Mobile App Accessibility Testing Checklist
By Somosree Roy, Community Contributor - December 23, 2022
With a plethora of cross-platform mobile apps floating in the market, accessibility testing is highly imperative. With more platforms, browsers, software, and tools ever-evolving, testers must ensure full-proof testing for mobile apps from all user perspectives. What exactly do we mean by accessibility testing of mobile apps?
Software testing determines if a website or an app is simple for all internet users, including those with special needs or disabilities. Accessibility testing ensures that certain, immovable circumstances do not hinder a person from accessing internet resources as quickly as anyone else. It is frequently regarded as a subcategory of usability testing.
Usability testing ensures top-class user experience of mobile apps by testing it with real users. It determines how easy it is to maneuver through the mobile application and find out how effectively it supports a brand’s key marketing objectives.
The Need for Accessibility Testing
Mobile app accessibility testing is one of the skills a competent mobile app tester should possess.
Making an application accessible to everyone is one motivation for conducting accessibility testing for mobile apps.
- Many nations and governments have made it essential for businesses to do so as part of compliance measures.
- Accessible testing is a crucial procedure that promotes tremendous success for the applications to follow compliance regulations and prevent potential legal actions.
- To have a highly functional mobile app enabling top-notch user experience involves several mobile tests.
- Every application and website should be developed with digital accessibility to ensure that every user can use it.
- Working from home is one of the pandemic’s significant outcomes, which has entailed the need for mobile apps to be accessible to everyone.
Let’s think about a corporation whose website is open to all customers. It will undoubtedly have a unique brand identity. Now, better user experience results from increased accessibility. It’s the latter that cascades to a prominent brand presence. A higher ranking in SEO is also directly correlated with increased website traffic (SEO).
Digital accessibility is becoming increasingly important in various contexts, from legal to mandatory to compassionate and caring. It is the correct thing to do and benefits everyone, not just those with limitations.
Accessibility Tools provided by Android/iOS
What are those critical things you consider before selecting the right testing tool? The accessibility tools widely vary across Android and iOS devices. Check out the following to ensure that your team is not missing out on the right tool.
Here are iOS accessibility testing tools for mobile apps:
For developers and designers, ColorSlurp is the best color tool available. Using the fine-tuned magnifier, select any color on your screen. Make palettes and arrange them using sophisticated color editing tools. For ideal accessibility, consider color contrast. On iOS, you can select colors with the camera, export, sync with iCloud, and do much more.
2. Contrast — Color Accessibility
In your interface designs, use contrast to ensure that the text isn’t too bright—design with accessibility in mind by combining your preferred design tool with this straightforward small menu bar app. Hex codes can be manually entered, or you can sample colors right from your designs using the built-in color picker.
You can remove the application from the menu bar and utilize it anywhere as a floating window. It will remain visible above your currently open design tool so you may quickly retrieve the WCAG contrast scores.
Automatically identify accessibility problems with mobile applications for iOS and Android and produce reports with recommendations. With Evinced, access one standard set of reports and terminology across platforms.
The hard-to-miss point is that users love experiencing mobile apps in dark mode. Testing dark mode on an iOS app on a real device cloud with ease help testers meet user expectations with great flair.
BrowserStack real device cloud can execute Appium tests with the Evinced Engine to pinpoint accessibility issues on nearly any device and OS combination.
Let’s now look into the mobile app accessibility testing tools for Android.
A free, open-source tool called Accessibility Insights for Android assists developers in identifying and resolving accessibility problems in Android apps. Linux, Mac, and Windows all support the tool. The fun part is you can test mobile apps on a physical device or an Android Virtual Device.
A tool called Accessibility Scanner makes accessibility suggestions for Android applications without needing technical knowledge. To locate areas of the app that might benefit from accessibility enhancements, open the app you wish to scan and tap the Accessibility Scanner icon. This app lets you change things yourself or suggest changes to the developers.
