Questions and answers about apps

Are apps covered by the requirements? How can I measure contrast in apps? These are some of the questions the Authority receives about apps.

Apps are not defined separately in the regulations; they are covered by the term ‘web solution’.

Web solutions include both traditional web pages and apps for tablets and mobile phones.

Like web pages, not all apps will be covered by the regulations. There are three factors that determine whether an app must comply with the requirements:

  1. The app must be targeted at the public and customers, the general public
  1. The offering organisation must provide information or services to its users via the app, main solution
  1. The app requires a web connection to work after it has been downloaded

If all three of the above points are met, the app normally has to comply with the requirements.

A specific legal opinion has been obtained on whether apps are covered by the regulations (in Norwegian).

Yes. Websites and apps are often main solutions that are covered by the universal design requirements, as long as the organisation offers information or services via these solutions, such a ticket purchases, news dissemination, or banking services.

Yes, usually. The regulations cover both public and private organisations. The key factor is whether the organisation uses the app to provide information and offers services to the public and customers, not who developed it.

According to the preparatory work, traditional games are basically not covered by the regulations.  

That being said, no detailed definition of the term ‘game’ exists in the legal sources. An app can include game elements, ‘gamification’, and still be covered by the requirements.

If the app has to retrieve information via the web in order to function after it has been downloaded, it is a web solution. This also applies if you can download and store content locally that you can subsequently use without a web connection.  

Examples include mobile banks, route planners, weather forecasts and ticket purchases. Apps for music and audio books will also be covered by the regulations. 

Apps must basically satisfy the same 35 minimum requirements as web pages. Most of the success criteria in WCAG 2.0 are directly transferable to apps for tablets and mobile phones. Nevertheless, not all of the success criteria will always be relevant for a solution. The requirements that actually apply in practice will vary according to the app’s functionality and how complex it is.

Yes. Some special characteristics of apps are not covered by WCAG 2.0. WCAG 2.1 contains more requirements that are specifically relevant for apps. These deal with things such as touch screens, gestures and preventing the accidental activation of content.

The Authority has not published specific checklists or test procedures for apps yet. We are developing a guide. A suggested solution for apps and tips on how you can carry out simple tests to check whether the app satisfies the requirements will be issued in the future.  
 
WCAG 2.0 is technology neutral, although it is largely geared towards web pages. Nevertheless, most requirements are directly transferable to apps. This includes the Authority’s test rules. With some slight adjustments, most of the test rules are suitable for assessing apps. 
 
Starting the app testing with VoiceOver or another screen reader to check what the content sounds like when read out aloud is a good way of getting an idea of whether or not it is in line with the requirements.

The free tool Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA) can also be used for apps. Instead of downloading the free tool and testing the contrast directly on a mobile phone or tablet you could, for example, take screenshots of the content you want to test to check the contrast on a PC.

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