Latest Evinced Tools Take Mobile App Accessibility Testing To The Next Level
Los Altos-based digital accessibility company Evinced has announced a new suite of tools that will make mobile app accessibility testing faster, easier and more reliable than ever.
Despite today’s predominantly mobile-centric digital landscape, mobile app accessibility tests still lag behind traditional websites.
There are several reasons for this, including the fact that application-based mobile operating systems are a newer technology, but still encounter the age-old problem of accessibility considerations being an afterthought for digital product designers. .
This picture is changing, albeit slowly. According to a report released last year by Gartner, âBy 2023, digital products that are fully compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Tier 2 will outperform their market competitors by 50%.
At the same time, adds the report, âby 2025, all G20 countries – which account for 90% of the global global product – will establish enforceable legal standards for digital accessibility, leading to a ‘GDPR moment’ in which companies scramble to achieve compliance. ”
Hard to reach
Intuitively, mobile app accessibility compliance should be easier than web accessibility. Desktop and laptop computer users regularly use additional third-party assistive software such as ZoomText and JAWS that assist visually impaired users.
Interactions with third-party assistive technologies can create another point of failure.
Mobile apps, on the other hand, tend to rely only on software that’s already built into the operating system, such as Apple’s VoiceOver on iOS and TalkBack on Android.
As Evinced CEO Navin Thadani explains, mobile accessibility is still not as easy as it seems at first glance.
âThis is because the built-in mobile accessibility features are more tightly coupled in the mobile ecosystem,â says Thadani.
“However, that doesn’t change the fact that content created for mobile needs to be able to take advantage of these assistive technologies in the first place,” he continues.
âIt’s not that someone can develop an application just any way and VoiceOver or TalkBack will automatically find out. You have to tell the app how to talk to assistive technology.
Extracting reliable accessibility data on mobile operating systems is made even more difficult due to the added security that inevitably comes with a closed ecosystem.
Evinced’s latest toolkit consists of a two-part solution that includes free and paid elements.
The solution works on both iOS and Android apps and can be audited on real devices, using emulators or a cloud of devices.
Evinced’s free product, known as the Flow Analyzer, can be deployed by any tester, even those without specialized knowledge in accessibility and software development, and can quickly identify common accessibility failures by simply connecting a phone to a computer running Evinced’s desktop client, launching the target app, and running a scan.
The Paid Solution for Enterprise Customers – Automation for Mobile is a tool for application developers to integrate accessibility testing alongside other mobile UI automation testing.
This allows an accessibility scan to run automatically whenever a developer changes an existing feature or adds a new one.
If common failures are detected, such as missing alt text on images or mislabeled buttons, the tool will notify the developer of issues to be addressed before committing to new code.
Emphasizing the urgent need to improve the accessibility of applications with the web, Thadani said, âI think the pandemic has accelerated the trend of total reliance on digital media, but it is there: the sheer convenience of access that one gets with the mobile is often so much higher than on other devices.
Evinced plans to continue to improve and refine the toolkit over time and in the next step, it hopes to move beyond the standard accessibility checklist items to take a closer look at interactive items such as the behavior of an application if a user zooms in or changes the font size.
All of this adds and underscores the idea that in 2021 the web should not just be a fair and accessible place on our desks or knees, but within reach wherever we go.