Importance of Natural Resources

Develop apps that are more inclusive and accessible for all users (Apps track – Playtime EMEA 2018)

BRANDON BARRAS: Think probably
what we want to try and say is this. This is probably–
Not quite doing it. MAXIM MAI: No. BRANDON BARRAS: What if
we– what if we try this? Try this. MAXIM MAI: Let’s try this. AUDIENCE: Woo! [APPLAUSE] BRANDON BARRAS: Think that was? MAXIM MAI: Oh, yeah. All right. Looks like people
maybe understood that a little bit better. BRANDON BARRAS: But I think
more importantly, what we’re actually trying to say is this. MAXIM MAI: So thank
you again, Nico. Welcome to our talk
on developing apps that are more accessible
and inclusive for all users. My name is Maxim. BRANDON BARRAS: And
I am Brandon Barras. And both Max and I sit on the
Google Business Development Team in New York. And as Nico mentioned,
we were lucky enough to steal Max away from the
Berlin team to New York. But I know he’s very excited
to be back here today presenting to this crowd. MAXIM MAI: Woo! Go Berlin. [APPLAUSE] So let’s have a very
quick show of hands. Who of you here were easily
able to read the slides and able to understand what
we were signing just now? OK, well, it’s not a
ton of hands up there. Should we quickly say
what we were doing? BRANDON BARRAS: Sure. MAXIM MAI: So I was saying
herzlich willkommen. BRANDON BARRAS: And
I was attempting to sign good afternoon. And here at Google, we
believe that we just wanted to give you
guys a small glimpse or a small taste of what it
might have been like to have an inaccessible experience, an
experience that wasn’t designed with your needs in mind. And here at Google, we
believe that everybody should be able to
have an accessible experience, especially when
it comes to your favorite apps and games. So let’s start by defining what
do we mean here at Google when we say accessibility? And accessibility refers to the
designs of products, devices, services, or environments that
works to include everybody. And what you’ll hopefully
see is that we’ve tried to bring the
principles of this statement into our deck today. So you’re going to see things
like clear and simple slides to convey our
messaging, high color contrast for the optimal
visual experience. We’re going to do our very
best to try and talk and pace slowly. So that can be sometimes
a problem from people who live in New York. So bear with us. And according to the World
Health Organization, about 15% of the world lives with
some sort of disability. That’s over 1 billion
people, over 1 billion people who require some
sort of accessibility need to live their
everyday lives. And accessibility
needs may be caused by disabilities that are
temporary or situational such as being deaf
or hard of hearing, having some sort of
motor impairment, having some sort of
cognitive disability that might impede
learning, or blindness and visual impairments. And I think it’s
probably safe to say that most folks in
this room have either been directly or
indirectly impacted by one of these categories. I know both Max and I
have personally been, which is why we’re excited to be
here talking to you guys today. And we wanted to
take a moment just to zoom in on one of those
categories, a category that’s probably most relevant
for the folks in this room if you’re creating
touch app experiences. And that’s looking at the
over 250 million people who live with some sort
of visual impairment on a daily basis. And we really just wanted to
give you a little more context to the size of that user base,
to the size of that audience. And if you look at that
number, that number is larger than the
country of Brazil. It would be the fifth largest
country behind Indonesia and the United States. And that number doesn’t
even take into account the additional
342 million people that live with some sort of
colorblindness every day. And creating an app
experience that’s accessible for your
users not only helps folks with disabilities. But think of a time in your
life where maybe you’ve had an inaccessible experience,
either with your favorite app or game or just with
life in general. And beyond disabilities,
accessibility can be very situational. Think of a time
where maybe you’ve been in a crowded
restaurant, and you’re trying to hear audio
or a conversation. Or maybe you’re in a
low lighting situation. And you haven’t been able to
see your phone or your app or anything in the
way you wanted to. Or think of a time
where you’ve just been frustrated in any situation. Maybe you’re holding a baby. Maybe you’re holding
a bag of groceries. Maybe you’re holding anything. And you haven’t been able
to interact with something the way that you want to
or the way you expect to. It can be very frustrating. And when we talk to our
developer ecosystem, we often hear that accessibility
is top of mind and something that they’re looking
to prioritize. But we found a much different
and frankly, a little scarier, result when we ran our quarterly
developer satisfaction survey. And during that survey, we
asked our developer ecosystem how they were approaching
accessibility, and more importantly, how they were
approaching accessibility use cases and how they
were testing for them. And what we found
is that nearly 80% of the ecosystems
who responded said that they don’t accommodate
for accessibility at all. Obviously, that’s something that
both Max and I want to change, both by bringing more awareness
