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I want to make my mobile web app, iPhone app, and Android app more accessible. What should I read first to learn about best practices for mobile accessibility? Are there any summaries of the difference between accessibility measures in mobile and desktop environments?

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closed as not a real question by Ben Brocka Apr 28 '12 at 23:35

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Mobile apps as in native or web apps would help get answers –  matto1990 Aug 12 '10 at 17:29
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1 Answer 1

This is a very broad topic. What's the context? Is this for a standalone app or a website? It depends a lot on the platform -- a touchscreen works quite differently than a trackball interface for instance, and a hi-resolution device will behave differently than a low-res one (and remember screen size varies widely, too!). Be sure to check the web - Jakob Nielsen has some thoughts on this as well.

Some general thoughts on this:

  • Connections will tend to be slower. Design for 2G. Use as few images as possible.
  • JavaScript often fails or works in unexpected ways. Plain HTML is usually better. Every mobile browser has their own CSS issues, too.
  • Not everyone has the newest iPhone 5/Android. Design for a range of devices, in particular those "free" phones that come with the newest plans.
  • Never, ever hardcode font sizes in CSS (CodeProject is unviewable on my BlackBerry because of this)
  • On websites, consider making everything linear (even menus). If an element is to the left or right side of something, navigating there will be difficult and it will crush the other stuff into a smaller area.
  • Design for a user who is distracted. The user will likely be at the airport, on the bus, in line at the grocery store, etc.
  • Ask users for as as little input as possible. Typing is slow & awkward, even on the best of them.
  • Expect mistakes (I frequently mis-touch on my iPad, leading to links randomly opening while I'm reading a site).
  • Test, test, test! Get everyone on your team to try it on their cell phones so you'll have a range of devices to try it on.

Good luck!

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