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Bridging the Gap: Increasing the reach of tech through accessibility

Bridging the Gap: Increasing the reach of tech through accessibility

Access to tech is vital in our modern world. However, easy access is not always possible due to several factors that must be addressed. Millions of people worldwide do not have access to or cannot effectively interact with tech due to limited resources, disabilities or other hindering factors. This can leave entire communities isolated from the modern world and limit people’s opportunities to thrive.

Software testing bridges the tech gap 
At EPAM, we want to bridge this technology gap and help people worldwide become part of the IT ecosystem. This can help make lives easier, bring more convenient access to tools that can help provide medical resources or navigate e-commerce sites, and open a wide range of opportunities for a more connected future.

Why accessibility matters
We spoke with Claudia Rivero, Lead Software Testing Engineer, about the importance of creating accessible solutions, how we are ensuring that everyone can use our tech, and the vital role that software testing plays in the process. 

Meet Claudia Rivero

A graduate of the University of Guadalajara, Claudia has been part of the quality assurance scene for more than 15 years, working in various industries such as healthcare, banking, automotive, finance, etc. In her current project, she conducts accessibility assessments, develops test plans and works with other teams to ensure that accessibility is prioritized across the entire software development process. Besides being an agent of software quality, she’s also dedicated to finding a healthy balance between work and her family, composed of a husband and two lovely daughters.

Claudia believes in creating multicultural, inclusive and diverse environments worldwide and has made it a key priority in her career for software to be accessible to all, regardless of any physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. 

She’s guided by five basic philosophical principles that she feels should be at the core of all IT solutions. These principles are:

  1. Universality: Technology should be designed and developed so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of age, ability or status in society.
  2. Equality: Everyone should have equal access to information and functionality. No user should be disadvantaged or excluded from using a product or service because of their abilities.
  3. Flexibility: Technology should be flexible enough to meet different user needs, preferences, and situations. This includes accommodating a range of user capabilities and preferences. 
  4. Simplicity: Technology should be easy to use and understand. The user experience should be intuitive and straightforward, regardless of the user's abilities or knowledge.
  5. Empathy: Designers and developers should strive to understand and empathize with the needs and experiences of users with different abilities. This empathy should guide the design and development process.

These principles help ensure that technology is accessible, usable and inclusive, providing all users with a positive and fair experience.

Our team of accessibility testing experts is the key to ensuring our products and services are truly user-focused and inclusive. They ensure that everything we create can be used effectively by all individuals. This involves testing the system or application with various assistive technologies, such as screen readers, speech recognition tools and magnification software.

Having this emphasis on product design not only ensures we’re improving quality of life for people with disabilities. It goes much further into helping everyone. Think of text-to-speech technology that can read   text messages out loud when you’re driving, or audio books that you can listen to while commuting. Image captioning and image recognition also can empower computers to design better recommendation and personalization algorithms for the retail industry. These are a few examples of how assistive technologies are incredibly powerful value generators.

Our accessibility testing engineers conduct comprehensive evaluations of digital products to identify any accessibility issues. They create detailed plans outlining how accessibility will be tested across EPAM products and carry out both manual and automated testing to identify potential issues. 

Our talented engineers are more than just agents of quality; they are making an impact on the lives of thousands of people across every industry by bridging the gap and bringing tech to everyone.

How engineers make a difference in the real world: 

E-Commerce: We validate online shopping experiences and ensure their platforms are accessible to all users, including those with visual, auditory, cognitive and physical impairments. This could involve testing product search and selection processes, checkout procedures and customer support features.

Healthcare: We ensure the accessibility of health information systems, patient portals, and telemedicine applications. This involves testing appointment scheduling features, medical record viewing options and communication tools.

Media and Entertainment: We test video player controls, article reading features and social sharing options to ensure they are accessible to anyone, including those with visual, auditory, cognitive and physical impairments. 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our team operates across all industries and constantly adds new horizons to the practice.

For experts in the field, EPAM represents more than just a career opportunity. Our top-tier mentoring program is focused on helping individuals grow and develop skills. Plus, our wide array of projects and global culture give employees engaging challenges while maintaining work-life balance. 

Finally, we asked Claudia if she had any advice for people who wanted to join our team. While she mentioned that it’s important to be up to date with accessibility standards and have a solid level of technical skill and knowledge of assistive technology, it’s also crucial to practice and learn empathy to try to understand the challenges faced by users to better advocate for their needs.

If you’re in the field of test automation and want to help us in the mission of bringing equality to the world of software, join our team and help us make a difference. 

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