Android accessibility

4 min read

Android accessibility: apps for everybody

Diego Blajackis

Software Developer

Before getting down to the nitty-gritty and the topic this article, we believe it is important to lay the foundations of the term “accessibility”. To begin with, we will coincide with the brief collective definition on Wikipedia, to go deeper later on some Android classifications. For the virtual and collaborative encyclopedia, accessibility is “the extent to which people can utilize an object, visit a place or use a service, regardless of their technical, cognitive or physical capabilities”.

Accessibility on Android

The design principle for Android which will be called “I should always know where I am” is key for accessibility matters. Most users benefit from visual and haptic feedback while browsing (labels, colors, icons or touch feedback). Users with a low vision, conversely, benefit from explicit verbal descriptions and big high-contrast visual effects.

Consequently, to include all possible users, as we design an app, it is necessary to think about the labels and precise notes for a correct browsing through sound and also through an intuitive way. We therefore decided to put together some considerations that Android development guides recommend:

  • Intuitive browsing: We must perform flows with minimal browsing steps for most of the actions a user can execute. We must make sure these tasks are possible to browse through focus controls.

  • Use suggested sizes: The size for a touch area of an element on screen must be 48dp.

  • Label UI elements in a meaningful way: there are some components that do not have visible text to identify their function (buttons, icons, tabs with icons, etc.). For these cases there is an attribute in the views called “contentDescription”, useful to set the label.

  • Text size: they should be expressed in “scale pixels” (sp) for the application to correspond with the size of the font set in the device settings.

After these questions we suggest that you test and browse your Android application using different accessibility options: Settings – Accessibility.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 600 million out of 7300 million people are handicapped, that is, 8%. Therefore, inclusion becomes a responsibility and designing more accessible apps is a way to undertake this responsibility. Apps for everybody!

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