Importance of Mobile Accessibility in New Age eLearning
Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 “HCM Outlook” survey reported that mobile learning was among the top three learning priorities for companies. Markets and Markets reported that, “the mobile learning market may be worth $37.6 billion by 2020.”
The report also states that, “The international mobile learning market has emerged in the last ten years and is now rapidly growing than ever before. The amount of players in this market is escalating too, with private and public higher education institutions, education and testing companies, ministries of education, and quality assertion and authorization agencies. Moreover, the provision of enhanced flexibility among the mobile learning services offers new opportunities to the mobile learning service providers. While, diversified regulations and policies present across various regions still stands as a challenge faced by the vendors.”
Mobile Learning requires structure, flexibility and compliance with accessibility requirements to be termed as fully functional and efficient.
What is Mobile Accessibility?
According to W3C “Mobile accessibility refers to making websites and applications more accessible to people with disabilities when they are using mobile phones and other devices.”
This is the same for Mobile Learning too. While millennials and most employees may fine mobile learning easy and convenient to use, it is essential to also consider learners with disabilities (PwDs) and those who are aging. There are a specific set of guidelines that ensure that all mobile apps, web-pages and eLearning meets the accessibility standards. Authoring tools too come with presets to ensure the same.
Why is it Important?
Certain reports point out that by 2025 and the number of PwDs in industrialized nations will be around 1.3 billion. Assume that at least half of this populace comprises of the corporate learners. In such a situation accessibility is inevitable for the functioning of eLearning in general.
In fact, accessibility comes in handy for all under unfavorable conditions, in low light areas, in case of some physical injury- say a fracture for instance, text-to speech, voice recognition or GPS-based technologies are ways to stay prepared for contingencies.
It’s a general misconception that accessibility is only for PwDs. In fact, it gives mobile learning a competitive advantage if it meets the standards right from the start.
Most organizations feet that mobile accessibility elevates that cost, on the contrary following the guidelines makes the interface more user friendly that too at almost the same cost.
The basic principles of accessible design ensure that mobile learning covers the four major aspects:
- Perceptibility – Zoom, readability etc. based on the screen sizes.
- Operability – touch target size and spacing, touch screen gestures.
- Understandability – multiple layout orientations, consistent layout, grouping operable elements for the benefit of those with dexterity impairments, conventional box shapes for action buttons, proper tips and instructions where required.
- Robustness- multiple, convenient methods for data entry including speech to text.
Accessibility guidelines also cover the aspects around text customizations for Colorblind and visually-impaired users. Mobile accessibility is a necessary aspect and can essentially help in broadening the reach of learning. It is one way of future-proofing too.
As L&D providers we constantly strive to create mobile learning that is robust, secure and accessible. Feel free to contact us for any issues related to mobile learning.