Since ancient times, technology has been used as a social tool to improve human quality of life. Recently, with the huge impulse in mobile software development and the growing amount of users, accessibility has become a matter of high importance.
When we speak about accessibility, we mean the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. This concept frequently focuses on people with disabilities and their right of access, enabling the use of assistive technology.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are part of a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium’s, the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web. They consist of a set of guidelines that app makers should follow to make content accessible to people with disabilities.
Websites have demanded much of the attention at the time of making information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Lately, mobile app development has come into the accessibility discussion. Developers and accessibility experts affirm that most of the approaches used in the web world can also be applied to the field of mobile devices and apps.
As well, mobile OS’s offer guidelines for the development of accessible applications.
Accessibility in app design is present in a wide range of technologies. For visually impaired users, assistive technologies include screen readers.
Android TalkBack and iOS VoiceOver are accessibility features for visionless users for Android and iOS devices, respectively. Both of these features provide spoken feedback to the user to describe what they are touching, selecting, activating, etc.
Other features include Android Explore by Touch. This is a system feature that works with TalkBack, allowing you to touch your device’s screen and hear what’s happening via spoken feedback. This feature is helpful to users with low vision.
Voice recognition is also a very useful feature that can help blind people to use voice commands for dialing and accessing features on the phone. As an example, these technologies assist disabled people in simple daily tasks like reading and writing sms or making a phone call or setting an alarm clock, as well as more complicated ones like using a mobile banking application to pay bills.
Mobile app developers can help widen the spectrum of mobile apps that disabled people can use in addition to those previously installed accessibility technologies. And the task of building accessible apps doesn’t have to be enormously time consuming. That’s particularly the case when the mobile OS has accessibility features built-in.
Some design tips
Many accessibility principles for websites apply quickly to mobile development, for example, adding text to images, or accompany text to buttons or links, but some elements of accessible development don’t extend from websites to apps. There is a whole set of things specific to mobile because of the screen size and the fact they are touchable.
Here is a list that can help to ensure a minimum level of application accessibility.
Getting to know your audience is essential to any app project. Developers always need to understand the nature of the challenges involved.
To that end, they should read, research and learn from people with accessibility needs as the app moves through the development cycle. When testing stage is coming, don’t forget to also work with people who have the disabilities that you want to cover.
And, as a final piece of advice I would like to mention that there’s a wide gap between usability and accessibility in the mobile technology field. A clear and simple design that’s attractive to users, is not always in the same path to achieve accessibility goals.
November 14 / 2019
November 12 / 2019
October 29 / 2019
November 15 / 2019
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Lowe’s will be shifting its focus and investments towards creating more custom software, particularly on its e-commerce platform. As the Journal states:...Read post