Thare Machi Education makes very simple life-changing and life-saving messages accessible in audio visual format in the languages of the developing world.
Their solution? Very simple 20 minute multimedia lessons with built in quizzes on CD-ROM that put critical issues like how disease is transmitted into very simple terms. These lessons can be used in a health clinic waiting room in Kolkata, a school in Cambodia or on a bus moving through rural China.
They must have the toughest accessibility specs I've come across. Trying out one of their modules is a great way to shake off all those unquestioned assumptions we carry around about users and their needs.
- When learners can't read, controls can't be explained with labels, instructions can't be written, not even tooltips are of any use.
- Relying on colour to communicate is problematic for the colour-blind, but also will have varied meaning in different cultures. If we tried green for go and red for stop, how relevant would that be to a child in rural Cambodia?
- Can we assume left and right are understood as forward and back when not all languages are read from left to right and our learners are illiterate?
- Since they have probably never used a computer system before, how easy will the button need to be to click?
- How do you select useful imagery relevant to learners--their "stock photo" of a toilet is a squat hole - how irrelevant would the image of a pristine flush toilet be?
“A railway in Kolkata where our... associates found a family living in a slum just feet from the tracks but sleeping under a mosquito net as a result of watching our lesson : "Bednets Can save Lives" in the Bengali language."Check out the amazing work of Thare Machi Education at tme.org.uk.