Making sure that products, especially digital solutions, are accessible is becoming more and more of a priority for big global companies, and something that Be My Eyes volunteer, Saransh, is pretty familiar with. In his job as a former Software Developer gone Program Manager at a large tech company in Bangalore, India, he has worked on accessibility for some of their digital solutions. By making extensive tests using the JAWS screen reader to identify the gaps, Saransh has gotten in the habit of making sure that their products turn out 100% accessible for blind users.
While doing some initial research on accessibility, Saransh stumbled upon Be My Eyes and downloaded it immediately. He was lucky enough to receive a call on the same day, from a blind user who needed assistance reading out an inaccessible CAPTCHA code. “I read out the code to him, and he was so thankful to me. This just made my day”, Saransh explains. He initially signed up to take calls in English, but as soon as he found out that his native language, Hindi, was available, it has been his language of choice on the app. Saransh has also been a big contributor to the Hindi translation of the app, and he’s beyond excited that Hindi speakers can access the app in their mother tongue.
Although the help I provide via the app is tiny, the level of satisfaction I get from helping out the blind users is immense.
Since then, Saransh has been able to support blind and low-vision Be My Eyes users on several occasions with everything from finding dropped items to reading hand-written notes. One of the situations that Saransh experiences rather often is blind or low-vision individuals needing support in identifying different money bills. After the 2016 Indian banknote demonetisation, new currency notes were introduced. Unfortunately, they are causing a lot of trouble for people who are blind or have low vision, as there are no difference in shapes and sizes of the different values. Luckily, volunteers like Saransh are always there to lend a friendly pair of eyes.
Being a volunteer on Be My Eyes has given Saransh a unique look into the blind and low-vision community, which has affected his job of making sure products are accessible. “I’ve gained empathy and resilience while volunteering on Be My Eyes, which had a significant and positive impact on my job”, he explains and continues: “The joy I get from helping people on this app is very rewarding, and I’ll continue to help in whatever way possible.”