Section 508 is a part of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which, in turn, is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Act prescribes that the agencies are lawfully required to make such technology fully accessible for anyone to see at any given time. Thus, tech businesses must ensure their electronic and information technology is fully accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. This particular Section makes it easier for people with less ability than the average person, such as walking, speaking, or sensory deprivation, to access the same programs or even apps, rights, and advantages that a fully non-disabled person would get.
All businesses wish that their product or service is accessible for as many people as possible. However, it is a business's responsibility to ensure that the product or service is capable of reaching that many. Section 508 compliance testing for Mobile applications allows companies to test their digital content's compliance with the set regulations.
Why is 508 Compliance Testing an Integral Part of Every Mobile Application Development Process?
Accessibility is an essential aspect in terms of which mobile app experiences are rated today. Firstly, a large chunk of mobile app users are visual, hearing, or mobility impaired. Again they enjoy only limited access to online resources and technology. Mobile application 508 Compliance Testing determines how well a mobile app can be understood and used, regardless of the nature of the technology or platform used to access it. Accessibility testing effort can not only improve a mobile app, but it can also give the app a competitive edge over its competitors.
Given the fast-paced business environments, reducing time to market is a strategic step in the app development lifecycle. However, it should in no way push the accessibility features to the end of the app development process. Similarly, delaying accessibility invites problems and cost spikes associated with new features and bug fixes. In reality, successful accessibility testing effort translates expanding, not shrinking the user base.
A 508 compliant app, improves automation as many UI automation hooks are the same. Since the term "disability" covers cognitive, behavioral, and learning challenges, there is a large section of people who are unable to complete routine tasks due to illness or injury. An experienced accessibility testing company ensures that the mobile app defines "disability" broadly in order to serve as many users with efficiency as possible.
Types of Mobile Application 508 Compliance Testing
An all-comprising mobile application 508 compliance testing plan must include both automated and manual testing modules in it. Further, it's important to note that automated 508c tests can process large quantities of content quickly. Thus, they lack the subjective judgments that human testers promise. The necessary component of every 508c testing environment is the participation of testers with disabilities.
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Mobile Application 508 Compliance Testing Best Practices that ASTAQC Team Swears By
More and more businesses intend to conduct accessibility evaluations for their mobile apps as 508 compliance testing allows Mobile apps to be more accessible to all. Because Section 508 is a federal requirement, there are many resources on Section 508 compliance that are available on the web. However, navigating the maze of federal websites can be daunting for app developers. Therefore, we discuss some Mobile application 508 compliance testing best practices that ASTAQC team uses:
- Focus on Visuals
Most visually impaired mobile users require labels and visual cues to be able to enter the right information in the designated place. Because several users are color blind, apps with adequate color contrast on interactive pages do well. As a matter of fact, app pages that require user input need to feature color contrast to help the visually impaired. Again some numerous online tools and checklists help app developers code to perfection for color-blind users. Simple things like the use of larger size text or at least the ability to resize the text is necessary for aged users or users with weak vision. Further, app designers can increase mobile app readability by using the higher contrast between text font and the background.
Besides color choices, the choice of typography and font should also enhance the user experience and legibility of mobile apps. Additionally, integrating text alternatives for meaningful images can be useful for impaired users. Also, incorporating the right links to help screen readers in identifying navigable elements is essential. Together with factors like adjustable brightness/contrast controls, backlit display, and voice recognition, mobile apps can be a gratifying experience for the visually impaired.
- Ensure Auditory Excellence
Because most hearing-impaired app users find it challenging to listen to audio notifications, audio content, and instructions, app makers must ensure auditory accessibility. To put it differently, always check for text transcripts and captions for all audio material during mobile application 508c testing. Further, it is good to ensure that text alternatives are incorporated for any non-text(audio) content. Portable app testers should look for vibrating alerts/visual notifications to ensure that auditory impaired users recognize signals when the device blinks or vibrates.
- Physical Compatibility
In a like manner, users with limited motor skills often find routine in-app tasks quite challenging to execute. For this reason, simple functions like pinching, spreading, tapping buttons, and controlling sliding bars on a mobile device are relatively difficult for them. Mobile app testers must ensure that apps allow hands-free control through efficient speech recognition software. Mobile application 508c testing process needs to ensure that apps welcome voice commands for smooth operation and navigation. Further, app users should also be allowed to adjust the speed required to navigate through the different app pages.
- Strive for Cognitive Assistance
Similarly, people with cognitive disabilities are marred by a broad spectrum of impairments that range from attention, memory, comprehension, communication, computational, or reading skills. Most commonly, app users with cognitive disabilities find it extremely difficult to follow complex text or instructions. Mobile application 508c testing effort must feature a check for simple and clear instructions to achieve an intuitive interface. Further, testers must check for consistent UI elements and prominent icons to make the app navigation tad a bit simpler. Moreover, apps that offer features like read aloud with simultaneous text highlighting, predictive or auto-text for input fields, adjustable time for completing in-app tasks, avoiding jargon/large blocks of text help users to retain useful information and commands quickly.
"The principal objective of software testing is to give confidence in the software."- Anonymous
Mobile Application 508 Compliance Testing Tools that ASTAQC Team Swears By
Mobile app businesses need to make their products more user-friendly to ensure that they are easily accessible in order to capture a broader market share. We at ASTQC use various tools to check the accessibility of Mobile apps. Here are some Mobile application 508 compliance testing tools that we frequently use:
- DYNO Mapper
- Bureau Of Internet Accessibility
Why ASTAQC for 508 Compliance Testing of Mobile Applications?
ASTAQC endeavors to provide systematically and cost-effective mobile testing services towards ensuring mobile accessibility in apps. We know mobile penetration is increasing by leaps and bounds. That is why more and more businesses aspire to get the app business right. However, still, some mobile app users, which include people with disabilities, find it challenging to use modern mobile apps. It should be a business's prerogative to ensure mobile accessibility not only to be legally compliant but also to ensure that they do not miss out on any market segment.
We at ASTAQC believe that making any application universally accessible on mobile devices is essential for them to attain success. Our team abides by cost-effective and considerate ways to ensure the accessibility of your mobile apps. Also, we prioritize aligning our mobile accessibility testing services to your organizational needs and strategy. Our in-house accessibility experts go lengths to ensure that your mobile app meets the necessary accessibility requirements. We support app businesses through the product development life cycle with cost-effective solutions. ASTAQC team is an expert in understanding the global accessibility requirements.
Our mobile application 508 compliance testing process includes the evaluation of mobile applications as per user experience and accessibility guidelines. Over time we have developed a deep understanding of the barriers faced by persons with disabilities. We execute user testing with persons with disabilities using a wide variety of assistive technologies. The team of accessibility testers then makes a report on how to integrate accessibility in the mobile applications. In the end, we work closely with the app development teams. We also provide a detailed description of accessibility vulnerability and code recommendations to ensure accessibility compliance in the final app product.