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As mobile phones are the most commonly used gadget in the global space, it is highly important to ensure that it is accessible to everyone. According to a CDC estimate, one in four adult Americans has some form of disability. In today’s modern age where smartphones and mobile apps are an essential part of daily life for many, mobile app accessibility testing has definitely become the need of the hour. As a leading accessibility testing company, we have years of experience in testing both Android & iOS apps for their accessibility. With that experience, we have created this definitive Mobile App Accessibility Testing Checklist that will ensure your mobile apps are accessible.
Mobile App Accessibility Testing Checklist
There are so many aspects of a mobile application that has to be tested to ensure it is accessible to people with disabilities. At its core, we can use the POUR principle to check if the mobile app and its features are
- Perceivable: Check if information and user interface elements are presented in a way that users can perceive them with ease.
- Operable: Make sure the mobile app’s navigation is used so that it enables easy user interaction.
- Understandable: Ensure that the information and user interface functionality is understandable.
- Robust: Test if the mobile app’s features & functionalities are robust so that they can be reliably interpreted by a wide range of user agents, including users using assistive technology such as screen readers.
But the problem with such a mobile app accessibility testing checklist is that it does not cover the intricate actions that have to be done to ensure your mobile app is accessible. That is why we have created a categorized mobile app accessibility testing checklist that will provide you with definitive actions you’ll need to do in an organized manner.
Categorized Mobile App Accessibility Testing Checklist
By keeping POUR at the core, we have created this categorized mobile app accessibility testing checklist to make it easy for you to understand and navigate through our blog.
- User Interaction
- Form Labels & Validation
- Toggle Button
- Tables & Accordion
- Text & Color Contrast
- Audio & Video
- Animation & Motion
1. User Interaction
Accidental touches in any mobile app can be annoying to any user. But what could be just annoying to regular users can have serious impacts when used by people with disabilities. Such issues can worsen the user experience for all users in general. One such way to improve the user experience is by following this Mobile App Accessibility Testing Checklist that will ensure users have no issues with user interaction.
- Check if the click or touch target size is large enough for the user to touch their intended target without any difficulties. Also, make sure that the touch targets do not overlap.
- Even if there are any compact touch targets, ensure they are not placed adjacent to each other to avoid accidental touches.
- If multiple active elements have the same target, make sure those elements are grouped into a one-touch target.
- Ensure that the application doesn’t rely on kinetic motion (detected by the accelerometer) alone for inputs.
- Verify if the motion-sensitive features can be disabled by the users.
- Make sure the mobile application is not completely or too dependent on voice control or on gestures as it could limit usability in some cases.
- Check if the autocomplete suggestions are announced to the users when they appear and also validate if they are operable.
Now that we have looked at the user interaction, let’s cover the navigational aspects in our Mobile App Accessibility Testing Checklist as it is a very common issue faced by many.
- Ensure that the mobile app screens have meaningful titles and tabs that convey their role, their current state, and their order in the total number of tabs to the screen reader.
- Verify if the buttons accurately convey to users their accessible name, role, value, and state through the respective screen reader.
- Check if a button or an active image used as a button conveys their correct trait or role.
- Make sure the role and purpose of a hyperlink are clearly specified in the anchor text as generic texts like ‘Click Here’ will confuse a user using TalkBack/VoiceOver.
- Check if the progress bars convey their visible name, role, and current value to TalkBack/ VoiceOver users with a descriptive and unique accessibility label.
- Verify if the slider controls and switch controls have a visible label that is programmatically associated using the accessibility label property.
- Verify if the button that opens the menu has a clear and descriptive title or must have an accessibility label that accurately conveys its purpose.
- Test if users using screenreaders are able to dismiss the menu and when they do so; check if the focus returns to the triggering button correctly.
The most important function of a mobile app notification is to grab the attention of the device user. But how can we make these notifications accessible for people with various disabilities? We can ensure these notifications are designed with actual mechanisms including visual, auditory, and vibration cues. Here are the checkpoints you’ll have to follow to achieve that.
- Test whether the dynamic content changes are notified to Talkback/ VoiceOver users through spoken accessibility announcements or focus management.
- Ensure that the user login session doesn’t timeout without providing any accessible timeout warning or a session extension method.
- Verify whether all alerts include a title and a description and that are announced through Talkback/VoiceOver or if they grab the user’s attention.
- Validate if the Modal dialogs capture the focus of the screen reader and trap the keyboard. Make sure the presented dialogs are given focus until dismissed by the user.
4. Form Labels & Validation
Form labels and Validation are especially important in making a mobile app accessible as it ensures the users are able to easily provide their input when needed. They are generally read by a screen reader and the form fields also receive focus whenever it requires user inputs. So next up in our mobile app accessibility testing checklist, we’ll be covering what aspects you’ll have to check to ensure disabled users can use their assistive technologies to full effect.
- Ensure that the native date picker controls which are exclusive to android are used over plain text inputs or custom date picker controls.
- Test if controls using UIPickerView which is exclusive to iOS are programmatically connected with their visible label.
