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Enhancing Mobile App Accessibility for Visually Impaired Users

Enhancing interactions with users on mobile applications is essential in software development. Mobile app accessibility is always a nice-to-have feature for improving overall user experience. However, accessibility issues can be seen in the case of visually impaired individuals.

According to WHO, 2.2 billion people are visually impaired globally, and most people suffering from blindness are over the age of 50 years.

With that, designing mobile applications that are accessible to visually impaired people seems a daunting task. But by following the best practices, you can ensure that your application progresses towards an improved user experience. 

Read this blog further to learn about the strategies to be implemented to make your app accessible to blind users. 

Let’s head into the basics first!

What is Mobile App Accessibility 

Having a disability affects how people interact with the world. The same applies to the user experience of mobile apps. Mobile app accessibility is the practice of designing and developing mobile apps for a seamless experience for users, helping them to understand and interact with the features of applications. The concept is not only applied to people with disabilities but to the entire target audience.

Read our blog to determine the best practices for designing and developing custom web apps.

When you are developing the application, it is your responsibility to make sure that the app’s accessibility is not limited. If increasing the app reach is your target, then establishing accessibility standards for mobile apps must not be overlooked. There are accessibility lawsuits for restricting users with a certain kind of disability. Therefore, it is not just a legal takeaway but a moral responsibility to create applications with universal access.

Best Practices for Mobile Application Accessibility for Visually Impaired Users

Here are a few strategies for developing an intuitive user interface design for blind people. You can incorporate them in your software development life cycle and target a large user base:

    1. Enlarged Text in Abundance

To create an accessible design for visually impaired users, the practice of making an enlarged text is pertinent. Having a ‘zoom’ option does not seem a good idea as it will hamper user experience and lead to uncountable app sessions. Allow your weak-sighted audience to increase the text size through the manual option. By using that, they can increase or decrease the text size as per their preference.

    2. Use of Standard UI Elements

For an optimized UX, it is advised to use sliders, buttons, and text fields that are compatible with screen readers for cognitive accessibility. Tools like TalkBack and VoiceOver are screen reading tools that ease interactions with blind users. It is to ensure that your application follows a native app accessibility guideline for seamless interactions with visually impaired individuals.

    3. Optimize Color and Contrast

While designing the mobile application, color combination is something that cannot be underestimated. Don’t get stuck to the black-and-white color schemes; experiment with different color contrasts, but don’t forget you are developing an app for visually impaired users as well. You need to make your color elements distinguishable for them and avoid using colors that can become a nightmare for them.

    4. Implementing Dark Mode

For the ease of low-vision users, it is crucial to implement dark modes in advanced mobile app solutions. The dark mode can help visually impaired users to read the text, inverting the UI for an engaging experience. For that, the developers need to check the compatibility with the new device, ensuring that the icons and images look the same as in the inverted dark mode. 

    5. Clear and Concise Content

Another thing that you need to make sure of the accessibility of an app is to allow weak-sighted individuals to quickly navigate the application. Make your labels, headings, icons, and images in a consistent style or format for developing the best mobile application for a blind person. Using Alt text for image portrayals can be the right practice for reading out loud through the screen readers. Plus, the usage of textures can differentiate one element from another, and it will create a memorable experience for them.

    6. Organized Layout

A simplified and quick layout can provide easy navigation through the app. People with low vision would appreciate it if you kept your content in an organized manner so that they access the features that they needed. It can improve mobile app accessibility greatly when you have categorized your tabs, menus, and sliders as per relevancy. 

    7. Offering Multiple Modes of Input and Output

While developing an app for visually impaired person, you tend to focus on intuitive experience, and integrating alternative input methods will cater to the needs of a blind person. With the help of assistive technology and IT Consulting solution, you can offer multiple inputs through sounds and gestures, which can guide them towards the working of an app. Flexible options for communicating with the application features empower them to use the app with great ease.

    8. Test Your Accessibility

There are evolving accessibility standards that you need to be well-versed with. Test the performance and usability by following the accessibility guidelines for mobile apps to make sure that the app is running well as expected from visually impaired individuals. With the help of visual impairment simulation tools, you can check if your app is compliant with different visual scenarios. Additionally, take help from accessibility experts and improve your application with their valuable feedback.

Role of AI in Enhancing Mobile App Accessibility for Disabled Users

The intersection of AI and UX brings out an interactive experience for visually impaired individuals. People with certain motor disabilities often have a limitation in utilizing features of the application. That is when AI-powered solutions come into the picture. They transform mobile application accessibility by the use of AI algorithms, typically identified as a medium for recognizing individual needs. 

For instance, voice recognition technology is taking a safe space in the application accessibility in which voice commands are used for making interactions within mobile apps. AI algorithms and natural language processing can solve communication challenges through the description of images and predictive text suggestions. These can be perceived as ‘naturally speaking mobile apps’ that can assist disabled users in reading the written content out loud.

Tap, a gesture recognition technology can also aid blind people to control applications with hand movements. These innovative solutions are designed to break the barriers of accessibility and provide a platform where people with low vision can interact with the digital world more efficiently.

Want to know the role of AI and ML in mobile app development? Read the blog to get full insights.

Final Thoughts!

While developing mobile app solutions, the purpose is to accommodate the needs of people with diverse needs. There are some considerations in accessibility that you have to take into account for developing a compassionate and inclusive digital landscape. Your app design and functionality must comply with accessibility standards that cater to the needs of visually impaired users. Lastly, don’t drag yourself into the misconception that your refinements are just for low-vision people. You need to understand that you are developing an app that has benefits for all and reaches all users.

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