Turab’s Vision: Advocating Digital UX Accessibility for a World of Inclusion

Turab’s Vision: Advocating Digital UX Accessibility for a World of Inclusion

Designwhine Interviews Turab Chimthanawala Consultant Mg Consulting

Turab, a beacon of inspiration, embraces change and advocates for transformation in perceptions and ideas. His remarkable journey, marked by adversity, fuels his passion for making a difference in the lives of others. Despite facing significant challenges, including 90% blindness and the loss of his father, Turab’s resilience shines through. His unwavering spirit led him to pursue a Masters in Law from the prestigious NALSAR University of Law, India, and he became one of the first blind Company Secretaries in the country.

Digital UX Accessibility Advocacy

Turab’s commitment to social change is evident through his impactful initiatives. He served as an independent consultant for a leading American university, ensuring accessibility for visually challenged students in online courses. His advocacy efforts extend to making private and government websites and applications accessible to visually impaired users. Actively engaged with renowned organizations like Rotary Club of Bombay West, Rotaract Club of Bombay West, Blind Graduates Forum of India, and Make a Difference, Turab is a driving force in humanitarian work.

Educator, Author, and Speaker

Turab’s contributions transcend boundaries. He shares his insights through published articles on platforms like Scroll.in, The Hitvada, and DNA e-paper, illuminating the lessons learned from his journey with blindness. Turab’s dedication to education is evident in his coaching sessions at organizations like Karna Vidya Foundation, DPWD, and Chitnavis Trust, where he empowers students to leverage their potential despite adversity. With expertise in Finance and Law, Turab’s unique blend of skills positions him as a consultant, social advocate, writer, and speaker, all dedicated to fostering greater inclusion and acceptance for Persons with Disability.

In-Depth Interview: Turab’s Advocacy for Accessibility

Could you please introduce yourself and share some background about your disability?

I am a Company Secretary and a lawyer, currently working in Mumbai. Apart from growing in my career, I have always been committed to help make the world a better place. Thus, I have volunteered for various initiatives and organisations since my college days. I currently volunteer for Mission Accessibility, a non-profit Co-founded by 2 of my friends, Rahul Bajaj and Amar Jain. Mission Accessibility is broadly focussed on 2 objects viz. Digital Accessibility (making websites, applications and other electronic media accessible to Persons with Disability) and Disability Rights law (Empowering the disabled realise the various rights garanteed to them under law). I am a person with blindness. I have a condition called Lebers Congenital Amarosis, which is a defect in the Retina. 

In what ways does your disability influence your daily life, particularly when it comes to using digital products or services?

Courtesy technological advancements, I can independently operate my smart phone and computer using a screen reading software. It is  a software application which reads out the contents on the screen using voice synthesized speech. 

Which digital devices, platforms, applications, or websites do you use regularly, and have they been helpful in addressing accessibility challenges?

My phone is almost an extension of my fingers (Smiles). I use a multitude of applications to fulfill diverse needs, such as Whatsapp, Amazon, Youtube, Audible and the like. With the world going digital and persons with disability having different assistive technology at their disposal, it may seem that the disabled now lead independent, barrier free lives. However, unfortunately the reality is the complete opposite. In order, for the blind to indepentendly operate their devices using the aforementioned assistive software, the apps and websites have to be designed in conformity with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. However, most software developers and product managers are obliviousto  these requirements. Consequently, the disabled are in effect shut out from a whole range of activities, from booking a cab to ordering a medicine online.

What specific design features do you find most beneficial in digital interfaces considering your disability?

As stated earlier, for the disabled to independently access digital products, they have to be designed in conformity with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. At a cursory level, this would entail features such as labelling of buttons in applications, using heading levels, ensuring websites are navigable using a keyboard, having audio description for media such as movies and TV shows etc. 

Designing for Everyone: A World of Accessible Products

Creating products that everyone, regardless of ability, can use isn’t just about being legal or moral; it’s about embracing a world of opportunities. In India alone, there are millions of people with disabilities who rely on digital products every day. By making products accessible, designers open their doors to this vast community. It’s not just a legal requirement; it’s a chance to do something good, to sleep peacefully at night knowing you’ve made a difference. And the best part? Designing with accessibility in mind sparks creativity and innovation. It’s like opening a door to new ideas, making products better for everyone. So, by designing for all, designers not only reach more people but also create a world where everyone can participate.

This article was last updated on December 21, 2023; Originally published on December 11, 2023

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DesignWhine Editorial Team
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