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Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011
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Accessible Mobile Experiences. Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? - OZeWAI 2011

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[For people with hearing loss, a full transcript of the audio for each slide can be found in the slide notes.] With the rise and rise of smartphones and apps in the marketplace, on multiple operating …

[For people with hearing loss, a full transcript of the audio for each slide can be found in the slide notes.] With the rise and rise of smartphones and apps in the marketplace, on multiple operating systems, with vastly different devices, creating consistent, desirable and, most importantly, accessible experiences is becoming a Herculean challenge! Focussing more on the user experience than technology, this is the story of one persons journey through the wonderland of mobile accessibility on the hunt for a cohesive set of guidelines and standards. It shares the questions raised, some answers found and a few ideas of how we can meet the challenges in the future.

Completely suitable for beginners! There is no assumed knowledge.

Published in: Technology, Design
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  • @HBSLEW Thanks for your great comment. I heartily agree with all of it. Guidelines should be able to take into account the peripheral assistive technology as well and also support it's inclusion in future standards development around accessible design of mobile devices. I hope the GARI project will include that and I will email them to see what sort of response it prompts. Thank you for the extra pieces of information around dexterity and speech as well which I will be sure to include as I take this work forward.
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  • I think the speaker has done a wonder job of framing the problems and presenting the current state of the industry.

    Fragmentation of the industry and the competitive nature of the industry that prevents handset manufacturers from collaborating unless regulated to do so are part of the challenges of developing standards. At the same time studies have shown that all consumers are looking for a better user experience and standards would improve that situation.

    I would like to point out that hardware interface standards are also required to support third party alternative input and output devices. The iPhone for example support an informal guideline that allows blind users to interface the device to braille displays, but this is not broadly supported by other handset manufacturers.

    Voice recognition is not an all encompassing solution, many users with dexterity issues, especially those with no use of their hands and arms, have to use alternative keyboards and mice interfaces to control desktop computers effectively. No equivalent exists for mobile devices as the handset manufacturers can not agree on a standard to support the interface of third party assistive devices or even consumer peripheral devices. Freedom Input, for example, makes a line of third party keyboards for mobile devices for consumers, but their keyboards use a proprietary protocols to interface their keyboards to mobile devices and the keyboards are not suitable for many users with dexterity issues.
    It is also important to note that some users with dexterity issues also can not speak and need to use alternative and augmentative communication devices to communicate and therefore can not use speech recognition solutions.
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  • Hello, I’m Katja, Principal Consultant at Perceptive UX I’m very pleased to be here at OZeWAI to able to share my journey of trying to navigate this challenging wonderland of accessible mobile experience. Today I’ll be focusing on the experience rather than the technology. My expertise is UX so I figure I’ll stick to what I know best I certainly don’t have all answers but I did want to share what I discovered and hopefully it will help you in your own explorations. Completely suitable for beginners, there is no assumed knowledge! So let’s get going!
  • Hello Alice. Welcome to Wonderland. Here is a picture of Alice looking curiously behind a curtain at a tiny door to wonderland. And it is a mobile wonderland we live in today A Fascinating place to be doing experience design which is where I start my story About 6 months ago I was assigned to a mobile app design project as a person who could bring a lot of accessibility expertise. Really excited about this opportunity as I hadn’t done a huge amount of Mob experience design I’ve worked at yahoo, who are really well know for their work in accessibility and accessible site design. I’ve worked at Royal National Institute of Blind People in London, and learned so much about the real world visually impaired experience! I’ve also worked on big government sites like the National health Service in the UK and lots of banking websites, all of whom take accessibility seriously. Having all this experience of designing accessible websites online and know the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2), the first thing I looked for were some guidelines and standards I could use to help steer me in creating an accessible mobile experience. I mean, there had to be some…right?
  • The journey begins…. If you do a web search for “Mobile Accessibility Standards” you’re going to be disappointed. What you will find is W3C and WAI and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG 2, There are no universally accepted accessibility standards for mobile. As we know WCAG is 4 principles under which are a multitude of guidelines and sub guidelines! They are really comprehensive. With Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) either you did do it or you didn’t. Mobile is much more vague. WCAG is designed to be testable. Is it keyboard accessible, for example, however with touch smart phones, you don’t use a keyboard to navigate a mobile app. WCAG is great for websites, Could it possibly apply to mobile?
