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iGA Collaborates with Blind Communities to Enhance Digital Accessibility and Inclusivity

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The Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) organized a Focus Group in line with its commitment to enhancing the eServices and digital channels provided to all individuals, and ensuring the inclusiveness of these channels to meet the needs of all community members, including people with disabilities.

The Focus Group sessions included members from the Saudi Bahraini Institute for the Blind and the Friendship Society for the Blind. The session was attended by iGA Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, Communications & Marketing Director, Lulwa Sami, and technical and administrative team members from both parties.

The Focus Group aimed at obtaining close insights of the user experience of the people with disabilities on the National Portal Bahrain.bh and mobile apps available at the Government Apps store Bahrain.bh/apps. Moreover, the discussion session also aimed at getting their impressions, suggestions and feedback of improvements related to the eServices and digital channels, to ensure the provision of more flexible and easy-to-use services that help specially by visually impaired individuals.

The iGA CE Mr. Mohammed Ali Al-Qaed, welcomed the members of the Saudi Bahraini Institute for the Blind and the Friendship Society for the Blind and stressed the importance of holding such Focus Group sessions which supports iGA’s efforts towards the development of online services and eChannels. Al Qaed also praised the advanced capabilities and skills demonstrated by their ability in using eServices and channels on a daily basis and similar to their peers in the community. He noted the remarkable support provided by the government’s senior leadership for its attention to this segment of society, and ensuring their quality of life, recognizing them as integral to Bahraini society with tangible contributions, in a way that supports the Kingdom’s efforts towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Al Qaed also expressed his admiration for the technical comments and remarks made by the participants, which will support iGA’s efforts in putting together its development plans for eServices that are of satisfaction to all community’s members, especially the people with disabilities.

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The session reflected iGA’s commitment to ensure the rights for accessibility to government eServices by all individuals, including people with disabilities and special needs. It highlights the on-going efforts to provide all digital services through digital platforms and mainly Bahrain.bh, ensuring the inclusiveness of all, leaving no one behind.

It also showcased the impact of the training programs and awareness campaigns, launched by iGA, such as this focus group, which aimed at enhancing the public’s digital capabilities and skills, as well as empower them with required knowledge to easily use the online services provided by the government.

The iGA reviewed the valuable suggestions and ideas provided by the participants from both the Friendship Society for the Blind and the Saudi-Bahraini Institute for the Blind, which included a suggested feature allowing people with disability to save their preferred features that would automatically appear when services are accessed through the eKey to ensure compatible accessibility features. Other suggestions included the development of an interactive text-to-speech feature and a comprehensive mobile application specifically for people of with disabilities covering all eGovernment applications.

In line with its commitment to promoting digital literacy and implementing relevant initiatives, the iGA organized a train-the trainer workshop for trainers and teachers involved in teaching the visually impaired. The workshop aimed at familiarizing the society and institute trainers with eGovernment digital channels and services provided.

It is worth mentioning that focus groups are one of the tools that employed by iGA to gather feedback and suggestions from the public regarding the services and eChannels it provides to them. This enables the Authority to enhance these services and improve the user experiences.

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