Accessibility Features Implementation for a Desktop Communication Application
The Customer is a global provider of cloud-based collaboration solutions for enterprises.
One of the Customer’s offerings is a leading desktop (Mac and Windows) app for business communication. It provides rich functionality with regard to phone calls, text and voice messaging, video conferencing and fax management. The problem was the application didn’t comply with the companies’ accessibility policies. Thus, the Customer needed to make it reachable for users with disabilities, in particular, blind and visually impaired people.
To satisfy the needs of people with vision disabilities, ScienceSoft’s team got an order to make the content of the application completely understandable without any visual support. For this purpose, it was decided to speech-enable the application with OS-specific assistive technologies – VoiceOver (for Mac) and Narrator (for Windows) speech engines.
Using C++ and the Qt framework, ScienceSoft’s team allowed the communication application to access speech engines directly and thus get vocalized all UI elements – buttons, menus, dialog boxes – as well as convert lists of contacts and incoming text messages into voice.
To ensure better compatibility with the application and simplify the future testing process, the team had to work with a specific old version of Qt.
Taking into consideration the differences in verbosity levels for Mac and Windows, ScienceSoft’s developers adjusted the created code snippet to the specifics of each platform and thus managed to deliver an equal experience for users of both OSs.
The Customer got the application powered with the new accessibility functionality, which led to improved user engagement and extended its reach. Now, the application can serve the needs of blind and partially sighted people, help those with dyslexia as well as provide a more convenient way to consume info for users on the go.