Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What is wrong with screenreader format of accessibility

Pre read:

I have never been fond of screenreaders. For a very intuitive reason - they try to ADAPT the user experience of the sighted for us. And that, you see, is not how user experience for the differently abled should be designed. Every user interface should be designed with that user in mind - First. The idea of adapting the user interface of one category of users to another category of users is prima facie counter intuitive.

With the mobile phones and touch phones, that problem becomes worse. A mobile phone, as we know, can become a real friend with an audio guide like Siri. Instead, my accessibility talkback feature first trains me on how to touch the various areas of the screen to reach the app i want.

From a UX perspective, thats all wrong. I don't need to know where the apps are on a screen. I just need to open the one i want. Which means i should be able to tell the device what i want, and the device should be able to meet that need.

We have created touch screen laptops for our sighted users. If that's possible, tell me again why complete voice navigation based devices appear so unimaginable.

Here, then, is UX Design 101, as applied to differently abled users that we work with:
1. Voice Based Recognition and authentication - this includes special training on local accent customisation.

2. Voice based program triggers - You do realise that actually, we only need a screen to show someone sighted our work? So the screen should not be the primary trigger for program activation, change and closure. The voice command or tactile buttons should be.

3. Intra Program actions - this can be website usage, using office or personal productivity software, or playing games. The intra program actions can easily be designed so that they are voice controlled. We should be able to review our work using playback.
I highly recommend the native built in talk back feature of MS Excel (not sure if its still there in the new MS Office)

4. Braille? Maybe: We may or may not know Braille. That's all.

Times Now TV - Esha's ONline library broadcast in 80 countries

Our online library, CLABIL and our Outreach program with the library were covered by Times Now as part of the news. This clip was broadcast in 80 countries around the world. Thank you for the support.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Founder in an inteview on Famousparenting.com

Our Founder was interviewed by famousparenting.com .

In this freewheeling chat, she talks about her journey as a social entrepreneur and parent.


Do read the interview here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Needed: Translators

As part of our summer project, we want to create more and more content in Indian languages.

One of the things I really want to do, is make available classics like Black Beauty, Sherlock Holmes etc in Indian languages. This has 2 advantages - these classics are deemed read for most higher education courses, and two, we would really like to make this literature also available to people who don't know English.

So if you know one or more languages, please do some translations of classics for us. We will be very grateful.

Thank you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Esha Summer Project 2016 - Interim Report

On the 10th of April,we launched the Esha Summer Project 2016. We were aiming for a scale we had not done so far.

The summer project this year had about 6 options to choose from - each option had its own lessons and deliverables.

The objective was two fold - first, to benefit from the fresh perspective brought by the interns. The second, and the more important objective, was to expose the youth to the potential of this country through the formal, templatised, CLABIL Outreach Program.

We received 120 applications from various sources, of which about 45 interns were selected to share the summer with us. We also set up a remote collaboration project management office with 3 people - all of whom worked from home. Using simple google documents and online PMO platforms, we worked on managing this project without meeting each other.

Of the 45 interns, 7 are working on the CLABIL Outreach Program - in areas like Bareily, Devangere, Bangalore and of course, the NCR region.

A lot more volunteers are working on recording audio content in languages like Hindi, English, Malyalam, Tamil, Telugu etc.

We had one volunteer who interned with us on social media management and was able to meet social media metrics for Twitter,m Facebook and also SEO. This was a rare chance when a student got independent responsibility for Social Media metrics. 

We also had 2 interns who expressed an interest in creating communication videos, but they could not think of storyboards for their communication.

The best thing about the project was that the project management office was also staffed by the interns. One of the assignments was the PMO.

Some of the students would like to do COP near their houses once the schools reopen in July, and some have asked to continue to work with Esha after the internship is over.

Next year, we want to introduce a tighter selection process so that post selection dropouts are low. What we did well was to keep a tight feedback and followup loop so that all interns were able to keep on track with their progress.

This was our first experience of dealing with interns at this scale, and we now feel confident that we will be able to manage a larger scale next year.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

We are on Radio Mirchi Bangalore!!

Who is in Bangalore and can listen to Radio Mirchi from now to 4 pm? The online library is going to be featured on Radio Mirchi from now to 4 pm (2 pm to 3 pm and then 3 pm to 4 pm). Tune In!

The SOIL SIP Team is the best SIP Team of 2015-16 batch, and we have an article in The Better India

For some reason, we missed mentioning it here..

The SIP Team of 2015-16 - Saranya, Cauvery, Rethina and Vigneshwar, were adjudged the best outgoing SIP Team of SOIL. This is from out of 18 SIP teams this year.


And here is a link to the awesome videos that chronicle the journey of this group:
Esha Journey for this batch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaYggRDCD8M

Tour De Vision Promotion Events: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp4EKTeA2u4

Tour De Vision 2016 Final Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92dOptvt6a4

Batch Feedback:

Rethina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrJOc7vp9EM

Vigneshwar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NctvIfGe32s

And the previous year's batch, which truly laid the foundation for this batch's success:

Amit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziqKDdyNwW8

Vrishin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-SHeVjtOoc

Pooja Singh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDDxyFQoOp8

Karen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBAsZh5QF9o

Part II:
Just yesterday, the Esha blog was featured among the top blogs of India, and today, The Better India carried a story on our CLABIL and CLABIL Outreach Projects.

We are so grateful! Please do spread the word. The idea of CLABIL is not for us to get credit, but for everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone, to get access to this knowledge and literary resource.



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

You are reading one of the best blogs of India!

Every year, a small, eclectic, non commercial bunch of people get together, work hard, and release a small list - the best Indian blogs. The list is released with no fanfare. Yet, this is the list I, as a reader, wait for. Each one of these blogs is a gem, and reading each one a pleasure.

On this list, there are no blogger events, no contests, no promotions, no page rank based scores. There is only one way to make it to this list - write well, and provide good content.

Since its inception in 2011, this is the first time that the Esha blog has made it to the list!!


And all of us at Esha are super duper happy!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

4 states in India already have a department dedicated to the differently abled. The rest are on their way.


In a meeting last week, I got to know that Telangana also has a govt aided SHG for disability. We are going to use this infrastructure to reach CLABIL to those who can benefit from it.

I think, its time for other states to play catch up. And its only a matter of time before they do.

  • No new infrastructure needs to be created.
The existing District- Block and Village infrastructure of social and welfare support can be used to also provide guidance and support to the specially abled. The same staff can report data.