Enhance UX for Your ENTIRE AUDIENCE with Mobile App Accessibility Testing
Today, everyone needs access to reliable mobile apps that work easily for them, regardless of special needs. If your app development ignores accessibility, you’re making a costly mistake.
Mobile technology has transformed education, finance, entertainment, communication and virtually every other area of modern life. Today, everyone needs access to reliable mobile apps that work easily for them, regardless of special needs.
If your app development ignores accessibility, you’re making a costly mistake.
- Around 26% of American adults—61 million people–live with some form of disability. In Europe, that figure is about 17%, and globally it stands at 15%.
- In the US, this specially abled population has an estimated purchasing power of over $490 billion. Globally the estimate is almost $7 trillion.
- Nearly seven in 10 US Millennials actively consider company values when making a purchase.
- Your apps must comply with stringent ADA and WCAG guidelines, or you risk large fines and possible lawsuits.
You’re also missing a chance to enhance UX for your entire audience, if application accessibility isn’t accounted for. Even people without special needs are frequently in situations with poor lighting or excessive noise, or where they’re unable to use both hands. Accessible apps make life easier for everyone.
Build in Accessibility from Day One
Your app development and testing protocols should build in accessibility strategies and solutions from the start of the SDLC, with these major categories of special needs in mind.
About 12 million Americans have a significant vision impairment, including one million who are blind. Worldwide, an estimated 300 million people are color-blind, which means they have difficulty seeing certain colors correctly–most commonly, red and green.
Over a million Americans are functionally hearing impaired, and millions more live with such hearing challenges as tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
More than 18 million people in the US and Canada have some sort of motor disability, including those whose use of their hands is limited. That means they’re unable to fully access your app’s tap and swipe features and functions.
Up to 20% of the world population has a learning disability associated with reading, writing and/or spelling. The most common learning disorder is dyslexia.
Inclusive by Design
Apple’s guidelines for UI design have contributed to the simplification of mobile app usability concepts for specially-abled users. They also make sense for the general population:
- Avoiding small text.
- Designing content or features to be zoomable.
- Ensuring the layout doesn’t break when text or other design elements are zoomed.
Accessibility testers evaluate basic design aspects, such as color schemes and font sizes, to check whether they make it easy or difficult to access the content, features and/or services. For example, if a button is red, it can be outlined with black to make it more accessible for color-blind users and easier to see for the general population.
Testers will also check for accurate captioning, high-quality audio, the inclusion of transcripts, careful content structuring, and clear, consistent language, elements that help hearing-impaired users as well as other users.
Opening Up Options with Assistive Technology
Advances in assistive technology have sparked the creation of innovative accessibility features for mobile users. Both Android and iOS devices come preinstalled with versions of these features for their native apps, along with others designed for a wide range of special needs.
Screen readers narrate the content on the application and describe the buttons, links, images and other elements in the app for visually impaired users. Good design is critical for screen readers to accurately narrate the content and elements of your app.
Color Vision Options
This range of features provides color-blind users and those with low-level vision impairment with options such as different mode settings for red/green and blue/yellow color blindness, filters and settings to reverse colors for higher contrast.
Voice Access/Voice Control
These features let mobility- and vision-impaired users can navigate and interact with their device using voice commands instead of swiping, tapping, typing and other actions.
Switch Access/Switch Control
These features allow the use of switches for various UI functions such as selection, tapping, dragging, typing and freehand drawing, making access easier for users with mobility limitations.
Accessibility Testing Tools
There are a number of special tools for accessibility testing. Most are designed specifically to test with either Android or iOS. Here is a sampling:
- Axe for Android: This is a comprehensive accessibility suite with features like View Hierarchy and Automated Eventing Stream analysis.
- UBK Accessibility Kit: This testing tool will audit your iOS app so you avoid the need for stopping to inspect each element using Xcode.
- Accessibility Inspector: This iOS tool identifies action methods, information properties, and position related to the object under the pointer.
- Accessibility Scanner: This Android-based tool makes suggestions for accessibility improvements and gives links for documentation on how to fix issues.
- A11y Ally: This discovery tool can identify issues as they occur in normal running of your app and catch regressions during integration testing.
For the Best UX, Test with Real Users
Assuring universal digital accessibility requires putting yourself in the end user’s shoes from development through release, testing at frequent intervals. The best testing uses the best manual and automated tools and techniques, with rigorous review of UI and UX by actual users: specially abled people working as part of a quality engineering team.
Qualitest’s unique Accessibility Testing Services pair accessibility experts with engineers who are differently abled, going beyond compliance requirements to provide real-world relevance and end user empathy. Our extensive experience with open source and commercial tools will assure top performance and smooth integration with assistive features for all platforms, including desktop, web and mobile.