Mobile App Accessibility: Guidelines, Checklist, Best Practices & More

Mayanka Pant
May 10, 2024


Smartphones are undoubtedly the most significant invention of the 21st century, but do you know what is fueling their success? It is definitely the apps that have long been catering to users’ diverse needs, be it ordering online food, requesting a cab, or making a payment. Today, smartphones contribute to nearly 60% of the total global internet traffic, with mobile apps being the most significant contributor to this share. According to the latest survey, an average user spends at least 5 hours on their smartphone, and 45% of this time is spent on mobile apps. In such a situation, mobile app accessibility is a far more crucial aspect to be taken care of in the mobile app development process.

According to the WHO, approximately 1.3 billion people globally have some kind of mental or physical disability, which is roughly 16% of the total world’s population. Considering this, accessibility in mobile app design is a need of the hour. If you think ignoring them will make sense, you’re all wrong. If your app isn’t functional for 16% of your potential audience, this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. 

While website accessibility issues have been on the decline, the same cannot be said for mobile apps. To ensure the best possible user experience and adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), it's crucial to incorporate mobile app accessibility considerations from the very start of the development process. 

So, let’s make your work even more easier! In this guide to mobile app accessibility, we have chalked down some of the guidelines, best practices, checklists, and strategies for making your app accessible to every sort of user. So, let’s get started!

What Is Mobile App Accessibility?

Mobile app accessibility is a consideration in mobile app design, which should be abided by the designers and developers to create an app that is not only easy to use but accessible to everyone, even for people with disabilities. By adding accessibility features like a voice command, screen reader, and enabling large texts, you can ensure your users will easily interact with your app and make the most out of this interaction. 


To your surprise, let us tell you that mobile app accessibility isn’t optional for businesses; it has standards and guidelines that should be strictly followed when designing a mobile app. These guidelines are often set by various bodies and expert accessibility consultants, keeping in mind the diverse needs of each individual. It helps ensure every user gets an equal experience, no matter whether they are disabled or not.

The ultimate goal of mobile app accessibility guidelines is to make digital content available for all, regardless of their mental or physical conditions. As you have understood the concept of mobile app accessibility, let’s move forward to our next section. 

Here are some stats on mobile app accessibility:

  • According to the WHO, approximately 1.3 billion people globally have some kind of mental or physical disability, which is roughly 16% of the total world’s population.
  • 75% of free Android apps and 65% of free iOS apps passed accessibility standards. (Source: Mashable)
  • Only 29% of paid Android apps and 35% of paid iOS apps passed accessibility testing. (Source: Mashable)
  • 90% of mobile apps are inaccessible to disabled people who rely on assistive technology. (Source: AbilityNet)

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Who Actually Needs Accessibility in Mobile Apps?

You might never know, but a lot of users with disabilities could have downloaded your app and tried to engage with it. But they couldn’t use your app in the way they wanted; they simply uninstalled it, and you lost another user. As analytics never show this data, you would probably never know how many people are abandoning your app due to the lack of accessibility. 

Here’s a list of users who actually need mobile app accessibility: 

  • People with Cognitive Impairments: Users who are suffering from conditions like dyslexia, ADD, and Alzheimer's will require accessibility features as they can be easily distracted. 
  • Users with Visual Impairments: This may include color blindness and partial or complete blindness. These visually impaired people often consume content through contrast and visual alternatives. 
  • People with Auditory Impairments: People who can’t hear or listen may find it challenging to process all app content. Instead, they depend on alternative auditory formats. 
  • Users with Mobility Impairments: People with mild or severe mobility issues may not use the mobile app as we do. They may find it challenging to tap on the screen. 

Advantages of Mobile App Accessibility for Businesses

Being just mobile-friendly won’t help your app work for disabled users; it should have way more features that make it accessible for all. 


1. Inclusivity

By designing your app keeping in mind the users with disabilities, you extend your app's reach to a broader audience, giving users a sense of belonging and equality. As said earlier, there are about 1.3 billion disabled people in this world, and ensuring the accessibility of your mobile app will make a significant impact in creating inclusive content. 

2. Legal Compliance

Mobile app accessibility isn’t just an option but a protocol that should be adhered to as per several regulatory requirements, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and others. However, several regions have their own set of guidelines for digital accessibility. By adhering to these regulations, you can avoid any potential legal issues in the future. 


3. Improved User Experience

It is a common misconception that mobile app accessibility is only for users with disabilities. But that’s not true, as it helps every user. For instance, the captions and transcripts during a video aren’t only beneficial for people with hearing impairment but also for those who are watching it in a noisy environment. 

4. Improved Visibility

Do you know that mobile apps that follow accessibility guidelines and standards often get a great response from users? Additionally, many businesses have even seen improvements in app visibility in app stores. As more and more people start to interact with your app, the app stores will prioritize your app over your competitors. 

