Android Accessibility Testing

2 min read

The JetRuby team prioritizes the experience of our product users, placing significant emphasis on the Android accessibility of our interfaces. This article explores the tools we employ to guarantee a user-friendly experience while developing Android applications.

Android Accessibility Scanner

19.04 Android Accessibility Testing img 2 development

Google has developed a tool to improve Android accessibility for users with disabilities. It’s called Android Accessibility Scanner, and it scans the graphical user interface and describes the accessibility issues found. It also gives recommendations for fixing them. For instance, it could make controls bigger or add text labels, increase image contrast, change a font, etc. All of that will improve the usability and accessibility of the interface.

For that matter, the following components are being tested:

  • Content shortcut;
  • Touch targets;
  • Clickable elements;
  • Text and image contrast.

You can use Accessibility Scanner on smartphones and tablets running Android 6.0 or higher. It’s also available for download on Google Play. 

How it works

The Accessibility Scanner application does not require special technical skills. It is recommended for ordinary people who can file a report on the problematic interface and send it to the developer. Our developers, though, usually use this tool themselves since the results of its tests may look unintelligible to someone unfamiliar with the app-developing process.

From a technical point of view, the Android Accessibility Scanner is a so-called accessibility service or an application that runs in the background and interacts with the Android OS accessibility API to provide additional functionality for users with disabilities. 

After opening the interface that needs to be tested, the scanner will sequentially describe all the issues found and offer options for fixing them. It’s also possible to display all the problems found in a single list and send it as a report by email.

The Android Accessibility Scanner is an excellent tool for basic testing, but it has a significant drawback. The scanner only detects apparent issues, like text size, touch target size, missing image shortcuts, etc. In more complex cases, it’s not that effective, which is why it can’t compete with real manual testing. 


19.04 Android Accessibility Testing img 1 development

TalkBack is Android’s built-in screen reader. When TalkBack is on, users can interact with their Android-powered device without seeing the screen. Users with visual impairments might rely on TalkBack when using our applications, so it’s essential to ensure there aren’t any issues. 

How it works

People with vision impairments use their fingers to “explore” the interface, and when they come across any element that can be acted on or any block of text, TalkBack helps. For text (including time and notifications), the screen reader service tells precisely what’s written on the screen. What concerns clickable elements? TalkBack explains what button it is and lets people act with a double tap or move to the next element without triggering anything. It’s pretty well thought out, making it possible for people with visual impairments to use audible prompts and do anything on their smartphone.

What we test for

  • Are all the elements adequately labeled, allowing TalkBack to read them to the user?
  • Are notifications or popup windows being read to the user?
  • Can users swipe through a page to navigate and explore every element?
  • Can users use the double-tap feature to explore the application or pick specific elements to explore randomly?

Testing Android accessibility explains how easy it is to navigate, access, and comprehend its content. 

Keeping Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in mind, we perform manual and automated Accessibility testing. Thus, to avoid pitfalls, we usually incorporate Accessibility testing in the early stages of the Software Development Life Cycle. Read more about accessibility here.

Interested to learn more development tips? Follow our blog, and don’t miss our new article! 

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