Since “Clearing Our Path” was first published in 1999, the mobile landscape has developed dramatically. Operating systems that provide text to speech, large-print and other augmentive input/output apps have opened a new world for people with vision loss.
With respect to the built environment, accessible mobile devices can offer a variety of navigation and wayfinding apps that can greatly facilitate independent travel. However, if these apps are not developed to be accessible, people relying on assistive technology, such as large-print or text-to-speech output, will not be able to realize the benefits afforded through these systems.
Some general accessibility design guidelines are:
- Make sure built in screen reading tools like VoiceOver (iOS) and TalkBack (Android) operate well with the app
- Label buttons and loading states
- Provide clear ways to exit modals and dialogs
- Use descriptive language
- Make use of a logical hierarchy shown through headings
- Use alt-text for images
- Use sound to indicate actions and messaging
These guidelines are a minimum but should provide a sense of how accessible a mobile app would be to anyone relying on this technology.