to the topic, the importance of the topic, as well as
outlining all the great tools and resources that you
as developers can start to take advantage of to
create more accessible and inclusive experiences. And the good news is is
that we’re here to help. And so I wanted to walk you
guys through the three sections that we’re going
to touch on today. And the first one is really
that accessibility is built into Google’s core DNA. And so Max is going
to take some time to walk you through
all the great work that our Android team has done
to bring accessibility directly into the platform. I’m then going to take
some time to walk you through the different
tools and resources you have at your fingertips
that you can start to take advantage of immediately
to make a more accessible app experience. And then we’re both going
to talk to you a little more about the proactive
approach we at Play want to take throughout the
rest of 2018 and into 2019 to ensure that accessibility
is being prioritized and is top of mind
for the ecosystem. And with that, I’m going
to hand it over to Max. MAXIM MAI: Cheers, Brandon. At Google, one of our
guiding philosophies is to organize the
world’s information and make it universally
accessible and useful. Well, the Android team has
really taken the accessible part to heart. So I’m going to walk
you through just a few of the examples that make
Android more accessible. First off, out of the
250 million users with– people in the world with
visual impairments, 36 million are legally blind. These users can use technologies
such as screen readers or Braille displays to
access their Android devices. Because of these
technologies, this is how a blind user
might dim their screen to increase their
privacy but retain full usability of their phone. TalkBack, which is
Google’s screen reader, will add spoken
and haptic feedback to your device to make
it usable without ever looking at the screen. In the next section, Brandon
will talk a little bit about what you can do to make
your app work really well with screen readers. Select to Speak helps the
over 200 million people who have mid to severe
vision impairments. So what you can do if
you have TalkBack– if you have Select to Speak
enabled, you touch your screen. And the phone reads
back to you or describes what you have touched. As it turns out, Select to Speak
is also super useful for people who have difficulty processing
written or visual information or who have learning
disabilities. Many Android users suffer from
motor disabilities or motor impairments. So this can range from partial
to total paralysis, limited dexterity in the
hands or fingers, as well as limited mobility. There are various technologies
that help these users interact with their devices such as
keyboard access or voice control or head tracking
or eye tracking. Another technology
is Switch Access. So a switch, it’s very simple. It’s basically a big button that
you can press with your hand or with your head. And you can fully
control your device. Finally, I want to talk a
little bit about the Android Accessibility Menu, which
was announced at I/O. So this is designed
also with people in mind that have motor impairments. So it allows you with a
shortcut on the home screen or on any screen, it allows
you to quickly access functions like starting the
Google Assistant, opening the app switcher,
viewing your notifications, as well as taking screenshots. Now I know some of you
might know this example, but I think it’s super powerful. So what I’d like you to do
is take out your phones. I’m sure all of you
have phones on you. So it’s very, very simple. Don’t be scared. So what I’d like you to do
is to take a screenshot. So taking a screenshot is– that work? Fairly easy– [LAUGHTER] –when you’re on stage. So now try doing the same but
using only your weaker hand. So I’m going to try it. I’m probably going to fail. So it’s quite difficult, OK? Wouldn’t it be nice if there
were some sort of easy menu to do it and launch it. So having a disability or some
sort of accessibility need can be super, super
difficult or make using your phone
super, super difficult. So adding little tweaks
to your application or to your operating system
can make a huge difference. For a more complete
overview of all the Android Accessibility
features, I’d love you to go visit this go link
or this short link here, which will take
you to a video recording of the accessibility
session at this year’s I/O. And it gives you
a great overview of all the accessibility
features built into Android and all the cool features
we’re adding and launching in the not too distant future. So Brandon will now
come up and walk you through all the
tools and resources that Play and Google
has created to help you make your apps more accessible. BRANDON BARRAS: Thank you, Max. All right. So let’s talk about what
you as Android developers can do to ensure that
you’re taking advantage of all the great features
that Max just walked through, as well as what Play
is doing to help invest this group ensure
you’re meeting this needs– meeting the needs of this
enormous user groups. So by show of hands, how
many folks in the audience have heard of the Android
Accessibility Guidelines? All right. So that’s about right. So we launched the guidelines
a few years ago as a place where app developers
can access resources to help make their apps more
accessible and inclusive. And what we found when we