5. Greater Revenue Opportunities

Mobile app accessibility will help ensure that your content will be viewed optimally on different platforms and screens. While many prefer to use the app in Dark mode, others want increased font sizes for better viewing. Integrating these accessibility features into your mobile app development will improve the likelihood of your app engagement. Consequently, it can help you generate higher revenue and profit while ensuring improved retention and higher user satisfaction. 

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Mobile App Accessibility Guidelines to Follow in 2024

Unlike websites, mobile apps don’t have specific guidelines for accessibility. However, while designing a mobile app, keep accessibility in mind, and you should follow the most widely used guideline - WCAG. It is a set of guidelines for web content that is based on four main principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. 


In this section, we will introduce you to the WCAG for mobile. The W3C Mobile Accessibility Task Force has related the guideline to the mobile apps and has described all the challenges, issues, and considerations that fall under each principle. 

While designing a mobile app, you should consider these principles to come up with a product that can be perceived, easily operated, and clearly understood by all people, including those with mental and physical disabilities. 

So, here are four principles of WCAG for mobile apps: 


This category defines how your mobile app will be perceived by users. This includes the impact of small screen size on interaction, the placement of buttons and hyperlinks, and the color contracts of elements. 

The common accessibility issues to address in this principle include zoom/magnification capabilities, screen size, and the need to ensure sufficient counteract. 

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This aspect focuses on ensuring that mobile applications are user-friendly and accessible to all. It includes making touchscreen devices keyboard-friendly, optimizing the size and spacing of touch targets, and strategically placing buttons. 

Additionally, it involves providing guidance (like tooltips and tutorials) for alternative touchscreen and device manipulation gestures for those who require them. Developers should ensure that user interactions with the app or mobile site, such as button presses or scrolling, are barrier-free.


This category emphasizes the importance of making the app or mobile site easy to understand and use for all users. It also includes the ability to customize settings as needed. Mobile accessibility issues here involve altering screen orientation, maintaining a consistent layout, placing key page elements before the scroll, grouping together operable elements that perform the same function, clearly indicating actionable aspects, and providing instructions for custom touchscreen and device manipulation gestures.

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This aspect deals with the compatibility of the app or mobile site's interface across various devices and operating systems. It includes setting the virtual keyboard to match the required data entry type, providing simple methods for data entry, and supporting the unique properties of the platform, such as the device and operating system. 

The availability of certain accessibility features, like adjusting font size or wrapping enlarged text, may vary depending on the device and operating system.

4-Point Mobile App Accessibility Checklist


When you are designing a mobile app accessible to all, especially for your users with disabilities, there are a few aspects to look at. To help you out, we have curated a list of 4-point checklists for mobile app accessibility to keep in mind. 

Keep Different Screen Sizes in Mind

While designing a mobile app, it is crucial to remember that it will run on different screen sizes. To make your content accessible to users with smaller screens, you will need to optimize it to a minimum, use a considerable font size, and adjust the form field position. 


Pay Attention to Color Contrast

Color contrast is an essential factor to keep in mind while designing an accessible mobile app. The ideal color contrast ratio for texts should be at least 4.5:1 for small texts and 3:1 for larger texts. 

Simplify App Gestures

The gestures in your mobile app should be simple and functional enough to be easily operated by users with disabilities. Instead of using complex gestures, go for tap or swipe features. 

Adjust Tap Target Sizes

If your mobile app has multiple elements, remember to place them spaced out to each other so that they can easily be discovered and tapped by users. These include elements such as icons, menus and buttons. 

Best Practices for Accessibility Considerations in Mobile App Design 


While considering accessibility in mobile app design, it is important to follow a set of best practices, as they can help you be on track to developing a successful app. These best practices include - 

#1. Enhance App Content

The content of an app, which includes the position of text, images, and videos, plays a crucial role in user experience. It's important to remember that some users may have challenges such as visual or hearing impairments, dyslexia, and color blindness, among others. 

Therefore, refining your content will ensure that all users can fully utilize your mobile application, irrespective of their abilities.

Textual Content

It's not advisable to rely solely on colors to distinguish between essential text elements, for instance, regular text vs actionable text. A colorblind individual might struggle to identify a hyperlink that's differentiated by color alone, but they can easily spot a hyperlink that's underlined. Moreover, to ensure text is easily discernible against the background color, maintain a color contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1.

Multimedia Content

Captions are an effective way to narrate the events in a video or audio clip. Therefore, ensure to include subtitles for all pre-recorded or live audio and video content. This not only aids individuals with hearing impairments but also those who are unable to use headphones at a given time. 

Furthermore, integrating an HLS player can boost accessibility by enabling users to modify video playback settings, including captions and subtitles, according to their specific needs and preferences.

