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I am familiar with website accessibility at least in terms of WCAG 2.0, Section 508, etc. But I am currently designing a mobile app (cross-platform using React Native tools) and there does not seem to be many guidelines specifically for mobile apps either. In this case, what are the best ways, on a small (less than $500) budget, to test for mobile accessibility?

I am wondering if getting together a diverse set of testers and paying for their time would be better and more efficient in this regard, or would it be better to invest in other UX tools (sight tracking? Maps?). I will be testing using VoiceOver and TalkBack myself but I can't test all possible combinations of phones/tablets and flavors of Android, for example, let alone different combinations of assistive technology.

  • "I can't test all possible combinations of phones/tablets". Sadly, this is EXACTLY what you need to do. Of course not all, but a good bunch of the most common devices and OS. You won't need to test all Android (or iOS) versions either, but you should test at least the last 3. You can ask friends to lend you devices and even make them participants. However, if you want to do real testing, you'll need to test with people with impairments. That will be more difficult, and unless you have access to them, I doubt you can do it under $500 – Devin Mar 14 at 23:47
  • you're not going to be able to do anything with only a few dollars, unfortunately. app production, like film production, is big business. in answer to the question, there are online testing services where you can "use many devices" in different remote ways, have a google! – Fattie Mar 15 at 9:56
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Can't spend $500 on testing? How much is spent on design or development? Are both of those low budget too? It sounds like it's too late now (your app is already built?) but perhaps for future projects you can distribute the budget a little better. Accessibility isn't a feature you test for and tack on at the end. It has to be woven into the design and development process. When you get to testing, that's when you're checking if everything was implemented properly, not when you finally see if anything is accessible.

If you're familiar with WCAG then you should probably read "Mobile Accessibility: How WCAG 2.0 and Other W3C/WAI Guidelines Apply to Mobile".

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You're on the right track -- definitely make sure that all tasks can be perceived and completed with voice commands. It's a good idea to recruit compensated testing subjects, perhaps your local university's disability resources center can help you get started.

If you haven't already, check out DigitalA11ly's page on 9 free ways to test for accessibility on mobile.

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