September 30, 2016

Accessibility for iOS Apps

By Maximiliano Casal

DevSnack #60: When building a new application sometimes developers must consider that it is going to be used by plenty of people, in different situations, some of them with special needs. iOS provides a fantastic opportunity to deliver apps with an excellent user experience for everybody. Let’s see how to use Accessibility in your iOS application!

#1 – Accessibility for iPhone and iPad apps

Matt Gemmell (@mattgemmell) explains that the first thing we should decide when adding accessibility in our application is which type of accessibility we want. He describes three types: Basic, Advanced and Assistive Hardware. Once we define which type we want, in the interface builder, we have to use three properties: accessibility label, accessibility hint, and one or more accessibility traits. With those three options, we will help the user to navigate through the app with an excellent user experience.

#2 – What iOS Traits Actually Do?

In this post, we will understand the main purpose of UIAccessibilityTraits, the different options we have and some tips. An Accessibility Trait allows us to choose the description for what an element in your application does. In some cases, a control may have more than one trait but we should be very careful to use combined Traits that are compatible. For example, we should not use Text Field and Label if it is a button that opens a web browser.

#3 – How to check for accessibility labels

In this link, Lukas explains what are the accessibility labels, why they make our application testable and some good practices to follow when setting them. When developing an iOS app we should follow some basic guidelines that will help us for our automation and testing process.

#4 – How to use VoiceOver

When using VoiceOver, there are different gestures to navigate through the elements shown on the screen. In this post, we will learn all the gestures to make it easier for visually impaired individuals to use our application in a better way. The most used gestures are Single-tap, Double-tap, use three fingers, Double-tap with three fingers and two fingers double tap.

#5 – Tips for making your iOS app accessible

Alister Scott (@watirmelon) explains some tips on making our iOS application accessible. The first is to enable form field tabbing; the main idea is that we should make easy for VoiceOver to move between fields and also making a return action for those elements that moves to a new form. Another tip is to make embedded UIWebView accessible. Once we have done this, VoiceOver will read the content of all the HTML elements in the same way it does on a web page in Safari.

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