You can't use APP, with your eyes closed.

You can't use APP, with your eyes closed.

Title figure from the East IC, this article from the micro-channel public number: Nutshell (ID: Guokr42), Author: Small gold teeth

One day in March, Cheng Rui, a junior in Ningbo, was hungry. He went to a restaurant near the school to find someone to help him enroll in the menu-which was not comfortable for the completely blind him, but it was commonplace.

"Use Alipay to scan the order, don't queue!"

This sound is like an angel singing. Cheng Rui immediately pulls out the mobile phone, puts it in his ear, listens to the voice prompt of the screen reading software, and the finger keeps sliding and clicking on the screen.

He accurately opened Alipay's sweep function and aimed the QR code under the guidance of the waiter. Alipay popped up the "Word of mouth" applet, Chengrui continued to slide, the mobile phone speaker passed the name of the dish: Huangqi chicken rice, Huangqi pork ribs rice...

"braised pork steak rice", hearing these five words, Cheng Rui stomach is even hungry, eat it! He double-clicked the screen, which was selected in read screen mode, but failed at the moment. He double-clicked over and over again.


Listening to buttons, watching ringtones, playing mobile phones is more than one way

Not everyone uses mobile phones in one way.

For Cheng Rui, after 90, the mobile phone is the tentacles of life. Use nails to ask for leave, use QQ to chat, use Taobao to buy things, use the US group to take out, use Alipay to pay... All blindly, he has his own set of operational logic: the screen reading software is driven to several times speed, the finger is flying, the efficiency is not so-called "Bright eyes people" are low.

The accident occurred, such as the applet of mouth in Alipay, which could read``Braised Rice with Braised Pork'' but could not order, which was a hurry. Such a bug is like the``blind road'' which ends at the end of Jiuqu 18 bends, leaving a question mark for pedestrians.

The screen of the phone we saw was the front-end display, which was the "foreground". Every layout, with the support of code behind each button, is the "background" that we don't need to know. The programmer knocked the code in the background and we saw the image in the foreground. Visually impaired users also need programmers to type code in the background to hear prompts at the front desk.

The auxiliary function of "read screen" is more mature. IOS has VoiceOver (narrator), Android has TalkBack, and Tiantan read screen software, but the mobile phone software is not developed according to the barrier-free optimization technical specification. Screen reading software is not "look at the picture to speak", but need to read the background typing code "tagging". Both iOS and Android have open, universal barrier-free programming interfaces and specifications that, once not marked, or "focus confusion," make it impossible for screen-reading software to choose a target or a hammer without a sequence, and there is nothing the screen-reading software can do. Just as the background code is displayed directly on the screen or a bunch of random codes are displayed simply, there is nothing the eye can do about it.

For visually impaired people like Cheng Rui, there are more than 17 million people in China, that is, one in every 100 people who operate mobile phones in the screen mode. In addition, there are hearing impaired people (can use vibration or light feedback instead of sound), physically handicapped people (can use voice instructions instead of manual operation), people with print disabilities (can read the text using voice reading), etc. According to figures estimated by the China Disabled Persons' Federation, as of 2010, there were more than 85 million people with disabilities in China. This is far from the total number of people with disabilities. As of 2017, the number of elderly people over the age of 60 in China has reached 241 million, and their use needs are more diverse.

Barriers are raised when mobile software takes into account only one user. To make information accessible to all is to optimize access to information. Mobile phones are almost one of the most important tools of life today.

A more forgettable fact is that any so-called "able-bodied" person may encounter functional limitations: a friend sends a voice during a meeting and converts it into text in WeChat; when walking is not convenient to type but has to reply to a client, use iFlytek Input to directly convert the voice into text; if you don't bother to pick up your phone, shout Siri, and let it sing to you.

In front of people, there are obstacles is the product.

Bottom-up feedback is almost a "custom"

This braised ribs rice is not delicious, Cheng Rui immediately began to contact customer service when he returned to the dormitory, hoping that the product can fix the problem as soon as possible. In his address book of Mobile QQ, there are three Ali engineers who are often contacted. In addition to the problems encountered by himself, Cheng Rui will also notice the problems encountered by other visually retarded users in the group and feed them back to the programmers he knows.

“My experience is that looking for an engineer directly is the most efficient.” He summed up the different styles of each company. Ali’s evaluation in him was good, although sometimes problems occurred, but the solution was faster.

Not only Chengrui, but many visually impaired users who often play mobile phones will actively feedback product problems. All blind users squandered in the group: "After the Jingdong upgrade, the products in the spike are read-only prices without reading the product name, and there is no way to use them. But it is also good, save me from picking up my hands every day." He is not like Cheng Rui. Directly looking for engineer feedback, most of the time is to deal with customer service, but also summed up the experience of feedback to the customer service "accessibility optimization" problem: First, speak professionally, let the customer service understand; second, be "polite, do not go up and spray ". Bug fixes are a pressing matter.