Want also to check out testing multi-experience apps using real device cloud? This knowledge, on top of mobile app testing and accessibility testing, will make you an enhanced and powered-up tester.
3. Android Accessibility Suite
The Android Accessibility Suite is a suite of accessibility applications that enable hands-free or switch-device operation of Android devices.
BrowserStack’s App Live is one of the few platforms enabling interactive mobile app testing in a highly convenient way for testers. What’s more, you don’t need any device labs and can test on a large extent iOS and Android devices, just on the cloud.
The App Live ScreenReader feature enables manual accessibility testing of your mobile apps on supported real Android devices.
Like Google TalkBack, the ScreenReader feature on App Live enables TalkBack on the device to allow for element-by-element UI navigation of the app and spoken description of the UI being navigated.
Loudly enunciating the web text on the screen assists users in navigating digital content without actually seeing it. This makes it useful for those individuals who suffer from partial or complete blindness and have cognitive issues like dyslexia.
5 – Step Checklist to achieve Mobile App Accessibility
1. General Guidelines
- There must be an app title.
- Headings must maintain the hierarchy.
ARIA Landmark Roles like search, navigation, content info, complementary, and banner should be used to represent the structure of an app or page.
At least one of the following conditions for touch events must be met:
- You shouldn’t use the down-event to start any activity.
- The up event starts the action, and there is a choice to stop it before it is finished or to reverse it after it has been done.
- The up event will reverse any action prompted by a down event.
- It is crucial to start the action after an adverse event. Using a piano app or playing a game, for instance.
- The user must be able to engage with touch targets that are large enough.
How about hoping to find out what exactly changes for accessibility testing for websites? Website accessibility check is crucial for vision impairment, hearing impairment, and physical disabilities.
2. Color Contrast Ratios
The color contrast must meet WCAG 2.1 AA level specifications. Visually impaired individuals will find it challenging to perceive them without the right color contrast ratios.
- 4.5:1 contrast ratio for text in a standard font.
- A 3:1 contrast ratio for huge text.
- Color-based information must also be accessible through other channels.
3. Touch Gestures and Haptic Feedback
The touch gestures and Haptic feedback for an app or a device are prerequisites for any mobile app, whether Android or iOS. Although app performance doesn’t depend on touch gestures for basic operations, adding them can enhance its functionality and appeal. The sensors help in better accessibility of mobile apps for individuals with reduced reading ability.
4. Consistent Layouts and navigation
User experience is a lot about consistency, be it the content, layout, or navigation.
Individuals with lower motor functions might find it hard to use a keyword or mouse. They often stick to mobile apps instead of web browsers. Mobile apps with assistive navigation to guide the users from one menu to the following help users of all kinds.
Also, the layouts are essential criteria to ensure the accessibility of mobile apps for all types of individuals. Lop-sided layout with out-of-sync text and visuals makes it very visually displeasing.
5. Optimize App Content/Media
Optimize app media and content to fit into smaller and bigger mobile phones. The features will vary depending on the mobile app. The “click” options in the mobile app should be convenient. The “shopping cart” should have easy ways to add and remove items if it’s an eCommerce app. The app screen should help users grasp the content. It needs to have legible Header tags to let users read with ease. This optimization will enable readers with cognitive disabilities to comprehend the content.
Visuals should have clear captions to enable accessibility for hearing and visually impaired individuals.
Importance of Real Device testing
Compared to hovering with a mouse, several operations, like scrolling and zooming on a touchscreen, are very different. Accelerometers, geolocation, and push notifications are features that can’t be replicated and may produce unreliable results (if tried to simulate).
Devices encounter device hiccups and slow network conditions, which aid in testing the real-world user environment and spotting flaws. Hence, it is crucial to test the app’s functionality. Performance testing using a simulator is not a realistic test. Using a Real Device Cloud with access to 3000+ device-browser-OS combinations makes it simple to uncover performance flaws.