  • What standards apply to mobile? A few years ago there was a research project which looked at exactly that. There is also in existence some mobile web pest practices, which are about USEABLE mobile experiences, and the research project looked at whether these best practices could be mapped to WCAG 2 to come up with some sort of mobile accessibility standard. This was a a really good idea. There are some limitations to this approach because WCAG 2.0 was developed for browsers But also…and this is perhaps a bit more significant… this mapping was done in Jul 2008 and as far as I can tell from the website, last updated in Jun 2009
  • Since June 2009 this has happened… iPhone 3Gs with VoiceOver, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s with Siri all released Iphone 3, available at the time of RIAM standards work, didn’t have VoiceOver as part of its operating system and today Siri apparently fulfils all your hearts desires if you ask her nicely enough…Of course, I joke, but could they ever had predicted something like an artificial intelligence in a mobile device? Android has put out this mouth watering array of technology operating systems advancements. Android: Donut, Éclair (x2), FroYo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Honeycomb 1.1…some more Honeycombs and an Ice cream Sandwich In the last 5 months of 2011, about 30 devices have been released by various manufacturers on different versions of the android OS Windows phone has been taking its time with releasing new technology Windows phone 7 and 7.5 Mango And we didn’t even have one of the most innovative mobile device at all But when this mapping was done we had no tablets, no iPad. These have been revolutionary devices released since June 2009 iPad1, iPad2, Galaxy tab, Blackberry Playbook, HP Slate… Continuing my research I discovered the MWBP group was closed since dec 2010 MWBP pointed at WCAG & WCAG pointed at MWBP. There is also some Mobile Web Application Best Practices but they pointed at WCAG 2 as well. Everyone points at everyone else??!!! So that was then…
  • What is the ‘mobile wonderland’ today? It’s really quite complicated so I just want to give a high level run down so we all know what we’re talking about here. We have mobile smart phones For example iPhone, and Android phones Tablets such as iPad The world of mobile and non-mobile is also becoming blurred…you can carry an iPad around but a lot of people use it sitting on the couch at home in front of the TV. Is that still mobile? Yes certainly…and no…it isn’t as well…ok moving right along. Kindle Fire and other e-Readers? Today I’ll be focusing on smart touch devices (such as iPhones, Android phones and tablets) and Kindle is just in the ‘too hard basket’ for today! That’s not to say I can’t see myself having to think about it from an accessible mobile experience in the future. Onward!
  • ‘ Mobile wonderland’ is also made up of… 4 very different operating systems: Apple iOS iOS is now up to version 5 and on the iPhone, iPod and iPad Android (whatever yummy thing is installed on your device) Android is on so many different types of phones and tablets I’m not even going to try to list them. I think you already have the picture from earlier in my talk. Windows Phone WP7 have been taken up as the new OS of choice for the behemoth Nokia which might make a big difference for both of them…but its yet to be seen. Blackberry And blackberry is, well, blackberry Symbian used to on this list but, as I said, Nokia is moving away from it to WP7 for all its devices. There are others, like Web OS, BADA (usedby Samsung) but honestly…again, we could be here all day….!
  • So what else? Leaving the hardware and operating systems and all that techie business aside there is more stuff that makes up wonderland consists of all sorts of other things We have Native Applications or ‘apps’ A native application or app is one that is built for the specific operating system or technology Hybrid apps Basically lots and lots of HTML pages all wrapped up in which native operating systems code so it can access things like the camera, address book or native controls, like buttons, keyboard,. Very popular at the moment. HTML 5 apps Using HTML5 but without all the code wrapping up business Touch tablet specific apps Designed specifically for the larger screen size And everyone is arguing about which approach to app development is best and gives the best user experience. I’m not even going to go there to come down on one side or the other… Mobile web …maybe Now apparently mobile web may or may not be something that exists… Stephen Hay, a UX’er in the Netherlands, tweeted back in January “There is no Mobile Web. There is only The Web, which we view in different ways. There is also no Desktop Web. Or Tablet Web. Thank you.” basically meaning adjusting the presentation of content or pieces of content on a website does not, in his opinion, constitute a “mobile website”. It’s a website for which the developers have considered the users of mobile devices and adjusted certain things accordingly. BUT…I’ll come back to that later So…
  • Help. Here’s a picture of Alice drowning in a pool of tears! This is how I felt. Drowning in mobile devices and operating systems, a field of technology that was literally changing on a weekly basis with nothing substantial from a guidelines perspective to hang on to to help me say if the experience I was participating in the design of was accessible or not. I can tell you what I had found out having gone this far in my accessible mobile experiences journey And I bet you’ve probably figured it out too I’ll sum it up in 4 words…
  • This is really hard Technology will continue to develop, its in a constant state of change. We are the ones who stay the same. Human beings, with whatever capabilities, are the ones we are designing the experience for, not the device, not the operating system and certainly not to resolve some circular debate about what kind of app is best. So here’s my first learning…
  • Stay focussed on accessibility. If we try to design for all these different operating systems then we just end up designing for mobile diversity, not for accessibility. Don’t get me wrong, you need to have an understanding of the technology that will deliver the experience but your experience can’t be shaped completely by it. Use it but don’t get overwhelmed by the technology Design for the human capabilities, not the device Let’s talk about that experience then.
  • What’s the mobile experience? I want to start with 2 thoughts. One, Mobile causes ability issues for everyone. “ Mobile, by definition, is disabling. Poor light, small keyboards, glare, touch, etc. ” – Henny Swan, Senior Accessibility Specialist at the BBC Even without any visual impairment, think of when you’ve tried to use your device in the sun, and tried to see what was happening through the glare. We become visually impaired. Without any motor impairments, trying to type anything with those tiny touch keypads, anyone with fingers of normal size become motor impaired to some extent. They really are built for pixies! I have little fingers however my typing on my touch device is seriously error prone. Thought 2, A smart phone or tablet is basically “pictures under glass ” – Bret Victor, Former Apple Engineer Pictures under glass It would be difficult to be less accessible for someone who is visually impaired. No tactile feedback at all. They also require multi touch gestures from us to manipulate these pictures. This certainly does cause problems for people with motor impairments who may struggle to pinch their fingers accurately or rotate their wrists. It’s not true in all cases of course but people are more interested in the experience than the technology. They are buying it for the accessible mobile experience it can provide, of which the cool tech is just a by product. People do choose their devices based on what accessibility features they offer Some mobile manufacturers are taking accessibility seriously. What really matters to people living with challenges in these areas when they use a mobile phone or device.
