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The Nordics: Is Cashless the way to go? An accessibility point of view.

by | 27/12/2019 | Accessibility

First, I love Sweden, I love the Nordics! If I go to there as a conference speaker, I always have a great time. The Nordics are innovative. And I am really looking forward to my next 3 trips to the Nordics in the beginning of 2020. I start with Oslo (Norway) in January, Stockholm (Sweden) in February and Helsinki (Finland) in March.

Thanks to my great network I saw this movie:

Movie that triggers this blog post

As I saw this movie I was worried as an expert in accessibility and inclusion.

So, let’s open the discussion on accessibility and inclusion from my part of view: people with disabilities.

To do this, I am going to focus on 2 disabilities: autism / Asperger (youngers with autism / Asperger) and people with learning disabilities.

(Youngsters) with autism  / Asperger

For a lot of people with autism / Asperger, especially for youngsters the physical world is important. The physical view of a banknote and how this banknote can be divided into other banknotes and in the end in coins is a very important view. Also, if you are caring an amount of physical money into your wallet and you want to go to a toy store it’s very concrete, what you can combine with the amount of money and what’s beyond your budget.

People with learning disabilities

There are people with learning disabilities. This can be adults with the knowledge of children below 10. There’s a lot of theory of learning disabilities. The most famous disability on this field is people with Downs Syndrome. But Downs isn’t the only disability that causes learning disabilities. As I tell in my story as a speaker each disability is a spectrum and the knowledge and intellectual functioning is different par person. Some adults have the IQ of a child of 9, even 6 or below 3. there are also adaptive skills and so on.

But what I see in the field if I work with people with learning disabilities is also the same as with youngsters with autism: the physical form of money is very important. As a parent or coach for a person with learning disabilities it’s very concrete t give a banknote of money and help them to split this into costs. A digital translation of money can be challenging.

Do you trust everybody?

Nice question. Can you give the bank card / the mobile application to pay to everybody surrounding the person with the disability (if this is a youngster with autism / Asperger or a person with learning disability it’s doesn’t matter)?

How to control the usage of the account linked to the card / app?

How to create a visible system that the persons with the disability understand. That provides trust and transparency for parents / care givers / coaches?

How to prevent that inclusion is going backwards?

Do make the last question concrete: I mean: Currently there are quite a lot of people with disabilities going to shops / warehouses on their own. How to prevent that these persons must be surrounded with a caregiver / coach for the payment?

How to build in safety for these vulnerable persons? If you have a banknote of 50 (Dollar by example / it doesn’t matter). The largest amount of money that can be stolen is 50 Dollar. If you share a bank account / app / card with the budget of 1000 Dollar, maybe 1000 Dollar can be stolen…

Are mobile apps the solution?

I believe. There are a lot of mobile payment apps. And as you all can read on my blog (in other blogposts). There a lot of possibilities to make mobile apps more accessible. Using Text To Speech, Color by Function, Simplify The Layout, Images and pictographs and so on.

At this time. I haven’t seen one mobile banking app that implements this accessibility concepts. I hope governments and banks will investigate how they make their apps accessible for people with different disabilities.

This is very important because we don’t want inclusion is going backwards.

A demo of an accessible app that shows people with disabilities what's on the menu to eat. In this image you see that on the menu is fries and burgers. I show this via text in combination with pictographs and an accessible layout.
Accessible Demo 1: Food applications

Image of an application to communicate about emotions. The app don't have a name right now and is not published. It's a proof of concept.
Accessible Demo 2: Emotion boards

More info on my accessibility concepts:

The Need of Accessible Apps

Simplify the layout

Color by Function

More concepts coming soon!

Thanks for reading! Can’t wait for your reactions.