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Accessibility of mobile applications for tourism—is equal access a reality?

Abstract

With the increasing use of smartphones in people’s daily lives, mobile accessibility has become a key factor for them. Tourism is one of the sectors that has benefited the most from this growth but has not yet reached its full potential as accessibility has not yet been fully exploited. The main goal of this study is to assess accessibility in mobile applications for the tourism sector. Thus, 14 mobile applications were analyzed, using a manual and automatic methodology through the proposal of an evaluation model divided by quantitative and qualitative requirements, as well as the use of features such as VoiceOver and TalkBack. The results show a high overall number of errors in most quantitative requirements as well as non-compliance with most qualitative requirements. On iPhone 4, “Viseu – Guia da Cidade” was the application with the highest rating, while on Wiko GOA, it was the “JiTT.Travel Funchal” application. In turn, on iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone XR, Nokia 5.1 and OnePlus 6 devices, the best results were achieved by the “Viseu – Guia da Cidade,” “JiTT.Travel Funchal” and “TUR4all” applications. Regarding the accessibility of mobile applications on different versions of the same mobile operating system, it was concluded that there are no differences in their accessibility on both operating systems (iOS and Android). Finally, regarding the accessibility of applications on smartphones with different screen sizes, there are also no differences in their accessibility.

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Acknowledgements

This work is financed by the ERDF—European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation—COMPETE 2020 Programme, and by National Funds through the Portuguese funding agency, FCT-Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia within project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031309 entitled “PromoTourVR-Promoting Tourism Destinations with Multisensory Immersive Media.”

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Correspondence to José Martins.

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Madeira, S., Branco, F., Gonçalves, R. et al. Accessibility of mobile applications for tourism—is equal access a reality?. Univ Access Inf Soc 20, 555–571 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-020-00770-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-020-00770-3

Keywords

  • Accessibility
  • Mobile applications
  • Accessibility of mobile applications
  • WCAG 2.1
  • Tourism