Mobile device accessibility recognised

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Thursday, 5 March 2015 14:37pm

The work of mobile developers in improving access for people with disabilities has been recognised at the 20th Global Mobile Awards.

20th Global Mobile Awards (GSMA) logo

The Global Mobile Awards “showcases the latest and best mobile products, apps, devices, services, and initiatives to the industry and the world”, according to the GSMA, the organisers of the awards and the global body representing mobile network operators.

The awards are also part of the Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile device industry event held annually in Barcelona, Spain.

Accessibility forms the basis of two of the event’s award categories: the Best Mobile App, Service or Initiative for Accessibility & Inclusion, and the Best Mobile Device for Accessibility & Inclusion.

The winner of the best mobile app, service or initiative was awarded to OtoSense for its Sound Recognition app. According to OtoSense, the app enables Deaf and hard of hearing people to see audio alerts and other sounds on their smartphones and tablets.

With the app, users can record various sounds around their house, such as their front door bell ringing, or the an oven alarm chiming. The app then recognises those sounds whenever it hears them and alerts the user to those sounds via the combination of vibration and on-screen text.

A video of the app in action is available on YouTube.

The winner of the best mobile device award went to manufacturer Doro for its Doro Liberto 820 smartphone. According to Doro, the device is “designed with the physical and emotional needs of seniors in mind”.

The device is designed for older members of the community who may have not used a smartphone before, so may need coaching in how to best use the device.

As such, the Liberto 820 features an in-built coach, online tutorials, remote management, easy set-up assistance and suggestions of functions as the device is used.

The recognition, among mobile network operators and device manufacturers, of the need for improved mobile device accessibility is an important step forward.

Mobile device usage is soaring globally. The rate of growth is so fast that global consultancy Deloitte expects that about one billion people will transition from ‘dumb’ phones to smartphones during 2015 alone.

The rate of growth is so fast that the global accessibility standards for app developers and device manufacturers to follow are struggling to catch up.

With that in mind, Access iQ, a service of Media Access Australia, has put together some guidance on mobile applications and web accessibility.

If you’re part of an organisation looking to create accessible mobile experiences, why not contact Media Access Australia by calling +61 2 8218 9320 or complete the enquiry form on our Contact page for more information.

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