  • Vision Remember not all people who are visually impaired are blind. The needs of partially sighted people or people with low vision can be different. We have an aging population many of whom have degenerating eyesight. Ok so what’s important to an accessible experience for visual impaired people Aural or tactile feedback Tactile markers to orientate fingers Tactile markers to orient fingers is hard to do on a smartphone which is a sheet of glass! However there are some researchers in Switzerland who have come up with the next generation of touch screens…with the actual feel of pressings buttons. Obviously, not on the market yet. Adjustable fonts Colour is critical For example, Don’t use colour only to convey meaning…what’s that I hear some of your say who might have been around the accessibility traps for a while…are those a few WCAG guidelines scattered in there? Yes! But we will get to that later. Voice recognition to complete tasks
  • Hearing A range of visual alerts Easy volume control Visual display of any activity such as missed, received and dialed calls, messages successfully sent or received Captioning video is really really vital! I’ll come to captioning later but it is so important in mobile. 2 way video conferencing can be useful if ‘signing’ is a preferred language
  • Dexterity Now this might seem obvious but… Hands free actions Some other very useful accessibility features are Predictive text Minimise input Voice recognition Any key answer or voice answer (e.g Nuance Voice control)
  • For people with speech impairments, text to communicate is key, in whatever method they can use it There are several delivery methods today’s mobile devices Text Email Instant messaging Multimedia messaging Predictive text…again I was talking with someone who told me about how she had gone from using a clunky, expensive communication device with her autistic child to an iPad. The difference it made to their family was enormous simply due to the mobile nature. There are a lot of apps for autistic people on iPad such as Grace app which allows children to communicate their needs independently using pictures.
  • Smart phones can be complex and bewildering…for lots of people. So what might be the experience for people with cognitive difficulties, people who find it hard to understand information for any reason such as a brain injury, dyslexia, stroke, it could be age related or a learning difficulty. This is certainly not the whole list…there is a hugely broad spectrum of cognitive disabilities. There are lots of ways to support them in using their device when they need help and also recovering if they make errors. Choice between audio, visual or vibrating alerts when a call Keys provide audio, visual and tactile feedback Popular functions such as placing a call can be controlled by repeating pre-recorded voice commands Help menus designed to anticipate the information being sought Keypad shortcuts to make every step quick and efficient Keyboard shortcuts…hmm…is this WCAG 2 again??
  • And remember our older citizens Our Australian population is aging. Our respected elders (people aged 65 to 84 years) are expected to more than double between now and 2050 Our really venerated elders (people 85 and over) is expected to more than quadruple Older people are most likely going to have to manage with a bit of all the disabilities Older people can score some of everything as they advance in years. Age related degenerating eyesight, arthritis that leads to motor impairment, Alzheimer's or dementia leading to Mobile technologies do represent a real opportunity to combat isolation for older people. And the mobile device available to our older generation of the future will more likely be these smart devices. Keep it in mind.
  • What’s on offer? I’m not going to go into how these device accessibility features work. There is an excellent presentation following mine which will I believe take you through that but I do need to give a quick overview of how each company is approaching the accessible experience to put the rest of the talk in context. Apple is demonstrating a very serious commitment to accessibility. Apple is way ahead of the competition in terms of offering the in-built support for accessible experiences Note I say support. Inbuilt accessibility can only go so far, it’s up to those of use who design and develop to create the truly accessible experience. The iPhone isn’t going to do it for us. The experience is consistent and predictable but has mostly been concentrated on the visually impaired experience. VoiceOver, their text to speech solution VoiceOver, Text To Speech and navigation mechanism that has been in the OS after the first releases. When you buy the iPhone or iPad, take it out of its box, VoiceOver is already activated and you need to turn it off, rather than turn it on Assistive Touch, helping motor impaired people Assistive Touch provides an overlay menu is displayed that presents the person with commands that usually require certain physical actions, such as rotating the screen or shaking the device. That way they can just tap instead of having to use the gesture. Siri, fun for everyone Siri is the new intelligent software personal assistant in iOS5. Now I’ve not tested this, but I believe if you ask Siri to open the pod bay door she responds with ‘I can’t do that Dave’. Entertaining if not that useful. However, there are a lot of things you can ask Siri to which she responds very sensibly. Great for people with dexterity or visual impairments. My understanding is that at the moment, Siri and VoiceOver are having some trouble figuring out who should be speaking when. A challenge for Apple for the future. So, Apple gets an A for effort
  • Who’s next? Android is demonstrating a very seriously fractured approach to accessibility. Sigh It’s hard to know where to even start here. Maybe just some basic facts and statistics can help? Otherwise we will be in this talk all day! Caveat: These stats are from wikipedia so they could be give or take a few here and there…and this doesn’t include the near term future devices already announced for release There are around 45 handset and tablet manufacturers with innumerable devices running on various versions of the OS. Accessibility is not inbuilt and there is no consistency So the accessibility functionality is actually a public software developers kit that developers access and use to build apps, some are good, some are rubbish. One of the best known is the Eye’s free shell released by Google which can replace the existing home screen as an alternate accessible home or app launcher…but to use it, Google doesn’t recommend you choose an Android phone without a keyboard, which put a lot of phones off the consideration list! In the OS’s before ICSW, Android had Talkback (TTS) & Kickback (haptic feedback) both of which you have to download and install and Talkback doesn’t support browsing, you have to use Eyes free or the IDEAL web browser. Looking up how to enable accessibility results in instructions like “It might be in voice input and output settings”. You have to draw a rectangle to enable it in IceCreamSandWich? I think you get the picture of how fragmented this area is. BUT! At least they are trying…
  • Some can do better… With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft didn’t even try. In Nov 2010, MicroSoft met up with visually impaired people and advocates and had to make some very serious apologies Windows Phone 7 (WP7), did not include the accessibility components that were part of earlier Microsoft mobile operating systems. It was now completely inaccessible and Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business, accepted responsibility, saying, "We were incompetent on this.” WP 7.5 Mango moved towards more accessible features with voice recognition and some text to speech The basic position seems to be “we know we’re not doing it very well, we’re working on it, we’ll get there” I’m not sure that that’s good enough.
