An end user’s experience of inaccessible documents

The call

I recently received a direct call from a person with low vision trying to fill in a disability services form through a major federal government department. The website claimed the form was accessible and fillable, when in fact neither of which was the case. We could not even fill the form out on the person’s behalf due to the lack of functionality in the document.

What kind of world do we live in where those who are most vulnerable cannot even access the services they require because the pathways to those services aren’t made for them?! Here was an end user willing to pay for our services just so they could access something that should have been designed for them in the first place.

The impact

This is a perfect example of where catering to those who need assistance would benefit all. I, as a person lucky enough to have full sight and technical ability, could not use a form designed to allow assistance for someone with a disability of any kind within our society. By making this document accessible for the intended audience, everyone could use it.

The only options this individual had were to:

a) Print out the document and fill in by hand (not a viable option)

b) Have someone else assist with the document (not possible with this form)

c) Call the service and have them attempt to fill in the form directly (a poor option for both parties involved).

The take-away

In the end, this is why we do what we do. Everyone deserves access to information, especially the information intended for them. I am looking forward to a future where these calls are not necessary.

– Alex

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