There is too much room for improvement in accessibility facilities in cities. In the past, most people with disabilities were isolated from mainstream society and no one helped them move-there were too many steps and wheelchairs needed to be carried; the blind road stopped suddenly, the traffic lights did not sound, the blind did not know what to do; the customer service was mostly answered by telephone, and the deaf and mute were speechless.

Mobile Internet has greatly improved their independence.

"The toothpaste is gone. Ordinary people buy it when they go downstairs. They can also be sent by the US group. But for the disabled, the former is much more difficult... This is not an improvement problem, but a solution to the problem." An engineer who is a visually impaired person is already an expert in the field of accessibility optimization. The mobile Internet not only gives people with disabilities more convenience (or, to make up for the many deficiencies in environmental accessibility optimization), but also makes them more independent. Many people use technology to achieve economic independence. Liu Wei is one of the best. Some people start trading through Taobao. Some people open a reading program in the Himalayas to become a red man.

The obstacle users pay so much attention to the use of mobile phones. Liu Wei feels that it is natural: "The mobile Internet is a icing on the cake for the sound people. For the obstacle users, it may be the snow."

Liu Biao in the work of the Information accessibility Research Association

Because of this, users can't wait to do all sorts of "bottom-up" feedback, and will continue if accessibility optimization is not perfect.

"how do you take a taxi with your cell phone?!" If you don't know, you can't do it.

For information accessibility optimization, you will encounter various problems. “Accessibility optimization according to the rules” is the first step in the optimization of information accessibility in China. In this step, domestic Internet companies such as IBM (China), Ali, Tencent, Baidu, and Xunfei have gradually emerged. And countless SMEs are still stuck here. At present, there are only more than 40 apps in China that have been optimized for information accessibility.

Although there are norms, they are not deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, and it is an objective factor for domestic information to enter the public vision without obstacles.

The concept of global information accessibility optimization began in 1997, when the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed a series of standards, specifications, and test forms for network accessibility in order to establish the Web Accessibility initiative (WAI). Etc. and promote barrier-free online campaigns worldwide. China's information accessibility optimization entered the public view in 2003, after which relevant laws and regulations have been improving.

In his daily life, Liu Wei can understand the public's lack of understanding of the obstacles. When Liu Wei used Drip to take a taxi, he was almost always asked by the driver: "How do you use your mobile phone to take a taxi?!" For most people, this is completely unimaginable.

The public does not understand the 10,000 ways to play with mobile phones, and many engineers from Volkswagen have little idea of it.

Liu Wei is the technical director of the Shenzhen Information Accessibility Research Association. This is the earliest professional organization dedicated to information accessibility in China, and promotes information accessibility optimization both online and offline. They collect user feedback, provide accessibility optimization advice and solutions for Internet products, and do the same in public places such as service windows and exhibitions. He told the shell, the workload of the Information Accessibility Research Association has always been very large: "We sometimes dock some products, the norm for the information accessibility optimization is really not known, one thing to check for a long time, this time we Have to provide a code solution directly."

Mr. Huang, who worked in Tencent for more than 13 years, was responsible for the accessibility of Tencent's product information, and he recalled his "I don't have any knowledge of any barrier-free design and programming, and I don't think my teachers can understand" at reading. The information-free optimization has not been put into the default option at the beginning, and has become an additional option: the "When the university is teaching students to program and design, they should teach them to design and write the software in the right way, so that everyone can use it." has already taken part in the work's developer and should be "Take this lesson slowly and get familiar with the system's accessibility".

After the "by the rules" has made a barrier-free optimization, there is an ongoing detection and repair. If you can't really run, it's a face-to-face project. Even if the engineer knocked down the code in the background to the blood, it's time to pull out and run and see if it's all right.

Under the ideal condition, the repeated running should be detected automatically, and 70% of the problems should be found by technical means, and then detected by professionals such as the Information accessibility Research Association, coupled with user feedback, to gradually fix some problems that can not run out of automatic detection.

Different types of users, with different usage logic, so-called "All-in-one" do not really understand all the usage scenarios. Information barrier-free optimization is particularly essential to the hands-on experience of the various barrier groups.

The embarrassment encountered by Cheng Rui Online was based on a third-party applet, which was unavoidable when Alipay was running the test. However, with user feedback, through internal communication, it is also expected to jointly promote different entities to optimize information accessibility.

There is a cold joke that everyone knows: How many steps do you need to put an elephant in the refrigerator?

