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4 Key Strategies to Enhance Mobile App Accessibility

April 29th, 2024

Category: Mobile App Devlopment

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Posted by: Team TA

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.3 billion people worldwide experience significant disabilities, which account for roughly 16% of the global population. It may come as a surprise to learn that a considerable number of individuals who have tried to download and utilize your app are disabled. If they cannot access the app as they intended, then they may tend to uninstall it.

Let’s discuss the importance of mobile accessibility for digital products and offer advice on how companies can easily include it in their product development strategy to reach a wider audience.

What is Mobile App Accessibility?

Mobile app accessibility means designing apps that are easy to use for everyone, regardless of their ability level, ensuring equal access to information and functionality.  WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) covers the main principles of mobile accessibility since there are no separate standards.

It is critical to follow these 4 key principles of mobile app content accessibility:

1. Perceivable: Your mobile app’s information and components should be presented clearly.

2. Operable: Regardless of ability, all app interface elements, including the navigation, must be functional.

3. Understandable: All users should be able to grasp the information and functions of the app.

4. Robust: The content of any mobile app needs to be sufficiently robust to be easily understood by a variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

Mobile App Accessibility Checklist

Ensuring accessibility is crucial for any mobile app development services to provide inclusive user experiences. Here’s a quick checklist of accessibility requirements:

1. Screen Reader Compatibility: For blind or visually impaired users, the app must work with tools that read text aloud, like VoiceOver (iOS) or TalkBack (Android). Additionally, all content and functionalities should be designed to be accessible via these tools to provide a seamless experience for all users.

2. Text Alternatives: Text alternatives provide descriptions for non-text content within a digital interface, such as images, icons, graphs, or charts. 

3. Color Contrast: To help users who are color blind or have low vision, make sure there is enough color contrast between the text and background elements. The WCAG 2.1 AA level standards for color contrast state that it must meet a ratio of 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large type.

4. Adjustable Text Size: Allow users to adjust text size within the app to accommodate varying levels of visual impairment.

5. Focus Indicators: Every element that can be activated needs to be capable of being focused and focus needs to be applied consistently and logically.

6. Captions and Transcripts: Provide captions for audio and video content and transcripts for multimedia elements to assist users with hearing impairments.

7. Clear Navigation: To make it easier for users to locate and access the various app sections, create a clear and consistent navigation structure.

Why Accessibility Testing for Mobile Applications?

Accessibility testing guarantees that a person with a handicap may use the internet resources just like everyone else. It is important to test mobile accessibility both manually and with software. 

These tests include:

Screen Reader Testing: 

People who are blind use software called a screen reader. Developers and designers might find challenges or issues that might keep users from efficiently accessing and browsing content by watching how the screen reader software interacts with a mobile website.

Mobile Accessibility Checker or Scanner: 

This software program checks for accessibility issues on an array of your website pages, including mobile pages.

Color Contrast Tests: 

You may assess the contrast of visual elements like graphical controls and visual indicators as well as the readability of text by using color contrast testing tools for mobile apps and websites.

Usability Testing: 

Testers with disabilities use your application during this process. It facilitates the evaluation of the user experience, job completion ease, and issues that users encounter that could be resolved by design modifications.

4 Key Strategies to Ensure Your Mobile Application Accessibility

1. Optimized App Content: Text, Media, and Layouts

Text, picture, and video data layouts are examples of application content. Some users may be affected by dyslexia, color blindness, hearing loss, visual impairments, or other problems that restrict sight. Thus, content optimization will enable all users, no matter how skilled or inexperienced, to get the most out of the mobile app.

  • Text Accessibility:

Creating content that is easy to read and understand is important for all users, especially those who use screen readers or have cognitive impairments. To achieve this, it is crucial to format the text properly by using appropriate heading levels, lists, and semantic markup. People with colorblindness may not be able to recognize a hyperlink highlighted with a different color, but they can easily find an underlined text that indicates a hyperlink.

  • Media Accessibility:

Users with visual impairments can access and understand content by including alternative text descriptions (alt text) for images, videos, and other non-text elements.  Accessibility for users with hearing impairments is further enhanced by providing captions and transcripts for multimedia content.

  • Layout Accessibility: 

Designing layouts that are flexible, responsive, and easy to navigate benefits users with various disabilities. It is beneficial for users with cognitive or visual impairments if repetitive elements appear in the same sequence on every tab for them to feel comfortable that they have a sense of where items are located.

2. Simplifying Data Entry in Mobile Apps

To simplify the data entry process, it is important to incorporate various features such as autocomplete suggestions, voice input, and clear input fields with appropriate labels and instructions. Labeling of app fields enables mobile operating systems to quickly recognize the fields and offer suggestions for auto-filling. Furthermore, naming login fields as “Login” and password fields as “Password” makes them easily recognizable by assistive technologies such as iOS VoiceOver or Android TalkBack. 

3. Ensuring Smooth App Navigation

Implementing features such as clear and consistent navigation structures, intuitive menus, and accessible controls enhances usability for individuals with diverse needs. It is also recommended that buttons be large enough for users to easily tap and have contrasting colors to make them easily distinguishable. For example, Apple recommends a minimum target size of 44 pixels wide and 44 pixels tall for icons and controls, while Android apps typically start with an icon size of 48 pixels. 

4. Rigorous Testing for App Accessibility

By conducting comprehensive testing using assistive technologies, accessibility guidelines, and user feedback, developers can identify and address accessibility barriers effectively. This process helps to uncover issues related to screen reader compatibility, keyboard navigation, color contrast, and other accessibility considerations. Mobile accessibility guidelines for Android and Apple mobile applications are best met by combining manual and automated testing. 

Final Thoughts

Accessibility is crucial for people with disabilities and beneficial for all users. By adhering to WCAG guidelines and prioritizing accessibility in mobile app development services, one can create inclusive solutions, drive innovation, and expand your market. 

Get in touch with our expert team to book a demo today if you want to learn more about digital accessibility and how you can make your mobile app and website more inclusive.

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