  • And lastly…. Blackberry mean well That said they did have a crack at some good guidelines for accessible blackberry app design however they are really specific to their devices. It looks like they took some bits of WCAG 2 and blackberry-ised it. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing The rest of the information is very device specific They have accessibility feature matrices on 11 devices It’s mostly about the hardware So, here’s the next thing I learned from all of this….
  • 2. Guidelines must be technology agnostic Mobile technology is fractured, changing and incredibly diverse As I’ve also said before technology will always be changing, but our human capabilities, whatever they are, will not. We need to not only accept it, but embrace it! Personally I don’t intend to become a cyborg. 85% of people expect mobile experience to be AT LEAST AS GOOD as desktop . - Josh Clark And we have to meet high expectations then. People who regularly access the web with screen readers, through voice recognition or any other access technology and also use a mobile device also have these expectations. So lets get out of these woods and go check out some trees! And we can talk about how to deliver some of the accessible mobile experiences, have a look at a few examples and perhaps uncover some guidelines along the way.
  • So if there is no mobile web? Shock horror! What is Stephen Hay is right? And there is no such thing as mobile web any more? But it certainly does get us off the hook somewhat from creating specific mobile websites! However we still need a plan. A good accessible and responsive design should solve most of our problems. So what do I mean by a ‘responsive design’? ‘ Responsive’ means design and development should respond to the person’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. Elaborate. When a person goes from desk top to iPad, the site adjusts to fit the next screen size, resolution and orientation. For example an image might resize to be smaller, text that was on the right when viewed on through a browser will move underneath on a mobile phone. Flexible! If a website is already accessible via the desktop then its most likely to be mobile friendly as well. Yes. If you make sure you’ve used correct text alternatives for all your images in your design…it will flow on through every time the site changes and images will be accessible no matter what device. And we can use the guidelines we already have right? Well…sort of. As I talked about earlier, there is a pretty significant overlap between WCAG 2 the accessibility needs for mobile devices but it doesn’t quite cover everything. However, it’s the right place to start.
  • Guidelines work for responsive design Everything is flexible So with responsive design, without going all technical, it uses a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS or style sheets. Hmm…that still sounds a bit technical…. Maybe we could think of it like Lego that rearranges itself depending on which device you’re using to look at it? I hope that helps. If you can create and develop a design that is both flexible and meets WCAG 2 then in most instances text to speech on mobile devices shouldn’t have too much trouble accessing the content. Showing and hiding content must be ‘perceivable’ Its not always possible to show every piece of content from a browser sized site to a mobile sized site but there are clever, responsive ways to hide things until they’re requested. The basic WCAG guideline of perceivable comes into play here. “Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive A guideline? Do we have a winner? So with the concepts of flexible and responsive design, we have instance where we do have one WCAG principle seems to hold true in this brave new world…Here it is from WCAG: Guideline 1.3 Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure. Does that cover it? YES IT DOES!
  • Where am I going with this? The majority of what we have in WCAG 2.0 still holds true for what we’re trying to do in mobile device wonderland. We don’t need to throw away the good work that’s been done in browser land, we just need to take our lead from how the original accessibility guideline s were created. Pick off the easiest things that aren’t covered yet and add them in. The fundamental principles of WCAG 2.0, perceivable, operable, understandable and robust, still apply here. Again, technology agnostic guidelines are what we need to be aiming for. It’s so easy to get caught up in devices and tech” Lets look at another example of how.
  • Oh please remember colour! This is pretty basic! Responsive design is great but…WCAG gives us a couple of straightforward pointers on colour that are hugely relevant in the mobile context. Colour contrast DO BE SURE to double check your choice of colour for contrast on mobile devices however as screen resolutions and displays can be different. Equally, glare, as we talked about before, can cause challenges as well. Test your design outside! Don’t only use colour to convey meaning. What works here from WCAG? Again! We have a guideline already in existence that works for us. Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background. Colour blindness is so common. About 1 in 10 men are red-green colour blind. The inability to distinguish between red and green is the most common. Lets look at an example in mobile.
