App-cessibility and its pitfalls in a digital world

When creating apps, it is important to consider accessibility from the very beginning. This improves general usability and therefore every user’s experience while being cost-efficient.

Accessibility is often an afterthought in app development. “Sure, that’s important too, but let’s build a product for the majority of users first and then make it accessible for everybody.” At first glance this might sound like a very agile approach, but it really isn’t. Considering how a digital product works for impaired users has an impact on the whole structure and design. If done early on, it improves general usability while being cost-efficient, but if you squeeze in accessibility at the end of the project, the workload for everyone involved increases unnecessarily.

The number of affected persons is larger than you may think. More than 25% of the population in the European Union are restricted in their daily lives for health reasons, e.g. color vision deficiency alone affects 8- 10% of men in Austria. Moreover, we all encounter impairing situations on a daily basis. Just imagine you cannot read anything on your smartphone properly because the sun is shining so brightly – suddenly you would be glad if that light grey text had a bit more contrast. Therefore, designing for impaired users is literally designing for everyone.

In this talk we would like to share with you why accessibility is important and how to get started with it. We will cover the most important guidelines and best practices. Additionally, we will talk about mistakes we made so that you can avoid them in your projects.

Finally, we will equip you with testing methods to ensure your product is usable and accessible. If a product is meant to be accessible, you will find this requirement in the user stories. Then you will do special testing as well. Your testmanagement should organize with additional testing methodologies and needs impaired testers, e.g. to get the right information about the supportlevel for the screen reader etc. The new EN 301549 specifies that accessibility is a requirement for every governance website. Since those authorities are increasingly providing their information via apps, app-cessibility becomes more and more important.


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