Students improve mobile app accessibility for people with disabilities

Photo of Paul and Ali, Viterbi PhD students
Paul Chiou (left) and Ali Alotaibi.

Two USC Viterbi Ph.D. students aim to solve the size-based accessibility gap in our mobile applications

Mobile applications have all but become the saving grace for the mountains of clerical work in our daily lives. We use apps for everything from scheduling doctor’s appointments to filing our taxes, making everyday tasks quicker and easier than ever before. However, while these apps can be considered convenient for some, they certainly aren’t convenient for everyone.

Although a growing number of people are dependent on their mobile devices for everyday obligations, developers seldom seek to make their apps accessible to people with disabilities. Mobile apps don’t often pay heed to accessibility guidelines and this can make it more difficult for people with motor disabilities and older individuals to use the app, or even prevent them from carrying out those everyday obligations.

A Sizable Success

“Accessibility, in general, has been an interest of Ali and mine, and that’s why we chose it,” Chiou said. “For me personally, I have a disability, so it hits closer to home. When I joined the program initially, accessibility technology is what I wanted to do.”

Read more about Paul and Ali’s story