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:

  1. Make sure built in screen reading tools like VoiceOver (iOS) and TalkBack (Android) operate well with the app
  2. Label buttons and loading states
  3. Provide clear ways to exit modals and dialogs
  4. Use descriptive language
  5. Make use of a logical hierarchy shown through headings
  6. Use alt-text for images
  7. 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.