  • Colour-blindness and mobile games Games industry writer Dan Griliopoulos, who is colour blind. Writes: "It's one of the easiest disabilities to avoid prejudicing if you catch your mistake. Deaf gamers need subtitles, motor-problem gamers need limited-input games with difficulty levels, blind gamers need completely bespoke games, autistic gamers can't deal with non-abstract games, but we just need you to think about your colour palette.”
  • Colour-blindness and mobile games In many games.. Enemies you need to distinguish between are often are red and green . A lot of mobile games still rely on players being able to differentiate between red and green enemies or objects in order to succeed. So, the issue here is obvious. As I said, red/green colour blindness is most common. Puzzle games rely on colours to differentiate same-shaped objects whether jewels, bricks or balls. Puzzle games are a particular pain for people with colour-blindness. But it's not just games that can pose problems for this group of people: Careful selection of colour for buttons is important. Other apps' use of colour for buttons, menus and text can also cause needless frustration. Green for a positive action, red for a negative action. So… Consider your colours carefully! Easy to do. This is very low hanging fruit.
  • Let’s talk about text to speech People using text to speech such as voice over on the iPhone or iPad aren’t reading a book. They are trying to use the app or site. They want to listen, figure out where they are, what's going on, what things do and how to use it. It’s entirely possible any cleverly crafted copy will be cut off in mid sentence as it serves no purpose in helping the person do their task. Text To Speech can also be in different modes, set to look specifically for links or headings or words. Also remember its not just for people for are Visually impaired. Dyslexia affects about 10% of Australians and people with Dyslexia can find Text To Speech really useful as well in reading and understanding digital content. Please try to remember that VoiceOver on the iPhone does not equal a blind person being the only user. So lets look at an example of an accessible experience in Text to speech
  • Labelling with text to speech in mind There are a lot of buttons in apps helping to navigate around. Apps and navigating adapted sites on a mobile device can get a little complex. Complexity doesn’t have to equal confusing though. Will good labels and accessibility hints, you can guide people around with great success.. This is what I would call a low hanging fruit as well! Same as colour! The language used in labelling is really important. Don’t be bossy. Now this might sound a bit obvious but these are a couple of good ones from Apple that I thought demonstrated this point quite well.. Any hints you put in for Text To Speech to pick up should start with a plural verb such as “Deletes the Event”, not “Delete the event”. Delete the event sounds like a command…see? Easy! This is also really helpful for people with cognitive difficulties who may choose Text To Speech. Don’t double up. Use the labels for things like buttons to describe the purpose, not the function. For example, in labeling a button, there’s no need to call it “OK button” because then Voiceover will read out “OK button, button”. Annoying. Use the native controls wherever you can because the operating system’s accessibility features, no matter which one it is, will always have an easier time of understanding the design. For me I think this labeling concept falls very neatly under the WCAG Principle of ‘UNDERSTANDABLE’! There isn’t a specific guideline that I feel I can point too but I believe it wouldn’t be a stretch to adjust one to accommodate this type of experience. Ok, Lets look at some more examples of accessible mobile experience.
  • Mobile video? Make sure its captioned There is a lot of video available on mobile and its one of the most consumed types of content. People who are deaf or have hearing loss want to access all this content accessibly, which is tough on mobile devices. According to my conversations with the super helpful and, in his own words, profoundly deaf, Michael Lockrey, who runs Accessible Seinfeld.com and Youtopia captioning, it is very, very, very rare to see audio visual content which is captioned for mobile devices! Now I’m going paraphrase Michael here to some degree,” deaf people and people with hearing loss are potentially faced with the bulk of video content being inaccessible again via mobile devices! After all the advocacy work that's been put into making free - to - air television accessible via captioning over the past few decades, we're now back at Ground Zero on the mobile internet!” When you consider that the devices (such as iPads and iPhones) are perfect for consuming content, it's really frustrating to be unable to use these devices if you have a hearing loss and need closed captions. Just to quickly clarify, closed captions are only seen by those who choose to decode or activate them. Open captions are visible to all viewers. Jetstar are rolling out their mobile entertainment system for flights where you get an iPad (you have to pay for it). Their policy is to have 8 or so Hollywood movies available (plus other content) but only 1 of these movies will be captioned apparently! Hopefully their ‘planned updates’ will address this in the near future. Needless to say, there is certainly already a guideline for captioning in WCAG… WCAG 1.2.2/1.2.4 Captions (Prerecorded/Live): Captions are provided for all prerecorded/live audio content in synchronized media Now all we have to do is figure out how to do it for mobile!
  • What are the captioning options? This is all a bit technical and I don’t have direct experience doing it. I’m just going to let you know what I found out and also I’ll make the links available for you to hopefully continue with your own research. Just go for open captions that are always visible which aren’t ideal. Open captions display all the time and don’t allow the person to control if they appear. Then you could be creating a worse experience for someone else for who open captions are a problem. It is however, better than nothing Add closed captions to M4V movies playable on various Apple devices Add subtitles to M4V files targeted for iTunes and the iPhone. Add closed-description tracks to movies playable using iTunes, the iPhone and iPod touch I’ve not actually tried these methods and I’m sharing them based on my reading but if you are making video available on mobile devices I really urge you to do some more research yourself and make sure they’re captioned. ABC iView player do a great job of captioning their videos if anyone is interested in checking out an example of how to do it well.
