Mobile Accessibility Practices
Over the past few months the Centre for Internet & Society along with some like minded organizations had been working on framing a feasible accessibility guidelines for mobile apps which they could recommend to the Government of India, since there is no single standard in existence at the moment.
The shift to digital governance and availability of assistive technologies have been both empowering as well as frustrating for persons with disabilities, who comprise approximately 150 million of the Indian population. Government initiatives such as the Digital India campaign are increasingly delivering basic functions of governance through information technologies. In the past year, the government, private sector and the world at large have embraced mobile applications as a preferred medium for user interactions and transactions.
The Mobile Seva App Store hosts 790 government apps, which provide services including voter information, agricultural assistance, welfare scheme signups, and educational content provision. In addition, the overall app market in India has also grown rapidly, with almost 5 times as many apps downloaded in 2015 compared to the previous year. These include apps which let users access everyday services like transportation, communication and entertainment.
However, for persons with disabilities, many of these apps, and consequently the services they provide, are inaccessible and often impossible to use. Research in the past year that looked at several apps, both government and private, found that a majority of the apps are inaccessible and unusable, especially for persons with low vision and blindness.