Best Practices for Building Accessible Power Apps Solutions
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Oct 20, 2022 8:04 AM

Best Practices for Building Accessible Power Apps Solutions

by HubSite 365 about Lewis Baybutt [MVP]

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Adopt these 6 practices for building accessible Power Apps solutions, elevating user experience for a wider audience.

Our focus in this blog post, authored expertly by Lewis Baybutt [MVP], revolves around the best practices to be adopted for creating accessible Power Apps solutions for a digital world geared towards user experience. Discussing user experience, a term frequently confused with User Interface (UI) and Graphical User Interface (GUI), we underline its significance which rests primarily on the user's interaction with a digital solution and not just the interface. A striking difference is that while GUI represents the majority's interaction mode, not all users prefer GUI to interact with devices and apps.

The blog emphasizes that improving user experience isn't just about aesthetics, but it also includes enhancing performance, ensuring solution accessibility, and other factors. The key to augmenting user experience for everybody is adopting an inclusive approach towards application design, development, and testing, putting a spotlight on integrating accessibility tools and supports to cater to diverse user groups.

An interesting point to note here is expanding accessibility isn't confined to a select few, but it applies to everyone. This is achieved by building accessibility into the applications, and the ways, to accomplish that, have been discussed extensively in the blog.

Baybutt's first tip is regarding color usage in the application, which, as per the WCAG guidelines, should have enough contrast against each other, maintaining a ratio of 4.5:1 (text to background). Tools like WCAG Color Contrast Checker can be utilized to evaluate the color contrasts, ensuring well-balanced app colors.

The second key point deals with building applications that are responsive. Baybutt suggests the app layout should be logically ordered, allowing users to read from top to bottom and left to right, and the controls should follow a logical control order. Apart from this, apps should be built to adapt to zoom in and out, allowing users with low-vision a better accessibility experience.

Another crucial aspect is the usage of TabIndex property to improve accessibility. TabIndex renders an app control accessible by users, enhancing their experience. Baybutt recommends setting the tab index of buttons and other interactive controls to 0. He further suggests testing the app from the perspective of someone who leverages accessibility tools, introducing an array of testing resources such as Microsoft Edge Narrator, NVDA for Google Chrome and Firefox, and VoiceOver for Mac OS, iOS and iPadOS devices.

Furthermore, if your apps host any videos, ensure they have captions. Advanced measures include designing live regions, particularly when something changes on a screen without a user's direct interaction. Instead of seeing these changes, they get to hear them.

Value of User Accessibility in Power Apps Solutions

Increasing application accessibility is central to enhancing user experience, attaining a broader user coverage, and it reflects the inclusive vision of digital solutions. Information access isn't a privilege but a fundamental need and right. Whether it's about accessibility tools or adhering to color dominating guidelines or providing captioned videos, all these steps establish a loop, connecting developers and users in an accessible, inclusive digital world. For more information on Power Apps, you can click here. Enhancing accessibility is an evolving process, ever-changing, and never constant. As we keep exploring new possibilities, we need to ensure that these advancements cater to all, leaving no user behind.

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Power Apps - Best Practices for Building Accessible Power Apps Solutions

Learn about 6 Practices to adopt to build accessible Power Apps solutions

User experience (UX), and more specifically the accessibility within UX, has become a pivotal aspect in app and software development. By understanding and implementing these principles, we can enrich the user interface (UI) and overall interaction users have with a digital product.

UX is more encompassing than just GUI (graphic user interface). It also touches on aspects such as improving performance, ensuring inclusivity, and enhancing visual representation. Furthermore, UX demands courses of action to cater to universal accessibility standards.

Among the multifold steps to ensure an inclusive user experience, one significant practice includes careful selection of colour schemes. Apps desiring to gain WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) acceptance should ensure a text to background contrast ratio of 4.5:1 or more. Test your app's colour contrast through online tools like the WCAG Color Contrast Checker.

Another tip revolves around crafting an accessible app layout. A linear reading flow, accompanied by orderly navigation paths, significantly enhances the user experience. The positioning of controls should follow a logical pattern to ensure clarity. This is where containers prove useful as they allow bundling of controls together.

Adapting your digital solutions to be responsive also contributes to building a beneficial UX. This approach allows individuals with low-vision to easily zoom in and out, adapting the app to their needs for greater control and interaction versatility.

The next practice involves following TabIndex property guidelines. Responsible for controlling user navigation via tab functionality, the TabIndex property when set to -1 restricts user access, whereas assigning it a value of 0 gives them free access. For example, buttons are typically given a tab index of 0.

Screen readers play a central role in the usability of your app for individuals with impaired vision. Steps such as adding accessibility labels to input controls for better guidance, assigning alt text to image controls, and ensuring tab-accessibility for interactive elements contribute to an inclusive UX.

Developers should perform rigorous testing using screen readers. Several tools that could aid this process include Microsoft Edge Narrator, NVDA for Google Chrome and Firefox, and VoiceOver for Mac OS, iOS, and iPadOS devices.

Adding video captions improves the experience for users who rely on subtitles. Transcripts of the audio content help individuals who might necessitate such support. Live Regions provide the option to keep the user informed about changes happening on the screen. They are especially handy for screen reader users.

To conclude, creating a robust digital product that caters to a large audience requires careful planning and inclusion of accessible aspects. It's all about creating a universally inclusive user experience.

Interested in learning more about building accessible solutions? Drop a comment below, and let's discuss!

More links on about 6 Practices to adopt to build accessible Power Apps solutions

6 Practices to adopt to build accessible Power Apps solutions
Nov 22, 2022 — UX is applicable to EVERYONE · Accessibility · #1 – Colour · #2 – Layout and Responsive Apps · #3 – TabIndex · #4 – Configure for Screen Readers & ...
6 Practices to adopt to build accessible Power Apps solutions
Nov 23, 2022 — Accessibility · Colour · Layout and Responsive Apps · TabIndex · Configure for Screen Readers & Test using them · Videos · Use Live Regions.
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