  • There’s more than one way to do things When designing with people who have sensory impairments in mind you need to make sure you can grab everyone’s attention when you need it. Obviously an audio alert to an event doesn’t get the attention of someone with hearing loss and a blinking light isn’t any good to a blind person. Mobile devices have all sorts of ways to grab attention, visual, audible and haptic (touch), so use them! Inform events in multiple ways. There is a lot of ‘alerting’ that goes on with mobile devices and I couldn’t really tie it to any WCAG guideline or best practice. However to give an example of this experience, a calendar app alert can be informed by a sound and a visual cue to make sure everyone is catered for. Again, very easy, makes a big difference. Don’t just have one way of achieving a task ‘ BUMP’, transferring data between phones by tapping them together (or in some cases bashing them together in a frustrated fashion), is great but not much good to you if you can’t grip your phone in the way you need to. So make sure your experience is accessible by being able to do the same thing another way as well. Paypal can transfer money by bump but you also do exactly the same thing via the touch screen. No-one is excluded.
  • Supporting dexterity challenges Make sure the touch targets are big enough for people with dexterity challenges. If you have a mild palsy and your hand shakes, trying to hit a 20 by 20 pixel icon, which apple defines as one of its quite acceptable icon sizes, isn’t going to be easy. Window Phone 7 actually does have something to offer here with its ‘big tile’ user interface. I know I’ve done a bit of WP7 bashing but they do have some nice aspects to their interface which would suit people who are motor impaired. The ‘tile’ design, basically a six or so square grid of boxes, is easy to interact with with nice big touch targets for all the main functionality. Choose smart defaults You can reduce the number of decisions that a person has to make by choosing to use smart defaults in your design. The less choices, the less movements required to make them. This also really helps people with cognitive impairments as well. Remember choices the person has made before. Use alternate methods to input information What does this mean? Don’t always use the obvious means of entering information such as the keyboard. For example, in a notes app, use the camera or voice recognition as a means to add information as a memory note rather than having to type anything in. Or geo-location information serving as input to a form that a person might be filling out on the mobile device. Be creative with the sources of information to minimise physical effort to get the info into the device! Another example, shopping online on your couch with your iPad and instead of having to type in your address you can just press a button that lets the site know the place you’re currently in is where you want it shipped it. Hmm…never mind dexterity challenges…that sounds useful for me. Which is one of the fundamental truths of accessibility. If you design an accessible experience, you’ve most like already designed a usable one as well. That last point also reveals another tie up with the Mobile Web Best Practices around ‘exploiting the device capabilities’. Perhaps there is a way to find accessible experiences within the Mobile Web best practices as well.
  • The last piece of advice I wanted to leave you with is to TEST TEST TEST If you have a smart phone, you have a screen reader. Test your designs. There is no excuse. It is completely possible for you to figure out if your design simply works or doesn’t work simply by enabling the accessibility functionality on your device and having a go. A quick Google search should provide you will whatever you need to get you started. With iOS, you have VoiceOver built in. For Android try IDEAL web browser: an Android web browser with built-in speech capability. But there is no substitute for the real thing. Mobile simulators can be useful during development but nothing beats testing on actual devices that people are using. Test your mobile app or site with real people who have real accessibility needs. Not only will you find out if it works on the device when someone is actually trying to use it, but you can also see if they are able to use it at all! Don’t just test it once, make your changes and test again. This is user experience 101 never mind accessibility design. Learn from your mistakes and make it better.
  • So, to sum up… So I think it’s pretty clear ‘ Mobile Wonderland’ is extremely diverse and complex to navigate And its not going to get any easier as more and more devices become available and technology develops. We have to stay focussed on accessibility, not mobile diversity If we lose sight of the original goal of creating an accessible mobile experience and get caught up in the whirlwind of designing for every type of mobile device, we can never succeed Our guiding principles must be technology agnostic Mobile Technology is developing at flying speed faster than we can possibly imagine. Our guiding principles for accessible mobile experience design must not have technology as a d dominant driver. The tech is the facilitator of the experience. The guideline tells us what the experience has to live up to. Let’s use what we already have and adapt as we learn more There is already a lot of good work done on standards which are relevant and we can definitely use them WCAG has loads to offer as part of the mobile experience. The Mobile Web Best Practices and Application best practices also have something to offer but they need work to enhance them to be more than usability. There are people taking on this task on this at the moment. In the meantime, use WCAG and Mobile Web Best Practices if it works, do your best if there’s nothing that covers it, and if that works, shout it to the rooftops so you can help the rest of us!
  • Thank you very much.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Accessible Mobile Experiences Guidelines? Standards? Anybody? Katja Forbes, Perceptive UX OZeWAI, December 1 st 2011 © 2011 Copyright Perceptive UX, All rights reserved
    • 2. Hello Alice. Welcome to Wonderland.
