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Colorado Launches Tool to Improve Government Accessibility

The state will now offer constituents a digital tool to help people who are blind or have low vision navigate physical government locations and digital services in an effort to improve accessibility.

Photo shows feet in flats and white cane in front of them.
Colorado will now be offering a digital tool, Aira, to help Coloradans who are blind or have low vision navigate the world around them more easily.

In a video introducing the new tool, a user is connected with a representative who is able to give detailed directions through the state Capitol building.

As government services become increasingly digital, there is a related push to ensure these services are as inclusive as possible. From user experience to accessibility testing, government agencies are looking to simplify the digital government experience for all. A similarly themed initiative in Tampa, Fla., offers mapping support to people with vision impairments.

Colorado’s approach is a little different, as Aira offers a live, human-to-human service that is available 24/7 using a smartphone or computer. Users securely stream a live video to a professionally trained agent who interprets what is shared.

This will help users navigate locations like DMV centers and state parks or interpret previously inaccessible documentation or processes. The service is available for up to 30 minutes per session at no cost to users.

“The Aira service is another step forward in reducing barriers to state services through digital solutions, which brings us closer to creating a truly equitable, inclusive customer experience for all Coloradans,” Anthony Neal-Graves, chief information officer and executive director at the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT), said in the announcement.

The tool aims to deliver on a goal to make government easy, as outlined in the state’s Digital Government Strategic Plan, Neal-Graves explained.

Between policy work, rulemaking and executive action, Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera and Gov. Jared Polis have worked to make Colorado government accessible to all, including to people of all ages, abilities, sexual orientations and ethnic backgrounds, Primavera said in the announcement.