So everyone’s got smartphones these day yes? But not everyone who has a smartphone can see, hear, move or handle cognitive loads without impairment. So how can we include everyone in our mobile design? This talk shares some top tips on how to create an inclusive mobile design and reveals some things you may not know people with disabilities can definitely do on a mobile device.
Presented at Designing for Mobility 2013
How to create inclusive mobile
Katja Forbes | @inclusiveUX
1 March 2013
People using mobile devices are as
diverse as the devices themselves
There are easy things you can do to make
a mobile experience inclusive
2 things in 10 minutes
There is nothing that
you can do on the
iPhone or iPad that I
Mr Stevie Wonder
Mobile, by definition, is
disabling. Poor light,
small keyboards, glare,
– Henny Swan, Senior Accessibility Specialist, BBC
A smart phone or tablet
is basically pictures
– Bret Victor, Former Apple Engineer
Focus on inclusion and people
If we try to design for all these different
operating systems then we just end up
designing for mobile diversity, not for
Design for the human capabilities, not the
There is no Mobile Web.
There is only The Web, which we view in
There is also no Desktop Web.
Or Tablet Web.
– Stephen Hay
A well-executed responsive design should
solve a lot of our challenges.
If a website is already inclusive via the
desktop then it’s most likely to be mobile
friendly as well.
Responsive design is #1
An app or mobile site is not a book
People listen to enough to orientate themselves
and then move on.
There are different modes
Text to speech doesn’t just read
Not just for visually impaired. People with dyslexia
also use text to speech to read digital written
Lets talk about text to speech
There are a lot of buttons in apps and sites
helping to navigate around.
The language used in labelling is really
Don’t be bossy.
Don’t double up.
Labelling with text to speech in mind
Inform events in multiple ways.
Don’t just have one way of achieving a
There’s more than one way to do things
There is a lot of video available on mobile
and its one of the most consumed types of
People who are deaf or have hearing loss
want to access all this content accessibly,
which is tough on mobile devices.
Mobile video? Make sure its captioned
Make sure the touch targets are big enough
for people with dexterity challenges.
Window 8 ‘metro’ design language has
something to offer here with its ‘big tile’ user
Choose smart defaults
Use alternate methods to input information &
exploit device capabilities
Supporting dexterity challenges
If you have a smart phone, you have a screen
reader. Test your designs. There is no excuse.
Test with real people who have real impairments
Iterate and test again!
Learn from your mistakes and make your next try
Test, test, test
The mobile landscape is extremely diverse and
complex to navigate
We have to stay focussed on inclusion, not mobile
Our guiding design principles must be technology
Let’s use what we already have and adapt as we
So, to sum up…