Federal agencies do not get a free pass on accessibility for mobile—as we stated earlier this month, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to ALL information and communication technology (ICT).
Luckily, there are a number of organizations working on guidelines and practices to help the private and public sectors create accessible mobile websites and applications. The M-Enabling Conference, an annual event dedicated to making mobile technology accessible, brought experts from around the world to talk about guidelines and practices for these efforts. You can watch a complete panel about mobile accessibility guidelines, but here are some of the most useful guidelines they mention for making mobile implementations accessible.
- The Web Accessibility Initiative is the leader in this area, and it has a resource page with guidelines and tools for making mobile websites and native apps accessible. In addition, the organization just released a working draft of How Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and Other W3C/WAI Guidelines Apply to Mobile in February and is soliciting feedback from the public.
- The U.S. Access Board just finished the public comment period for a proposed Section 508 Rules refresh that includes guidance for smartphones and other new devices.
- The British Broadcasting Corporation’s Standards and Guidelines for Mobile Accessibility are a set of technology agnostic best practices for mobile Web content, hybrid and native apps. They are intended for use by anyone involved with the design, development or testing of mobile products.
Other conference programming also touched on the reality that future mobile device capabilities will bring exciting innovations for accessibility. User interfaces are evolving rapidly, offering unprecedented accessibility and assistive alternatives for blindness and low vision, hearing loss, and cognitive and physical disabilities.
Watch this prototype of a “touchless” phone below for a taste of the future.