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Automated Testing for Mobile App Accessibility

Save time and enhance accessibility on your app with automated testing. Learn how to meet accessibility standards with modern tools today.

In an era of relentless technological advancement, our dependency on mobile devices has exponentially increased. Mobile applications now play a pivotal role in everyday activities, ranging from managing finances to fostering social connections. Yet, the full potential of these applications is unlocked only when they are made accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This is where automated testing comes into play, offering a streamlined path to ensuring mobile app accessibility. This post guides testers on getting started with automated testing, specifically for enhancing app accessibility. 

Understanding Mobile App Accessibility 

Mobile app accessibility means making apps usable for everyone, including people with disabilities such as vision impairment, hearing loss, and motor difficulties. Accessibility involves designing and developing your app to allow all users to navigate, understand, and interact with it effectively. 

Accessibility Guidelines  

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) shares its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to help developers and testers make their web and mobile app content more accessible. These guidelines are based on four principles, known as POUR: 

  • Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presented in ways that users can perceive. 
  • Operable: User interface components and navigation must be operable by all users. 
  • Understandable: Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable. 
  • Robust: Content must be robust enough to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. 

Importance of Automating Accessibility Testing 

Automating accessibility testing for mobile apps is crucial for several compelling reasons, significantly impacting both the quality of the app and its usability across a broad spectrum of users. Here’s why automating accessibility testing holds paramount importance: 

  • Broadens User Reach: According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disability (or 16% of the world’s population). By ensuring your app is accessible, you cater to a wider audience, including people with disabilities.  
  • Ensures Legal Compliance: Many regions have legal requirements for digital accessibility (like the Disabilities Act in the U.S. and the European Accessibility Act in the EU). Automated testing helps ensure compliance with these laws, reducing the risk of legal repercussions and potential fines. 
  • Efficiency and Coverage: Manual testing for accessibility can be time-consuming and may not cover all aspects of the app. Automation can quickly test across multiple devices and platforms, ensuring comprehensive coverage and identifying issues that might be missed manually. 
  • Cost Effectiveness: Automating the testing process can save significant time and resources in the long run. It reduces the need for repeated manual testing with each new release or update, allowing for more frequent and thorough testing without additional cost. 
  • Early Detection of Issues: Automated testing can be integrated early in the development cycle, helping identify and rectify accessibility issues from the outset. This “shift-left” approach prevents costly reworks late in the development process and ensures accessibility is considered throughout the app’s design and development. 
  • Feedback and Improvement Cycle: Automated testing tools often provide detailed feedback and insights that can guide further development and improvements, fostering a cycle of continuous enhancement in accessibility. 

Challenges with Accessibility Testing 

Accessibility testing, crucial for creating inclusive software, comes with its own set of challenges. These challenges can impact the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of testing efforts, making it essential for teams to approach accessibility testing with strategic planning and the right tools. Here are some key challenges associated with accessibility testing: 

  • Diverse User Needs: People with disabilities use technology in varied ways, depending on their individual needs and preferences. Testing with this diversity in mind can be challenging due to the wide range of assistive technologies and adaptation strategies users might employ. 
  • Lack of Awareness and Expertise: There’s often a gap in awareness and expertise regarding accessibility within development and testing teams. This lack of knowledge can lead to inadequate testing. 
  • Manual Testing Requirements: While automated tools can identify many accessibility issues, some aspects, such as screen reader compatibility and keyboard navigation, require manual testing.  
  • Regulatory and Compliance Pressure: Navigating the legal requirements around accessibility can be complex, with regulations varying by country and industry. Staying compliant while also focusing on the user experience can be a balancing act. 
  • User Feedback Integration: Collecting and effectively integrating feedback from users with disabilities into the development cycle can be challenging but is essential for understanding real-world accessibility barriers. 

Getting Started with Automated Accessibility Testing 

Choose the Right Tools 

Select automated testing tools that are specifically designed for automating tests that can help detect and resolve accessibility issues. Tools like Sofy offer features tailored to mobile platforms, ensuring thorough testing across various devices and operating systems. 

Integrate Accessibility Testing Early 

Incorporate automated accessibility testing into the early stages of your development cycle. This proactive approach helps identify and rectify issues before they become entrenched in the app’s design. 

Understand the Accessibility Guidelines 

Familiarize yourself with the WCAG and other relevant accessibility standards. This knowledge will help you interpret the results from automated testing tools and make informed decisions on addressing issues. 

Create a Testing Checklist 

Develop a checklist based on common accessibility considerations, such as screen size adaptability, contrast ratios, touch target sizes, keyboard navigation, and more. Use this checklist to ensure your automated testing covers all necessary aspects of accessibility. 

Analyze and Act on Results 

Automated testing tools will provide you with a report of potential accessibility issues. Carefully analyze these findings and prioritize fixes based on their impact on user accessibility. 

Manual Testing and User Feedback 

While automated testing is invaluable, complement it with manual testing and feedback from users with disabilities. This holistic approach ensures that your app not only meets technical accessibility standards but also provides a genuinely user-friendly experience. 

Leveraging Sofy for Accessibility Testing 

Sofy offers an innovative platform for automated mobile app testing, including comprehensive tools for assessing accessibility. With Sofy, testers can: 

  • 100+ real devices you can choose from to test your app on.  
  • Automated testing features that can quickly identify accessibility issues in your app, like checking for sufficient contrast ratios and ensuring that touch targets are of adequate size and appropriately spaced. 
  • Manual testing options can help catch accessibility issues that require human judgment. Testers can interact with the app on various devices remotely for thorough manual assessments of accessibility features that automated tests might overlook. 
  • Integrate testing into continuous integration workflows for ongoing accessibility assurance. 


Making your mobile app accessible is not just a legal obligation or an ethical commitment; it’s a pathway to reaching a wider audience and enhancing user satisfaction. Automated testing for accessibility, particularly when leveraged through platforms like Sofy, offers a scalable and effective method to achieve this goal. By incorporating automated accessibility testing into your QA process, you ensure that your app is not only compliant with standards but truly accessible to all users, paving the way for a more inclusive digital world.