Author: Alberto Vidal Rodríguez
As mentioned, AccesibilidApp can be used completely free of charge.
The first step to start using this application is to create an account. This process can be done easily both from the computer and from the application for mobile device.
To do this, you only have to provide a name and surname, an email to which the user's account will be associated, a postal code and a contact telephone number. Once this process has been carried out, we will be asked to validate our account by clicking on a link that will be automatically sent to the email address that we have previously provided. Once these steps have been followed, we will be able to use our AccessibilidApp account.
OPERATION OF THE APP
The design of the application is very simple, intuitive and easy to use. The mobile application has six different functionalities that can be accessed by clicking on them.
- Home: This screen shows the summary of all the incidents that the user has sent through the application. These are classified as Pending, Received, Assigned, Not processed, Eliminated and Solved.
- New incident: This is where you can notify the competent authorities of any incident that has been seen. The steps to follow to create a new incident will be explained later.
- Messages and alerts: In this tab you will receive the messages through which the managing entities will communicate the status of the incident, and the changes that occur at any time, through messages to your email.
- My incidents: The current status of the incidents reported by the user will be displayed here.
- User profile: This screen shows the user's data, it can be updated, the password can be changed and the account can be deleted through a link if desired.
CREATE ONE NEW INCIDENCE
The main functionality of AccesibilidApp is the notification of incidents related to accessibility aspects in cities. Here's what this process looks like for both the computer version and the version on a mobile device.
To create a new incident from the computer version, go to the section on Incidences and in it select Create incident. We will find ourselves before a screen like this.
At this time we can add the different fields referring to the incident that we want to notify.
By clicking on the green square in the central part with the text Add image We can add an image of the place of the incident and the incident itself from the computer's file library. To do this, first the incident will have to be photographed with the mobile phone and then transfer this photograph to the computer. That is why it may be more convenient to create incidents directly from the mobile phone, as we can avoid this intermediate step.
In the text box in the central part, a brief description of the incident should be added to provide relevant information to the authorities about it and so that they can act in the best possible way.
In the right part of the image we can see a tab that when pressed will show a drop-down menu where we can select the Type incidence. A series of generic incidents will appear in the drop-down. By selecting one, it will show us the description of that type of incident.
These generic incidents are grouped into four categories:
- Urban Categories
- Transport Infrastructure Categories
- Building Categories
- Health Emergency Categories
Finally, the Location of the incident, This will help to locate the incident more accurately and proceed to its communication to the entity or person responsible for its solution.
This can be done in two different ways. First, selecting the place of the incident directly on the map using the red marker. The other option is to enter the location manually, for which the City, Address and Postal Code must be typed in the corresponding spaces.
Once all the fields of the incident have been filled in, just click on the green button Create and the process of creating the incident will be finalized.
The process of creating a new incident from a mobile phone is also simple. To do this, the following steps must be followed.
First of all, in the main menu, we must click on New incident.
A map will automatically open to us with the location where we are currently. Here we must geolocate the place where the incident is located. To do this, our current location can be selected (left image) or another location can be selected using the red color selector by placing it on top of the desired location or by entering the address in which the incident is located using the keyboard (right image). Once the incident has been geolocated, click on the green tick at the bottom right of the screen to confirm.
The next step is to categorize the issue. To do this, a new screen will open in which we must choose one of the four categories that were already mentioned for the computer version. Within this category we must select another subcategory from the default ones in the application.
Now we must attach an image of the incident. To do this, from the new window that will open we can take a photo or select an image from the image gallery. For the latter, we must grant AccessibilidApp permission to access our photos.
The last step is to write a brief description or comments regarding the issue. Finally, we will be shown a summary with the data that we have entered, we will verify that they are correct and we can send the incident to be treated and resolved by the entity to which it corresponds. We will then be shown a screen confirming that it has been sent correctly.
In order to analyze and evaluate the application, a series of tests have been carried out to verify its operation. The tests have been carried out on a Samsung Galaxy S8 device (Android 8.0.0) and an Iphone 6S (IOS 13.4.1).
The web version of the application has also been tested to verify its correct operation.
In general, in all the tests carried out it has been found that the operation of the application is very good, both on computer and mobile devices.
The interface is simple and easy to use, but at the same time it is very well developed.
Aspects such as location selection have been proven to work correctly, something that tends to cause many problems in other applications that use location within the app itself.
There have also been no problems with taking pictures or selecting images from the gallery.
In turn, the procedure to publish a new incident is quite simple since the steps are sequential and are very well explained in the app itself during the process.
In this section, different criteria have been applied to assess whether the application can be used regardless of the capabilities of the user.
-Cognitive accessibility: The application is, in general, easy to use. However, having to carry out different sequential steps to carry out the entire process described above, including the identification of an incident related to accessibility, can make the system complicated for people in this group.
-Accessibility for people with reduced or no vision: The application does not present an settings section where you can change the theme or the font or contrast options. However, on practically all screens the font size is large enough. In addition, with the accessibility functions that different devices usually offer, the screen can be zoomed and / or the font size increased, which greatly facilitates use for people with reduced vision.
In general, the contrast between the app's font color and the background is adequate, combining dark colors for the font and light colors for the backgrounds, which makes the texts easier to read.
To complete this section, some tests have been carried out with the screen reader systems available on Android and iOS devices. These tests have focused on checking the correct labeling of the icons and buttons that AccesibilidApp has. In the tests carried out, it has been verified that the buttons and the different screens that make up the app are well labeled.
However, it should be noted that it is an application that can be difficult for blind people to use. Although this group can be one of the great beneficiaries of the use of this app, since it allows to eliminate architectural barriers that are especially relevant for them, it can be difficult for them to identify the incident, define it, determine the location in which it is located or take a picture of the problem to be reported.
-Accessibility for people with hearing difficulties: People with hearing difficulties can use the application without any problem, as there is no content in the form of video or audio.
AccesibilidApp is an application that can be very useful both for the citizens of a municipality and for the municipalities themselves, since it is an agile and bidirectional tool to know and manage the accessibility of the environments for which they are responsible.
The rapid resolution of incidents such as damage to the pavement, elements that impede or hinder mobility or distort the accessible route or faulty lighting elements, can be a great help for groups such as the elderly, people who use wheelchairs or people with reduced or no visibility.
In the tests carried out, it has been found that the operation of the application is good and the user experience with the application has been very satisfactory.
The main drawback encountered is that, ultimately, incident management and action on them depends on some entities or others depending on where this incident occurs. This means that the time it takes to act and correct the defects can be high on some occasions.
In the case of the tests that have been carried out to verify the functioning of the AccesibilidApp, different incidents have been notified through the application in different neighborhoods of Madrid and, in general, the processing time of the incidents has been longer than desirable. Even so, it should be noted that these incidents were not extremely serious for the accessibility of the affected area.
- Simple interface, easy to use and with a good design.
- Completely free application.
- Application of great utility for the citizen in general and especially for certain groups that are affected by accessibility problems with some elements of the cities.
- The response time after the notification of an incident depends to a large extent on the responsible entity that applies due to its geographical location. This means that the variability in the response time is high and that, in some cases, this response time can be high.