Today, we have the world in the palm of our hands. Or in the pockets of our pants, or attached to a charger snaking out from a wall outlet. The modern smartphone is the first thing many of us reach for in the morning, and the last thing we grasp at night. The change wrought by the smartphone has become so deep rooted, so intrinsic to how we communicate, consume information, and even relax, that it’s hard to imagine life without it. And mobile app product companies are betting that we don’t want to.
Mobile first, accessibility next
According to a recent study by Statista, mobile devices accounted for 50% of web page views worldwide. In European and American countries, the penetration of mobile broadband services is approaching 80%, followed by Asian and African countries. These numbers are expected to rise quickly, and product companies are racing to adopt a mobile-first strategy in order to meet these users where they live-on their smart devices.
Though mobile app QA testing services are already being utilized by product companies of all sizes, there’s a burgeoning movement that champions inclusive design across all devices. At its core, it’s about making the entire internet, including websites, audio and video media, and desktop and mobile apps, accessible to people with disabilities.
It’s a noble goal to be sure, but companies are also striving for compliance with legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). And, because they’re businesses with bottom lines, they’re also trying to broaden their customer base. By delivering products designed to accommodate users with visual, hearing, cognitive, or physical disabilities, technology companies can check both of these goals off their list.
Mobile internet service is finding its way to parts of the world that are very remote, or in the process of developing. This is a move in the right direction, but often the infrastructure required to deliver optimal service isn’t there-and bandwidth can suffer greatly.
However, technology companies don’t want to isolate new users in these parts of the world, so they’re using tools to help simulate low bandwidth speeds to help optimize their products and content. For example, a company may have their video content available at different bit rates, so that bandwidth-limited users can still see the video-even if the picture quality isn’t stunning HD.
Tips for smarter mobile accessibility testing
Just getting started with mobile app QA testing services? Awesome! It’s a great way to make your products more inclusive and attract and retain new customers you may have otherwise lost. Though it’s a good idea to seek out a QA partner for advanced accessibility testing, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re testing in-house:
Always make sure that the font size of your content is appropriate, and is tested at different screen sizes.
Ensure that important information is written clearly, using simple language, and that corresponding pages have appropriate color contrast.
Images, logos, and graphics should have alt text properly defined.
Applications involving video services should be tested against different network connections and screen sizes. Also, make sure to have captions in different languages available for your audio and video content.
If large amounts of text appear on a page, make sure to divide it into paragraphs and give users the option to zoom in and out.
While performing accessibility testing, always try to use more than one tool to verify your app or content.
Online forms should have easy to understand labels, and captchas should have multiple options. For example, a highly graphical captcha may be difficult for someone visually challenged.
Online forms with time limitations should use less graphics, and also should have an audio reminder to make sure users with low bandwidth or visual disability can easily fill in the required information.
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