There are over 56 million disabled Americans and more than half of them use the internet. The world wide web consortium has released a new version, WCAG 2.0. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is formed through the W3C process with a common goal of providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
The WCAG documents is a detailed description of how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. Web ‘content’ refers to the information in a web page including:
- Natural information like image, text and sounds etc
- Markup that defines presentation, structure etc.
WCAG is a stable, reference technical standard not an introduction to accessibility. It has 12 guidelines aligned under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.
WCAG has been revised to include web accessibility provisions for Americans under the Americans Disability Act (ADA). It simply means that consumer-facing mobile websites and mobile applications will have to comply with accessibility regulations in order to provide an accessible user experience to online content.
Accessibility requirements have been revolving around technology for quite some time. The emergence of new technologies in the past decade has made daily tasks much simpler and convenient. In order to provide this privilege to all the sections of the society, WACG has come up with technology standards and guidelines that lay emphasis on interaction with digital content and the ability to interact with information on a site or app. This implies that everyone should be able to interact with text, images, navigation, buttons, and media.
Beyond moral grounds, it also presents an opportunity to reach millions of Americans. So are mobile applications ready to meet this challenge. Do organizations have a strategy to test accessible experiences.
When it comes to accessibility to engage with mobile content, it solely depends on the architecture and content structure of mobile applications. As you build mobile applications, you should consider that some mobile users may not be able to engage with your app using normal means due to visual or physical or age related limitations.
These limitations may restrict them from using the app as it is meant to be used. People with hearing difficulty may be unable to use sound features or people with physical disability may not interact with the app like the others. There while developing an app, efforts should be directed towards content accessibility in the following areas:
Make sure that there are more ways in which app can be accessed other than audio. All media—audio and video—must provide a text transcript with synchronized captions.
About 8% of males are color blind in America, always consider alternate ways in which the app can describe the content where color is used. For example: where red or green is used to indicate an error or no error. Use alternate methods for displaying such information.
If there is dynamic content in your app like any hidden menus that are displayed by user selection. Make sure that the assisted technology is aware and real time changes are possible.
Errors must be platform specific and fully support assisted technology. All errors must work with screen readers and other accessibility tools.
All elements of the form must have labels with clear instructive text at the beginning of a form. Alternative input methods should be available. While performing testing, you can use virtual keyboards and Bluetooth.
Any testing strategy should leverage accessibility frameworks that are offered by both iOS and Android platforms. These frameworks provide services and features like gesture navigations, haptic feedback and much more.
Once implemented correctly, it will help people with disability engage with your app easily and also make your app compliant with standards that will help you gain a valuable share of the market. Moreover, we are creating a developer culture in which accessibility issues are embedded right from the start of the development process. Helping people get access to the services that are being offered.