As the mobile experience becomes omnipresent in today’s digital environment, the need for an accessible mobile experience is ever more critical.
Unlike testing HTML, mobile accessibility testing is predominantly about compatibility testing with the available Assistive Technology (AT) & settings. This is because 90% of the time you won’t have access to the source code. However, if you do have source code access, make sure to manually check code for appropriate use of native elements and accessibility properties, and use the native development platforms’ (Xcode and Android Studio) accessibility tools to review the code.
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Methods for mobile accessibility testing
Novice developers and those unfamiliar with accessibility testing who do not have access to the code can utilize the following methods for mobile accessibility testing.
- Test for text enlargement, magnification, color contrast, and zoom conformance using built-in iOS and Android Accessibility settings. This will allow you to determine if your application readily responds to these OS preferences, and if it does, how the interface changes. Be on the lookout for text that gets cut off, magnified focus elements that are not visible when using the screen reader and magnification, and text with poor contrast even in inverted mode.
- Use Siri, Switch Control and the new Voice Control feature in iOS to test for accessibility for users using alternate input methods or speech commands, and opt for Google Assistant, Switch Access and Voice Access on Android.
- Test for screen reader compatibility with VoiceOver (built-in screen reader for iOS) and Talkback (built-in screen reader for Android). When testing, look out for text being read in the wrong order, unknown/incorrect label for elements, headings that are not announced, new content that appears on screen because of a user action but that is not announced.
- Use the Google Accessibility Scanner to check for missing item labels, duplicate item descriptions, touch target size, unsupported item types, text and image contrast, and more.
- Test for color contrast conformance by taking a screenshot and comparing hex values using a color contrast tool.
While there are a variety of mobile accessibility testing techniques and mobile accessibility testing tools available today, many require the skill of an experienced developer. For more comprehensive mobile accessibility testing, it is best to consult an expert.