Update: It seems we downloaded a different app: Mobikwik changed the download link from bit.ly/cashlessindia (which had a different version) to tiny.cc/cashlessindia, which has a version with 8 languages: English, Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Odia, Tamil and Telugu.

Earlier: Mobikwik had added Telugu and Gujarati to its list of language options, apart from English and Hindi. At the launch of low bandwidth Mobikwik Lite app on November 28th 2016, the company had said that a version of the app in all languages was expected by the end of that week. That would have been 4th December. We checked (downloaded and reinstalled) today, and only two additional languages are available as of now: Telugu and Gujarati. Among the more prominently spoken languages, the following are missing: Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi and Malayalam. In comparison, Paytm is available in all of these languages, although the issue for it is that it there is still a lot of text in English, no matter which language you choose. A similar challenge with Mobikwik Lite (screenshots below): the transaction history is in English, as are the terms and conditions. So while it’s great that payment apps are going Indic, they could do better.

Understanding the language accessibility challenge

In order to be accessible, apps have to largely take a one language approach, not a mixed language approach, for the sake of accessibility. At times accessibility issues have been addressed in the past is with the usage of icons, which make navigation easier, even if a user doesn’t understand the language. For many of us, it’s difficult to imagine what someone who doesn’t read English experiences when using apps.

One way of understanding what someone might face, is to take any of these apps, and switch to a language that you don’t understand. For example, I tried Kannada on the Paytm App, and found that I could only understand the parts of the Paytm app that are in English. Someone who only reads the Kannada script, and not English, will have the exact opposite experience with the app.