    • 3. The journey begins…. <ul><li>If you do a web search for “Mobile Accessibility Standards” you’re going to be disappointed. </li></ul><ul><li>There are no universally accepted accessibility standards for mobile. </li></ul><ul><li>With Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) either you did do it or you didn’t. Mobile is much more vague. </li></ul>
    • 4. What standards apply to mobile? <ul><li>A few years ago there was a research project which looked at exactly that. </li></ul><ul><li>Map the Mobile Web Best Practices to WCAG 2.0! </li></ul><ul><li>Last updated in Jun 2009 </li></ul>
    • 5. Since June 2009 this has happened… <ul><li>iPhone 3Gs with VoiceOver, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s with Siri all released </li></ul><ul><li>Android: Donut, Éclair (x2), FroYo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Honeycomb 1.1…some more Honeycombs and an Ice cream Sandwich! </li></ul><ul><li>Windows phone 7 and 7.5 Mango </li></ul><ul><li>iPad 1 and iPad 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Galaxy tab, Blackberry Playbook, HP Slate… </li></ul>
    • 6. What is the ‘mobile wonderland’ today? <ul><li>We have: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile smart phones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tablets such as iPad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kindle Fire and other e-Readers? </li></ul></ul>
    • 7. ‘ Mobile wonderland’ is also made up of… <ul><li>4 very different operating systems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apple iOS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Android (whatever yummy thing is installed on your device) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Windows Phone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blackberry </li></ul></ul>
    • 8. So what else? <ul><li>We have: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Native Applications or ‘apps’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hybrid Apps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HTML 5 Apps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Touch Tablet specific apps..... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile web (maybe…) </li></ul></ul>
    • 9. Help!
    • 10. <ul><li>This is really hard. </li></ul>
    • 11. 1. Stay focussed on accessibility. <ul><li>If we try to design for all these different operating systems then we just end up designing for mobile diversity, not for accessibility. </li></ul><ul><li>Use it but don’t get overwhelmed by the technology </li></ul><ul><li>Design for the human capabilities, not the device </li></ul>
    • 12. What’s the mobile experience? <ul><li>“ Mobile, by definition, is disabling. Poor light, small keyboards, glare, touch, etc. ” – Henny Swan, Senior Accessibility Specialist at the BBC </li></ul><ul><li>A smart phone or tablet is basically “pictures under glass ” – Bret Victor, Former Apple Engineer </li></ul><ul><li>People do choose their devices based on what accessibility features they offer </li></ul>
    • 13. Vision <ul><li>Remember not all people who are visually impaired are blind. The needs of partially sighted people or people with low vision can be different. We have an aging population many of whom have degenerating eyesight. </li></ul><ul><li>Aural or tactile feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Tactile markers to orientate fingers </li></ul><ul><li>Adjustable fonts </li></ul><ul><li>Colour is critical </li></ul><ul><li>Voice recognition to complete tasks </li></ul>
    • 14. Hearing <ul><li>A range of visual alerts </li></ul><ul><li>Easy volume control </li></ul><ul><li>Visual display of any activity such as missed, received and dialed calls, messages successfully sent or received </li></ul><ul><li>Captioning video is really really vital! </li></ul><ul><li>2 way video conferencing can be useful if ‘signing’ is a preferred language </li></ul>
    • 15. Dexterity <ul><li>Hands free actions </li></ul><ul><li>Predictive text </li></ul><ul><li>Minimise input </li></ul><ul><li>Voice recognition </li></ul><ul><li>Any key answer or voice answer (e.g Nuance Voice control) </li></ul>
    • 16. Speech <ul><li>Text </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Predictive text…again </li></ul>
    • 17. Cognition <ul><li>Choice between audio, visual or vibrating alerts when a call </li></ul><ul><li>Keys provide audio, visual and tactile feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Popular functions such as placing a call can be controlled by repeating pre-recorded voice commands </li></ul><ul><li>Help menus designed to anticipate the information being sought </li></ul><ul><li>Keypad shortcuts to make every step quick and efficient </li></ul>
    • 18. And remember our older citizens <ul><li>Our Australian population is aging. </li></ul><ul><li>Our respected elders (people aged 65 to 84 years) are expected to more than double between now and 2050 </li></ul><ul><li>Our really venerated elders (people 85 and over) is expected to more than quadruple </li></ul><ul><li>Older people are most likely going to have to manage with a bit of all the disabilities </li></ul>
    • 19. What’s on offer? <ul><li>Apple is demonstrating a very serious commitment to accessibility. </li></ul><ul><li>The experience is consistent and predictable but has mostly been concentrated on the visually impaired experience. </li></ul><ul><li>VoiceOver, their text to speech solution </li></ul><ul><li>Assistive Touch, helping motor impaired people </li></ul><ul><li>Siri, fun for everyone </li></ul>
    • 20. Who’s next? <ul><li>Android is demonstrating a very seriously fractured approach to accessibility. </li></ul><ul><li>There are around 45 handset and tablet manufacturers running on various versions of the OS. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not inbuilt and there is no consistency </li></ul><ul><li>As at June 2011, 131 accessibility apps </li></ul><ul><li>BUT! At least they’re trying really hard! </li></ul>