ran that same developer satisfaction survey is that
nearly 30% of developers told us they never even
heard of the guidelines. And only 5% said
they knew them well. So again, that’s something
that we want to change today. And so as we look at the Android
Accessibility Guidelines, it’s an area that provides
documentation, developer resources, and sample
code as developers look to either implement
or improve accessibility in their apps. And the great part
about this resource is it not only has the
broader documentation. But it also has a number
of best practices, things like ensuring that
you’re labeling your UI elements correctly so that
your app works with things like screen readers, making
sure that you have large touch targets so that folks
with motor impairments or like me, have fumbly fingers,
can easily navigate your app, and ensuring that you’re
providing proper color contrast so that users with
low vision who might be using their screens dimmed can have
the optimal viewing experience. And I think the important
part to note here is that a lot of
these updates don’t necessitate code restructuring
or heavy dev resources. Rather, it’s taking
a moment to think through the subtle details
of how users are interacting and using your app and ensuring
that you’re providing them with that experience. And here at Google, as I hope
most folks in this audience know, we have Material Design. Material Design is
our design language which combines the
principles of good design with science and technology. And within our broader
Material Design overviews and, we also
have an entire section dedicated to accessibility. And within that
section, we outline how developers can create
really clear, robust, and specific experiences so your
users can navigate and utilize the app the way that
they want to use it and the way that it’s
meant to be used. So we’d encourage you to
head over to and check it out. And probably the most key
and important component within this process to make
an accessible experience is testing your app. Encourage you to test,
test, test, and test again. So within the
guidelines, we’ve also published a getting
started guide which outlines the different
methodologies and the ways you can take– go about testing your
app’s accessibility. And what we found is that
the most accessible apps have really taken
advantage of all three of these different methodologies
to ensure that nothing is missed when it
comes to the usability and accessibility of your app. And here at Google,
folks might not be aware that we also have
a first party app called the Accessibility Scanner. The Accessibility Scanner
is available to download on the Play Store and
can be used with anybody without technical background. You download the app. And it scans the
accessibility capabilities on any app you already have
downloaded on your phone. And it helps identify
things like touch target sizes, low color contrast,
content labeling, and more. And what it does is
that it gives you subtle suggestions on
how to improve that or it points you to the proper
resources to address it. So again, we encourage you to
head over to the Play Store, give it a download, and start
playing around with it today. And finally, as we talked
about earlier today, we have the pre-launch reports,
which help our developers as they upload their
APKs or their app bundles to identify a number
of different issues across a number of
different Android devices before your app goes public,
including accessibility. And since launching
accessibility in the pre-launch
reports this past July, we’ve helped flag
over 35 million issues across 500,000 apps. And while this seems like
a fairly large number, I think the thing to point out
here is that a lot of these are very simple fixes,
things that you’re able to fix before you
publish your app publicly. And so we again encourage
you to take a look at the pre-launch reports
around accessibility to ensure you’re providing
your users with the most inclusive and
accessible experience. With that, I’m going
to hand it back to Max who’s going to
talk about what we’re doing throughout the rest
of the year and into 2019 around accessibility. MAXIM MAI: Cheers, Brandon. Some of you may be wondering,
well, this looks beneficial. But how much work is this going
to be for me or for my team? Also, how will I be able to
prioritize this on my roadmap? Well, we were thinking exactly
the same earlier this year. And we decided to take a look. So I’m going to walk
you through what we’ve done since this summer. In fact, we got together
with a couple of you. We got together
with 19 developers from all the global regions. And we did a Play
accessibility review pilot. And we wanted to do two things. We wanted to
understand and learn how can we review apps for
accessibility at scale. And more importantly,
we wanted to understand how difficult would
it be for developers to make fixes to make
their app more accessible. And so here are the results. Here you’ll see
the top nine issues that were discovered
during the pilot. You can see the
frequency by which they were discovered on the
y-axis and the difficulty of fixing them on the x-axis. And I think the
key takeaway here is that a lot of the frequent
fixes were easily fixed. But I want to look at the
two most frequent fixes– two most frequent issues in
a little bit more detail. So let’s look at
an issue that was seen in almost every
