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This is the "Mobile Technology & Apps" page of the "UDL-Universe: A Comprehensive Universal Design for Learning Faculty Development Guide" guide.
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Last Updated: Jan 31, 2018 URL: http://udluniverse.v1.libguides.com/udl Print Guide RSS Updates

Mobile Technology & Apps Print Page

Prominence of Mobile Technology & Apps

With the ever-growing usage of mobile devices to connect to the Internet, users with special needs, such as the blind community, are finding it difficult to keep up. Most major cell phone manufacturers and service providers have made some effort toward accessibility. However, too often, their offerings fall short of total access to the disabled community.

It is important to remember that not all mobile users are equipped with the latest technology which may better address accessibility. Software developers, such as those who build mobile websites and mobile applications should be aware of the current status of accessible technology on mobile devices in order to ensure equal access to all users.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, most cell phone carriers offer only a limited selection of devices with built-in accessibility features and have so far made little effort to correct this shortcoming. However, these mobile phones may still require third-party applications to enable more-comprehensive access to people with special needs.

In addition, some mobile phones that do not come with assistive technology out-of-the-box allow for third-party applications to be installed to help gain access to those with special needs. Fortunately, with the growing popularity of smart phones and apps, these third-party applications have become easier to obtain and are increasing in accessibility (see Accessibility and iOS 5 link in the right column).

Adaped from AccessibleTech, "Mobile Web Accessibility" by Tim Shelton.

Mobile Technologies, Accessibility, and UDL

The 2012 Horizon Report cites Mobile Technology and Apps as a prominent "here and now" technology.  We continue to experience rapid development in both numbers and functionality of mobile apps.  Fortunately, many of these are accessible to all users, given the increased attention being paid to accessibility and universal design of both hardware and software.

  • How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone
    At first many blind people thought that the iPhone would never be accessible to them, with its flat glass screen. But the opposite has proved true.
  • Applying UDL to Mobile Devices and Learning
    This site includes videos demonstrating how UDL and mobile learning are a potent mix that can support a diverse range of learner needs.
  • Accessibility in iOS5  
    Luis Perez, self-proclaimed "blind techie" gives a thorough analysis of iOS5 and accessibility features.
  • UDL and Mobile Apps blog
    An open discussion and sharing of how mobile apps can be used to create digital learning environments using the UDL framework.
  • Accessibility, Innovation and Sustainability at AT&T
    Highlights telecommunications company AT&T's efforts to integrate Universal Design (designing products and services for the greatest number of users) and accessibility in product development, customer services and other areas.
  • Andriod Apps Help the Blind Navigate Around Town
    They rarely get much press attention, but some of the greatest features to come out of the new era of smartphones are related to accessibility. In October 2010, blind iPhone user Austin Seraphin wrote about how the device had changed his life.
  • iPad Opens World to a Disabled Boy
    Since he received the iPad, Owen (8) has been trying to read books, and playing around with apps like Air Guitar. And, one day, he typed out on the keypad, “I want to be Han Solo for Halloween.”
  • Skype Video Calling for iOS
    Deaf/hard of hearing can see caller and lip read.
  • 7 Things You Should Know About Mobile App Development
    Users increasingly expect to be able to do virtually everything on a mobile device that they can do on a laptop (if not more). With mobile apps, colleges and universities have an opportunity to ensure that accessibility standards are included in the upfront design.

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