Layout Consistency

Prioritize keeping your app's layouts consistent across all screens and ensure that its content is displayed on various screens without any loss. This is particularly important for recurring elements like navigation bars, controls, or search buttons. Consistent placement of these elements across all tabs enhances predictability for the users and is beneficial for those with cognitive or visual impairments.

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#2. Simplify Data Entry

Most mobile apps necessitate the input of personal information. While this might not be an issue for many, it can pose challenges for individuals with visual or mobility impairments. 

To ease the data input process, label your app fields in a way that allows the mobile operating system to recognize them and suggest auto-fill options. 

Moreover, labeling password fields as "Password" and login fields as "Login" ensures that assistive technologies like Android TalkBack or iOS VoiceOver can easily identify them.

#3. Ensure Smooth Navigation

As said earlier, users interact with your mobile app through screens. They tap on it, scroll up and down, and pinch to zoom in or out. While it gives users the best experience, it stands as a chance for visually impaired and physically disabled individuals. Therefore, to ensure smooth navigation, your app buttons should be large enough to be easily tapped with a color contract that makes it easy to find. For instance, Apple has recommended a minimum icon size and control of 44 pixels wide and 44 pixels tall, and for Android, it's 48 pixels. 

#4. Follow UX Accessibility Principles

While we have talked a lot bout mobile app designing, we can’t overlook the importance of UX accessibility principles. Firstly, let us introduce the four main impairments to be focused on in accessibility design: 

  • cognitive;
  • visual;
  • hearing;
  • dysmotility.

These disabilities can be both temporary (fracture) and permanent (paralysis, autism, weak eyesight or hand tremors for older people). 

The main principles for accessibility app design include


Your app should be straightforward enough that it can be easily navigated with closed eyes. It focuses on three main principles - 

  • Simplified navigation
  • Quick start and reaction,
  • Solid and predictable UX.


Apart from the simplicity, your app should have clarity of the product and its UI, which includes font size, contrast color, and correct placement of buttons, tables, and modal elements. 

#5. Conduct Thorough Accessibility Testing

To ensure your mobile app aligns with the accessibility guidelines of Android or Apple, a combination of manual and automated testing is recommended. Advanced automated testing tools can expedite the development process by validating straightforward features. 

Additionally, conducting manual tests on actual devices prior to significant releases will confirm that all essential functions of your application are fully accessible.

How to Design Mobile Apps with Keeping Accessibility in Mind?

As you are now equipped with all the necessary information about accessibility considerations in mobile app design, it's time to put all your theoretical knowledge into action. Here are some steps to designing an accessible app: 

  • Start by comprehending the needs of your target audience, which includes people with disabilities. Develop user personas with diverse accessibility needs to steer your design process.
  • Follow recognized accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to ensure your app complies with industry norms. These guidelines include various factors, from color contrast to keyboard navigation.
  • Provide alternative text for images, icons, and other non-textual content. This information is crucial for screen readers to describe visual elements to users with visual impairments.
  • Incorporate captions for videos and transcripts for audio content to enhance the accessibility of your app for individuals with hearing impairments.
  • Frequently test your app and solicit feedback from your users, particularly those with accessibility concerns. Their insights can significantly contribute to creating accessible and user-friendly content.
  • Consider the cognitive aspects of accessibility, such as clear and concise content, consistent navigation, and avoiding user overwhelm with complex interfaces.
  • Keep your app up-to-date and promptly address accessibility issues. As technology advances, so do the standards and best practices for accessibility.


Mobile app accessibility isn’t just an option but a moral initiative and a smart business decision. It not only ensures compliance with legal regulations but also gives a sense of inclusivity, which, in turn, enhances user experience, opens up new opportunities for business, and improves your app’s discoverability. 

By following the above-mentioned mobile app accessibility guidelines and best practices, you can design a mobile app that will have a positive impact on people’s lives while being beneficial for your business. 

That’s all in this guide! If you need any help in understanding the mobile app accessibility concept or with your existing app, you can contact our experts at Mtoag Technologies anytime. Our team of design experts will get in touch with you to understand your problem and provide you with a reliable solution. 


Are Mobile Apps Required To Be Accessible?

Yes, mobile apps should be accessible to all, as mobile app accessibility is a legal obligation and moral initiative. 

Why Is Accessibility Important For Mobile Apps?

Mobile app accessibility ensures all users, irrespective of their physical disability, should get equal experience. Additionally, it would benefit your business as it would have a large user base. 

Who Needs Mobile App Accessibility?

Here’s a list of users who actually need mobile app accessibility: 

  • People with Cognitive Impairments
  • Users with Visual Impairments 
  • People with Auditory Impairments 
  • Users with Mobility Impairments

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