Govt. of Maharashtra’s Mobile App for differently-abled

by May 13, 2015 0 comments

Directorate of Information Technology, Govt. of Maharashtra has emerged as one of the leading state in IT infrastructure and eGovernance projects. The department is leading various government departments in Maharashtra, for creating a better IT infrastructure and user-friendly citizen services. Evidently, DIT is prudently implementing advanced solutions from ICT and state-of-the-art e-governance projects to improve the quality of life in the state’s towns and villages of Maharashtra.

With exceptional IT Infrastructure and skillful human resources, Maharashtra has emerged as a leader in utilizing its IT skills for better governance. Maharashtra is one of the first states in e-readiness, especially when it comes to use of new technological systems in both urban and rural areas, Maharashtra arguably fares better than many other Indian states. The government of Maharashtra has also been leveraging social media platform in a big way to deliver citizen centric services, and bring about change in the lives of its citizen.

Challenges faced

As per census 2011 data the differently-abled people constitute 2.21% of India’s population, which can contribute immensely to the nation’s growth. To achieve this it is important to provide adequate support system, and enabling tools to provide them a level playing field.

Accessible Places’, a mobile app from Directorate of Information Technology Government of Maharashtra, provides a crowd sourcing platform where people can find and contribute information regarding disabled friendly places in Maharashtra. The aim is to have a rich database of places with disable friendly facilities, which can be accessed by the differently abled people. The database will further encourage, institutions, businesses and organization to take note and provide such facility and improve on the present facilities.

The Implementation

The government’s directorate of information technology launched a mobile phone application called Accessible Places, where users can locate disabled-friendly places in the state.

Accessible Places is a crowd sourcing application wherein people can finAccessible-Places-mobile-appd disables friendly places in Maharashtra. They can also contribute by adding new places from the convenience of their phones. Application developed has been published on Android store as a beta version. Feedback and application testing has been sought from a company dedicated for disability tools and testing to achieve accessibility on the mobile apps.

Leveraging Google Maps, the app, which is still in early stages of development, categorizes places based on services such as banks, ATMs, libraries, hospitals, schools, parking, heritage sites, metro stations, railway stations, restaurants and parks.

Users can search for a location by selecting the type of service and the application shows all the places in that category on the map which accommodates the special needs of people.

Users can also add photos of places while adding information to make it more user-friendly.

Accessible-PlacesWhile implementation, the state identified several issues through feedback, like, application has a button to add location if user wish by crowdsource mechanism. But, issue reported was how visually impaired citizen can add places he/she wish too. The problem was tackled by develop team. Long press on the centre of the smartphone can add location placeholder where user can report places. Also, user search option not optimised, GUI is complex. User interaction is eased with all data record in the application populated in first place. Users can latter filter records based on infrastructure categories.

The Result

The results of any mobile app can be gauged via its user’s feedback. The app has received rating of 3.8 on Google Play store. This project primarily aims at bringing paradigm shift in thinking of the society at large. This paradigm shift primarily tries to remove indifference and sympathy with inclusion and support, to ensure that differently-abled citizens are at par with populace.

This project will help create awareness about friendly places for our differently-abled citizens. The success of the project will lie in the database, which once becomes fully populated will make a huge impact on the lives of differently-abled citizens. Government of Maharashtra is looking ahead for a proactive indulgence with all the departments and institutions to ensure that the requisite facilities are created for the differently-abled citizens and the same are reflected in this application. In near future the application will be armed with enabling features like voice commands and navigation place reader.

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