The Latest Advances in App Accessibility Features

15 days ago
The Latest Advances in App Accessibility Features Image

App accessibility features like voice-to-text, adjustable digital display contrasts, and voice commands, supported by tech giants like Apple and Google, remove barriers for users with disabilities and improve user experience for millions of other users.

With over 16% of the world’s population living with disabilities, integrating these features opens a market with nearly $500 billion in purchasing power. Beyond ethical reasons, prioritizing accessibility is a strategic business move for growth.

The Strategic Imperative of Inclusivity in App Design

In the fiercely competitive digital landscape, integrating the latest advances in app accessibility features is not just about altruism — it’s a strategic move with substantial returns.

For forward-thinking CMOs and CTOs, the approach to digital product accessibility is not an afterthought but a core component of the user experience. This pivot from compliance to a competitive edge can bolster brand reputation, expand market reach, and enhance customer loyalty.

Consider the impact: 71% of users with disabilities will immediately leave an app that does not meet their accessibility needs. Imagine the advantage in user retention and acquisition when your digital product addresses these needs excellently.

Operating systems continuously introduce new accessibility features, which digital product owners must adopt to maximize benefits. The latest iOS and Android updates significantly advance accessibility. This article will explore these updates and offer tips for making digital products more inclusive.

The Latest Advances in Apple’s Accessibility Features

Voice Control for both Mac and iOS was introduced in 2019 with iOS 13. This marked a significant step towards more inclusive technology, making device use accessible for all.

Key highlights of Voice Control include:

  • Comprehensive control capabilities, from powering up devices to creating documents, all by voice
  • Enhanced diction and editing features, improving speech detection and making speech-to-text easier
  • The ability to distinguish between text and commands through voice inflection
  • Simple navigation commands and the introduction of “Overlays” for complex interactions
  • “Attention awareness” to detect user engagement based on gaze direction
  • On-device voice recognition processing for increased security and privacy

Apple’s latest updates, including built-in features, make technology accessible. For more information on these features, visit Apple’s accessibility page.

The Latest Advances in Google’s Accessibility Features

Google remains dedicated to making its products accessible to everyone. Android 10 introduced several significant accessibility enhancements to improve the user experience:

  • Live Caption: Automatically captions videos, spoken audio, and podcasts on-device, even without the internet.
  • Hearing Aid Support: Compatibility with a new open-source specification using Bluetooth LE, optimizing performance and battery life.
  • Android Accessibility Suite Improvements: This suite includes features like a large menu for screen lock, preferences for volume and brightness, switch access, and the TalkBack screen reader.

These are just a few examples of Google’s ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive digital world. Live Caption continues to evolve, offering support in more languages and enhanced experiences on tablets and during calls. For the latest information, refer to Google’s accessibility resources.

Insights To Influence Integration

Grasping how different users engage with technology is critical to intelligent decision-making in app design. Accessibility lawsuits have jumped 64% since 2019, showing a solid push for inclusivity (UsableNet). Adding cutting-edge accessibility features to your app isn’t just to avoid legal issues — it positions your app as a leader in creating a forward-thinking, inclusive digital world.

Implementing Accessibility as a Strategic Differentiator

Evaluate your position in the app market and consider accessibility as a means to mitigate the threat of substitution. An app that everyone can easily use has fewer equivalents. Leverage this unique selling proposition to cement your app’s presence in users’ everyday lives.

When redesigning or developing your app, integrate accessibility with intention. Ensure that your team incorporates the following steps:

  1. Seek Deep Understanding: Consult with an expert and hire from within the community. Invest in experienced research, UX, development, and QA roles with intimate knowledge of accessibility guidelines.
  2. Conduct User Research: Compile data on the needs and behaviors of users with disabilities to inform your design decisions.
  3. Embed Accessibility in Design: Design with inclusivity by considering accessibility at the onset, avoiding later costs of modifications.
  4. Regularly Update Features: Stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements to ensure your app adapts and continues to meet accessibility standards.

Actionable Takeaways for Digital Product Development

To pragmatically incorporate these insights into your digital product development process, consider the following action points:

  • Start with accessibility at the forefront of your project.
  • Chart a roadmap for integrating accessibility features, emphasizing a phased approach to ensure thorough implementation.
  • Train your product teams on accessibility best practices, ensuring that inclusivity is a skill set, not a checkbox.

Implementing cutting-edge accessibility features is imperative for digital product designers who aspire to lead, not follow. Clearly, your brand values every user and is invested in cultivating a truly inclusive digital experience.

Conclusion

Prioritizing accessibility in digital experiences is ethically sound and opens up a significant untapped market. This approach goes beyond compliance, demonstrating thought leadership and empathetic design while anticipating future trends. By embedding inclusivity at the core of your strategy, your brand will be recognized for innovation and inclusivity in the tech industry.

Accessibility functionalities in apps break down barriers for users with visual, auditory, or motor disabilities. Propelled by Apple and Google’s acknowledgment of tech’s empowering role, their prevalence has surged. At InspiringApps, we’re architects of digital inclusivity, advancing digital experiences for all.

If you have questions about what accessibility looks like in apps or want help to build accessibility features into your digital product, reach out to our team today.

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