At Making Sense, we always highlight the committed and experienced professionals we have in our company, and that’s not only because they are talented professionals, but also because of their proactiveness and entrepreneurial attitude towards the community.
Our team always tries its best to provide amazing software with great UX, in a very effective and efficient way, that’s one of the reasons we want to keep our professionals motivated and always on the lookout for new inspirational projects and challenges.
Thanks to a College assignment, three developers from Making Sense, and college friends as well, decided to start a project to help people with a wide range of abilities.Therefore, Facebook+ was created.
Is the web really accessible for everyone?
Today, it’s really hard to think life without internet, isn’t it? But, believe it or not, there is still a huge part of the population that is unable to have full access to the web. Most studies reveal that about one fifth (20%) of the population has some kind of disability.
It is important to understand that there are many different types of impairments which can lead to disabilities, and that their seriousness may vary enormously. Some types of impairments are: visual impairment, hearing impairment, movement impairment, cognitive/language impairment and seizure disorders.
Currently, most websites and software producers focus on the “average” user’s characteristics and forget about the disabled people’s features, and how difficult or even impossible can be for them to use the internet.
Designing products that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities is called universal design. Another related concept that makes reference to this kind of software development is Web accessibility, which means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with and within the Web, and that they can contribute to it as well.
Making the social media accessible
Social Media is defined as the collection of online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. It can therefore be stated that social media has changed drastically the way in which people interact with each other, creating and exchanging information, opinions, insights and experiences.
There are many positive effects of social media on society. The main one is communication. Nowadays, we have access to be connected 24/7, with almost anyone around the globe. Distance is not an issue right now, we can talk or even see each other in just a question of minutes.
Another benefit is the capability of these tools to unite people in a huge platform in order to achieve different goals.
Most of the main and most popular platforms, such as: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube present certain obstacles for disabled people. Even though they are fairly accessible as a group, they have many issues that decrease their effectiveness within a disabled market segment.
The term “Sociability” refers to Social Media adapted for disabled people, so they can have equal access to these kinds of platforms.
But it can certainly be stated that accessibility to social networking services still remains incomplete. Many of these services present barriers for people with certain disabilities, even for registering. Others present difficulties in accessing the available information or when people try to use certain applications and functionalities.
The most common accessibility issues with these kinds of sites are:
- Poor color contrast
- Lack of section headings
- Missing text equivalents for images
- Inability to navigate using keyboard only
- Inability to operate functionally using keyboard only
- Inability to resize text
- Videos lacking captioning
How Facebook+ was born
Sofia Pacífico, Nicolás Croce and Federico Croce, developers at Making Sense, are conscious about the lack of software development and products for disabled people, so they saw the right opportunity to do something about it. That’s when Facebook+ was created!
The idea came up in 2011 together with UAI (Universidad Abierta Interamericana) from Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina and Applir (Parents Association for Equality in Rosario). The project’s main objective was to provide people with a wide range of abilities the possibility to have access to Facebook, one of the most famous social media platforms.
Sofia Pacífico, Developer at Making Sense, thought “ Wouldn’t it be great if people with disabilities had the opportunity of socializing, without the entry barriers of social networks being so complex for them?”
In order to be more organized and get some tips on how to start a successful project, Sofia, Nicolás and Federico, asked Noelia Franco, Front End Developer at Making Sense, to help them with this useful and charitable development.
Facebook+ is an interface connected to Facebook for people with disabilities, mainly with intellectual and visual impairment. Three main concepts were the key factors for this successful development:
- Web standards
Some of its most important benefits are:
- Big and representative icons
- Voice messages
- Easy navigation
- Intuitive interface
- Suitable colours for the color-blinded people
- Meeting the W3C standards.
Facebook+ includes the main functions of the social platform, like the visualization of pictures and the possibility to comment and like different publications. Another useful feature is the voice command, which makes it easy to navigate through the platform.
As regards the visual interface, it was designed with bright colours and simple shapes.
This new, innovative and intuitive interface is already online, and some organizations for disabled people have already began to use it in their teaching processes.
Federico and Nicolás Croce, were also part of this project. Not only did they help with the interface, but they also developed a game to help people learn how to use the computer, the mouse and different actions that the computer encompasses.
Helping the community
As an international software development company, we are proud of seeing our developers get involved in this kind of charity projects outside the office. It’s even more rewarding to notice how committed they are to the community and especially to people with different kinds of impairment.
Our developers’ aim is to make people more aware about the accessibility issue and the different barriers the web and social media currently have that prevents full access to navigation.
Do you want to have these amazing and talented professionals working with you? Thinking about a new app or software product? We are here to provide you the best end-to-end software development, creating high-impact experiences for any type of user in any industry. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and live an unforgettable software experience!