Content creators: Click here to submit a guest article

App Accessibility Features in Mobile Interface Design

App Accessibility Features in Mobile Interface Design

Posted in Mobile App Design on February 16, 2024

Bookmark this article:

People with disabilities represent 16% of the population. Every one in six of us experiences significant disability. Making digital content accessible should be the main concern for all companies and teams developing online apps.

Each individual, regardless of their abilities, deserves a seamless user experience (UX) while navigating the ever-expanding mobile landscape. Gearheart is one of the many app design & development companies with an accessibility-first mindset that ensures every user has an excellent experience throughout every phase of app usage. 

3 Key Principles of Accessible Mobile Interface Design

With more and more people using mobile devices, accessibility has become especially important in mobile design. Here are three principles to keep in mind when designing accessible mobile UX:

1. Design for All Users

Mobile apps have the potential to make our lives easier, irrespective of our physical abilities. They should not be limited to individuals with perfect eyesight, hearing, or tactile abilities. Just like Uber simplifies commuting and MyFitnessPal helps with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, mobile apps should aim at facilitating the lives of all users, including those with disabilities.

Using high contrast, voice support, and user-friendly icons makes the mobile app experience effortless. When designing an app, consider the following principles:

  • Font size and scalability. Allow users to adjust the font size within the app to accommodate different visual needs. Use fonts that are easily read.
  • Contrast and color accessibility. Confirm adequate color contrast between text and background to advance legibility for users with visual impairments. Use color-blind-friendly palettes and provide alternative text for images.
  • Voice Interaction. Incorporate voice-controlled interactions to enable users with physical disabilities to navigate and interact with your app effectively.

One good example of an app that helps people with visual impairments is Seeing AI. It helps them recognize objects and count their money. 

2. Navigation and Interaction Priority

Navigation and key interactions like buttons and links should be given high priority in the interface design. Place them in easy-to-reach spots on the screen, with plenty of spacing between touch targets. Incorporate the following principles to ensure users can navigate your app effortlessly:

  • Clear signposting. Use recognizable icons and labels to guide users and indicate the purpose of different navigation elements. Users should easily understand where each option leads.
  • Gestures. Implement intuitive gesture-based navigation to enhance user interactions like swipe gestures or pinch-to-zoom. However, ensure that gestures are discoverable and accompanied by visual cues.
  • Familiarity. Users like familiar interfaces. Align your layout with their expectations.

Avoid nested menus that require too many taps to reach options. Consistent, intuitive navigation helps create seamless UX.

3. Simplicity and Clarity

A messy and unclear interface can lead to user frustration and abandonment. To create a great UX, focus on the following:

  • strive for simplicity and clarity in layout, content, and language used; 
  • avoid overloading screens with unnecessary details that distract from key tasks and information; 
  • use plain language, not technical jargon; 
  • allow users to easily accomplish tasks with minimal steps. 

A simple, focused, and clear interface makes mobile accessibility much easier for all.

How to Create Seamless Mobile User Experiences?

Over 50% of users don’t want to engage with a company if it offers bad mobile UX. Several steps ensure your users won’t abandon your app:

Use Responsive and Flexible Layouts

Flexible grid layouts let your app's design resize and scale evenly across various screens. Fluid grids employ relative units like percents or ems, so your website can adapt smoothly to changing display sizes. It guarantees your content looks great and is usable on different devices.

With adaptable layouts and proper integration of CSS media queries, web pages can be even more responsive. Media queries make it possible to apply CSS styles depending on the screen size. It allows for reorganizing page elements, changing font sizes, and selectively displaying or hiding content based on the device. 

By leveraging fluid grids and media queries, you can build a versatile and adjustable layout that works well across many devices, from desktops to tablets and phones.

Write Clear and Concise Content

The use of clear headings, plain language, and well-structured content aids comprehension. Here are a few things you can do to improve your content: 

  • use concise sentences; 
  • break up your paragraphs into smaller chunks and use transitions to connect your ideas; 
  • avoid passive voice, redundancy, and ambiguity;
  • optimize your images and videos;
  • use headings, subheadings, lists, and bullet points to organize your content and emphasize the key points; 
  • include keywords, phrases, and questions that match the intent and expectations of your users; 
  • provide clear calls to action that tell your users what to do next; 
  • ensure that your content looks good and renders well on various mobile devices by using a responsive design tool or framework and a mobile emulator. 

Implement Accessibility Features & Assistive Technologies

There are many built-in accessibility features and compatible assistive technologies that can help make content accessible for people with disabilities. For example, screen zoom allows users to magnify the screen, making text and images easier to see. Text-to-speech features will read text aloud for those who have difficulty reading. Subtitle options display text captions of audio content for deaf users or those hard of hearing. 

Content creators should ensure their material is compatible with assistive technologies. Some users may rely on alternative input methods beyond a standard keyboard and mouse, like switch controls, eye-tracking devices, or voice commands. Building accessibility supports into original content allows it to be usable with these technologies. 

Making content accessible takes awareness, planning, and testing. By leveraging built-in accessibility features and assistive technology compatibility, organizations can help ensure people with disabilities can access their content. Accessibility opens doors to participation and inclusion that otherwise would have remained closed. 

Final Thoughts

Making your app's UX more accessible is a step toward reaching more people and possibly improving their lives. Flexible layouts, concise content, accessibility features, and modern technologies are solutions you can leverage to prioritize the accessibility of your product.