Jonathan Mosen’s Wellington-based start-up Appcessible helps mobile phone developers tweak their apps to make them useable for blind people.
Mosen says the business is unusual in the software testing game because it doesn’t use automation. Instead there are skilled blind iOS and Android experts who step through the testing.
In some cases they provide developers with a feedback report. Other times they work with the developers to make sure the software is accessible.
After testing, Appcessible helps connect the developers to blind customers.
For the most part blind people use screen readers – that turn on-screen text into spoke words – and Bluetooth enabled braille displays. Well designed apps should cope fine with these, but sometimes fine-tuning is necessary.
Appcessible is a great idea on a number of counts.
For developers making an app accessible to the blind means reaching a larger audience. That can mean more sales, but there’s more to it than that. Many apps are not for profit, they may provide a service or simply help people do something. Cutting off a sizeable audience doesn’t make sense.
At the same time, developers want to do the right thing. Mosen says the feedback he has had from developers suggests they want to make their apps accessible, but don’t know where to start.
It’s also good news for blind people. While there are a number of special apps designed specifically for blind people, most of the time they use the same apps as everyone else. Making that easier is important.