The concept of accessibility has always been around, but recently it has been increasing in importance. When it comes to apps, accessibility will help make your app usable to the largest possible audience. By incorporating accessibility features on your app, you will ultimately be considering the superior user experience and having it broadened for a variety of users – especially for those with special needs.
What does it mean to be accessible?
To create an app that is accessible, it is custom to have features that relate to mobility, color perception, hearing, vision, cognition and literacy.
Some basic accessibility features are:
- Proper keyboard interactions and screen readers.
- User customizations: font, magnification, colour and high-contrast settings.
- Some user experience alternatives such as audio descriptions for the visually impaired.
What to Include
Here are some features to keep in mind, to ensure that your app works well for everyone using it.
- Screen Reading: This feature is helpful for the visually impaired, and will allow the user to easily interact with your app. Make it even more accessible by having the selected text read in different languages if needed with a way to adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate.
- Keyboard: Have the keyboard be fully accessible by making all elements accessible through it. Some can navigate the app using the tab and arrow keys. Also, have access to any commands/controls by using keyboard shortcuts.
- Visual Experience: Some visually impaired users prefer to have their text displayed with a high contrast ratio. If colour is used to convey information, those with colour blindness need colour icons. Be sure to include visual cues, such as text, to make sure that the information is accessible.
- Scalability: Make sure your app has the ability to zoom and resize elements. Also ensure that the text in your app is at an appropriate size in general so that it can be available to all users of any age. By providing scaling options, change the font size, increase or decrease the size of elements etc.
- Closed Captioning and Audio Descriptions: Include automatic captioning and audio description for video playbacks in your app.
- Guided Access: A helper can limit a phone to stay on only one app by disabling the home button or any other touch access on the screen. The helper can help control access to any sensitive areas of the phone by turning on this access. This is helpful for people with attention and sensory challenges because it can enable them to stay focused on the task.
There are a variety of reasons as to why it is more beneficial to create accessibility features for apps, but first and foremost it allows a broader spectrum of users to be able to navigate it, thus bringing more revenue and awareness to your app.