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Accessibility Report on Foursquare 5.0 for iOS

June 7, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 26-minute podcast, Darrell Shandrow demonstrates some of the VoiceOver accessibility concerns found in the latest Foursquare 5.0 iOS app update.

On the heels of its Wednesday update, Foursquare posted a brief article on its support website stating that accessibility is a “top priority,” inviting users to submit problem reports to accessibility@foursquare.com. We urge all blind Foursquare users who rely on VoiceOver to submit a clearly-written accessibility report to Foursquare as soon as possible.

The following accessibility report has been sent to Foursquare’s development team at accessibility@foursquare.com for their consideration.

Hello Foursquare Development Team,

I am writing to thank you for inviting the blind VoiceOver user community to be part of the Foursquare accessibility development process and to report my accessibility concerns with Foursquare 5.0.

There are two primary accessibility issues throughout the new app’s user interface: unlabeled buttons and elements that provide no accessible information. I will demonstrate these by way of a podcast and a step-by-step write-up. It is my hope that the podcast will serve as a live example while the write-up will represent a concise description of the issues.

Please be sure VoiceOver is enabled on your iOS device in Settings > General > Accessibility >VoiceOver before opening Foursquare and following these steps.

Friends Tab

  1. Double tap the Friends tab in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Flick to the right repeatedly through this screen, listening to VoiceOver speak each user interface element.
  3. Listen to VoiceOver read elements such as “button,” “activity btn comment” and “activity btn like.”
  4. Observe that it takes five or six right flicks to read the information about each friend in the new user interface where it used to require just one.
  5. Notice there’s no longer an option to select between “near by” and “world wide” friends. Either this option is no longer available or it is not accessible to VoiceOver users.

Checkin

  1. Tap the top of the Friends screen with four fingers to make sure you are at the top. VoiceOver should say “Logo.”
  2. Flick right once to and double tap the “Global Checkin” button.
  3. Flick right repeatedly through the checkin screen, listening to VoiceOver read each user interface element.
  4. Notice that VoiceOver says “map” before reading the first place on the list. The meaning of this is unclear. Are we missing some important context or information?
  5. Continuing to flick right through the list, listen for an element that says “current location.” Double tapping this element seems to do nothing except repeat “current location.” What is happening with this item?

Explore

  1. Tap the top of the screen with four fingers. VoiceOver should say “Logo.”
  2. Flick to the right repeatedly through this screen, listening to VoiceOver speak each user interface element.
  3. Notice that VoiceOver says “map” before reading the first place on the list. The meaning of this is unclear. Are we missing some important context or information?
  4. Continuing to flick right through the list, listen for an element that says “current location.” Double tapping this element seems to do nothing except repeat “current location.” What is happening with this item?
  5. As you flick to the right, observe several elements where VoiceOver clicks and says nothing.

Please feel free to let me know if I may beta test or be of further assistance in your accessibility efforts.

Regards,
Darrell Shandrow
BlindAccessJournal.com

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