Accessibility Review of MANI app

Reserve bank of India launched a new mobile app called MANI earlier this month. Mobile Aided Note Identifier MANI is specifically targeted to help those who cannot see identify the Indian currency. An accessibility review of MANI app is conducted to share the Maxability accessibility rating.

Screenshot of MANI Home screen

Accessibility Review of MANI app

At Maxability we ran a set of accessibility tests of the app on IOS device. Since the app is targeted at people who cannot see, we have specifically focused the use of voiceover the built-in screen reader on Apple devices. We also requested for thoughts from other users who depend on screen reading technology.

MANI app is undoubtedly useful in recognizing the Indian currency. Those who have smart phones will definitely be benefited with the app. How about those who do not have a phone for themselves or perhaps not a smart phone? Why a specific app for currency identification when apps such as Microsoft Seeing AI is already having a similar feature?

Download the MANI app

Before we begin the accessibility review of MANI app, download it if you don’t have.

Use of Audio narration

In many areas of the app an audio narration is used. People who cannot see will already use a screen reader. This means one audio output is provided by the screen reading feature. It can be voiceover on Apple IOS or talkback on Android phones. Possibility of a conflict between audio narration and output by screen reader may confuse the user.

While reading out of the currency value, announcing through audio narration may be very helpful but it can very well be handled by showing the value on the screen and get it read by screen reader.

Instructions not available for all users

In the settings I have gone to change impairment and selected visually and hearing.  Now once I am on the home screen an audio narration is played that described the number of vibrations depending on the screen. My two cents are

  1. The instruction dependent on vibrations are in audio narration, audio instructions for hearing impaired person might not be of great help. User must be easily able to go and look for instructions whenever they quickly need them.
  2. Again as discussed in previous section, audio narration is not necessarily required, they can be the text on the screen, screen readers can read them.
  3. People who cannot see and hear also connect their device with a refreshable braille display, the audio narration cannot be displayed on a refreshable braille device as it is not a text on the screen.

Working with voice command

A voice command button is available on the screen. This is a wonderful feature as long as your voice and accent  can be recognized. Mostly the voice recognition worked but quite a few times it didn’t. When it didn’t work, user have no option to use the app with voiceover. The user should wait to fail it thrice and get the prompt to start from the beginning at the home screen.

The instruction to use the voice command feature says, “To activate the voice command press the button present at the bottom of the screen.” Remember that instructions must not dependent on sensory characteristics of users such as shape, size, visual location, orientation or sound. See WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.3 sensory characteristics.

Slow in screen load

Though not directly an accessibility problem but will have a moderate problem especially for screen reader users. As soon as the screen is loaded, they tend to scroll the fingers through to read the screens content. In MANI app it is taking few seconds for the screen reader to recognize the content on the screen.

Accessible label, Role and State

The labels of the items on the screen can be made better. For example in the menu, the option to go to home screen says, “Double tap to go to home screen”. It can just be Home with a role button. The screen readers can take care of the hint.
Screenshot displaying the accessibility label of an item on the screen
Most of the actionable controls on the app does not have a role assigned. If an item opens a different screen, it must announce as a button by the screen reader. This is called as the trait in IOS programming.

The selection state of the items is  not programmatically assigned. For example, identify which disability is currently selected in the Change impairment  screen. When the user selects an item an audio narration is announced to confirm the selection and a tick mark shows the selection. If the voiceover user lands on the screen no selection information is available. The selection information is announced only once as audio narration upon selection.
WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value may provide you more information.

Maxability accessibility rating

Overall the MANI app is a great resource for users who cannot see in identifying the currency. A lot of care is taken to make it accessible. Minor changes and minimizing the use of audio narration can make it a perfectly accessible app.
Maxability rating for MANI app is 4 out of 5 stars.

Comments or suggestions? Write to us on hello@maxability.co.in

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Published by Maxability

Rakesh Paladugula is a dedicated accessibility enthusiast with wide experience on all forms of digital accessibility. He is a trainer, mentor, advisor, advocate and evangelist. He believes in the modern socio-scientific world digital accessibility is a fundamental right of every citizen including those who have disabilities, low literacy and are from economically backward.

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