We illustrate our experience, gained over years of involvement in multiple research and commercial projects, in developing accessible mobile apps with cross-platform development frameworks (CPDF). These frameworks allow the developers to write the app code only once and run it on both iOS and Android. However, they have limited support for accessibility features, in particular for what concerns the interaction with the system screen reader. To study the coverage of accessibility features in CPDFs, we first systematically analyze screen reader APIs available in native iOS and Android, and we examine whether and at what level the same functionalities are available in two popular CPDF: Xamarin and React Native. This analysis unveils that there are many functionalities shared between native iOS and Android APIs, but most of them are not available neither in React Native nor in Xamarin. In particular, not even all basic APIs are exposed by the examined CPDF. Accessing the unavailable APIs is still possible, but it requires additional effort by the developers who need to write platform-specific code in native APIs, hence partially negating the advantages of CPDF. To address this problem, we consider a representative set of native APIs that cannot be directly accessed from React Native and Xamarin and we report challenges encountered in accessing them.

Developing Accessible Mobile Applications with Cross-Platform Development Frameworks / S. Mascetti, M. Ducci, N. Cantu, P. Pecis, D. Ahmetovic - In: ASSETS '21 / [a cura di] J. Lazar, J.H. Feng, F. Hwang. - [s.l] : ACM, 2021. - ISBN 9781450383066. - pp. 1-5 (( Intervento presentato al 23. convegno International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility tenutosi a virtual nel 2021 [10.1145/3441852.3476469].

Developing Accessible Mobile Applications with Cross-Platform Development Frameworks

S. Mascetti
Primo
;
D. Ahmetovic
Ultimo
2021

Abstract

We illustrate our experience, gained over years of involvement in multiple research and commercial projects, in developing accessible mobile apps with cross-platform development frameworks (CPDF). These frameworks allow the developers to write the app code only once and run it on both iOS and Android. However, they have limited support for accessibility features, in particular for what concerns the interaction with the system screen reader. To study the coverage of accessibility features in CPDFs, we first systematically analyze screen reader APIs available in native iOS and Android, and we examine whether and at what level the same functionalities are available in two popular CPDF: Xamarin and React Native. This analysis unveils that there are many functionalities shared between native iOS and Android APIs, but most of them are not available neither in React Native nor in Xamarin. In particular, not even all basic APIs are exposed by the examined CPDF. Accessing the unavailable APIs is still possible, but it requires additional effort by the developers who need to write platform-specific code in native APIs, hence partially negating the advantages of CPDF. To address this problem, we consider a representative set of native APIs that cannot be directly accessed from React Native and Xamarin and we report challenges encountered in accessing them.
accessibility; Cross platform development; mobile applications
Settore INF/01 - Informatica
ACM SIGACCESS
Book Part (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/904688
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