You can help meet the needs of a diverse group of users by designing applications that people with disabilities or special needs can use.

Following the best practices for designing accessible applications can benefit a broad range of users, including the typical users of your application.

Best practices

Stay focused on the user's immediate task. Display only the information that users need at any one moment. For example, simplify data selection and presentation by displaying information in a logical order.

Group components, and simplify according to common usage or common functionality to minimize the cognitive load for users. Use the least number of buttons, or other clickable areas, as possible.

Use components consistently so that users can recognize common UI components easily. For example, use buttons to initiate actions. Avoid using other components, such as hyperlinks, to initiate actions.

Make actions recoverable. For example, if the user clicks on the wrong button, they should be able to go back to where they were and try again easily.

Device showing the Settings app magnified for accessibility.

Provide enough space between components so that users can distinguish one control from another and you can make clickable items such as buttons slightly larger. Narrow the chances that the user might click the wrong button by mistake.

Pay attention to color. Use a high contrast color scheme for your design, which can make elements easier to distinguish from the background colors of your UI and help define which control has focus. Avoid relying solely on color as a way to communicate (for example, using colored buttons with no text label).

Allow the user to change font sizes. Users with visual impairments often increase the font size on their BlackBerry smartphones to enhance readability, so your app should follow their preferences.

Add labels or captions to images. A user interface that consists of images and only a few text elements that can be read by screen readers is difficult for users with visual impairments. If your UI relies on images, make sure each image has alternate text that can be read aloud by a screen reader.

Include closed captioning with your media. If you are including video with your app, consider adding closed captioning support.

Expose UI elements to assistive technologies to make them easier to interpret. For example, set the accessibility properties for controls so they can be easily identified by a screen reader.

Consider how your app behaves when users turn on assistive technologies, such as screen magnification, a larger font size, or a screen reader. For example, is your UI laid out logically so its flow makes sense when read aloud by a screen reader?

Make each gesture easy to discover. If a gesture applies only to a particular part of the UI, make sure that you explain the mechanics to the user.

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