Can Universal Design Methods be used to make mobile Operating Systems accessible for all? - The Current state of Android and iOS Accessibility for Visually Impaired People
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Elderly and differently abled people are increasingly becoming users of Internet technologies and touchscreen devices. This leads to the need of accessible products and services. Finding ways of developing mobile operating systems and accessibility features for touchscreen devices usable for all is crucial.This leads to the question of whether the existing guidelines can ensure the development of accessible mobile operating systems. Existing guidelines and heuristics for web usability and accessibility features of mobile operating systems (Google Android and Apple iOS) are reviewed and evaluated by an online questionnaire. The results of an online survey among visually impaired smartphone and tablet users showed that the main usability problems in mobile applications and web sites are connected to a lack of accessibility testing. Furthermore, the evaluation of usability guidelines led to the conclusion that the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 still lacked empirical proof and validation. More detailed guidelines do not lead to more accessible software products. Guidelines and automated usability and accessibility testing can not replace user testing. There is a need for easily applicable and agreed upon guidelines, which should be based on empirical findings.