Accessibility and User-Friendly Interfaces

Many programs that score high on user rating throughout the web may be regarded as "user-friendly" for their interfaces, but they may not necessarily be accessible.

When you make a search for an app for your mobile device or a program for your desktop computer, you expect to get a program that does not only perform as advertised, but is also accesible.

But then what is accessibility? Accessibility and the user-friendliness of an interface, are these two interchangeable?

There are many such programs and apps that are highly rated for their performance and functionality by the mainstream. However, when it comes to accessibility, they fail.

Take for instance, almost all Android emulation programs are inaccessible during setup, yet they are popular with our mainstream friends who do not use screen-readers.

An accessible program is the one that is clearly labelled: all its controls can be read by a screen-reader or magnified correctly. For someone who is blind, this is the most important consideration for any application. If it is labelled, and can be navigated from the keyboard, then it is usable.

A program which is "friendly" in its interface but without implementing accesibility standards defined by major software developers is not friendly. It may be considered friendly because it loads quickly, has got icons that help a newbie. Yet it will fail where it matters most: it cannot be accessed with a screen-reader. An example of one such popular program is Foxit PDF Reader. This program is considered the best when it comes to handling PDF files rather than the default Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Accessibility is key to productivity for someone who is blind: if a person can use all the features of a program, then he or she can consider it friendly.

So next time you look for an app, consider its accessibility if it is to interact with a screen-reader. This site in the coming days will be transformed to highlight key accessible programs that are recommended by others for doing certain things.

Until next time, thanks for reading this post.