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CIO Review >> Magazine >> April - 2016 issue

BarrierBreak Solutions: Accessibility Testing Service to Empower the Disabled

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The end user of a website can be any individual, including a person with disability and hence having an accessible website is a good idea. People with disabilities are often ignored as their needs are usually not met through a normal website. If a website of any organization is not taking into account the needs of disabled people, then it is excluding a massive part of potential audience. An accessible website on the other hand, enhances the reputation of an enterprise and makes it unique when compared with its competitors.

Shilpi Kapoor, the Founder of BarrierBreak Solutions believes that not many software testing vendors work on accessibility testing. “Most software testing vendors work on web testing, mobile testing and focus on different types of software testing. At BarrierBreak Solutions, our approach is to focus on accessibility testing,” says Shilpi, an accessibility evangelist who has built a sustainable business model in disability products and services. Shilpi is also an Ashoka Fellow, a recipient of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) – Shell Hellen Keller Award and has also helped many disabled in providing employment. “We often find that a lot of bugs and issues that are reported during accessibility testing are often not identified by other types of testing. Additionally, for most organizations, accessibility is one of the offerings, but at BarrierBreak we specialize in accessibility. This gives us an edge and an in-depth understanding on accessibility,” adds Shilpi.

Niche Area of Testing -Accessibility

According to World Health Organization (WHO), there are over a billion people; about 15% of the world's population with some form of disability and with regards to this, Shilpi believes that accessibility would become an important part of all technology solutions. BarrierBreak understands the people with disabilities and technology solutions and provides end-to-end accessibility solutions by going beyond the traditional web testing. In web accessibility testing, BarrierBreak works with automated tools and provides manual testing service in addition to working with static, dynamic and transactional websites.

The approach of this Mumbai based company is to work with disabled people who use assistive technology. “Our team comprises of people with disabilities who are specialists in using various assistive technology,” shares Shilpi. Apart from providing website accessibility testing, the company provides testing service for software and mobile applications, cloud based solutions, wearables, e-books, and document formats such as pdfs, word documents.

Since mobile is the way that a lot of people are accessing technology, it is critical to ensure that mobile apps are tested for accessibility and meet the needs of the disabled. BarrierBreak works on all the various mobile platforms like android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry. “When working with accessibility testing for mobile apps, we think of how the user interacts with the app, the features and settings that can aid them,” asserts Shilpi.

Accessibility - the key differentiator for Empowering the Disabled

BarrierBreak has been catering to various sectors such as IT, Finance, Insurance, Publishing, e-learning, Healthcare, Education and Government Institutions to name a few. “We work with our clients to help them to understand the business and technological value of implementing accessibility through BarrierBreak’s unique methodology. This methodology is an on-going awareness to bring business value to the clients,” points out Shilpi. She explains that many clients approach BarrierBreak with an aim to understand how BarrierBreak’s solutions can impact people with disabilities and how they can share this information with the disabled people. “Clients have now started to look at Accessibility as a key differentiator and are focusing on how to make their products and solutions inclusive,” unveils Shilpi.

Through an example she briefs that her team works with the clients to test component libraries and create guidance for the end user on how to use and implement those libraries. Since these libraries are already tested and meet the accessibility standards, it then makes it easier for the clients to meet the accessibility requirements. “We also support our clients by referring accessibility consultants who can bridge the gap between senior management and the product team,” adds Shilpi. BarrierBreak has been ensuring that it provides web accessibility testing service which comply with the accessible standards and guidelines.

Shilpi opines that in the near future software testing market would grow and people would invest more in accessible solutions that are robust, understandable and user-centric. “In the near future we are looking at one hundred percent growth as more companies will start appreciating and using accessible technologies,” signs off Shilpi.