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Does Accessibility Testing Exist in 3rd World Countries?

The main Idea for this blogging site is to share everything testing and learn from constructive collaboration from fellow QA professionals

Mamphofore Ntabane Advisor

Living in a country plagued with plethora of challenges ranging from unemployment, discrimination, lack of service delivery of basic necessities, asking for technology that is considerate of people with disability seems a bit far-fetched. Nevertheless that does not mean we should not try what we can to brighten at least one person’s day at time. The map below depicts the percentage of people living with disability in South Africa.

SA_population

With the prior mention Map in mind if we take into count percentage of literacy in the country the number dwindle down from improper fraction to proper fraction. The point here is even though the number of the disabled category using software in form or the other in the country is minimal they do exist. One of the catalysts to the ignorance of importance of web accessibility is lack of enforceable mandates. W3C Southern Africa held Web Accessibility and Usability conference held on 13 May 2010 at the Johannesburg War Museum. The gist of the conference was the acknowledgement that web accessibility is crucial given the Promulgation of information act. Sounds promising at a glance but when one delves deeper into what this act address, it is still at “ask and ye shall receive level”. Webmaster and web developer were reminded that a huge responsibility rest on their shoulders to ensure that these accessibility and usability features are implemented. As a member of software development arena this would make me feel almost like a super hero. The software testing fraternity might try to bring to light some of the issues inherent in the web application regarding accessibility issues however it will depend on empathy of the product owner to consider those minority users.

If you are a tester and reading this blog, let me put it to you. When was the last time you came across any software specification that remotely considered people with disability? Remember one of the software testing purposes is to check if the system/application under test fit the intended purpose.  If the software specification does not mention the need of people with disability can one log a defect against the application? Should you make some noise about the discrimination you better be permanent with the company in question or else you can kiss your contract renewal goodbye.

Although there are tools, guidelines and standards to make testing in this regards, as long as companies are driven by “what’s in it for us”  ideologies.It is going to be much harder to even entertain such concepts, remember you complained that the time allocated to testing was not enough.Agile methodology adopted the thinking of W. Edwards when he said

Quality is everyone’s responsibility.” – W. Edwards Deming

If I can’t  even access your application does quality of your application even feature in my realm if I am in the disabled minority group?

I am not sure how many years it will take before such software testing concepts reach this part of the world but for now I guess disabled people will have to hang in there. They still have issues accessing mere things buildings and parks forget about web apps.

 

6 Comments

Kamogelo

Well said. South Africa should really do something about these. I feel like they are only accommodated on call center positions which we all know that they are paid close to nothing. We as the youth of South Africa I feel like we should start thinking of how we can assist to close this gap and start providing training on weekends to assist and stop waiting on the government to close the gap. We get it, Chesa Nyama will always be there and also with different house tune. let’s start changing the way we think about our fellow south Africans and move this country forward. Mamphofore, we need guys like you who sees things differently. Keep up the good work my brother.

    admin

    Thanks Kamogelo, the plan is to have a weekly dose of these posts but it seems harder than I thought.

Nick Mbuyane

This is a thought-provoking Article. Thanks for this…

For me, the gist of the whole article is summed up by the question “If the software specification does not mention the need of people with disability can one log a defect against the application?”

If the Requirement Specification does not cater for some of disabilities, then a Defect becomes difficult to log.

To further expand on your thinking, are there any companies who employ people with disabilities for which they do not cater? I doubt…

    admin

    Most of project mangers focus more on delivering the product than considering the benefit the product brings while it is in operation.

Mpho

Very interesting article, thanks for opening my eyes, I do agree with Jan though, the concern is more on delivering on time than focusing on quality and benefits, as long as project timelines are met, it does not really matter whether the product is of good quality or not.

Sandile

Interesting thought, the unfortunate reality is that Testers influence on IS solutions is still limited. One thing you have mentioned that can give testers some leverage is revision of Promulgation of information act to be more inclusive of compliance requirement that will enforce usability standards designed for the minority disabled community. Software companies that will set aside a portion of their RND to come up with innovation to meet these requirements will be first movers in the market especially in the telecoms space, my thought .

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