Working with Accessibility in Mind

Bring the macOS accessibility feature toggle into the menu bar and quickly inspect your projects with as little as two clicks.

In my experience accessibility is an often neglected aspect in software development. The hurdles to engineer software more accessible differ vastly based on the platform and tools used for development. Some software and its foundational use cases make it even harder. It can be a complex topic.

Recently I have listened to the podcast episode “Accessibility on Apple’s platforms” by John Sundell. It reminded me to think about accessibility in the new project I am currently setting up at work.

Have a look at the accessibility section in the macOS system preferences. There you can discover a lot of features and options how macOS can help people with impairments to use it and apps. I usually do not use accessibility features but only temporarily to inspect the app I am working on. The bottom check mark for always showing the menu in the macOS menu bar has turned out to be the most valuable switch in these preferences.

Screenshot of the accessibility menu in the macOS menu bar

With as little as two clicks accessibility features like voice over or higher user interface contrast can be enabled. This way you can quickly and easily evaluate by yourself how people experience your app with certain accessibility features enabled. Often there are only small changes necessary to improve (in example) voice over experience a lot.

About The Author

Peter Thomas Horn is a professional software developer at Open-Xchange specialized on the Apple platform. He previously worked a decade across the full stack of various web technologies. Originally started with Java on Windows at the age of 12 years. While staying humble in throwing around buzzwords like "VR" and "machine learning" he occasionally experiences problems and the fitting solutions considered worth sharing.