Digital accessibility committee formed for the visual and hearing impaired
By John McPhaul
Office of Innovation and Technology Services (PRITS) Director Enrique Völckers Nin on Tuesday announced the creation of the Digital Accessibility Committee, as part of the initiatives to give priority to the needs of Puerto Rico’s visual and hearing impaired communities.
The committee is made up of community members with disabilities, as well as staff from the office of the Ombudsman for People with Disabilities and from PRITS.
“In April, we issued interface and design guidelines as well as the implementation of a new platform for the development of government portals in order to ensure that they meet the accessibility requirements …,” said Völckers Nin, who is also the principal executive of innovation and information at PRITS. “The Digital Accessibility Advisory Committee will help the Government of Puerto Rico to audit the different government portals to ensure compliance with the guidelines. No government page, system or mobile application may be published without having an accessibility evaluation.”
The committee is made up of Gabriel Esterrich, coordinator of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals’ Rights program; Ismael Figueroa, community relations officer, Ombudsman for People with Disabilities; Wanda Díaz, from the Puerto Rican Association of the Blind; Pedro Alvarado, an advocate for the PAIR program; Loida Oliveras, acting executive director of the Protection and Defense Division; Omar Feliciano, creative director of PRITS; Nannette Martínez, chief technology officer of the Puerto Rico government; José M. Álvarez, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras Campus; Völckers Nin; and Emmanuel Montilla, legal adviser to the Protection and Defense Division.
The committee established evaluation protocols for the entire process of creating a portal, system or mobile application that serves the public.
“To this end,” Völckers Nin said, “we will be requesting that an executive order be issued in order to demand compliance, not only with the current portals, but also in the development process.”