What is web accessibility – mobile guidelines

Smartphones and tablets have exploded onto the market. Unlike traditional desktop computers, where disabled users need to buy assistive technology, many smartphones and tablets now have in-built technology.

Apple, without a doubt, lead the way in incorporating features into the settings of their operating system, iOS. Android, however, are catching up, allowing more people to get online for a lower initial cost than a desktop computer. The W3C haven’t yet updated the WCAG 2.0 guidelines to incorporate the different features web developers and designers need to be aware of when checking for accessibility on mobile devices. For example, using touch screen technology, keyboard guidelines don’t apply, but swipe technology does need to be considered. For mobile testing we use the BBC mobile guidelines. The BBC was first to publish a set of mobile guidelines and these are currently the most widely adopted.

The type of site you have can adjust the order in which we test. If the website is a responsive site,  we would suggest auditing the desktop site first against WCAG 2.0, then looking at the additional BBC mobile guidelines to see how the website works on a mobile device. If the mobile site is a separate stand alone site, then this does require a full stand alone audit.

As iOS and Android’s in-built accessibility features make getting online more affordable, mobile sites really can’t be excluded from accessibility testing. We would suggest looking at your website stats to see just how many of your customers are using their touchscreen devices to get online.

Update to blog post September 2018 – WCAG 2.1

Please note that WCAG 2.0 has been updated and replaced with WCAG 2.1. The three levels remain the same, A, AA and AAA. Our blog post details the changes What is WCAG 2.1