Common Accessibility Mistakes Made By Educational App Developers

Poor accessibility options can shrink your app's audience and harm its chances of getting five stars when the Educational App Store's expert reviewers certify it.

Colour Vision

about 1 in 12 males has some form of colour vision deficiency. For females, the proportion is about 1 in 200.

Parents are likely well aware of how it feels to be excluded by poor design choices, as colour vision difficulties often run in families. They will be cautious about which apps they buy.

Teachers don't want to upset kids in a lesson. Among a class of thirty, there is a reasonable chance that one of the kids will have some degree of colour vision deficiency.  

Don't exclude such a sizable number of potential customers as those that have colour vision deficiencies.

Our expert reviewers look for accessibility issues during the app certification process and bring them to light in the written reviews. The review rubric also considers it when determining your app's star rating.

It is easy to make your app accessible in its use of colour. When you design your app, make sure that you use colour to highlight but never provide information.  

Users with full-colour vision will appreciate the extra clarity colour can provide, but those without will still be able to engage with the app and use it.

Design your app so that crucial information is never conveyed by colour alone.

Use colour only to add additional clarity.

Check your app for accessibility by looking at each of its screens in greyscale.

Literacy

Kids who, for whatever reason, struggle with literacy are held back, often needlessly, in other subjects. They cannot access the learning materials provided for their education. They struggle to work out what questions are asking of them.

Your target audience should inform your approach to helping those with literacy difficulties.  

Young kids may still be learning to decode words. Even if they can do this, they might not be at the stage where they can extract meaning from a sentence.  

Recorded Speech

Young kids often need the inflexion of natural speech to help grasp its meaning, so using recorded speech is often the best approach to overcome limited reading skills. Unfortunately, this can drastically increase an app's size and is another drain on your development budget.

Friends and family might have pleasant voices, but your app will have a potentially worldwide audience. Accents, tones, and the preciseness of the speaker's diction will make a difference in the clarity of the narration.

A light hiss whenever speech plays, is distracting, and audible pops, crackles, or background noise will make your app appear amateurish. Kids will notice this, and it will distract them from their learning. Students often use headphones in classrooms, emphasising audio imperfections.

For the best results, you should use studio-quality sound recording and professional voice artists. Artificial intelligence text-to-speech solutions offer an alternative approach. These have made tremendous advances and provide considerable benefits in speed and cost-effectiveness over traditional voice recording. The best let you add emotion and natural cadence to speech.

Text-to-speech

The text-to-speech solutions we have mentioned above give you pre-recorded voiceovers, but you can tap into some device's live speech synthesis.

Live speech synthesis is becoming more natural, but it can still be a little stilted and lacks the rise and fall of natural speech. On the plus side, it only adds a little to your app's size, and it is cheaper to implement than hiring voiceover artists.

Depending on your requirements, you can use your target devices' APIs or license one that suits your needs better.

Apps aimed at older kids should not have a problem using speech synthesis, but you should avoid it if possible for apps aimed at younger kids.

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