The gold rush mentality that has characterised the meteoric rise of the mobile app means that accessibility can be ignored, warns a just published study from the One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition.
However, the study – Moving together: mobile apps for inclusion and assistance – shows that there is much that organisations and developers can do to make their apps more accessible.
“App accessibility is currently very mixed, ranging from extremely inclusive to disastrously unusable,” says the study, which contains advice for device manufacturers, app developers, retailers and schools.
The groundbreaking research, which includes a seven step guide to creating mobile apps, argues it is vital to build accessibility in from the earliest stages of the design process.
The study reviews the accessibility features of the main mobile operating systems and the key issues involved in accessibility.
There is no such thing as full accessibility for everyone, the authors Dan Jellinek and Peter Abrahams conclude.
“The main problem with making accessible apps is the number of platforms and devices that are out there, and the fact that you might need to make a slightly different app for each of them,” they say.
The study also reviews the state of the art, highlighting key apps and providing links to websites with more thorough directories of useful apps, many of which include ratings or review systems.
“Adopting inclusive design and providing accessible solutions and technologies for the widest possible user group has proven benefits and ensures you deliver a product that your users or clients want, need and are able to use,” says Nigel Lewis, chair of the One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition.