Smart technologies facilitate building a barrier-free environment in China

Luyang District, Hefei City, East China’s Anhui Province, distributes free electric wheelchairs to people with disabilities on Dec. 14, 2021. (Photo by Ge Chuanhong/People’s Daily Online)” title=”Luyang District, Hefei City, East China’s Anhui Province, distributes free electric wheelchairs to people with disabilities on Dec. 14, 2021. (Photo by Ge Chuanhong/People’s Daily Online)”/>
Luyang District, Hefei City, East China’s Anhui Province, distributes free electric wheelchairs to people with disabilities on Dec. 14, 2021. (Photo by Ge Chuanhong/People’s Daily Online)

By Han Xin

“It’s 10:32 a.m. Beijing time.”

After Wu Tao, a visually impaired young man, opened an app on his cellphone, the system automatically started reading the time aloud on the screen.

“With the help of the assistive touch function, I can scroll up and down to reset the time on my cell phone,” Wu said. He skillfully tapped the screen and set the alarm clock to half an hour later.

The visually impaired man would not have been able to use his mobile phone so easily without its barrier-free designs that support touch interaction.

“Although many applications support screen reading, the effect of the text-to-speech function may be affected by ambient noises,” said Zhou Juejia, general secretary of the technical committee of Xiaomi Corporation, a leading manufacturer. chinese smartphones. The company has carefully designed the interactive touch system of its products so that visually impaired people can quickly locate user interface elements, including various widgets, according to Zhou.

“By helping visually impaired users quickly locate unread messages and switch between songs whenever they want, we have brought them a better user experience,” Zhou added.

A series of new products and technological advancements have been made to help people with special needs enjoy the digital life.

Chinese telecom operators have explored a model that allows people with disabilities to receive telecom services via video remotely. Many websites and applications have made it easier for them to book tickets, call a car online, etc., and launched new features such as text-to-speech service to help special groups share the fruits of computerization.

According to an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITI).

For more than a year, China has recorded positive results in building an information accessibility environment, with more comprehensive transformation standards, more diverse scenarios covered and mature infrastructure, the official said. responsible.

A total of 375 websites and apps had been transformed for the convenience of the elderly and people with physical disabilities and had passed the relevant assessments by early May this year. They have made breakthroughs to better meet the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities in travel, shopping, access to medical and telecommunications services and management of other affairs, helping them to benefit from intelligent services .

The physical service halls of three major Chinese telecommunications operators – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – have specially designed and deployed a service for people with special needs that allows them to reach customer service staff by pressing a button. It has benefited over 100 million people.

People with disabilities have special needs for digital technologies, but they rarely express their needs online, noted Tang Kaixin, general product manager at the social responsibility department of Douyin, a Chinese online video-sharing platform. Tang believes that only by carrying out massive field research and in-depth analysis of user needs, the platform can continuously optimize its products based on feedback and gain user recognition.

“We have established and operated communities involving more than 300 visually impaired users on social media platforms, to better listen to user voices and improve the user experience of our products,” Tang said.

To increase the penetration rate of barrier-free products, it is necessary to promote technology sharing between enterprises, said an official from MIIT.

This year, the country will strengthen policy guidance, invite professional institutions to strictly evaluate the results of the transformation of applications for people with physical disabilities, and summarize experiences and practices that can be replicated and promoted quickly, the official said.

Through online and offline channels, the achievements of enterprises’ special services for the elderly and the disabled can be fully disseminated, which will encourage the whole industry to launch more considerate, convenient and user-friendly products for groups. specials, according to the official.

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