Categories
Accessibility iOS Development

Mobile Accessibility Links

This is a frequently updated list of links regarding mobile accessibility.

Guidelines & Standards

This section is focused on the European area because I am a citizen of the EU.

For more information, see my short blog post about the European Accessibility Act: https://mic.st/blog/european-accessibility-act-in-short/

LinkDescription
https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG21/quickref/The WCAG is the guideline when it comes to digital accessibility. The most recent version is 2.1. However, the guidelines are focused on web. Therefore, some rules are not directly applicable to mobile or need interpretation. The version 2.2 of the guidelines is currently in the making and should include more mobile related topics.
https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1202&langId=enQuick overview regarding the European accessibility act.
In the US there is already the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that requires companies to care for accessibility.
https://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/02.01.02_60/en_301549v020102p.pdfThe EN 301 549 is the European norm for digital accessibility. The standard is of importance together with the European Accessibility act (https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1485&langId=en). This norm also refers to WCAG.
The official documents can be difficult to digest and to apply. Therefore, I would rather start working with simpler guidelines that refer to the official ones.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wav3bzkb31UJon Gibbins describes in this presentation how he interprets the WCAG success criteria to be applicable to native mobile apps. He derives a list of success criteria that he uses to check native mobile apps for conformance.
Table with links about Accessibility guidelines and standards.

Company guidelines

Currently, we have the problem that there are no official accessibility guidelines directly appliable to mobile. That is why a lot of companies started their own guidelines.

LinkDescription
https://a11y-guidelines.orange.com/en/I really, really like these guidelines by the french telecommunications company Orange. The best thing is how well it’s structured. You can quickly find a solution for a lot of use case with short explanations, nice graphics and code snippets. Also, it’s open source! You can find the github repo here: https://github.com/Orange-OpenSource/a11y-guidelines.
https://www.capitalone.com/tech/software-engineering/wcag-accessiblity-guidelines-mobile/In the tech blog of the UK banking company Capital One, Rob Whitaker shares how the four principles of the WCAG can be applied to mobile.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/forproducts/guides/mobile/UK public service broadcaster BBC also has its own accessibility guidelines.
https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/accessibility/overview/introduction/The Accessiblity section in Apple’s Human Interface guidelines are definitely worth a read. However, they are more about how to apply Apple’s existing features (which is great) rather than applying offical guidelines (like WCAG)

Development Processes / UX

This section will focus on links about implementing accessibility in your daily workflow from the requirements to the actual implementation.

LinkDescription
https://medium.com/capital-one-tech/ios-accessibility-best-practices-for-the-voiceover-user-experience-dc08112ef16Product Manager Nick Sheehan from Capital One shows how they define Accessibility in their acceptance criteria. Furthermore, there are some quick tips to tackle usual Accessibility issues.
https://medium.com/rosberryapps/accessibility-what-you-need-to-know-about-mobile-app-development-for-people-with-special-needs-b52d713f8c95This is a very useful article about mobile accessibility by Anastasia Egorina (UX/UI designer at Rosberry). It has great resources and simple Dos and Don’ts with screenshots.

iOS Development

This section contains articles that are specific to iOS development.

LinkDescription
https://www.deque.com/blog/ios-nested-accessibility/The isAccessibilityElement property in UIKit should be handled with care. Your app’s accessibility might get worse when misusing it. This article shows you the right way.
https://medium.com/short-swift-stories/accessibility-element-2d55cefdf9d7Good general overview regarding Accessibility features on iOS.
https://www.24a11y.com/2018/ios-accessibility-properties/Blog article by Jennifer Dailey from Deque Systems. iOS’ accessibility features do map directly to “WCAG 4.1.2: Name, Role, Value”. She gives gives a lot of great examples on how to group elements.
https://developer.apple.com/accessibility/ios/Great starting point from a technical perspective. You can dive deep directly into WWDC talks, the HIG and APIs

Tools

There are tools that can help building more accessible products (i.e conform to standards like EN 301 549).

Keep in mind: You should never solely rely on tools or automated testing.

Actually, there are dependencies and services promising automated conformance or something like that. This might work for simple things like spotting violations of color contrasts or checking for touch areas. It will get really difficult for more complex requirements like understandable user flows.

LinkDescription
https://material.io/resources/color/#!/This tool instantly checks the accessibility of color combinations for certain text sizes. There is also a simple preview with a mobile mockup. However, it is a little bit more advanced compared to similar palette generators. I would recommend to create a palette in an easier one (e.g. coolors.co or Color Hunt) and improve it using this one.
Table with links for tools helping to build accessible products.

Books

TitleLinkDescription
Developing Inclusive Mobile Appshttps://www.apress.com/gp/book/9781484258132This is a really good book on Accessibility by Rob Whitaker. It covers iOS and Android. For iOS it includes the basics and also more advanced techniques for tackling accessibility. Every iOS developer should buy this 🙂
Also checkout his GitHub, e.g. he maintains an accessibility UI Testing framework https://github.com/rwapp/A11yUITests
A Best-in-Class iOS App: The Book Series Packagehttps://swiftjectivec.gumroad.com/l/bicbookThis eBook is a frequently updated project by Jordan Morgan which you can buy as a Beta version and is updated frequently. It is not only about accessibility, it is about the whole process of building an app from design to release and it is not completely finished yet (as of January, 2022).
However, the Accessibility part already is already finished! The nice thing: When buying this, you will get frequent updates, i.e. also when Apple updates their APIs Jordan wants to cover that.

Other articles or resources

LinkDescription
https://mobilea11y.com/This is a great resource of links and articles Rob Whitaker.
He also has a sample project to show all the iOS A11y features: https://github.com/rwapp/A11y-Box-iOS (+ checkout his book, see “Books” section)
https://www.afb.org/blindness-and-low-vision/using-technology/assistive-technology-products/mobile-appsThe American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) put together a lists accessible mobile apps. Good for inspiration on how to tackle A11y.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIl2EzNYri0cLtSlZowttih25VnSvWITuOfficial playlist by Apple Support with lots of short videos about how to activate and use different Accessibility Features. This is great for quickly seeing what actually is possible on all the platforms.
Table with articles and other resources about mobile accessibility.

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