CyL19, accessibility and COVID19 data from Castilla y León, Spain

— 2 minute read

It has been 8 months since I published the the application Situación simplificada COVID19 en Castilla y León. This web tries to give access to the COVID19 epidemic data of Castilla y León to all those people who for accessibility reasons find it difficult, or even impossible, to read and/or interpret the graphs, tables and maps that the Junta de Castilla y León offers in its web.

The project was born more than a year ago when I thought it would be useful to find the most relevant information about the pandemic at regional level. It seemed to me a good opportunity to try to put into practice and extend my knowledge about web accessibility and give more value to the application.

I thought that for the information to be accessible it was necessary to verbalize it by filling the gap between giving some figures without enough context (e.g. "Castilla y León notifies 606 new cases of COVID-19..." is 606 a 'good' figure or a bad one?) and a collection of tables, maps or graphs that required, at best, a minimum of interpretation.

The app can be installed as a progressive web app (PWA) on any current mobile device and consists of a selector, a button and the information. That's it.

It not only tries to comply with accessibility guidelines related to the format of the content (color contrast, text size, etc.) or related to the structure of the document (semantically correct use of HTML tags), but also to simplify the content and, in general, to ensure that the experience among different users is as similar as possible.

I found very interesting the tests I performed with the screen reader that generated, for example, the idea of offering an assistive technology readable alternative to the informative color code. Green, yellow, orange and red are verbalized as good, worrying, bad and very bad situation respectively. In this way the general idea that is reached by looking at the color of each section is very similar to navigating its headings with a screen reader.

I know that there are people who consult it periodically, this, together with everything I have learned, makes the process of developing this small application worthwhile.