Speaking at the virtual launch of the recently enhanced website in December 2020, Digi’s Head of Sustainability, Philip Ling said, “The world runs on the Internet, a fact that has become even more pronounced during this pandemic.” Mr. Ling further highlighted that the pandemic therefore has also “highlighted the disparity between those who have and are less likely to have easy access to online experiences” and there is a need and potential to empower fellow Malaysians with impairments with a sense of independence to run their own errands; and to connect them to more socio-economic opportunities.
Digi, being one of the biggest telecommunications company in Malaysia, has been connecting Malaysians and businesses for 25 years and is continuing to focus on growth and creating value for the long-term delivered through a well-defined strategy to connect customers to what matters most. Digi has therefore improved and re-launched their website and app that comes with improved accessibility features, to better serve the visually impaired community in Malaysia. An example of such improvement would be the use of a screen reader, which is an assistive technology which converts text, buttons and images and other screen elements into speech. Further improvements include providing descriptive captions and alternative text, avoiding Italics and stylised fonts, having readable fonts with no text embedded on images, having high contrast content, as well as other measures.
Digi has also collaborated and consulted with the Make It Right Movement (MIRM) and other organisations to release the “Inclusive Digital Touchpoints Playbook”. The playbook shares insights from Digi’s research and direct feedback from the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) community on considerations for building accessible digital touchpoints. Some of these practical inputs include how to assess current web-site friendliness for disabled users, tools to validate if implemented feature upgrades are effective and examples of international best practices for accessible websites and apps. Such initiatives will provide easier and more convenient methods for Persons With Disabilities to conduct their daily tasks.
Furthermore, the Make It Right Movement (MIRM) has also collaborated with Digi to launch the “Open Minds Programme”, a job-matching platform for Digi, wherein Digi provides the Terms of Reference and MIRM will match the job for Digi through specialjobs.com.my, which is a jobs-portal website created by Brickfields Asia College but is managed by MIRM.
The aim of this website is to bridge the gap in the workforce between equal opportunity employers and jobseekers who are Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Focus group discussions were also held with Digi’s Information Technology (IT) Team to discuss on possible methods to further improve accessibility for Digi’s website and mobile app, with particular focus on those who are visually impaired. Such suggestions include, providing text descriptions for images and making some icons which cannot be read by the screen reader software, to be accessible to the visually impaired community. Upon incorporations of such methods, there will be another focus group discussion with Digi, to which MIRM will provide a final round of feedback.
MIRM has also planned for a “Diversity and Inclusion training” for Digi staff on how to create an inclusive workplace for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) but this has been put on hold due to the pandemic and Movement Control Orders (MCO).
It is hopeful to observe multiple parties collaborating with one another to create a more inclusive society which provides PWDs access to multiple resources and available avenues to enable them to have the independence and ability to perform in this digital era.