    • 21. Some can do better… <ul><li>With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft didn’t even try. </li></ul><ul><li>Windows Phone 7 (WP7), did not include the accessibility components that were part of earlier Microsoft mobile operating systems. </li></ul><ul><li>WP 7.5 Mango moved towards more accessible features with voice recognition and some text to speech </li></ul>
    • 22. And lastly…. <ul><li>Blackberry mean well </li></ul><ul><li>They have accessibility feature matrices on 11 devices </li></ul><ul><li>It’s mostly about the hardware </li></ul>
    • 23. 2. Guidelines must be technology agnostic <ul><li>Mobile technology is fractured, changing and incredibly diverse </li></ul><ul><li>85% of people expect mobile experience to be AT LEAST AS GOOD as desktop . - Josh Clark </li></ul><ul><li>So lets get out of these woods and go check out some trees! </li></ul>
    • 24. So if there is no mobile web? <ul><li>A good accessible and responsive design should solve most of our problems. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Responsive’ means design and development should respond to the person’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. </li></ul><ul><li>If a website is already accessible via the desktop then its most likely to be mobile friendly as well. </li></ul><ul><li>And we can use the guidelines we already have right? </li></ul>
    • 25. Guidelines work for responsive design <ul><li>Everything is flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Showing and hiding content must be ‘perceivable’ </li></ul><ul><li>A guideline? Do we have a winner? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes! WCAG Guideline 1.3: Adaptable! Come on down! </li></ul>
    • 26. Where am I going with this? <ul><li>The majority of what we have in WCAG 2.0 still holds true for what we’re trying to do in mobile device wonderland. </li></ul><ul><li>The fundamental principles of WCAG 2.0, perceivable, operable, understandable and robust, still apply here. </li></ul><ul><li>Lets look at another example of how. </li></ul>
    • 27. Oh please remember colour! <ul><li>This is pretty basic! </li></ul><ul><li>Colour contrast </li></ul><ul><li>Using colour to convey meaning </li></ul><ul><li>What works here from WCAG? </li></ul><ul><li>Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background. </li></ul>
    • 28. Colour-blindness and mobile games <ul><li>&quot;It's one of the easiest disabilities to avoid prejudicing if you catch your mistake. Deaf gamers need subtitles, motor-problem gamers need limited-input games with difficulty levels, blind gamers need completely bespoke games, autistic gamers can't deal with non-abstract games, but we just need you to think about your colour palette.” Games industry writer Dan Griliopoulos, who is colour blind. </li></ul>
    • 29. Colour-blindness and mobile games <ul><li>Enemies you need to distinguish between are often are red and green . </li></ul><ul><li>Puzzle games rely on colours to differentiate same-shaped objects. </li></ul><ul><li>Careful selection of colour for buttons is important. </li></ul>
    • 30. Let’s talk about text to speech <ul><li>An app or mobile site is not a book </li></ul><ul><li>People listen to enough to orientate themselves and then move on. </li></ul><ul><li>There are different modes </li></ul><ul><li>Text to speech doesn’t just read </li></ul><ul><li>Not just for visually impaired. People with dyslexia also use text to speech to read digital written content. </li></ul>
    • 31. Labelling with text to speech in mind <ul><li>There are a lot of buttons in apps helping to navigate around. </li></ul><ul><li>The language used in labelling is really important. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be bossy. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t double up. </li></ul><ul><li>Use native controls </li></ul>
    • 32. Mobile video? Make sure its captioned <ul><li>There is a lot of video available on mobile and its one of the most consumed types of content. </li></ul><ul><li>People who are deaf or have hearing loss want to access all this content accessibly, which is tough on mobile devices. </li></ul><ul><li>WCAG 1.2.2/1.2.4 Captions (Prerecorded/Live): Captions are provided for all prerecorded/live audio content in synchronized media </li></ul>
    • 33. What are the captioning options? <ul><li>Just go for open captions that are always visible which aren’t ideal. </li></ul><ul><li>Add closed captions to M4V movies playable on various Apple devices </li></ul><ul><li>Add subtitles to M4V files targeted for iTunes and the iPhone. </li></ul><ul><li>Add closed-description tracks to movies playable using iTunes, the iPhone and iPod touch </li></ul>
    • 34. There’s more than one way to do things <ul><li>Inform events in multiple ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just have one way of achieving a task </li></ul>
    • 35. Supporting dexterity challenges <ul><li>Make sure the touch targets are big enough for people with dexterity challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>Window Phone 7 actually does have something to offer here with its ‘big tile’ user interface. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose smart defaults </li></ul><ul><li>Use alternate methods to input information </li></ul>
    • 36. Test, test, test <ul><li>If you have a smart phone, you have a screen reader. Test your designs. There is no excuse. </li></ul><ul><li>Test with real people who have real accessibility needs </li></ul><ul><li>Iterate and test again! </li></ul><ul><li>Learn from your mistakes and make your next try better. </li></ul>
    • 37. So, to sum up… <ul><li>‘ Mobile Wonderland’ is extremely diverse and complex to navigate </li></ul><ul><li>We have to stay focussed on accessibility, not mobile diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Our guiding principles must be technology agnostic </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s use what we already have and adapt as we learn more </li></ul>
    • 38. Thank you! <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Contact me via www.perceptiveux.com </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: @luckykat </li></ul>

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