Accessible Apps Create a Roadmap for Business Success | TechWell

Accessible Apps Create a Roadmap for Business Success

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The term apps became widely accepted after Apple opened their App Store, offering games, music, and software programs for sale. Now, apps is ubiquitous among all smartphone makers and software designers. As one of the fastest growing sectors of IT, the expected growth for the app market is $80.6 billion by 2020. Android users are able to choose from 2.8 million apps in the Play Store, and Apple's App Store remains the second-largest app store. With that many app users having such varied abilities, it is extremely vital to make sure that your app is usable by everyone.

Many users have visual, physical, or age-related limitations that prevent them from fully seeing or using a touch screen or a hearing loss that makes it difficult to perceive audible alerts. Android and iOS make it straightforward for you to create accessible apps, because they already provide APIs for Text to Speech, hap-tic feedback, gesture navigation, trackball, and directional pad navigation.

Make sure your app measures up by testing against the Web Accessibility Initiative quality guidelines, and then review the guidelines for each form factor. Impress your audience with how your app would look on their devices.

Test your app against popular devices in your target markets. Get your user community to help by taking part in beta testing, hire an accessibility expert, or sign up for the Cloud Test Lab in the developer console to automatically test your beta app on hundreds of popular physical devices and receive detailed analysis of any issues.

If there are regular updates associated with your app, make sure all promoting messages are conveyed to users in an accessible manner.

When it comes to flexibility, consider users who are using adaptive technologies such as augmentative communication to aid in use of the apps. Keep your app simple so that you can eliminate any unnecessary actions that are not the usual fit for your app. This might include unusual swipes or taps needed to accomplish a task. Incorporation of gestures that result in an intuitive design makes your app easier to use.  

When any action or input is required from users, remember to allow some extra time. Also, avoid as much as possible any blinking or possible seizuring effects.  

Making accessible apps is not an additional feature—it's a best practice. If implemented correctly, accessible apps help disabled and older users to be able to use your apps, which can ultimately increase your market share.

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