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Digital World and Accessibility - the story of Ylona Keur with Niek de Jong

That time does not stand still is a fact of all times. But the speed at which the world changes in this day and age is something I had not expected. You probably know the situation: you want to apply for something and in order to do so you have to fill in a whole lot of paperwork. You collect all the information you think you need in advance and only then can you get started. You can imagine that if you have a lower vision, looking up information is a job in itself. First, you will always have to have different things read out to know what it is and whether you need it. A time-consuming process. Once you have found what you are looking for, the real challenge begins. Not every website is equally accessible!
A guy listening to VoiceOver on his phone as an example of digital accessibility

I have experienced this a number of times and I can tell you that it does not make me happy. You put a lot of effort into it and sometimes it just seems to be made difficult. It is certainly annoying when you realize that there are some very important websites among them that you will have to visit regularly. Over the years, a lot has changed in this area and more companies, institutions, and thus also websites have improved. Unfortunately, this does not apply to all websites. Personally, I can easily come to terms with this, but it is still difficult.

Improvement in independence

When I look at myself, I want to handle as many things myself as possible. Because technology does not always cooperate, you are sometimes forced to ask for help. Of course, this feels annoying. There are certainly organizations that can and want to help you with these kinds of things. Still, it always feels a bit awkward. If technology is advancing so much, why not get to the root cause of the problem and make every website accessible to everyone? Despite the fact that the last bit is still lagging behind, I have found that many things are also a lot easier. For example, the many data entries and all the paperwork that goes with them. Nowadays, many applications are handed in via DigID, which has the advantage that all the basic information is always correct. Then there are only the additional things you have to fill in yourself. That saves a lot of time and reduces the risk of errors. Such solutions should be widely available and they seem to coming around more and more. Logging in with DigID is done via an app on the phone that is easy to understand, which prevents problems with user names and passwords. Using the app is also super accessible. I didn't expect this at first. By using these and similar solutions, some tasks can be made a lot easier. This also increases the level of independence.

A graphic illustration on a white and orange background: DigiD logo, laptop and a personal profile on the website

Banking and the app

In addition, of course, almost everything is becoming more digital and some possibilities will almost disappear if they cannot be arranged via the internet. People often do their shopping online, buy clothes, and also do their banking through a computer or an app. But doing your banking is not always easy. Both the computer and the app have advantages and disadvantages. For example, the app on the phone can quickly determine how much money is in the account and whether money has recently come in. I personally use this often to check whether people have paid when I have sold something. In addition, it is easy to see how much you have paid for the groceries and whether your salary has arrived yet. This also enables people to keep a cash book more quickly. Because of the quick and convenient checks, the financial overview is much better. Of course, this ease of use can also be a pitfall. Small purchases are easily made online, even though you may not necessarily need them, which means that debts are more likely to arise.


In addition, using the app does not always feel safe. You often hear stories about phishing emails or other ways to cheat people. I can very well imagine that this is difficult when you are just starting to use the app. That is why I recommend using an account with not too much money in it at first. If things go wrong, you will not lose everything. However, it does not have to be a case of fraud. By a small mistake, you might accidentally transfer money to the wrong account. This can be difficult to check beforehand. If you then want to undo this, it often costs a lot of energy. To prevent this, I first started with the transfer balance at zero. This way, you can't transfer money but only check the balance of the account first. This enables you to learn how to use the app calmly and to tackle it step by step.

ING app account example with 740 euros on the card and several expenses underneath

Taking care of banking business via a computer can also be very pleasant. When vision is still limited, things are easier to see on a larger screen. For example, there are often extra notifications before a certain action is actually carried out. They are more noticeable on the bigger screen of the computer. However, this can also be slightly more difficult. Because of the large screen, there is much more information. This design could certainly be given more thought. Finally, I always like to use internet banking when someone is helping me with banking. This can sometimes feel like the better, nicer, or safer option when doing more difficult transactions. Don't be ashamed of it. But, it would of course always be nicer if all the systems were set up and arranged in such a way that it was accessible to everyone.

I like both ways of internet banking. Both methods have their pros and cons. Depending on what you want to do, you can always make a choice between using the app or the computer. In any case, my advice is to pay close attention to controls and be sure of what you are doing. I personally find it very nice to have a physical location of a bank close by. This enables you to visit them quite easily when something is wrong. Besides, some things are just nicer to arrange with someone at the office. You can take that into consideration as well when making a choice for which bank you want to join. It's, of course, nice if you can get there easily yourself.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021