Accessibility Testing of Mobile Apps and Website
The approach to mobile accessibility testing is often compared with desktop accessibility testing. However, there is some difference in the approach towards mobile accessibility testing, as considered by many. Desktop accessibility testing requires only a couple of steps to successfully perform audits.
Accessibility Testing for Mobile Apps Requirements
According to a survey, there are more than 85% of screen reader users using mobile devices. However, this number is quite surprising. There are many users that may need accessibility approach. This is not just limited to blind users. Other users that may need accessibility approach, includes the following:
- Users using small screen
- Partially sighted users
- Users suffering from colour blindness
- Users suffering from dyslexia and other cognitive problems
- Movability issues related to finger
- Users suffering from arthritis
There could be any above-mentioned issues or combination of those. These issues can affect site’s readability to a greater extent.
Users having readability issues often use external devices like a wireless keyboard to access mobile sites. But, does it mean that an extra hardware like keyboard is required to test mobile site? A need for extra hardware will require a number of mobile devices with different operating systems and extra hardware. This is because the hardware will give the same accessibility issue and operating system will have different versions.
Hardware is expected to give same issue; however, the issue due to different screen reader might vary from device to device. In order to test for mobile accessibility, one most have at least an Android and an iOS mobile (screen readability differ in Android and iOS mobile). In case of checking hardware, it is advised not to use any emulators while testing mobile applications and website as they are just good to kick start.
Moreover, you must also not give much importance to the fact that without looking at the screen you will be able test better. This is not true. But, being able to look at the items on the screen will allow you to understand things better.
Different Accessibility Tools
It is always good to understand the tools that are required for testing applications for accessibility.
Screen readers are one of the most common and main accessibility tools. This is the advantage with mobiles that you can use free accessibility tools like screen readers. However, in case of desktop you need to use paid tools like JAWS.
Screen Readers highlight bad practice and identify issues. However, using screen readers is quite challenging and time-consuming.
If we compare iOS and Android, the VoiceOver almost requires the same number of finger gestures. However, there are some differences while switching between screen readers.
Analyzing Colour Ratio
It is yet another important tool to be used on the desktop. This ensures that the colour contrast is readable irrespective of the issue faced by users. For example, people with poor visibility are more likely to be affected by issues related to low colour contrast.
This can be tackled by taking a screenshot by phone and then send it to a desktop to be accessed there. Then you can use the validate option to check the contrast between them.
HTML validators can only be used to test mobile website on the desktop. You can use the HTML validator to check the semantics in the website code and ensure they are correct. There are various add-ons present in the browser itself. These validators are good for the initial stages, but cannot be taken for granted. So, it is advised to get the results reviewed by developers.
Inbuilt Accessibility Options
There are many inbuilt accessibility options present on most mobiles. However, most of the options are not required. Zooming is an option that can be done without using accessibility option. You will be able to zoom the page using the normal action.
WCAG 2.0 Checkpoints
These W3C guidelines are used by most of the companies as a global standard. There are countries that have similar guidelines; however, they don’t match the W3C guidelines completely. So, it is recommended to ensure all audits comply with WCAG 2.0 AA.
Test Site Accessibility
Following are the checklist of tests to cover.
- Screen reader testing: This kind of testing will differ in desktop and mobile.
- Zooming the application: Users having a poor site can use this to choose a button. The concept is same for desktop and mobile. However, desktop has zoom feature whereas mobile has pinch movement.
- Colour Ratios: This can be verified by using the toolbar on the desktop. However, it is suggested to use the screenshots to get the actual colour. This concept remains same in desktop and mobile.
- Site Readability: Text should be easy to understand and must not be complex in any case. This remains same for desktop and mobile.
- Navigation: Navigation must be consistent, logical, structured, and descriptive. This also applies for both desktop and mobile.