Practical Approach for Apps Design in Compliance With Accessibility, Usability, and User Experience

Practical Approach for Apps Design in Compliance With Accessibility, Usability, and User Experience

Fernando Almeida, Nuno Bernardo, Rúben Lacerda
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7848-3.ch005
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There is a huge proliferation of digital products on the market today for both large enterprises and small businesses. Most of these companies have experienced the development of software products for the mobile market and have been faced with the major challenge of capturing the customer's attention. There is a great focus on making a great first impact and providing the audience with the best possible digital experience. Accordingly, issues related to usability, accessibility, and user experience are extremely relevant. This chapter addresses how these practices can be used in practice by building an app that offers car cleaning services. Several approaches based on building app interfaces that increase user engagement and retention levels are explored and discussed.
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The technological evolution and the appearance of mobile devices required the development of interfaces to optimize the interaction between man and machine. According to Joo (2017), interaction design has as its focus the user's interaction and, in this sense, explores the factors that affect this interaction, namely the social and cultural context. Whittaker (2013) advocates that knowing how to identify user needs and how to improve user interactions with the system are the key points for interaction design. This view necessarily has practical implications. The designer assumes a key role in the conception of how the user will send, receive, and respond, that is, interact with the information contained in the app.

Several authors suggest some fundamental principles for the development of a project in the interaction design field. Schnall et al. (2016) highlight the importance of user focus. Therefore, to develop an app it is necessary to consider the target audience and how the app can help them. In this context, it is essential to understand the user's interests, the tasks they have to perform, and the goals they have to fulfill within their limits. Camburn et al. (2017) point out that the development of new apps should have innovative ideas and prototypes as a starting point. According to this perspective, design solutions are born by brainstorming ideas that are then tested using prototypes. It should be noted that the prototype does not represent the final state of the solution, but a possible solution with an evolution that encourages the emergence of new solutions that must be tested until the final solution is reached. Finally, Karmokar et al. (2016) point out that design is influenced by several areas such as engineering, psychology, ergonomics, architecture, among others. In this way, the design process of an app should involve multidisciplinary teams. Furthermore, interaction design requires constant user participation, because only then is it possible to obtain an app that meets the user's needs (Lopes et al., 2018).

Interaction design includes simultaneously the concepts of usability and accessibility (Godoi & Valentim, 2019; Langdon et al., 2014; Lazar et al., 2015). However, these terms are often confused, used incorrectly and undifferentiated. In practice, they are distinct concepts with different purposes. According to Shackel (2009), usability seeks to make the access experience clearer and easier for anyone. Therefore, the user should find what he or she is looking for easily, in the shortest time possible, and with satisfaction. While the concept of accessibility seeks to make the app more accessible to people with some kind of special need so that all users can have the same access experience, regardless of their condition (Petrie et al., 2015). We still find apps that despite having accessible information or the features programmed by the developer, do not have easy access. It is then clear the importance of an accessible website, promoting inclusion and expanding the possibilities of access by anyone with a positive navigation experience.

Taking usability and accessibility into account when designing an app is a key strategy for an app's success in the market (Nowak, 2020; Xiao, 2019). However, in recent years a new complementary concept has emerged that focuses on the users' perspective. User Experience (UX) seeks to gain a deep understanding of users and how they interact with a digital product. Sinha & Fukey (2020) state that its focus is on understanding user behavior through which it seeks to identify what they need and value. Baylé (2018) states that UX promotes improving the quality of user interaction and perception of the products and services offered by the company. Morville (2004) points out that UX should add value through: (i) the information should be useful and satisfy a need; (ii) usable through the ease of use; (iii) desirable through evoking emotion and appreciation; (iv) findable in the sense that the content should be easily located and navigable; (v) the content should also be accessible to people with disabilities; and (vi) credible considering both the content of the information and the way it is displayed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

W3C: Consortium that regulates web standards.

Global Positioning System (GPS): Satellite positioning system that lets a mobile device know its physical location in outdoor environments.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): Provides a set of recommendations that are intended to make web content accessible to all users, particularly those with special needs.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Technology to significantly increase web page loading in the mobile environment.

General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR): European diploma (EU 2016/679) establishing the rules relating to the protection, processing, and free movement of personal data of natural persons in all member countries of the European Union.

User Interface: Analyzes how a person interacts with a software application or a physical device.

Heuristic: Inspection technique that helps identify usability problems in an interface. In this inspection, usability experts examine and judge whether each element of the interface conforms to usability principles (heuristics).

MBWay: Payment solution that allows a user to purchase online and in physical stores, generate MB NET virtual cards, send, request money, and split the account, and even use and withdraw money via their smartphone, in a proprietary app, or in their bank's channels.

User Experience: Encompasses all aspects of the end user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

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