Covid-19 related apps and services need to be accessible

All over the world, content as well as technology used for information and services around the Corona virus have been rightly critisiced for not being accessible. Press conferences have not been sign language interpreted, information on restrictions and regulations have not been understandable, vaccine booking systems have required specific digital identification processes not available to everyone and so on.

Often, it seems like communication departments have forgotten quite basic accessibility rules and then remediated when getting negative feedback from users. The fact that human mistakes happen in an urgent crisis situation may not be possible to avoid. But when the pandemic has been part of our everyday life for more than a year, the initial panic and confusion can’t be an excuse for inaccessible communication anymore.

That is why our assignment for the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Norway is especially rewarding. The institute chose Funka to make a thorough analysis of what is possibly the most important app in the country currently; the app for tracing Covid-19 infection. The analysis was made against the legal requirements of the EU Web Accessibility Directive, even though these are not yet applicable in Norway. The application was furthermore tested with various assistive technologies and the usual set-up of two independent accessibility experts performing independent interpretations of each success criteria.

The result is a socially critical application that can be used by the whole community. Thanks to the trust of the National Institute of Public Health, at least one service related to the pandemic till enter the market being accessible from the start.

The main heading of this article is so self-evident that it shouldn’t be something to write about. Still, it needs to be said, which is quite sad. Hopefully, the increased digital dependence many of us have experienced during the last year, and the lack of ICT-services at the home office, will result in more accessible services in the future. Every step in that direction is taken by humans who care.

Funka's Accessibility analyses in different levels