In partnership with Qatar Central Bank (QCB), Mada Center has granted accessibility accreditation to 11 ATMs from various banks in the State of Qatar, which means that these ATMs can be used by all persons with disabilities and the elderly. The machines provide a screen reader that allows the blind to access all services independently, in addition to protecting the privacy of PWDs by dimming the screen if the screen reader is activated. A high-contrast colors screen has been provided to enable the visually impaired and the elderly to easily access the content.
This accreditation was one of the most important achievements of the strategic partnership between Mada Center and Qatar Central Bank, as all ATMs were audited, including those identified as usable by persons with disabilities and the elderly, where 11 machines passed the assessment conducted by representatives of QCB and Mada’s accessibility team. This accreditation is an important step towards laying the foundations for the independent living of persons with disabilities, integrating them into the digital society, and ensuring their privacy, especially during banking transactions.
This accreditation comes as a result of the efforts made by Mada Center that held 6 training workshops for 9 employees of the Qatar Central Bank. The Center also organized a training workshop entitled “ATMs Accessibility” which was offered to 26 employees from various banks to raise their awareness about the concept of accessibility and the great difference that it makes in the lives of persons with disabilities and the elderly if accessibility standards were applied to digital platforms such as websites, banking applications, and ATMs. Consultation and audit sessions were also held with the participation of persons with disabilities to ensure the readiness of ATMs for accreditation.
Field visits and experiments to these ATMs were conducted by persons with different disabilities, under the supervision of the digital accessibility experts at Mada Center and representatives of the Qatar Central Bank, to obtain their feedback about the challenges they face to complete their banking transactions, such as withdrawals and deposits, and so on.
The accreditation takes into account all standards that help PWDs perform safe banking transactions, based on ADA and WCAG 2.1 standards. These two standards cover digital accessibility of the ATM and its location with appropriate measurements for all segments of society, especially persons with mobility disabilities. After it is confirmed that the accessibility standards are applied to the teller machine, the accreditation logo is placed by Mada Center to inform persons with disabilities that this machine is accessible.
In her statement, Ms. Maha Al-Mansoori, CEO of Mada Center, said: “In Mada, we believe in the right of persons with disabilities to equally access all information, applications, electronic services, and digital content. We are very keen on enabling and fully integrating PWDs and the elderly. We work in Mada to raise the percentage of digital accessibility of various digital platforms to the highest. We highly appreciate our partnership with Qatar Central Bank and their interest in providing ATMs that facilitate access for persons with disabilities and help them perform their banking transactions in privacy.”
It is noteworthy that a memorandum of understanding was signed between Mada Center and Qatar Central Bank in 2019 during “QITCOM” to build a partnership for cooperation and coordination between the two parties to increase the rate of adoption and implementation of digital accessibility policies to ensure improving digital accessibility for PWDs to all digital platforms affiliated with QCB. The two parties agreed to develop various services and activities to improve the rate of adoption and implementation of digital accessibility policies.
The launch of the new version of the “Qatari Money Reader” application was one of the most prominent achievements of this strategic partnership between Mada Center and Qatar Central Bank. As the application made a major change in the lives of persons with visual impairments and the elderly with regard to banking transactions. They can read banknotes, identify, arrange, and add denominations.