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Clic Santé receives the lemon prize from a group of people with visual disabilities

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This platform, used in particular for making appointments for vaccination against COVID-19, does not look good with the community of visually impaired people: they cannot navigate it independently.

You should know that, to surf the web, a blind or visually impaired person uses all kinds of tools. This can be magnification software, which can read 1/16 (or other ratios) of a page at a time, a text-to-speech web page reading tool, or even a relief tablet, which, once connected on the computer, translate everything into Braille. Reading is done from one line to another, from one paragraph to another.

Close-up of a braille display, a tool used by blind people to display in braille what is written on the screen.

In addition to the screen reader, some people use a tool that can display in Braille what is written on the screen.

Photo: /TurnedNews.com

The task is therefore not simple on Clic Santé: As soon as you enter the site, there are plenty of choices, but you don’t use a standard HTML component, so yes, you can browse the list of services offered [avec un lecteur d’écran]but you can’t select anythingdenounces Jean-Marie D’Amour, president of the RAAMM and web accessibility expert.

According to his estimates, the problem could be fixed easily, at a negligible cost of $2000-3000. Jean-Marie D’Amour even offers to do it for free, because he can’t wait.

A woman looks at a laptop.

The portal for making appointments for vaccination was developed by a firm from Alma.

Photo: /TurnedNews.com / Lynda Paradis

This is not the group’s first public outing to denounce the accessibility of the Clic Santé portal, which was created more than ten years ago.

The government knew long before the COVID-19 pandemic that there were accessibility issues with the portal. The Quebec group has already taken steps with him. »

A quote from Pascale Dussault, director of RAAMM and herself blind

In order to circumvent the website, the community is forced to turn to the telephone to make an appointment. The problem: it sometimes comes up against high waiting times and restricted opening hours,h”,”text”:”which sometimes ends at 5 p.m.”}}”>sometimes ending at 5 p.m.laments Jean-Marie D’Amour.

Asked about this problem in March 2021, the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) had confirmed that the site was not suitable for blind people; he advised them to use the telephone.

877644-4545″,”text”:”A telephone line is available to make appointments, especially for blind people: 1877644-4545″}}”>A telephone line is available to make appointments, especially for blind people: 1 877 644-4545reiterates a spokesperson for the MSSS, approached again.

What standards for Quebec?

In 2011, the government adopted accessibility standards, based on international standards adopted in 1999.

The Government of Quebec has decided that its own websites must meet these standards and must be usable by as many people as possible. »

A quote from Jean Marie D’Amour

The government therefore does not meet its own standards with Clic Santé, according to the specialist, also considering that the number of visually impaired people in Greater Montreal alone is estimated at 200,000.

Photo portrait of a middle-aged man with glasses, smiling.

Jean-Marie D’Amour has made web accessibility one of his hobbyhorses for several decades.

Photo: RAAMM

Clic Santé was made by a private company, and the government should impose the same standards of accessibility as the public, otherwise it is inconsistent to adopt standards in this area.he complains.

The president of the group even proposes that the RAAMM collaborate with the developers of the site in order to test the accessibility features with the main interested parties when they are put in place.

Solicited by /TurnedNews.com, the MSSS first wishes to specify that Clic Santé is not an official government site.

The department has a plan, but the work is complex, long, and will take more than a year to complete, and it is much more expensive than the amount suggested by Mr. D’Amour. Throughout the process, the ministry must ensure that all of Clic Santé’s current functionalities continue to meet demand. »

A quote from Marie-Louise Harvey, media relations officer at the MSSS

We fully understand that citizens who encounter services that are not adapted to their situation may [être affectés par la situation] and denounce it. The ministry’s teams are working very hard to make all the ministry’s tools accessible and efficient for everyone, including the Clic Santé platform.she added.

other thorns

When the Internet first entered Quebec homes in the 1990s, people with visual impairments hoped to be more independent, emphasizes Pascale Dussault. In his eyes, this would put an end to the need to translate a newspaper article into Braille, or to have others read it to him.

Although certain tools such as voice assistants (Google Home, Alexa, Siri, etc.) offer them a helping hand, she is sorry to see that the technology does not always seem to help her.

Sometimes we feel like crying when we try to do things and it doesn’t work because we feel like we’re being forgotten all the time. We exist! »

A quote from Pascale Dussault

The list of finalists for the RAAMM lemon awards also includes the VaxiCode application (linked to the vaccine passport), deemed too complicated for navigation with a screen reader.

Portrait photo of a woman sitting at a table in a park.

Pascale Dussault hopes to succeed in making companies aware of universal accessibility with the awarding of the “coup de coeur” and “coup de gueule” prizes.

Photo: RAAMM

The City of Montreal and Longueuil websites, which recently underwent a redesign, are not receiving praise from the community either.

The biggest obstacles online for people with visual impairments are interactive elements, such as drop-down menus, accordions and carousels. »

A quote from Jean Marie D’Amour

The Amigo Express carpooling service also came close to winning a rant. It is part of a trend for companies to increasingly abandon the telephone in favor of online self-service, according to Pascale Dussault, who feels increasingly excluded by this kind of approach. However, this service is essential for visually impaired or blind people, who cannot drive.

Ville de Longueuil and Amigo Express did not respond to a request for comment from /TurnedNews.com.

The City of Montreal, for its part, mentioned that it held a meeting, at the end of January, with the RAAMM in order to better understand the concerns of its members, and modified its 2022 roadmap accordingly to continue improving accessibility of the website. A City spokesperson assures that an external accessibility audit and a review of the quality assurance process will be carried out during the year.

The team responsible for creating the Ville de Montréal website is committed to continuous improvement. Work has been carried out in recent years to improve the accessibility of the site. »

A quote from Guillaume Rivest, public relations officer at the City of Montreal

Favorite prices

The RAAMM also wanted to highlight the successes, particularly in terms of positive representation of blind or visually impaired people. Members award first place to Youth Series six degreesby Simon Boulérice.

We can see a teenager with a visual impairment who fits in very well at school and who manages to read with a voice synthesized television. It is a good visibility for the visually handicapped. »

A quote from Pascale Dussault
Teenager in a hallway with a white cane.

Leon’s character in the “Six Degrees” series is visually impaired.

Photo: /TurnedNews.com

Among the finalists, the group also wished to highlight the Fidelio systemHave (New window)Have, a video description device available at Cineplex theatres. An audio-described dance performance by Danse-Cité – for the welcome, the quality of the adaptation and the inclusive approach behind the project – as well as a contemporary dance workshop adapted by Laurie-Anne Langis were also among the successes of the year.

Although 2022 marks the first “coup de coeur” and “coup de gueule” award ceremony, the RAAMM wishes to make it a tradition.

White Cane Week, which celebrates 75 years of awareness of the situation of people with visual impairments, continues until February 12.

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