5 Tips To Improve Mobile Accessibility
Mobile accessibility simply means making your app usable for everyone, including people with some form of disability that might normally make it harder for them to use your app effectively (people with hearing or sight disabilities for example). In recent times, mobile accessibility features on the Android and iOS operating systems have evolved, meaning that users can now interact freely with new app features or actions that they could not before.
Regardless of the framework, operating system and hardware used in developing your app, mobile accessibility remains one of the most important considerations for its success. Improving mobile accessibility for your users who may be facing challenges accessing or using your app holds major benefits, and in this article, we will provide tips for you to achieve this.
1. Run an Mobile Accessibility check
This can be done with visual and screen reader tests, and when it is done, you should be able to answer all of these questions:
With a visual test
- Does your app include an option that provides additional information about accessibility?
- Do you have a way of getting feedback from your users about your mobile accessibility options?
- Is it possible to alter font size?
- Is there a button/option that provides access to a help link? Is this button easy to find?
- Does your app support orientation rotation? (Portrait and Landscape)
- Are the buttons well-spaced to limit the number of accidental presses?
With a screen reader
- Is it easy to execute actions without a visual on the screen?
- If the words used on the app were to be spoken and not read, would they still make sense?
2. Improving Mobile Accessibility
Right after you decide to focus on improving mobile accessibility, let your users know about the decision. It is important to let them know your intentions, and you should keep them up to date through the whole process. Tell them the exact features and functions that you are working on improving or creating, and how you believe it would improve their experience with the app. This is also a great way to get feedback and suggestions from your users, and you may get ideas that you had originally not thought about. You will also get ideas about the areas in which your users are having the most difficulties, so you can put in extra effort in these areas.
3. Use a simple Interface
It is entirely fine to pay attention to aesthetics when you are building your app – encouraged, even – because users are naturally drawn to anything that looks good. However, it is also important that you do not get carried away, and sacrifice effectiveness and/or functionality for aesthetics. Keep the design fresh and attractive, but focus on keeping the volume of text on your app at the barest minimum, providing text only where it’s absolutely needed. Actions and buttons should constitute the major part of your interface, and they must be easily discoverable.
4. Customize themes & text
This is especially most important for visually impaired or colour-blind users. They should have the option of altering text size, colors, backgrounds and other visual elements. Colour-blind users may have to adjust a colors that they cannot see to one that they can, and visually impaired users may want to increase the size of text so that they can see better, and it is your duty to make this possible for them.
Users do not even have to be visually impaired to want these options. Some users just want flexibility and your default text and theme configurations might be a turn off for them. Making these options customizable therefore gives them the freedom to choose what they want their visual experience of the app to be like.
5. Confirm that screen reader experiences are clear and logical
It has been said that you should try to keep the volume of text at a bare minimum, and it must be said now that you should also make sure that you do not sacrifice any potentially important line of text in the process of keeping things clean and simple. Try to achieve a balance. This is because of the fact that some users may have to rely on the screen reader to navigate your app, and to use this function effectively, the screen reader has to be able to provide all the information they need to navigate successfully. Images should have thorough descriptions, as well as sliders and other buttons that appear on the screen. Any acronyms or special characters that you use must be tested to make sure that they are read back correctly.
These tips will prove to be very useful for you in the initial stages of improving mobile accessibility, and if you follow them to the letter, you are well on your way to achieving your mobile accessibility goals.