A: three steps. Open the refrigerator door, put the elephant in, and close the refrigerator door.

The matter of information accessibility optimization is a lot of mystery, but to sum up, it is only three steps: open the train of thought and realize that we should do "barrier-free optimization"; put into the rules and regulations to do the development according to the programming interface and specification; finally, close the door, let the product run, continue to optimize through the feedback of the user, and strive to be barrier-free.


In fact, the situation is much better, and many professionals like Liu Biao stand between the obstacle and the product, transmitting information. Liu Biao has worked in Shenzhen Information Accessibility Research Association for more than 5 years, and his team has provided information accessibility optimization services for dozens of Internet products since 2014. In the technical department of the Information Accessibility Research Society, there are eight engineers focused on information accessibility optimization, and several other departments work together.

If there is a problem with a new version of a product, Liu Biao and his colleagues have to submit feedback to the co-operative product team as soon as possible, and to drive the relevant bug fixes. At the same time, he will also go to the forum and group to send a message to remind other visually impaired users of the impact of the upgrade and to provide the user with the use suggestions for the users who have been upgraded.

On the other hand, any product is afraid to lose out with the competitor's PK. There is no harm without comparison, and the one-to-one feedback is not a climate. The Information Accessibility Product Alliance (CAPA) began to update the “Accessibility Evaluation” in 2018, and the “Information Accessibility Optimization Level” of mobile software was pulled out. The "spit" of the product has begun to become a collective behavior with a certain right of discourse from the scattered individual behavior, which is equivalent to the rise of the discourse power of the disabled.

The new version of the social media App accessible evaluation involves 11 mobile phones App. At the top of the list is the mobile phone QQ, which has users commenting on "pictures posted by teachers in the group some time ago, who did not ask aunts to read them for help", as well as comments from users hoping to fix defects related to "narrator sweeping back to see the message", as well as some compliments. The engineer's evaluation is stricter, "some controls are untagged, and the focus of the personal data page is unreasonable." Sina Weibo is only fifth, after Zhihu. Users' comments on Weibo are terrible: "now I use third-party Weibo clients", "the heart is dead"; the engineer calmly feedback: "there are a lot of controls untagged, pictures have no description text."

Available evaluation screenshots | Small gold teeth

Users have a strong willingness to communicate, professional "intermediaries" also actively convey information, and the product side is also involved in the conversation.

"The problem of word-of-mouth small program, we have received feedback from several obstacle users. In fact, because the various functions integrated in Alipay belong to different subjects, we are promoting solutions." Alipay engineer responsible for information accessibility optimization Xiao The morning gave such an explanation.

Alipay's accessibility team was established in 2013. In 2016, Alipay also experienced the “bombardment” of visually impaired people. The latest version of the Android version of Alipay comes out, the visually impaired user is dumbfounded, and after paying the pop-up password keyboard, the screen reading software is dumb and can't read anything. On May 14th, Sun Tao and several visually impaired users who paid attention to accessibility posted the “Open Letter of Visually Impaired Users to Alipay Company” on the Internet, pointing out that Alipay’s Android-based password keyboard reading function caused the visually impaired users to be unable to pay. .

Alipay side is also very difficult. This time the problem is not due to Alipay negligence, but to security considerations. Alipay found that the screen reading function is likely to be hijacked by third-party software, resulting in the disclosure of user information, even users who do not use screen-reading software may be threatened by this. After weighing again and again, some engineers advised the company to stop supporting Android version of password keyboard reading screen software voice input. At that time, the mainstream third-party payment software took the same measures.

And repair this problem, also faces the very big difficulty. Compared with ios, Android models are numerous and complex, at the same time, domestic manufacturers deeply customize the system, password keyboard barrier-free problem, it will take a certain amount of time to solve.

In the next two months, the users with visual impairment and Alipay were at the same time. Finally, the dispute arising from technology is settled by technology. The final solution is to develop the security password reading screen function, which means that after the visual obstacle user calls the Alipay password keyboard, the voice reading function of the password keyboard is provided by Alipay App, not the system comes with or the third-party read-screen software, realizing the accessibility service and security consideration in mobile phone payment.

Since then, Alipay and visually impaired users have set up a group, now the group has more than thirty people, there is no obstacle-free optimization problem, can directly feed back in the group.

Information accessibility optimization, not just charity


As an engineer, Xiao Chen feels that once this is really done, no one in Alipay is doing “charity” and “public welfare”. For the technical staff, it is one: how to improve the user experience.

Huang Xitong, who has initiated and participated in public welfare projects at Tencent, believes that the matter of information accessibility optimization is indeed driven by a sense of social responsibility, especially for large enterprises, but also as a new user group and business growth space. Information accessibility optimization should not be regarded as an "extra burden" by small and medium-sized enterprises, it can actually make products better.

