Digital technology is increasingly enabling more inclusive products and services, with several now on the market that help people with disabilities or neurodiverse conditions live more independent lives. Even the world’s poorer nations can use digital solutions as suitable and relatively affordable tools. Here’s an overview
#1 SignBook: in Jordan, a mobile app to support people with hearing loss
Co-founded in 2018 by Anas Shtiwi, SignBook helps people with hearing loss live a more independent life thanks to three main features: real-time video communication with an interpreter in Arabic sign language, barcode scanning to find out more about a product or medicine and a translation service for the latest news. Available to service providers (telephone operators, banks, government entities, etc.) who then offer it to end users, the SignBook app was developed with technical support from Orange in Jordan.
#2 Accessible Jordan: increasing inclusion
Confined to a wheelchair following a car accident, Aya Aghabi created the accessiblejordan.com website in September 2017 to make the country more accessible. Developed with support from Orange Jordan, it allows people with mobility loss or visual impairments search accessible places near them: restaurants, tourist sites, parks, hotels and more. There is a small description of each along with a rating for its welcome and level of accessibility. Sadly, Aya passed away in 2019, but her mother has taken the project a step further by raising awareness of disability in schools and launching a new mobile app, again with the help of Orange Jordan.
#3 Confort +: making online browsing more comfortable
Developed by Orange, Confort + is a browser extension to improve the user experience, especially for people with motor, visual or cognitive impairments (dyslexia for example). Increasing the font size, accentuating the color contrast, modifying the layouts or navigating using a pointer are just some of the features. The settings only need to be configured once for all websites to take the user preferences into account.
Available in OpenSource, Confort + can be downloaded for free onto Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 11 browsers.
#4 Accessible-DfA font
The Accessible-DfA font, registered in OpenSource, makes life easier for people reading difficulties – such as visual impairments or dyslexia. Confusions between characters are minimized, for example the i, l and 1 are more distinct, as are the O and 0. Likewise, all the characters in French, such as accented capitals (ÀÉÈÊÇ), quotes (« ») and em dashes (–) are available and easily readable.
#5 Signs@Work: connected dictionary of sign language at work
To make it easier to include people with hearing loss into the workplace, Orange Labs has developed a collaborative lexicon of French sign language. Every company has its own jargon, and every profession has its technical terms, and Signs@Work is a web solution that organizations can use to build and use their own dictionary, adding their own signs, terms and expressions (“Hackathon”, “Cloud”, “Coopnet” etc).
Available in OpenSource, Signs@Work is funded by the Orange for the Mission Insertion Handicap.
#6 SantéBD: improving accessibility to online health information
The aim of the SantéBD digital platform is to enable patients, especially the most vulnerable, to drive their own health and be involved in their medical decisions. Developed by the CoActis Santé association in partnership with the Orange Foundation, it explains various medical conditions, consultations and associated care in the form of customizable comics, posters and videos. Among the 50 health topics illustrated: cancer, dental care and pain management in patients with motor or mental health disorders.
SantéBD is available for free online and through the mobile app.
#7 Tsara: understanding autism through an educational game
TSARA (Autism spectrum disorder and recommendations for caregivers) is an educational game that raises awareness about autism among friends, family and caregivers. Developed in French and English by the Regional Center for Inadaptive Childhood and Adolescence (CREAI) with support from the Orange Foundation, the game reproduces scenes from real life: school, doctor’s surgery, restaurant, etc. These scenarios come with recommendations and best practices for responding in the right way when communicating with people with neurodiverse conditions.
Available as a free mobile app, the game features potentially problematic life situations for people with autism and those around them. A quiz offers a range of possible responses (based on expert recommendations) for each situation with points awarded to the best answers. Players can also access additional content on autism including advice, guidelines and videos.
The project is sponsored by the Orange Foundation, which has supported the cause of autism since 30 years.
#8 “Autisme Info Service”: first information system in France
For people with autism, their families and their caregivers everywhere in France, the Autisme Info Service offers a free recorded information system by phone and email. How do you recognize the first signs of autism in your child? Who can you turn to for a diagnosis? What tools and methods are available to support a person with autism? The service answers all of these questions and more.
The Orange Foundation is one of the founding partners.
#9 The Cube: virtual reality solution that reduces anxiety in children with autism
The Cube is an immersive virtual reality solution designed to help children with autism spectrum disorders to cope better with the various visual and auditory stimuli in their daily environment. This project, sponsored by the Autism Center of Excellence of the Tours University Hospital and supported by the Orange Foundation, offers a realistic reproduction of the child’s environment, thanks to 180° images of the places they frequent placed in a 3m x 3m five-sided immersion cabin. The child is supported by health professionals throughout the experience. There are numerous benefits: greater ability to control emotions and anxiety, ability to adjust behavior, and reducing the stress of outings or attending school or college. It also makes it less stressful for loved ones supporting children in multi-stimulating environments. Ultimately, this innovation could be extended to adults or other children, particularly in the context of socio-adaptive assessments or additional examinations.