UBank has released a “first of its kind” open source toolkit to assist developers in building iOS apps that meet the needs of individuals with a disability.
While originally built as an internal testing tool by and for the use of UBank’s in-house app development team, the NAB-owner challenger bank has graciously offered its ‘Accessibility Kit’ to the public as open source software, accessible via GitHub.
The user-friendly testing app is designed to allow all iOS contributors – including developers, designers and product owners – to self-audit their apps through their devices, without requiring them to connect to a development environment.
The app automatically checks for and displays warnings for various accessibility issues, particularly for vision-impaired but also cognitive and neurologically impaired users, including text types, colour contrasts, custom colours, background and foreground colours, brand colours, minimum and maximum sizing, and on-screen touchpoint visibility, among others.
UBank acknowledged that while accessibility development tools do currently exist in the market, there is, it said, “currently no single tool that meets the needs of all iOS app contributors, spanning developers, designers, testers and product owners, given their limitations in scope, functionality and usability”.
“Developing a mobile app that adheres to guidelines for Accessibility is critically important and yet the only accessibility guidance tools on the market were either locked to a specific development platform or didn’t have enough features or customisation options,” said UBank chief executive Glen Aiton.
“The team saw the gap and spent time creating something we can now release as an Open Source tool, with the hope that it can benefit people around the globe as all iOS contributors can leverage it and have the chance to improve the accessibility of their applications.”
“In making UBank’s Accessibility Kit publicly available, we want to ensure technology fulfils its purpose – to connect people and make everyone’s lives better,” Aiton said.
The open source kit, for now, remains limited to the Apple iOS app developers.
According to figures by the Australian Network on Disability, one in five Australians currently experiences some form of disability, including more than 357,000 individuals experiencing low vision – a figure set to rise to 564,000 in the next decade.