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Technological accessibility? The challenge is open. Sergiu Soroceanu’s story

Kirey Group

  

    Today, technology allows us to rethink work to make it accessible to everyone.

    The journey towards inclusiveness is long and has an impact on the whole organization. But sometimes the biggest changes come from people who decide to get involved. People who look for solutions to make communication more accessible, or rewrite a process to find a more inclusive standard.

    Sergiu Soroceanu, a new member of the Quality Assurance & RPA team, knows this well. Sergiu's journey began in his home country of Moldova, which he left at age 14 following an accident that resulted in a detached retina. Arriving in Italy to undergo advanced surgeries that would not have been possible in Moldova, Sergiu put down roots in Bergamo, where he graduated from high school and earned a degree in Languages. In the three years after those surgeries, unfortunately unsuccessful, Sergiu lost his eyesight completely. At that point, he started to seek new coordinates to navigate the world and technology played a key role.

    Sergiu Soroceanu told us about his experience at Kirey Group, together with Stefano Russo, Quality Assurance & RPA Business Line Manager, who guided him through his internship period.

    Sergiu, how did you get into the IT world and how did you come to Kirey?

    "During my studies, I used to surf online forums where blind people exchanged opinions and information. Thus, I discovered that blind people can succeed in programming using NVDA, the open-source speech synthesis software that I also use. I started to study programming languages as a self-taught because this field has always fascinated me, and in 2019 I participated in a 200-hour course in HTML, Javascript, and CMS, organized by the Italian Union of the Blind in Milan. After the course, I started looking for work in this field and after some unsuccessful attempts, I got in touch with Kirey Group. Right from the start, I was allowed to work from home, which I appreciated very much: I can get around by public transportation, but after the pandemic, I find that people are more reluctant to lend a hand, whereas before there was always someone who offered to help me cross the street, for example. And this makes travel a bit more difficult".

    How did you approach the onboarding?

    [Sergiu] "Initially, I was a bit worried about studying so many different new software and tools. But curiosity and desire to learn new things and to create a more solid background in this area were stronger than any fear".

    [Stefano] "We spent the first few months identifying tasks and tools compatible with the speech synthesis software. We started with Java development and then explored other areas, such as testing and PL/SQL, to find the best area in which Sergiu could become autonomous in completing tasks. The area of API testing automation turned out to be the best; in practice, he works on automated non-regression testing, useful for the developers’ work".

    Sergiu, what software do you use and what level of accessibility do they have?

    "I work with Google's Postman: after months of testing, Stefano and I have identified this tool, which is quite accessible, and which I can manage almost completely, also thanks to some contrivances. It happens frequently that software and apps are accessible only in some of their parts: developers often design functionality and user experience first, not taking into account the accessibility factor, which is considered only later. Therefore, even in the apps I use in my personal life I report bugs to be improved. I have also made reports to the Postman development team, which should be taken care of soon. In these dynamics, the community makes a great value: the more people report, the more the vendors feel the urgency to take action".

    Stefano, what impact did Sergiu's entry have on your team?

    "For me and the whole team, a change of perspective was necessary to be able to communicate information properly to Sergiu, especially in the training and handover phase. Let’s think, for example, about the screen sharing that we always use to show documents and procedures remotely: in this case, you have to allow time for the voice synthesizer to read, without your voice overlapping with the explanation. I have learned a lot about managing communication in these circumstances, reflecting on what to say and what to let the tool say. Moreover, in some cases, these dynamics have also made us reflect on our internal procedures, which have been standardized to make them easier to communicate to Sergiu. In addition, he exclusively uses keyboard shortcuts, which I appreciate because I find they make interacting with the software easier. He has encouraged the whole team to use them more and discover new ones.

    It has been a challenging journey that has led us to a new way of thinking about our work and processes: the outcome has enriched everyone.

    Regarding the relationship with the team, today Sergiu is autonomous and well-integrated, participates in periodic alignments, and is part of the work teams dedicated to DG Suite and Pension Funds Suite. In the coming months, in addition to dealing with API testing, he will be studying these products to improve their accessibility: something that today, also thanks to him, we consider fundamental in terms of UX".

    Sergiu, how do you imagine your future in Kirey?

    "My new contract officially starts in August and I am very happy. Then from September, I will start attending the Milan office once a week, and I am pleased to finally be able to meet some of my colleagues in person!

    As for my role, I would like to continue to learn and contribute as much as I can. I know that before me the company had no experience with similar cases, so we started out getting to know each other without the certainty of being able to find a good solution for both of us. Today, I am grateful to Kirey for taking the gamble by betting on me and investing time to find balance and autonomy together. Contributing to the success of Kirey Group's products makes me proud".

     

    Want to join the team? Discover here our open position

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