Sometimes Contacting App Developers About Accessibility Issues Works
When I originally set out to write my blog entry on the accessibility of the top free news apps, I had started to review the top 5. And although I did test all 5, since I was writing a blog post and not a novel, I decided to simply use the top 3 for my review. One of the 2 apps that was not included in my review was the USA Today app. The accessibility issues in the previous version consisted mainly of the fact that you could not read the titles of articles in the app, much like the Fox News Channel app. I contacted the developers at USA Today with my suggestions for improvement, and was sent a reply stating that they appreciated my feedback and would attempt to take these issues in to account with the release of version 2.0. That's a typical response, if you get one at all, and I had totally forgotten that I had written it. However, the day version 2.0 was released, I received a second email from the developers stating that accessibility in this version should be improved and they encouraged me to try it out. I did, and the app is now 95% accessible both with speech and braille. While I'm sure I'm not the only person to contact USA Today to report the issues I did, it is nice to know that some app developers, especially those who work for a larger corporation, care enough to take the suggestions into account. Instead of just sending an automated email acknowledging my message, the developers took action on the accessibility issues once they were made aware of the problems. While the weather feature of USA Today is still not exactly usable with VoiceOver, all of the other sections of the app are.
The point of all this is that sometimes, contacting developers, even those of big corporations, can yield results. They have in this case, and this encourages me to continue to report issues to other app developers. The USA Today app went from being an nuisance to use, to being a joy to read through the feedback myself and others have provided to the app developers at USA Today. I commend them for their work to make this app more usable for those of us accessing iDevices through speech and Braille.