Indispensable everyday tools, public digital services and those of large private companies have the obligation to be accessible in an equivalent way to all citizens, including those with disabilities, visual, auditory, motor, dys disorders …. But for lack of sanctions, few are.
The blind – 70,000 in France, and 1.5 million visually impaired – listen to a voice synthesis which reads the text displayed on the screen, describes the informative images, informs about the boxes to be filled. Unable to see where a mouse is pointing, they use keyboard shortcuts.
“I don’t have a global vision of the page, I decipher it end by end”, explains to AFP Manuel Pereira, in charge of digital accessibility at the Valentin Haÿe Association, which recently brought together the visually impaired and professionals of the digital for a conference in Paris.
At any time, this laborious course can be interrupted if a box is not suitably coded. “After having placed an entire order on the internet, we sometimes find ourselves with a box that is not coded. The blind person hears a box to be filled in without knowing whether it is his name, his address or the confirmation that he accepted the conditions”, explains Manuel Pereira. “A single point that blocks and the site is unusable for us”.
Each site must publish an accessibility statement at the bottom of its page, which indicates its level of compliance with the RGAA (general reference for improving accessibility).
It is considered “compliant” with a compliance level of 100%, non-compliant below 50%, “partially compliant” between these two levels. The Elysée site is at 74%, Ameli, the health insurance site, at 72% and SNCF-Connect at 54%.
Only eleven of the 221 flagship state procedures that can be carried out on the internet listed on the Observatory of the quality of online procedures are “fully accessible” to the disabled, indicates to AFP Marine Boudeau, head of the design department of digital services of the interministerial department for digital (Dinum).
– “Make bad buzz!” –
The worst? This is the Captcha, this mosaic of images which asks you to select, for example, traffic lights. Obligatory passage to go further, but cul-de-sac for a blind person.
“Buying TER tickets for Burgundy is a headache. The site was not accessible to the disabled and I was told that they were not sold by telephone since there are ticket offices at the station” , explains Céline Boeuf, blind. Blind people can request assistance or an alternative purchase over the phone, but these are less and less available.
“Only one race site, Hoora, is accessible to the disabled,” says Manuel Pereira.
To be accessible, a site must have been coded from the start. However, digital professionals are rarely trained on this subject, they noted during the meeting this week.
“You have to test the site without images, without the mouse, without graphic style (colors, font size, etc.). Wondering how it works when I browse this site with my ears and not with my eyes”, explains Romy Duhem-Verdière, from the high-tech consulting firm Octo Technology.
A zoom to enlarge the page, a magnifying glass for a detail: “All the technical solutions exist. But since there are no heavy penalties, it is not a priority”, she explains.
“Beyond the blind, this concerns color blind people, dys people, quadriplegics, and more broadly those who are aging and seeing their sight decline. A significant segment of the population”, adds Ms. Duhem-Verdière.
“Complain! Make bad buzz on the internet!” Digital professionals say to the blind and visually impaired. “It helps us face our directions. We can talk to them about disabled users, they have never seen them, it’s a bit of a dahu for them”.