Safaricom revamps site for the visually impaired

Safaricom has launched a revamped corporate website that will be fully accessible to Visually Impaired Persons.

The website is a first of its kind in Kenya. It is anchored on Safaricom’s vision of Transforming Lives and will also help in meeting the digital inclusion aspiration by targeting people who are visually impaired.

“In Kenya today, there are more than 300,000 people who are visually impaired or blind, and can therefore not benefit from the wealth of information on the internet,” said Safaricom’s Director of Corporate Affairs Nzioka Waita.

He added, “According to the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation, only five per cent of all published works are currently available in formats accessible to the Visually Impaired Persons community. With this move, we are making it possible for our customers’ who suffer visual impairment access all Safaricom content, just like our sighted customers.”

The Safaricom website complies with guidelines and standards as defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C WAI). Through conformance to these guidelines, has attained AAA rating from inABLE (a non-governmental organization that empowers the visually impaired through assistive technology) towards its Non-Visual Accessibility Certification. The National Council of Persons with Disabilities has also certified that the website is fully accessible to persons with visual disabilities.

inAble Executive Director, Irene Mbari- Kirika said: "Accessibility is an ongoing process because everything changes like a moving target.  Technology changes, the needs of users change, and information providers also change. Therefore, as businesses engage in new designs, it is good business practice to engage in universal designs for Accessibility.”

“inABLE is very excited about the partnership with Safaricom to make its current and future digital assets accessible," she added.

Safaricom has a broader inclusion agenda that focuses on persons with special needs. The company seeks to be inclusive not only to its staff but also customers with special needs.

“We have profiled our customers and have mechanisms and tools in place that are able to see if the customer calling has a special need. This enables our staff members to interact with them while remaining cognizant of the customers’ special needs,” Waita said.

The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities which entered into force in 2008 requires that accessibility be taken into account in the design of new information technologies and systems.

The current Safaricom website is ranked in the top 20 most visited websites, just after social and news sites.


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