see that there are already products called Universal Design, for example, voice commands such as Siri, Alexa, or Google; motor skills commands, vision functionalities, and many other examples that this aspect is already becoming concrete on a day-to-day basis.

2. Legislation

Currently, the law does not cover all the essential points regarding digital accessibility in the country. Outside of government institutions and unlike European legislation, it is not an obligation for private companies to comply with the WCAG standards on accessibility.

Despite this, private companies are also social actors who can start to contribute their grain of sand on their own initiative. You cannot ignore the need for a certain group of people to have products designed for their realities.

The first step is to start thinking from the beginning of the development of an inclusive product in all aspects, from the language to its color, size, functionality, typography, a contrast to be used by all its users.

3. Educate

We are at a time when a digital transformation has become imperative and companies increasingly allocate resources and training in this area. It is necessary to understand that part of this digital transformation must incorporate accessibility. We are facing an excellent opportunity to educate collaborators on this topic.

Faced with a context in which all people are exposed to having a disability condition, that 20% already have it and that the population is experiencing accelerated aging, accessibility becomes an urgent issue on the table for business.

This is a great opportunity to take leadership in this matter, make a transversal digital inclusive experience for everyone and close those gaps, which even creep in from face-to-face experiences, which exclude some users. It is in our hands to make the change.

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