who should take the blame for accessibility, us, or devs?

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Accessibility Advocacy

Hello all. i was thinking, see if any of you agree here. All to often, we read the updates, deciding whether or not to update an app. If you have auto updates on, you probably just deal with accessibility issues, or write the developers, or perhaps post here or other groups to comiserate with others. I am giving you a new theory, blaming the developers for lackluster descriptions. Let me give two examples, although there are many more. Lyft, the taxi and bus alternative
For version after version, we are greeted with the same bland description. "We update the app every two weeks. Update to the latest version so you can enjoy using the app," or some blend of the text I have quoted. I was outside of a hospital recent, late at night, needing a ride home. I called a Lyft, not using them before, they were the faster of the two. Note I do not put one app better or faster in any case, I just mean time wise. So i get the name of John doe, will arrive. My phone never rang, yet it showed me he called. Consequently I was charged a five dollar no show. I was in the main entrance of the hospital, with witnesses that saw the person drive by. I called Uber, within minutes I was safely riding home. i contact Lyft, they tell me sorry, refund my money. I helpfuly suggest they tell users what model of vehicle or the tag number, as without that information, I was unable to procure assistance in flagging the jerk down. The Lyft support person urged me she would recommend my feedback, yet on wednesday of last week, the same copy paste method of deescription was given. I updated, I have no faith my concerns were met with anything other then pressing the "Delete," key.
Roger, i have posted about the battery issue, an hour ago, the update was live. Again, roger simply spit up, the use Roger with Siri, use Siri use our three D touch menu, and the widgits. Absolutely nowhere is it mentioned we did hear you, we fixed the issue. This was supposedly fixed, but because they couldn't take the time to do anything other then vomit up the canned response, how are we supposed to realize anything we want whether trivial or a major accessibility flaw has been fixed? i'm not blaming us, for the downloading of apps, I'm blaming us for being sucked into the vortex of the we just put the update up, so download it or not, your choice, attitude some companies have. Amazon kind of does this behavior, facebook and Messenger I can assure you all do. Oh, Uber does to some extent, though I have seen a little more forethought. So i'm curious, when you read the canned responses, how may take the flying leap to download the app, only to be either surprised, or wish you'd stayed on that version you liked? Just food for thought.

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Submitted by Ekaj on Monday, October 3, 2016

I don't own an i-device but felt the need to comment here. I think the developers of these apps are most certainly to blame here. Better descriptions would definitely help out. Users of these apps would then be able to determine whether or not to download them. I've got an example, but I think this is on the opposite end of the spectrum more or less. Earlier this year I found out about a service called Hoopla. For those of you who haven't heard of it before, it is a service through local libraries that lets you borrow and then stream media for free. Said media is automatically returned after a certain period of time, and there is a button which allows for manual return. I don't know if this is available everywhere yet, but my local library and at least one other library which I was at has the service. Please note I've only used their website, so their mobile app may be a bit different. When I first registered on their website and began navigating around, I noticed some accessibility issues. Had I not had sighted assistance, these issues would've been show-stoppers. I reported these issues to the Hoopla devs but didn't hear anything for awhile. So I figured I'd contact them again. But not so fast. I then received an email from them about an upgrade to their website which was to take place a couple days after the email was sent out. So I waited a couple days, and then tried logging in again with my library credentials. I was pleasantly surprised to find a more accessible site. I jumped for joy at the thought of being able to borrow material all by myself, and stream it all by myself. I don't know whether to be happy or sad that the Hoopla devs never responded to my feedback, but as I commented to one of my tutors these devs certainly did improve things. I haven't used the service much in recent weeks due to time constraints, but you can bet I'll go back there eventually and borrow more stuff. Incidentally, when I sent them feedback regarding the improvements in their service, I immediately got an email back. It was more or less a canned response, but I'm very happy with the way things turned out.

Submitted by Siobhan on Monday, October 3, 2016

Hi. I'm very glad you responded, thank you. I can certainly see your joy at having your accessibility questions taken careof, maybe they had to do usability functional testing keyboard focus following the mouse, etc. I wasn't trying to be angry about the blame, i'm just tired of people saying in huge letters, this app is bad because it's not accessible. Well it might be for you, not for me, or vice versa. So I guess my end result is pretty simple. Take the chance to download the app even if the description may not be what you want. You usually won't read my anger about an app not working, i'll be confused, and of course no one wants to comment. we're set on the bitch and moan mentality most ofus do. I'm not saying you do this, please understand. I'm just sick of seeing a ton of commenting people with oh this sucks that isn't good blah blah blah, when constructive please fix this, works much better. Let's also be honest, name me a figure of how many developers are on here? We can't simply because if apps aren't developed in Swift, it might be another app developing. anyway thank you again. i want to create positive discussion.

Submitted by Igna Triay on Monday, October 3, 2016

It depends. Personally, I have talked to some app devs, who value my feedback a lot, at yes, work to improve their apps, one such example of this is the dev of adventure to fait battle arena, and yes, the updated descriptions are very clear, and it says something if vo improvements have been made, or what improvements have been made. I believe that the question is not, whom to blame, but rather, who cares enough to make a change?

