The top ten identified applications were rated as apps with high accessibility', moderate accessibility' and low accessibility' based on the WCAG. (PTI Photo)
Hyderabad: WhatsApp has been ranked India’s most accessible app for persons with disabilities, according to a recent report titled ‘Making the Digital Ecosystem Disabled Friendly,’ which evaluated the most popular apps across categories like messaging, online payments, transport, e-commerce and food delivery.
The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy along with I-Stem and Mission Accessibility conducted a first of its kind evidence-based evaluation of the accessibility of ten of the most widely used apps in India. WhatsApp emerged as the only app that was rated as ‘highly accessible’ based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Other apps audited in the report include PhonePe, PayTM, Swiggy, Zomato, Amazon, Flipkart, Telegram, Uber and Ola.
The following table summarizes the total Number of accessibility violations identified for each of the ten apps across the Android and iOS platforms:
The top ten identified applications were rated as apps with ‘high accessibility’, ‘moderate accessibility’ and ‘low accessibility' based on the WCAG.
Co-author of the report, Rahul Bajaj, Senior Associate Fellow - Vidhi, Co-Founder - Mission Accessibility, said: "Apps and websites have enormous potential to empower the disabled. If they are not designed with their needs in mind, however, they can replicate the barriers the disabled otherwise face."
Features like voice notes, reactions, video calling make WhatsApp a preferred messaging platform but its reliable, simple and easy to use interface also make it one of the first digital gateways for millions of Indians, facilitating access to essential digital services and delivering solutions ranging from education, healthcare, banking, insurance, among many others.
The report also says that WhatsApp’s platform has also emerged as a powerful tool for scaling social impact across underserved communities, especially at the grassroots level bringing them into the main fold of India’s digital revolution. The core premise driving the report is that digital accessibility is a right, not a matter of charity, and most consumer facing apps must be cognizant of the role they play across multiple societal segments.