I designed an iPhone mobile app and now I need to conduct an accessibility review. The requirement was to follow iOS8 UI guidelines and make it look as if it was a native app.

For the first time I used VoiceOver feature to test it and what i noticed is that when you have navigation buttons such as "Cancel" and "Done" placed in the toolbar on top, they read first before all the content. This way user needs to go back all the way to top after reading, or in this case filling in the form, to be able to finish or go to the next step.

Password recovery wireframe

Many mobile UIs nowadays use a similar scheme to put the buttons on the top instead of logically place them after the forms. What are advantages/disadvantages of this from the blind person's perspective who uses VoiceOver?

3 Answers 3


One more comment: users with motor impairments will find challenging to tap small targets in your app.

It has been shown that if you place buttons next to the bezel area (border) it is easier for them to access.

Also, try to provide an alternative to pinch gesture (like buttons for zooming in and out), as it is the most difficult thing to do for someone with lack of hand dexterity.

To summarize, some design tips for touchscreen accessibility

  • Make every target (inputs, buttons) reachable. [1,3]
  • Place key items next to bezel areas [2]
  • Avoid pinch gesture, or allow alternatives [2,5]
  • Provide sufficient time to complete forms, read, or tap buttons
  • Try not to fill the screen with actionable things to reduce errors (that's a general rule that works for everyone..)


If you want to read more, here are some papers I like about touchscreen a11y for motor impaired uses

  1. Physical accessibility of touchscreen smartphones. Trewin S, Swart C, Pettick D . http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2513383.2513446
  2. Barrier Pointing: Using Physical Edges to Assist Target Acquisition on Mobile Device Touch Screens, Froehlich J Wobbrock J Kane S . http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1296843.1296849
  3. Analyzing user-generated youtube videos to understand touchscreen use by people with motor impairments. Anthony L Kim Y Findlater L . http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2466158
  4. Developing an accessible interaction model for touch screen mobile devices: preliminary results. Piccolo L De Menezes E De Campos Buccolo B . http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2254436.2254474
  5. Assistive strategies for people with fine motor skills impairments based on an analysis of sub-movements. Hourcade JO Guardionex. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2520961

My 2 cents!


Your question is very hard. As you said it is not logical to read final action buttons before fields. I had such a form on pc and it was a nigthmare to have to scroll up all the time to validate or cancel the form. In your case if you have a lot of blind users that you have to help them why not have an option at the beginning of the process to permit users to specify their handicap and in this case having buttons on the top and in other cases letting them at their natural place ?


it seems to me that neither seeing or the blind would benefit from this scheme. Even if this section is skippable the user should know what the page offers before moving on. If it requires input, you'd be setting the user up for frustration (error messages) if you give the choice to move on before data is put in. So don't follow that pattern if this makes sense to you. the same goes for the cancel button. Let them know what is it that they're giving up.

  • Also, the call to action should be clear about what is it that the user will do or find next instead of simply blindly moving forward. What lies next in your flow?

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