Prominence of Mobile Technology & Apps
With the ever-growing usage of mobile devices to connect to the Internet, users with special needs, such as the blind community, are finding it difficult to keep up. Most major cell phone manufacturers and service providers have made some effort toward accessibility. However, too often, their offerings fall short of total access to the disabled community.
It is important to remember that not all mobile users are equipped with the latest technology which may better address accessibility. Software developers, such as those who build mobile websites and mobile applications should be aware of the current status of accessible technology on mobile devices in order to ensure equal access to all users.
According to the American Foundation for the Blind, most cell phone carriers offer only a limited selection of devices with built-in accessibility features and have so far made little effort to correct this shortcoming. However, these mobile phones may still require third-party applications to enable more-comprehensive access to people with special needs.
In addition, some mobile phones that do not come with assistive technology out-of-the-box allow for third-party applications to be installed to help gain access to those with special needs. Fortunately, with the growing popularity of smart phones and apps, these third-party applications have become easier to obtain and are increasing in accessibility (see Accessibility and iOS 5 link in the right column).
Adaped from AccessibleTech, "Mobile Web Accessibility" by Tim Shelton.
Mobile Technologies, Accessibility, and UDL
The 2012 Horizon Report cites Mobile Technology and Apps as a prominent "here and now" technology. We continue to experience rapid development in both numbers and functionality of mobile apps. Fortunately, many of these are accessible to all users, given the increased attention being paid to accessibility and universal design of both hardware and software.