One key way Android is more accessible than iOS

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It would be an understatement to say there has been a fair amount of fuss over the release of the Google Nexus 7 tablet.

As an Assistive Technologist my focus is always on the accessibility of devices and how they cater for users who may access them in a non-standard way.

The accessibility tools built into Apple’s iOS give it a clear lead over Android in this area.  Android is catching up but if you are visually impaired or require assistance with selecting items on the screen iOS is likely to be the preferred choice.

The release of the Nexus 7 has brought into focus Android’s key accessibility advantage which is: Choice of Platform.  For anyone with a physical disability size and weight can be the crucial influence on tablet choice.  iOS is currently available on three platforms: iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad giving only two screen size choices  (3.5 and 9.7 inches) and three weight choices (101g, 140g and approx 650g dependent on iPad model).  The rumours about a new smaller iPad may give a further choice of screen size and weight.

A quick examination of the Android device comparison page on Wikipedia shows a wide range of device sizes and weights.  The i’m Watch is the smallest, smartphones range from 2.8 inches and 105 grams to 5.3 inches and 178 grams, tablets are mostly 10.1 inches but there are many at 7 and 8 inches and a range of other sizes.  There are also devices with built-in or detachable keyboards and touchpads for those who need/want their tablet to work like a laptop.

The fact that Android is available across multiple devices is often cited as one of its weaknesses.  For those who are concerned with size and weight of a device it could be Android’s greatest strength.

Fil McIntyre

Assistive Technologist

BRITE

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