When Internet enterprises racked their brains to activate users and retain users, barrier groups are an important user group that has been neglected for a long time. Liu Biao admitted that the degree of dependence of disabled people on some mobile software, or "user loyalty", is higher than that of ordinary users. And the number of these people is huge. If China's ageing population is taken into account, the proportion of people with disabilities in the future is not difficult to guess.

In addition to being a way for enterprises to improve the user experience, Liu Wei suggested from a professional perspective that the sooner the company is optimized, the lower the cost. After the product reaches a certain scale, the optimization cost will be higher, and some functions may be incompatible with the accessibility optimization. Still using blind roads, Xi'an appeared "stainless steel blind road" some time ago. After the rain, it was slippery and difficult to shovel. The cost can be imagined.

On the one hand, relevant domestic laws and regulations are becoming more and more perfect, and information accessibility optimization has become a must-have. On the other hand, some countries have stricter regulations on the accessibility of information. If enterprises want to enter overseas, they will not be able to avoid information accessibility optimization.

In the technical field, many functions can be shared or borrowed from each other. Product development in accordance with programming interfaces and specifications is only a basic line of barrier-free optimization. There are many Internet companies exploring other methods, such as harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to make accessibility optimization better. QQ space has launched "picture voice instant description function". This function is based on Tencent AI Lab's "Image Description Generation Technology", which automatically recognizes the image content and reads out the picture information such as "a man holding a coffee cup." Liu Wei introduced that the accuracy of this function may have to be improved. It is obvious that it is juice but it is possible to recognize coffee, but it is much better than the feedback of “picture”, “picture” and “picture”.

The application of OCR character recognition technology in barrier-free optimization is also very prominent, which can help users read the text in the picture. In 2018, Mobile Taobao launched the function of "optical reading OCR" and made it online before National Day holiday. Because Taobao sellers like to use directly designed pictures as baby details, which contain a large number of text, with the addition of "optical reading OCR", users can hear the text content on the picture by clicking on the picture, whether it is "mute design, suitable for office scene" or "double eleven promotion surprise price", can be read out. After the function was launched, the number of daily recognition images of reading OCR continued to rise, from an average of 5 million a day in October last year to an average of nearly 100 million a day during the period of double 12. This is not expected by the hand-scouring team, who has a good understanding of people with disabilities, who have added a server.

The application scenario of the OCR function is very extensive. The function of extracting the text in the PDF file and the "photographing text" provided by some softwares are related to the OCR text recognition. The technical field is not completely divided, and the efforts of different original intentions in different directions will also benefit each other.

"Technology is good" is not a slogan, it is happening. Various mobile phone software has broadened the boundaries of the lives of people with disabilities, but this will not be the end. The meaning of information accessibility is by no means "let everyone play the phone smoothly."

The application of science and technology has long spilled over the boundaries of individual terminals, spreading everywhere, and more items are "intelligent". This means that people are more equal and more likely to share more living spaces, provided, of course, that information accessibility optimization spreads together.

The hall of the hospital is full of self-service machines. Some functions such as “check-in” must even be completed on the machine. The system has almost no information for accessibility optimization. How do visually impaired people use it? There are always yellow, green and blue express cabinets in the corners of the community. The elderly are overwhelmed by seemingly simple operations and have to resort to a small youth. In the mall, the "welcome robot" uses the screen to display a happy look, and greets the guests with voice. How do the hearing-impaired people "read and understand" its passionate self-introduction?

Liu Biao, as an information-free engineer, has given the product an optimization suggestion all day, and as a visual barrier, it has also been more convenient. He can easily take a taxi to a far-off destination, but once he's out of the Internet, his daily life still has to be remembered and groped. He has a number of product instructions in his head. The third button on the left of the washing machine is spin-dried at four times; the last set temperature of the air conditioner is 23 degrees, the button that touches the tip is down to 20 degrees according to the three, and the strong wind is turned on at the most right button.

In the future world, there will be more and more intelligent items, and a key to eliminating inequality between people is being optimized for information accessibility. Technology can create such a world, people with disabilities no longer exist, and hundreds of millions of people have never had the freedom they have ever had in smart life.

Thanks to the Shenzhen Information Accessibility Research Association for their help. Thanks to the research team Liu Wei, former Tencent employees Huang Xiwei, Alipay Golden Dragon and Xiao Chen, as well as the information provided by ordinary mobile phone users Cheng Rui.

This article is from WeChat official account: fruit shell (ID:Guokr42), author: Xiao Jinya, editor: odette. This article comes from the fruit shell and may not be reproduced without authorization.

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