With the online experience shifting rapidly from desktop to smartphones and tablets, companies need to take a close look at their digital strategy to ensure they are covering mobile device accessibility.
According to an April 2015 Pew Institute report, 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.
- 57% have used their phone to do online banking.
- 44% have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live.
- 43% to look up information about a job.
- 40% to look up government services or information.
- 30% to take a class or get educational content.
- 18% to submit a job application.
As several Department of Justice (DOJ) cases have shown, the DOJ considers mobile device accessibility just as critical as web accessibility. Interestingly enough, mobile accessibility does not differ much from the DOJ’s requirements for web accessibility. If you have not yet instituted those, consider working with your IT group or an outside expert to implement them.
Essentially, mobile accessibility requires some simple design considerations.
- 1Consider color contrast since mobile devices are often used in dim light or bright light (e.g., outdoors). Contrast allows users to see the information on their screen in various lighting conditions.
- 2Consider font sizes based on system settings rather than hard coded. This allows users to enlarge fonts as needed for the size screen on which they are viewing and other conditions.
- 3Consider having each linked item or button labeled with its function and any other “hints” that will aide in describing what will happen once the item is selected.
- 4Ensure that data-sensitive forms do not time out. If there is a timeout popup, make sure it can be reset to give users more time to fill out the form. Typing on a mobile device is challenging enough for most users—imagine having to hear each letter/number first before you release your finger to have that letter/number entered into a field.
- 5Ensure that data-entry fields display only the keyboard type that matches the type of data being entered (alpha or numeric, date, etc.).
- 6Plan to test on multiple devices using at least the two major operating systems (iOS and Android).
Placing a priority on inclusion of digital accessibility into your digital strategy is not that difficult, and doing so will simultaneously ensure your applications can be used by the quickest growing segment of users and cover you against potential litigation.