- If there are any inputs that require a star rating or any rating in general, ensure they have accessible names that be conveyed to the end user.
- Ensure that the label text is visible to the end-users at all times and they are programmatically associated with their corresponding control elements.
- Check whether the groups of related inputs convey their group legend text to the TalkBack/VoiceOver users.
- Validate if the radio buttons convey their individual label, group legend, and checked state to the end-users.
- Check if the Select dropdown controls have an associated visible text label.
- Ensure that the users receive effective, understandable, and properly labeled text-based notifications for form validation signals and errors.
5. Text & Color Contrast
Sometimes the text color, contrast, and size can make it hard for people with visual impairments to read. So in our mobile app accessibility testing checklist, we’ve listed all the major points you’ll need to cover in this regard.
- Test if sections of content whose language is different from the mobile app’s default language are programmatically identified and marked in a way that allows assistive technology to find them.
- If any information is conveyed through color or a change in color, ensure it is accompanied by a programmatically-discernible text alternative.
- Check if the contrast ratio for small text is at least 4.5 to 1 with the background and if the contrast ratio of large text is at least 3 to 1 with the background.
- When text or images are used to replace color to convey information, make sure it correctly conveys the same information.
6. Toggle Button
Understanding the state of toggle buttons can be very tricky for people with disabilities. Since toggle buttons are commonly used in numerous mobile apps you’ll have to follow the below-mentioned actions.
- Ensure the state of the toggle button is conveyed to the end user.
- Make sure that the toggle button conveys an accessible name with programmatically associated and visible labels that convey their state.
- Check if the image toggle buttons have descriptive and accurate alternative text provided in the accessibility label.
7. Tables & Accordion
Though we may not see many tables and accordions, few mobile apps might actually use them or different forms of them in a feature. Without the right tests, understanding tables can truly become a huge challenge, especially when using assistive technologies such as screen readers. So let’s look at the checkpoints you’ll need in our mobile app accessibility testing checklist.
- Test if the screen reader is able to read the accessible names of the accordion components.
- Make sure the screen reader announces if the component is in the expanded or collapsed state.
- Check if the data in the tables are in a logical reading order and if the screen reader is announcing the correct row and column header text to the users.
- Verify if the sorted state of a sortable table column header is conveyed to the users.
Thanks to fast internet speeds on mobile data, almost every mobile app today uses images. So images are the next focus area in our mobile app accessibility testing checklist where we tell you how you can use alt text correctly.
- Test if images that convey valuable information have an accessibility label or appropriate alternative text that describes the image or presents the same information as the image.
- But if there are any decorative or redundant images in the mobile app, make sure that such images don’t have any alternative text equivalents as they should be hidden from the screen readers.
- Make sure images of text are not used as they should not be used if the same output can be achieved using real text. Logos with the company name are examples of when images can replace text.
- Test if the image button controls have a proper content description.
- If your mobile app uses custom emojis, check if they have appropriate alternative text.
9. Audio & Video
Few mobile apps might use audio & videos or few apps might be used exclusively to stream video or audio over the internet or playback the files in the internal storage system. So based on the use case, make sure to follow the specified actions to ensure they are accessible.
- Test if all the pre-recorded multimedia content (Videos & Audio) and narration events that contain dialog and/or narration must be accompanied by synchronized captions.
- Likewise, check if videos have audio descriptions or separate audio-described versions for users who have vision disabilities.
- Make sure all prerecorded videos and audio used in the mobile app have text transcripts.
- Verify if the SeekBar sliders have TextView labels.
- If the mobile app uses any sound effect used to convey the success or failure of a process, make sure there are alternative ways to convey the same information.
10. Animations and Motion
Every mobile application will have a certain number of animations and motions to make it visually appealing to its users. But these can also be a challenge for users with seizures as sudden & continuous flashes of light might be a trigger. Here are some of the ways you can achieve your goal.
- If there is a Carousel of multimedia content, check if there is a way to stop the Carousel’s movement.
- Validate if the users are able to disable any non-essential motion-sensitive visual effects.
- Make sure that the content doesn’t flash more than three times a second and that it doesn’t violate the general flash thresholds as it could affect people with seizures.
- Ensure that the progress spinners or other similar loading effects have proper alternative text to ensure the information is conveyed.
- Likewise, test if they immediately receive focus so that the screen reader can announce their accessible name to the users.
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We hope this Mobile App accessibility testing checklist walked you through the key components, such as general objectives, necessary testing procedures, suggested testing, and unique considerations to build a mobile app with all the necessary accessibility features. Apart from enabling the mobile app to be accessible to people with disabilities, such type of testing will also enhance the overall user experience of regular users.
Another aspect that makes it a win-win situation is that you can steer clear of any legal trouble by ensuring your mobile app is accessible. Based on the location you operate your mobile app or website, there are legal grounds for people to sue you if the products are inaccessible. Over the years we have delivered top-notch accessibility testing services for testing websites, e-learning platforms, mobile apps, and so on for our customers who have truly benefited from creating accessible products and services.