Accessibility refers to the ability for everyone, regardless of disability or special needs, to access, use, and benefit from everything within their environment. It is the “degree to which a product, device, service or environment is available to as many people as possible.”
Everyone Should Have Equal Access:
Understanding the four principles of accessibility as per WCAG 2.0 guidelines –
Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways that they can perceive.
Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable.
Understandable –Information and The operation of user interface and information must be understandable.
Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
Accessibility for In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) and In-Flight Entertainment (IFE)
Currently, there are a host of programs available from in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) or in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems offered by various infotainment service providers. Various features that help drivers, passengers (rear seat entertainment in cars), and also the usage of such systems are simple and user friendly. In-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and in-flight entertainment (IFE) enables people, who are travelling long distances, to enjoy their journey. Accessibility factors in when the same entertainment needs to be extended to people with any form of disability or elderly.
Accessibility Approach for IVI & IFE
Most of the currently running in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) or in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems are not providing basic accessibility like screen reader support, label zooming functions or text descriptions for audio messages for physically challenged individuals.
Section 508 Technical Requirements suggests Software Standards, which contain 12 technical pointers for making a software Section 508 compliant. When these standards are not met, the application is not accessible and can deny equal access to people with disabilities. The Functional Performance Criteria of Section 508 requires at least one accessible mode of operation and information retrieval for persons with disabilities, encompassing no vision, low vision, no hearing and hard of hearing, enhanced auditory modes, no speech and no fine motor control
It would be good for IVI and IFE systems to fulfil the above requirements in order to be Section 508 compliant or any other standards laid down by different countries’ accessibility compliance requirements.
The document states – “Most of the existing systems are not accessibility compliant”. Moreover, they are currently not using any standard OS like Android or Windows, where the native accessibility support is available that can be customized by application developers.
HCL has a huge opportunity in this space in the areas of development and testing. According to statistics, the infotainment market is very large. Globally, the market is projected to be worth $35.2 billion by 2020.
Development – Most existing systems do not have native accessibility supporting tools such as screen reader. So, we have to develop the equivalent functionality of screen reader to support the system for visually challenged or low vision users. There need not be complete screen reader kind of development because the options in an infotainment system will be limited. Additionally, we can provide the voice over help using “text-to-speech” algorithms. The challenge would be IVI or IFE systems with multi-language support. There will be a huge scope of development activities in this space. HCL should make a systematic approach and create a few POCs and pitch for bigger projects.
Testing – This will be another major activity when it comes to accessibility testing. Testers with DHS certification will add more value. The complete system should be tested with all basic accessibility requirements for devices software like –
All interactive elements, all images, color dependence, color contrast, flashing, and multimedia which includes enable/check captions, enable/check audio descriptions, zoom functionality etc.
Solution – HCL has extensive expertise in providing accessibility solutions to leading OEMs that can be leveraged in IVI and IFE segments. Our Accessibility Engineering Centre of Excellence will be able to provide - Accessible GUI, Simple on-screen navigation, Vocal instructions, Easy swipe and Touch gestures, Use of identifiable colours (for low-vision), Zoom functionality, equivalent functionality of screen reader, improving the accessible content portfolio etc. Our certified testing SMEs will be able to test the complete application adhering to Section 508 standards, Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) Closed Captioning Requirements for Videos, end-user controls, etc. Our strong points in testing Satisfaction Testing, Usability Testing, and Compliance Testing will help making the applications delightfully accessible.
Challenges – If HCL can invest in the creation of TTS algorithms, developing multi-lingual support libraries, providing automated testing solution, it will be in a position to bring home many IVI & IFE projects going forward.
Conclusion – Providing accessibility in these segments not only drives inclusiveness but also greatly benefits 1 billion people (15% of the world population) who can equally relish their journeys.