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[[Approaches to implementing eAccessibility for mobile devices:]] an organised list of resources providing general advice on proposing, defining and implementing an eAccessibility strategy.
[[Approaches to implementing eAccessibility for mobile devices:]] an organised list of resources providing general advice on proposing, defining and implementing an eAccessibility strategy.

Revision as of 16:02, 19 June 2012

Mobile devices have become everyday companions to almost any people. People are even expected to use them and to stay connected when they are moving, be it on the job, due to security or health reasons or due to private reasons. Many applications support daily activities such as

  • Communication via audio, video, text or haptic channel
  • Web Surfing
  • Navigation
  • Office (writing, note taking, pictures, drawing)
  • Calendar
  • Games
  • Media players (Audio, audio books, video)
  • Cameras
  • Sensors and monitoring applications

Such applications are running on different types of mobile devices suitable for one or a number of applications:

Taking the [statistics of older adults and people with disabilities] into account and also considering the manifold situations where standard interaction modes fail, mobile device accessibility becomes an indispensible requirement. Important aspects of mobile devices include:

  • Small display
  • Lack of pointing possibilities
  • Small keyboards
  • Low text input rate
  • Low bandwith
  • Impact on Accessibility
    • Lack of context
    • Information overload
    • No visual alternatives
    • Color coding

This section of the eAccess+ HUB provides information on Mobile Devices Accessibility linking into the most relevant resources coming from hardware, software and web accessibility as well as design, development and management support.

Read more on:

Approaches to implementing eAccessibility for mobile devices: an organised list of resources providing general advice on proposing, defining and implementing an eAccessibility strategy.

Standards and Guidelines: an index of relevant formal documents guiding the process of commissioning and implementing accessible ICTs.

Legislation: links to relevant legislation from EU member states that organisations working in the cultural heritage domain should be aware of when implementing an eAccessibility strategy.

Case Studies: examples of best practice that can provide inspiration and reference.


Approaches to implement eAccessibiltiy for mobile devices

Justifying adoption of eAccessibility

Besides Legislation (external) and general facts advocating for eAccessibility the following resources help to justify why mobile accessibility is crucial in the information society.

Beneficiaries of eAccessibilty

Web sites, application and devices considering the issue of accessibilty are beneficial for a broad user group. Modern smartphones can provide lots of helpful services to older people, people with disablility as well as people dealing with situation which cause a temporariy disability when they are on the move. In addition, an accessible application can be still useable even if the user cannot have a lock at it since he or she is tied up with other tasks. These user groups are growing and will probably increase to an even more important portion of the whole number of users. The following resources give reason for that:

  • An overview and a report at the same time of the growing number of older smartphone users [1] (external)
  • A report of how many people from the UK access the internet and also how many of them are disabled and older [2] (external)
  • A proper concept of operation including an accessible and hands-free user interface would prevent a lot of accidents caused by drivers using cell phones. This is resource provides statistics about using cell phones and driving accidents [3] (external)

Managing implementation of eAccessibility

Successfully designing and implementing accessible Apps depends on multiple factors. Well-trained software developers who have the knowledge about what accessibility means, and who have a basic understanding of how people with disabilities use their mobnile devices. Another important step is to follow the development guidelines listed in the coresponding section of this document. This documents describe the technical needs that are necessary to create accessible mobile apps.

The following links give you some hints on how to effectively create mobile applications.

Designing for Accessibility or mobile devices

Today's common smart phone operating systems like iOS, Android or WindowsPhone provide sufficient means to make an application accessible. Developers can rely on predefined GUI widgets that allow them to build stable, easy to understand and predictable user interfaces. Those operating systems offer display themes that feature higher contrast and larger fonts for visually impaired people. For blind people each operating system has its own accessibility API that provides screenreaders and other assistive technology with the required information. However programmers need to ensure that their application and the used widgets implement those accessibility interfaces.

Native code that uses native widgets normally implements those interfaces by nature. However Runtimes likeJava ME (external) or Adobee Air (external) and their user interface widgets may not implement those accessibility API's. In this case it is not possible to create an application based on such a runtime that isaccessible for blind people. To make such an application accessible the source of the runtime itself had to be changed which is not possible in most cases.

Most operating systems provide guidelines and tools that provide effective approaches for the design and development of accessible ICTs:

Standards and guidelines

Mobile Device Accessibility is closely related to web accessibility and general software accessibility. The following guidelines are therefore relevant for mobile devices:

Case studies

During the last years the number of used mobile devices rapidly increased. As a consequence also solutions to make mobile devices accessibility for people with special needs have been developed.


There is no legislation in Europe ruling the way a mobile App must be designed to meet accessibility standards yet. However, guidelines for accessible web content are also applicable for mobile applications, especcially those which operate with web content.

A comprehensive list of links to relevant documents can be found here (external)

Other issues

  • Mobile Device Security