Software developers know the importance of software performance testing, compatibility testing, and security testing, but too often forget about another essential type of testing: software accessibility testing. After all, the need for user accessibility may not be initially apparent. To many, the “default” software user is someone who can read your software’s content, listen to a video clip, or input relevant user information. Unfortunately, this assumption leaves out a massive number of users, specifically those with disabilities.
What Does it Mean for Software to Be Accessible?
Software developed and designed specifically to make it useable to people with disabilities is considered accessible software. Disabilities addressed with software accessibility testing most often include color blindness and other visual impairments. Reference the full list of website accessibility requirements in W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Why is Software Accessibility Important?
Able-bodied visitors are not your only users. Users also include those who are hard of hearing, vision impaired, or suffer from physical or mental conditions. Ignoring their needs (i.e. not providing an accessible website) means you’re limiting your customer base. Also, bear in mind that in some places, it is illegal to lack software accessibility.
It’s always a good idea to ensure website accessibility even if not required by law. If making sure that all users have easy access to your software isn’t enough of an incentive, you are also making your software more convenient for those without disabilities. Think about it: how annoying would it be to try and watch TV while on the gym’s treadmill if the program didn’t have closed captioning? How useful is it to dictate a text or email to your phone easily? Have you ever learned the weather report by asking Alexa or Google Assistant? if “yes” then you’ve benefited from technology created to make software and content more accessible.
How do I Make Sure My Software is Accessible?
Often, making your software accessible is easier than it may initially seem. There are several software changes that can help make input, presentation, interaction, and perception easier. Simple design adjustments like the font or size of your text, including alt-text and closed captioning on images or video, and making sure the transcripts to any audio content is available are all quick changes that can help you keep your software more accessible.
For more information on how to evaluate your website or software for accessibility, use resources like the World Wide Web Consortium or uiAccess, include feedback from disabled users in your development and testing process or ask the software accessibility testing engineers here at iBeta to help evaluate your software accessibility. Contact us today.