Understanding that technology can be a great equalizer in societies, companies such as Smartmatic are committed to the concept of accessibility.
April 05, 2023
There are over 2 billion people living with some kind of disability worldwide. According to a report by the European Commission of Human Rights, these individuals are excluded from society.
In fact, 90% of websites are inaccessible to disabled persons who rely on assistance technology. Several countries deny people with visual impairments the right to vote privately by failing to provide assistive technologies. Those citizens must with the aid of a relative or friend.
Have you ever wondered if this could be different? Liliana Saenz, graphic designer and UI manager for Smartmatic, ponders this question constantly. With over 15 years of experience in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), Liliana is focused on upholding accessibility standards across the organization. “By studying about accessibility, I understood that if a place is not easily accessible or an object not easily reachable, then that place and that object are deficient.”
Although accessibility is a concept intimately related to the inclusion of those living with permanent disabilities, Liliana explains that the concept must extend to everybody equally. “There are permanent disabilities, but also temporary and situational ones. Sometimes you’ll have difficulties hearing a video, not because you have a permanent condition, but because you are in a particular situation. This we call situational disability and could be fixed by adding subtitles to that specific video.”
The study of accessibility is a broad field that touches almost all the things surrounding us. All things must be accessible: not just as a feature on cellphones, websites, blogs, or social media, but in our homes, offices, public buildings, etc. To achieve this, Saenz believes a myriad of support factors are needed, including thoughtful interfaces, dedicated spatial distribution, physical access, education, health,and countless other considerations.
Understanding that technology can be a great equalizer in societies, companies such as Smartmatic are committed to the concept of accessibility. Smartmatic builds its electoral products, like voting machines, to meet accessibility requirements, and extends that commitment to every creation and design in the organization. “Everything from websites and software for publishing results, to brochures, documentation and manuals,” Liliana adds.
If everyone in an organization understands and applies this concept properly, then everyone can help. “Many believe accessibility is a concept only for designers and developers, when really, everyone creates materials that need to be accessible. It’s important for the whole organization to understand what accessibility is and why it matters so much.”
Liliana goes on to say, “at Smartmatic, we organize Learning Breaks, which are spaces where we try to create awareness so that each of us contributes their own grain of sand to the goal of delivering full accessibility.”
Transformations do not happen overnight. They require daily work. Smartmatic works hard to continuously meet the changing demands of society. “I feel super proud to belong to a company that constantly checks its course to see what can be done better.”