Mobile app accessibility roundup for May 8, 2020

Doug Stevenson
Director of Developer Relations at Mesmer (
May 8, 2020
Mesmer article

Thanks for reading our first Accessibility Roundup! I hope you find these articles useful in your journey to create more accessible mobile applications.

Accessible data representation

Many apps are composed mostly with images and text, which are fairly straightforward to make accessible. However, if your app provides some sort of data visualization, accessibility becomes a much bigger hurdle to jump. For example, charts, graphs, and calendars each pose some design challenges for rendering them in a way that’s accessible for those with visual impairments. This is especially relevant during the current pandemic, as equal access to health information is as important as ever. Rhea Althea Guntalilib shares her experience in this article.

TitleMaking the Case for Accessible Data Representations Authorrhea Althea Guntalilib Published on: April 20, 2020

Accessible list reordering for touch devices

The drag and drop gesture is ubiquitous in user interfaces. For many, it’s part of their daily routine when dealing with files and emails. It’s very intuitive! And also very poor for the accessibility of your mobile app. If your users have motor control impairments, they are probably using just tap gestures to navigate your app, or even a keyboard. What can you do to make drag and drop style operations more accessible? This is what Sigute Kateivaite explores with the Microsoft To Do Android app in this article about accessible (list) reordering for mobile devices.

TitleAccessible Reordering For Touch Devices AuthorSigute Published on: April 29, 2020

Android TtsSpan howto

Screen readers allow people with vision difficulties to more easily navigate and absorb the contents of an app. However, it can be surprising to find out how exactly your screen is being rendered. Screen readers are effective, but need to be clued in to what exactly should be said for a given span of text. For example, what do you expect a screen reader to say when provided with the text string “2020/05/09”? Giorgos Neokleous illustrates this, along with other examples of how to use TtsSpan to build more accessible TextViews for rendering by TalkBack, the screen reader provided by the Android Accessibility Suite.

TitleLet’s talk (Tts)Spans in Android Accessibility AuthorGiorgos Neokleous Published on: April 29, 2020

Inclusive social media tips

While Alexa’s article is mostly geared toward accessibility in social media, there are some good tips for mobile applications as well. Firstly, I’d never thought about what a screen reader would do with emoji. TalkBack will certainly say what the emoji is, but bear in mind that could be confusing, especially if you use emoji in lieu of images for icons. On Android, it might be worth using a TtsSpan (as described in the prior article) to change the rendering of the emoji.

TitleAccessibility matters: 5 ways to make your social media more inclusive AuthorAlexa Heinrich Published on: May 2, 2020 Note: Posted behind the Medium paywall

About Mesmer

Mesmer, the leader in Robotics Process Automation for Development (RPAD), is radically changing the way developers work. Mesmer’s AI-powered bots use patent-pending Deep Learning Automation (DLA™) to accelerate every function of customer experience testing. This means means crazy fast releases, better apps, and happier employees. Mesmer is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and funded by Intel Capital and True Ventures.

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