Monday, December 6

The Administration distances the most vulnerable population from its own aid with confusing and inaccessible websites


Presumably unintentionally, but the Administration distances the most vulnerable population from the aid that the State itself offers. This is reflected in an accessibility study carried out by the specialized consulting firm Prodigioso Volcán, which has analyzed 500 texts related to 25 procedures that are offered by the public powers in the areas “with the most impact” (for example, related to ERTE or the social bond of electricity) and reaches the conclusion that 72% of these procedures “are not clear”.

The copayment of medicines or the dentist leaves 150,000 families below the poverty line

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Language is the darkest element when dealing with administrative procedures, according to this report, followed by usability –how easy or intuitive it is to move around a given website and get where one wants–, design that facilitates reading and accessibility, in that order.

The study focuses on procedures offered by different administrations of all levels and aimed at the most vulnerable population, “people with a weakened socioeconomic background and in a situation of risk that could trigger a process of social exclusion”. That is, the people who most need the help. And they are not few, they explain from the consultancy: in Spain, 21% of the population is considered at risk of poverty, situations that can be aggravated in the case of unemployed (although increasingly also in employed people: 12.9 % of employees are), of people who live alone (26.1% risk, compared to 11.4% of those who live accompanied) or if they live in a rural area (26.6% compared to 19, 9% of urbanites), among others. And, as Judith González Ferrán, head of the Clara Communication project at Prodigioso Volcán, warned during the presentation of the study, “vulnerability can affect us all at some point in life, because the factors that can cause it are very everyday.”

Special mention at this point is dedicated by the consultant to people with disabilities, who currently have the highest risk of poverty rate of the decade with 32.5%, and for whom inaccessible websites pose an added difficulty, as explained during the presentation of the report.

Only eight out of every 100 people living below the poverty and social exclusion threshold received a minimum regional insertion income in 2019, and half of the procedures rejected by the administration are due to formal defects

“The Administration has numerous resources and aid to the vulnerable population, but many of the web pages that inform about such aid and in which they must be requested have unclear communication and texts. For many people, this lack of clarity can be the only obstacle, but for the most vulnerable population it can become an insurmountable barrier, affirms González Ferrán.

The analysis of the procedures has been carried out from four variables: language, usability, accessibility and design and interaction of the website, what the consultancy calls “the four pillars of digital clarity.” And the results, based on the analysis of 500 texts that explain procedures, procedures or information related to 25 procedures studied –relative to basic supplies, labor issues, education and culture, social services or health–, does not leave the administration in a good place. .

The difficulties, in numbers

In data, almost half of the procedures (48%) suspend usability and only 8% “are usable”, 2 out of 10 are not directly accessible, three out of ten have a poorly readable design and 72% a unclear language, always according to the study’s conclusions. None of all those studied explains the technical words. 12% of the measures analyzed obtain good results in the four pillars at the same time, while only 4% fail in all. An example of what these bad practices translate into: the consultancy carried out a simulation to request the social bonus of light They took 14 minutes to read the complex informational document, and took three attempts to fill in the document with which it had to be requested, as explained during the presentation of the report.

The result of this amalgamation of difficulties, of this “wall”, as the report calls it? “This obstacle may end up being an insurmountable wall. Only eight out of every 100 people living below the poverty and social exclusion threshold received a minimum regional insertion income in 2019,” the text explains. Another data that sheds light on the consequences of this inaccessibility: half of the requests for minimum insertion income that have been rejected by the administration are due to formal defects, explained González Ferrán, a good part of them probably motivated by the difficulty of applying for help.

During the presentation of the report, concrete examples of what these obstacles consist of have been given. In the case of language, “the weakest leg of the accessibility chair”, in the words of González Ferrán, an extract from an informative text to apply for a dining room grant for early childhood education: “Once the applications for aid presented within the ordinary period have been processed, the assessment of the same by the evaluation committee and thus determined the score that corresponds to each aid, based on the social and family information entered by computer by the educational centers and the information provided by Official letter by the respective competent bodies, will be communicated through the ITACA application, to each educational center participating in the call, the notice of availability of access to the computer application to consult and download the provisional list of applications with the established score, with object of detecting incidents or possible errors in the scale“104 words, technicalities and not a single point.

Helps to more than three clicks of the cover of a website, texts without layout, full of technicalities, without discursive connectors, web pages that do not adapt to the different query supports (mobile phones, tablets, computers) or inaccessible pdf files end up to complete the picture.

Faced with the vastness of analyzing all the procedures of all the administrations, the report has chosen different steps for each one. And he concludes that the level of clarity goes by neighborhoods. The Generalitat de Catalunya is the one that obtains the best score in the information it offers (this analysis has been carried out for the aid for higher studies), with a score of 80 out of 100. It is followed by the Government of Navarra (the aid to single-parent families) with 76.6 points. The third place is occupied by the Barcelona City Council (74.3 points in social emergency aid for families with children from 0 to 15 years old); the fourth the State Public Employment Service (for people with disabilities), with 74 out of 100 and the fifth the Community of Madrid in psychological care (72 points).

At the other end of the table, Aguas de Córdoba offers the least accessible service (suspend with 46.6 points out of 100 in the social bonus for water), preceded by the Generalitat Valenciana (50.7 in school canteens) and the Government of the Canary Islands and their rental aid, which barely approved with 51.3 points.



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