Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Android Accessibility Scanner!

I’ve been working as an Android developer for a few years now; and I’ve always had this itch to improve accessibility with the applications that I’ve worked on. There is a whole set of ADA requirements that might be required by your project; this is not a replacement for ADA testing. If you’re looking for a SUPER easy way to start improving the accessibility in your android app though; look no further than the Accessibility Scanner! You can get it from the link below:


Sweet, I’ve downloaded it! Now what?

Applications can be thought of in terms of flow charts; so honestly the best way to get started might be to walk through what your user would normally do and see what issues pop up!

Setup

  • Your phone must be running android Marshmallow (6.0) or later
  • You DO NOT NEED developer mode
  • You have to have Accessibility Scanner installed (duh!)
  1. Open your settings app
  2. Scroll down to System settings
  3. Tap Advanced
  4. Tap Accessibility
  5. Under downloaded services, turn on the Accessibility scanner

Note: The scanner app will also prompt you on how to enable it

When you have the scanner enabled; you should see this blue button sitting in your face

Blue Checkmark = Scan Button!

You tap the blue button when you wanna scan a page, and then it shows you the results!

Results

Example

For this example; I’m going to be using TinyCards, a free flash card application by Duolingo. It’s one of the cutest apps I’ve seen; and I love it. Which makes me feel kinda bad to tear it apart in some regards.

This is my high level walkthrough of what I’d like to test:

  1. The home page; where all your collections are
  2. A collection detail page; where you can see what lessons you have unlocked
  3. A card page; where you are prompted to answer a question

Step One:

The results for the home page are really good honestly; there were no direct issues found when I scanned.

Step Two:

9 issues. Ranging from Text Contrast to Touch Target sizes.

In the app; if you tap any of the suggestions; they have guidelines that they recommend following. So in the case of Element 2 (the Duolingo link), they recommend increasing the item height from 23dp to 48dp or larger. And this step could honestly be done invisible to the end user in some cases.

Items outlined in orange are things that might be issues with accessibility

Step 3:

12 issues; mostly touch targets and contrast

I would have guessed that the cards themselves would be highly accessible; as that is the core user experience: interacting with these flash cards. I know there are a variety of options for consuming these cards. Some are speech, others are text inputs, and some are auditory. And since these cards are generated content; that poses a definite challenge with keeping it accessible.


Honestly; out of the apps I’ve played around with on this; I think TinyCards does phenomenally. There are some apps that doubled or tripled the number of suggestions for a single screen. This scanner is not meant to identify every issue; it DOES NOT make you ADA compliant! For more info about ADA compliance you can look here.

You can also find more Android accessibility training here.

As mobile developers it’s our goal to make great user experiences; and that means reaching as many of our users as possible, including people with disabilities.