Rogneda Kniazhina

Technical Writer

Technical writer with a natural ability to craft content that’s real and relatable. Rogneda has a passion for translating complex ideas into simple language and a keen eye for detail.

6 min

Mobile App Accessibility in App Development

The most frequent mistake of mobile application developers is that they still leave accessibility features as an extra option and pay them too little attention, usually at the end of the app development process. In fact, mobile app accessibility is not just a trend of recent years but a must-have element of the latest and advanced applications. Why Is Accessibility For Apps Important? It is a well-known fact: we are moving towards mobility – about 80% of users surf the Internet and spend time online using mobile devices. And while web pages and applications are already more adapted for people with disabilities, mobile applications are still far from international accessibility standards. Here is the answer if you're wondering why you should care about it. Laws issues: this may not be your first thought, but the adopted acts and guidelines literally oblige digital business owners to provide access to their services for people with various types of disabilities. The best way to avoid costly lawsuits is to take care of mobile app accessibility in advance. Business issues: what you're definitely thinking about is your revenue and brand loyalty, which directly depend on loyal users. The logic is quite simple: you get more benefits if everyone can use your application. By creating mobile applications for various groups, including users with disabilities, you expand your target audience. Thus you get a plus hundred to brand loyalty karma and higher income. Moral issues: the user-centric approach dictates the rules but leaves out such an essential component as creating an inclusive society and, accordingly, an online user experience. While discussing immersive experiences and improving the user journey, it's also worth considering access for those with specific visual, hearing, and other limitations. Who Needs An Accessible Mobile App? Well, in short application with accessibility is an app for people with disabilities. You should create one with different forms of disability in mind. So that your content is suitable for users with visual impairments, hearing limitations, or cognitive conditions. The most common problems of people with limited mobility: Lack of ability to skillfully move or tap the touch screen; Limited ability to process external stimuli such as sound and images; Cognitive disorders that prevent viewing too many different screens or topics. For this group of people, accessibility for mobile apps is crucial because it allows them not only to use the application and technologies but also to conduct a dialogue with the world.  Of course, business is used to focusing on the majority, and a reasonable question arises: how many such people are there in the world? Here are just some numbers: About 15% of people worldwide have a disability, according to WHO; Only in the USA, there are about 60 million people with disabilities, and about 60% of them have access to the Internet; For the European Union, this figure is almost 80 million. So, as you can see, mobile app accessibility is something you should consider adopting to have a competitive advantage in your industry or niche. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) lie in the basis of most mobile accessibility documents. In fact, it is a guide with accessibility standards that both web pages and applications should apply. It contains the basic principles and instructions on how to make your platforms and applications accessible on mobile devices for people with certain limitations. Perceivable: Make sure your users can perceive content in as many ways as possible. It means if you have video content, it should have audio descriptions and subtitles. As well as adaptable inclusive design. Operable: When it comes to intuitive design, it is considered users will easily understand what to do with your app. However, a fully-operable interface is much more requireble. And it is not only about navigation elements or flashing content but about flexible session time. Things that can be crucial for screen readers or users with dexterity impairments. Understandable: Simplicity is your best friend. In this case, mobile accessibility should be reflected in the predictability of the interface - users should understand which option is waiting for them by this or that icon. It is also essential to take care of the data entry assistance to avoid accessibility issues. Robust: As already mentioned above, accessibility options should be built into the application at the stage of prototype development to avoid problems with the code or integration of new features, Iike, on-screen keyboard, color contrast ratio changing option, audio components, etc. The key is to adopt assistive technologies as soon as possible. This is why it is recommended that the development team build an application development strategy with accessibility guidelines in mind. Regulations For App Accessibility Although the WCAG does not contain direct recommendations for mobile app accessibility, it is widely used to create experiences for disabled users. However, WCAG is part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This initiative was created to minimize obstacles and, in the long run, to completely eliminate them for users with disabilities when browsing websites and working with mobile applications, which are now an integral part of our lives. Also, ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, states that public accommodations must be accessible to everyone, significantly contributing to accessibility in mobile apps. In this case, websites and apps are considered public accommodation places. Another act that should be considered is the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). It stands for advanced communication to be accessible to everyone. Read more
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