Submitted by Dawn on Monday, October 3, 2016

This is a _major pain point for me! I had an example a month ago.
I searched for allergy apps & found two that were free so I tried them both. One I tried was totally inaccessible (no buttons were labeled etc), so I deleted it. The other one I tried was so easy! I didn't have to set up an account or anything! The only thing I had to do was say if i wanted notifications or not. At first I thought, `ok what's the catch/caveat?` I played with the app for a few days & fell in love with it! Needless to say, I think a developer is to blame! I understand not ever?thing is going to b accessible. Some have no idea & until someone emails them or contacts them, they will never know. Some however, just do not care! It's a shame but that's sadly what happens. What they don't realize is that they can open up to a whole knew market! To the developers that try & do make accessible apps, I applaud you & am routing for you! Even if it takes you a few tries so get there, it's still good when your app is finally accessible! To the rest, I say please bisten to feedback $ get educated about voiceover & how it works & about all other accessibility features on apple products!

I have 1 piece of advice that may work for some things but not others. It really depends on the situation. If you can, only download a free app. If for nothing else, just to try it & see how accessible it truly is. I try & avoid spending money & so far with the exception of a weather app that I'd like to get, I've been able to avoid it. I think it your afp costs money that should be even more of an insentive for you to make it accessible. Because if we buy an app & it turns out not to work with voiceover, we're out that money. There is no refund like when you go into a shoe store to buy shoes.

I will say this however. So far in the few months i've had my ipad I've been pretty lucky 1st, 2nd & 3rd tries finding accessible apps that range in levels of accessibility. & some types of apps, like a weather app or allergy app, are harder to find than others such as a music or radio app.

Submitted by Siobhan on Monday, October 3, 2016

In reply to by Igna Triay

That's a bit cavalier of you, suggesting now that we should all stand up to make our voices heard. Mine supposedly was, yet I haven't seen change as of yet. so I've done my dilligence where's the commendation for that? Instead, you are suggesting the word blame may not be accurate, except what else would you call it? I was giving a clear cut example of what has not worked, you glossed over it, and only showed your positive experience. I'll leave the fact that this was a game of which I have zero interest out of it, and ask you once again. I gave you concrete examples of apps which do not, meet the helpfulness of clear descriptions, are you aware of any such apps that fit this? Because if you aren't then congratulations on proving the other side of the coin. I'm well aware Twitteriffic clearly defines what's been fixed.

Hi dawn, thank you for returning this post to how i intended it. I intended for positive constructive feedback of should we take a little responsibility? I've already dealt with the other poster only giving a poor example of something already done, I'm not asking for agreement on apps you love because they have beenfixed, i'm simply wondering how valuable our criticisms become, when after clear contact, we don't have any solvable updates. I'm not stupid enough to think one email will solve it, nor will one of the posts on here, let's be brutally honest who seriously knows about Apple products accessibility, let alone this site? Very few, and only when either we drag them into the sunlight from their dark hole, or they actually do a bit of research.

Here's a shocker, I'm also putting us in a little bit of the responsibility category. Why? It's simple, some of our goals may be unrealistic at best, absolutely insane at worst. Examples of that, I cangive is that pokeymon go thing. When we have found out the game engine itself wasn't accessible, the lid of the coffin should've come down. there was no viable way to have a game like that, so focused on using maps where we couldn't get accurate timely information, we needed sighted help, that was an app to allow others to play it. Sure we could play with sighted friends, partners, and if that's how you choose to make it accessible awesome for you. We need to research on bing, Google or the like, the game, maybe find out how it's programmed. Sure we probably might not have a lot of help, if there's a clear engine that we have been told from the ground up the app would have to be completely rewritten in another language, then I submit we accept it as is. Dawn, you can go and get a refund for an app. I have a couple of times, when it wasn't a small dollar app. I', not saying abuse the system, not that you would, accessibility is a valid reason, Apple recognizes it when you make sure to say something such as Voice over did not read anything on the screen, or something to that effect. Note, I did not mean only games, I should've specified apps.

Submitted by Dennis Westphal on Monday, October 3, 2016

I always advocate for constructive feedback. If I come across barriers when using or try to use a app I usually take the time and tell the developer about the problems that occurred. Canned responses are usually not so bad. I just wait for the next update and see if things have improved. Then I write again. But this time I don't like a automatically generated response cause that shows pretty clearly that the developer won't come around fixing the issues.

Often I label buttons and switches myself which most of the time makes "unusable" apps usable at least for me.

In general I just shake my head when reading those outraged post about apps being totally unaccessible. As a developer those posts honestly wouldn't make me reconsider accessibility but rather ignore it all together.

Asking friendly and giving a good case for considering accessibility is,, in my opinion, the way to go.

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, October 3, 2016

I think it goes both ways. Developers aren't going to just magicly know their user base unless someone contacts them. If they're the type of developer like the makers of twitterrific and dice world they're going to be very aware of accessibility, but as we know, not everyone is like that. So, it's up to the developers to be aware of Apple's accessibility guidelines, and it's up to us as the users to keep the developers informed where there are issues. Now if the developers take their user base seriously, then they'll respond right away with a fix. As for update descriptions I totally agree. Developers seriously need to stop this practice of just writing down a canned what's new message for every single release. Yes, we users really do care and yes, we want to know what bugs have been fixed and what new features are available.

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