Digital and disability: how inclusive design makes life easier

Each of us, regardless of where we’re from, our gender, class or disability must be able to access and make the most of the digital tools around us. They connect and integrate us into the world. The process of creating and producing these technological products is called “inclusive design”. Let’s discover the advances that bring it to life.

Inclusive design : two people making a smartphone

Inclusive design makes new technologies more intuitive and easier to access. 

Digital TV, web portals, videos, phones and mobile apps are all digital tools that open up and connect us to the world.

These tech tools have been carefully designed with interfaces that enable greater accessibility to support a variety of uses in the home. This may be illustrated by content that is easy to read and understand online; video subtitles; a choice of colours and contrasts; audio description on the web and on TV; and so on.

Orange now offers an OpenSource Orange Confort+ solution to make it easier to browse online and find accessible websites. Through the service, you can choose about twenty different options to adapt the sites to your individual needs.  

For day-to-day mobile phone use, some models of smartphones use simplified commands to answer and make calls and connect to the internet. Orange launched the French Tactile Facileapp at the Autonomic du Handicap et de la Dépendance conference in Paris in June 2018. The app makes the Android phone experience easier and more personalised.

Inclusive design addresses a broader community than people with disabilities.

Advances in design affect all of us, young or old. They make everyday life easier for people: the elderly, people going through a tough patch, people with permanent disabilities or more minor problems (sensory, physical or other) ... For example, subtitles make it easier to watch videos for people who are hard of hearing and also people who don’t speak the language well – or even people who don’t want to disturb the person sitting next to them.

Sébastien Vermandel, Project Director at AFP France Handicap confirms: “Many of our day-to-day projects were initially designed for people with disabilities: SMS for the hard of hearing, remote controls for people with mobility issues. All efforts to make browsing easier actually benefit society in general.”

In a world profoundly changed by digital, at Orange, we’re aware of our duty to promote autonomy.

The Autonomie avec Orange website highlights all the solutions adapted to elderly people or people with disabilities. On this site, customers who have hearing issues can contact us via chat, or video using sign language.

In addition to digital services, Orange offers a network of 432 accessible stores, including 271 which have been certified as ‘Autonomy’, that can welcome and advise people with disabilities on adapted solutions throughout France. They offer a specific reception area and personal consultations for disabled customers.

Because coming in store is not always easy, our Autonomy customer service centre also offers help via phone, cued speech, French sign language, text and braille.

Finally, the Group’s open innovation strategy aims to provide a rapid response to people with disabilities through partnerships with start-ups in the sector. Thanks to this co-innovation, the opportunities offered by digital technology are continuing to grow quickly.

The start-up RogerVoice offers a specific solution for people with hearing difficulties. The app of the same name uses voice recognition software to caption telephone conversations on a smartphone screen. Jaccede is a collaborative platform that enables people with reduced mobility to obtain information about accessible public spaces and places in France and abroad.

At Orange, we believe that digital technology can drive progress for everyone.