For several years in Colombia, the national government, content producers, designers, developers, experts in electronic government issues, and all the actors in the ICT sector, have worked on initiatives that strengthen the usability and accessibility characteristics of the web environments and information systems.
Currently there are almost 550,000 deaf Colombians, for what was created SERVIR, a virtual platform of Telefónica Movistar and FENASCOL (National Federation of the Deaf of Colombia) through which an agent knowledgeable in sign language communicates in real time with the client and helps him fill out forms, carry out a procedure or even a purchase.
This is not the only platform in the country with these characteristics. Since 2001 the project “Relay Center” was also sponsored by FENASCOL and in alliance with MinTIC, that seeks to facilitate access to communication between a deaf person and a hearing, carrying out sign language interpretations in case they need to contact a state entity, helping deaf people not only be consumers but also producers of information.
New links with technology
These initiatives remind us that it is important to have different technological services for all people, that those who innovate with software, applications and platforms must consider inclusive characteristics from the design, which allow the use of these tools even by people with disabilities.
As expressed by César Martínez, a Colombian entrepreneur, with great ideas and with visual impairment “One of the things that one misses the most when he loses his vision is to be linked to technology, that is why I developed quite good skills in computer management, thanks to a software called jaws that is a screen reader, through which he listened what’s on my computer ”.
That is why the importance of these tools that contribute to digital equity in the country, so that people with Cesar’s skills can enjoy and take advantage of technology.
Cesar has been one of those who has made the most of these initiatives, he is currently a professor of technology, has trained more than 1,700 people, given office automation classes in the penitentiary center and schools of the city of Cúcuta, he has given lectures.
He argues that this has helped him overcome his disability and that he plans to be a great disability project leader to help break down digital barriers.