Integrating Accessibility in a Mobile App Development Course


The growing interest in accessible software reflects in computing educators’ and education researchers’ efforts to include accessibility in core computing education. We integrated accessibility in a junior/senior-level Android app development course at a large private university in India. The course introduced three accessibility-related topics using various interventions: Accessibility Awareness (a guest lecture by a legal expert), Technical Knowledge (lectures on Android accessibility guidelines and testing practices and graded components for implementing accessibility in programming assignments), and Empathy (an activity that required students to blindfold themselves and interact with their phones using a screen-reader). We evaluated their impact on student learning using three instruments: (A) A pre/post-course questionnaire, (B) Reflective questions on each of the four programming assignments, and (C) Midterm and Final exam questions. Our findings demonstrate that: (A) significantly more (p <.05) students considered disabilities when designing an app after taking this course, (B) many students developed empathy towards the challenges persons with disabilities face while using inaccessible apps, and (C) all students could correctly identify at least one accessibility issue in the user interface of a real-world app given its screenshot and 90% of them could provide a correct solution to fix it.

Proceedings of the 54th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education V. 1