How to design an accessible Apple Watch app – Discover

How to design an accessible Apple Watch app – Discover

  • Apple
  • May 21, 2020
  • No Comment
  • 57
  • 8 minutes read


The Breathe app on the Apple Watch with VoiceOver turned on and the minute item selected

Apple Watch is designed with accessibility in mind, allowing everyone to use their device in the way that suits them best, and your Apple Watch app can take advantage of all of these features to create a seamless, inclusive experience.

When designing your Apple Watch app, here are some considerations to keep in mind for everyone.

Responsive and responsible reviews

One of the best ways to get a picture of the work you need to do is explore the accessibility and display options of the Apple Watch – allowing people to adjust or enhance their interface and interactions with the Apple Watch.

You can access accessibility and text settings on your Apple Watch or through the Watch app on your iPhone.

You can access accessibility and text settings on your Apple Watch or through the Watch app on your iPhone.

When designing your app, Dynamic Type and VoiceOver are two basic settings worth exploring: Dynamic Type allows people to resize their text on the Apple Watch, while VoiceOver helps people navigate without having to see the screen. You can activate or adjust the Settings app or the Watch app on your iPhone at any time. We recommend that you test your Watch app with these options enabled to ensure that your app is fully accessible. You may also want to consider testing your interface with Bold Text, Reduce Transparency, and Reduce Motion.

For each test you do, ask yourself a few questions: How does your interface change? Are there aspects of your design that are no longer well represented? Take detailed notes and screenshots: They can help you go back and solve potential problems in both your designs and the Xcode project in your app.

Enlarge, reduce

Compared to other Apple products, the small size of an Apple Watch screen means much less space to present text. As such, it may be tempting to consider specifying smaller fixed font sizes so that more text can be displayed on the screen at once.

However, it is important to use readable fonts and support the dynamic font. Showing more text on the screen, while useful in principle, will not help anyone if it is too small to read. Instead, let the text scroll naturally and use the Apple Watch slider gestures, or rotate the digital crown to read longer text.

In watchOS 5, four large font sizes were added to the styles built into the Apple Watch.  Each column in this table appears as a font size option, which people can set in the Apple Watch under ** Settings> Display & Brightness> Text Size **. “/></p>
<p class=In watchOS 5, four large font sizes were added to the styles built into the Apple Watch. Each column in this table appears as a font size option, which people can set in the Apple Watch under ** Settings> Display & Brightness> Text Size **.

The fastest way to support dynamic type and text scale is to use built-in text styles, which define the type with the Apple Watch system font: SF Compact. This font is specifically designed for optimal readability in small sizes, offering nine built-in styles in a variety of sizes and weights to help make your app text as readable as possible.

As a general rule, all text in the app should be scaled appropriately when people adjust the size of the text. Fixed text sizes should only be used for information that is clearly readable by default. For example, the Podcasts application uses built-in text styles to display the podcast title at a consistently large size and allows you to scale your smaller text elements.

When the text is set to the smallest size, the Podcasts app displays two full rows of episodes on a 44mm Apple Watch.  At larger size, fewer rows are shown, but the title, date, and duration of the episode are much larger.

When the text is set to the smallest size, the Podcasts app displays two full rows of episodes on a 44mm Apple Watch. At larger size, fewer rows are shown, but the title, date, and duration of the episode are much larger.

If you plan to use a custom font in your application, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to make sure it works with the dynamic font, such as adding the font to your project and setting text styles.

Learn how to add custom fonts>

Learn more about scaling fonts with dynamic type>

Supports VoiceOver with accessibility tags

VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader that tells you exactly what’s going on in your Apple Watch and helps you navigate it without having to see the screen. You can add VoiceOver support to your app with accessibility tags, which help people using the feature understand how your interface is built.


Curiously, if you want to quickly test VoiceOver in your app, you can use Siri. Just activate Siri and ask for it “Active VoiceOver”.


When someone looks at your interface on the Apple Watch, your app may be based on common visual paradigms such as button shapes and lists to communicate information and actions. For VoiceOver, think about how you can translate this experience to someone who listens to your app’s interface: Start by designating a clear reading order for your interface elements, and be sure to label the interface elements with descriptions. brief and clear.

There is one more step to consider when implementing VoiceOver: your audience may want to hear your interface in another language. VoiceOver supports more than 35 languages, and you can make sure your application is ready to use in all by locating text strings so that all tags and accessibility tips are read in the proper language.

Learn more about creating a great VoiceOver experience in your application>

Learn how to add accessibility tags to your application>

Learn more about locating text strings>

Watch and learn

The Apple Watch is our most personal device, and it’s important to offer flexibility so that people can experience their apps in the way that suits them best. For everything you create, it’s worth taking the time to test your app and make any adjustments. Whether you’re adding scalable text or incorporating a better VoiceOver experience, these changes have a big impact on people who need or want accessibility features in the Apple Watch, and will probably also help you create better overall designs for everyone. enjoy your application. .

Resources

Learn more about accessibility design>

Watch “How To Write Excellent Accessibility Tags” >

Learn more about designing types for your applications>

Download SF Compact>

Download Apple Watch Design Templates>

Learn more about how VoiceOver supports your application>

How to use VoiceOver on Apple Watch>



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