single app we reviewed during the pilot,
which is missing or ambiguous hints and labels. So imagine you’re using
your phone, and you’re blind or you have severe
vision impairment, and you’re using
a screen reader. And focus on the
search box at the top. So the screen reader would read
this as try Beijing edit box. And if you don’t have any
visual context, as a user, you would not know
that this is where you go to search for
your next destination. The fix for this is actually
super, super simple. All you would have to do is
change the hint text here and maybe call it something like
search for a place to visit. And immediately, users
of screen readers would have a much easier
time navigating your app. The really cool thing
here is that this also improves the usability
for any user of your app, not just users of screen
readers because it’s clearer what you intend this box to do. By the way, we’ve anonymized
all of these examples because of the sensitive nature of
the accessibility topic. So these are real examples, but
you won’t recognize the apps. Now the second problem, which
was the second most frequent during the pilot, is that
users of screen readers were losing context
because of the focus order with which the screen readers
are going through the apps. Now the issue here is that if
you’re using linear navigation, it may result in
your focus falling on secondary actions like
Share or Save to Favorites before the focus order
comes to the main title or the main element of the card. And so as a screen
reader user, I don’t know what I’m saving to
Favorites or what I’m sharing. So that’s confusing. That’s an issue. The fix– we classified it,
I think, as medium to hard– is you modify the focus order
for navigating your content elements. And then you land– the focus
lands on the main element first. And then the user can
Save to Favorites. And they’ll know why
they’re doing it. So one thing to think about
with accessibility fixes is how easy is it to make
the app more accessible. The other angle you could take
is well, what’s my motivation? How does accessibility fit
into my company’s mission? So Lyft, the ride sharing
app, the mobility app, was one of the
pilot participants. And we asked them what
is your motivation for participating in this pilot
for investing in accessibility? And the interesting answer
that we got is well, our core mission is
improving people’s lives through the world’s
best transportation. And we think that having
a highly accessible app is part of that mission. And so they’re using that
to justify their investment and doubling down on making
their app more accessible. And I think that’s a
really nice story to share. So if you’re
thinking about this, think about how it
fits into your mission. Now the accessibility pilot
was a really good experience and a very good
learning experience for both us at Play as
well as for the developers that participated. But we realized that this
was just the first step. So going forward, we’re
going to double down. The first thing
we’re doing is we’re including accessibility feedback
in all platform design reviews that Play will do. For those of you who don’t
know, a platform design review is similar but more
extensive than the review we do when we feature
apps on the Store. So now, you can ask for this
and have your app reviewed for accessibility. And we’ll send you
really easy to digest feedback and suggestions. The second thing we’re
doing starting in 2019, we’re going to provide
further opportunities for highly accessible apps to
be discovered on the Store. This may mean that when we
make editorial decisions that we look at how
accessible is this app when we decide to feature. And the other thing
that we’re doing is we’re investigating
how to surface highly accessible apps in
search and throughout the Store. Well, preparing
for this session, we met a bunch of very, very
amazing and dedicated people who are working on accessible. It was inspiring to see their
passion as well as the progress that they’ve made. So I wanted to say or we
wanted to say a big thank you, all, for joining
and taking the time to learn about this
very important topic. And if you were not working
on accessibility before or not prioritizing it,
we really, really hope that we inspired
you to take action. BRANDON BARRAS: And
I would just say if you’re getting
started on accessibility, please definitely take
advantage of these two links on the screens. There’s a great video
on YouTube around what’s new in accessibility
on Android and then also an article that gives
an accessibility overview on We’d highly suggest
taking a look. Definitely make sure you
reach out to your BD manager, your contact at Play,
for a platform design review that Max mentioned. And if you’ve already
invested in accessibility, please come find us. Come talk to us. We’d love to hear why
you prioritized it, any insights you can
provide, and partner to see how we can bring
that information back to the ecosystem. And if you walk away with
one thing from this session, we hope that it’s not
only are you creating an experience for folks
with disabilities to have an accessible
experience, that bringing in these core
functionalities to your app will make it a better user
experience for all users. So we thank you. And I don’t believe we
have time for questions, according to this
screen, unless we do. But we thank you. [APPLAUSE]

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