In this first pilot episode of the podcast, we talk with spriteCloud’s Chief Operations Officer, Martin Cunnington, and Quality Assurance Engineer, Roel Wijker, about Accessibility Testing.
It might surprise you to know that between 15-20% of people (approximately 1 billion people) have a disability of some form. Accessibility Testing helps developers ensure that their application can reach this rather larger segment of their target group. Listen to Martin and Roel talk about the impetus for accessibility testing and their experiences in testing for accessibility.
Number of people experiencing disabilities
The World Bank. (2021). Disability Inclusion. https://www.worldbank.org. Retrieved 23 December 2021, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/disability#1.
EU Directive 2102
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. (2021). EUR-Lex – 32016L2102 – EN – EUR-Lex. Eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 23 December 2021, from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2016.327.01.0001.01.ENG.
World wide web guidelines
(WAI), W. (2021). Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Retrieved 24 December 2021, from https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/.
GSA. (2021). Section508.gov. Section508.gov. Retrieved 24 December 2021, from https://www.section508.gov/.
Stichting drempelvrij.nl. (2021). Waarmerk Drempelvrij.nl voor digitaal toegankelijke websites. Waarmerk drempelvrij.nl. Retrieved 24 December 2021, from https://www.drempelvrij.nl.
Apple. (2021). Introduction – Accessibility – Human Interface Guidelines – Apple Developer. Developer.apple.com. Retrieved 24 December 2021, from https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/accessibility/overview/introduction/.
Microsoft. (2021). Inclusive 101 Toolkit. Microsoft.com. Retrieved 24 December 2021, from https://www.microsoft.com/design/inclusive/.
Walk into Paradise by Carmen María and Edu Espinal
Marion: Welcome to spriteCloud’s first podcast.
According to the world bank, 1 billion people experience some form of disability. This represents 15% of the world population, one-fifth of those, or between 110 million and 190 million people experience significant disabilities. How can development teams make sure that websites and apps are accessible to this large part of the population?
That’s what we’re looking into today in spriteCloud’s first podcast. I’m Marion and two of my colleagues, Martin Cunnington who’s the COO at spriteCloud and Roel Wijker, who is part of our team of testers, are joining me to discuss accessibility testing today. What is it? Who’s it good for? Spoiler. It’s good for everybody. And how can you get started with it? That’s what we’re looking into.
You can find all the accessibility testing guidelines, we will discuss sources and additional resources on www.spritecloud.com/podcast. That is
www.spritecloud.com/podcast. So let’s dive in. Roel, Martin, can you start by introducing yourselves and telling us a little bit about your link to accessibility testing?
Roel: Yes, of course. Well, I’ll take the lead on this end. Uh, thank you. I’m Roel I’ve been working at spriteCloud for, oh, well last, two weeks ago, it was my four-year anniversary. And accessibility testing is something for me that came up during my first assignment, actually for spriteCloud.
So that will be four years ago at Tele2 where we were pointed by some customers of the product that we were working on that accessibility was nonexistent. And that’s what made us, uh, change it around real quick. But we’ll get to that later. I’ll give the word to Martin.
Martin: Thank you. My name is Martin Cunnington.
I’m a director here at spriteCloud. I’ve been working on the web. More or less since it came up. My interest in accessibility started, I think in London when I was working for an agency just around the corner, from the Royal National Institute of the Blind. So we had a connection through a very enlightened technical director.
Who invited her representative from the RNIB, to come round to have a look at our work with us. And the person came round. He was a registered blind. He had a dog, he sat at the front of the meeting room and he went through our website with us and the result was shocking.
Uh, we were flabbergasted at just how bad our designs and websites were to use if you weren’t, if you didn’t have a hundred percent vision, a hundred percent hearing, a hundred percent physical motion and so on and so forth. And we had no idea that what we were doing was so unusable to such a chunk of the world’s population, as it turned out.
So from that moment on there, it struck me that everything we did on the web should be designed from the beginning to be inclusive, not exclusive. And, that interest has been with me ever since.
Marion: Perfect. Thank you for the introduction. If you happen to research accessibility testing, you will come across something along the lines of “it’s the practice of making websites and apps usable by everyone,” as simple as that, but that doesn’t tell us how to test for accessibility.
So Roel, what do you start with when you perform accessibility testing?
Roel: Well normally. Let’s say that we were testing an app on a mobile device. I would install the app and immediately go to the device settings itself and set the font to the biggest you can find, that it can be set to, maybe even make them bold.
Sometimes you can even make them italic or change the colours to a higher contrast. And then see what the app looks like. I guarantee you that 9 out of 10 times, buttons won’t be visible anymore. They’ll be pushed out of the screen. And then the screens, they didn’t think about about this, so you can’t scroll down.
So, users will be stuck from the get-go. And when I look around. Well, my parents, a lot of parents of my friends, they all have their phones set to a bigger size. So that’s usually where I start. And the second is using the screen reader to have the voice from the operating system read out what is on screen. If those two things already work, you’re making very, very much, well, a lot of progress. And then after that, I would go sit down with the team and ask them what they think about how we could extend this. And I would probably steer to colour blind people so we could change the contrast in the app itself.
There’s also an option that the operating system would do this. And then I would try and set this up and give them the results. Like, this is what your app looks like when the contrast is set to this or that. Does the designer agree? Does it have any implications for, uh, the logos that we use?
Are we using logos from different companies that they don’t want us to change the colours, but is it still, readable for other people? That’s what I always start and from there on, yeah, consult with the team or get user research on the people that are using your app.
How many people actually have this problem? And there are a lot, then you could always tell upper management, like if we fix this, there’s a lot of people that can use our app more and better, which in the end will give us better reviews because we thought about this and probably if you sell something through the app, more revenue, because people can actually use it now, so they can buy something through your service.
That’s a way to convince people on a tight budget, like in the end, it will actually gain you money.
Marion: And even if you don’t have the data we saw earlier that about 15% of the world’s population experiences, some sort of disability. So you can probably assume that about this percentage of your consumers would be happy about some sort of adaptation.
So how do we make apps and websites ac