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Book Review: Developing Accessible iOS Apps

Book Review: Developing Accessible iOS Apps

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Lars Richter
ยทNov 3, 2022ยท

3 min read

As you might know, I'm learning to create accessible iOS apps at the moment. If you are interested in the details, check out my blog post series Learn Accessibility on iOS With Me. A couple of weeks ago, a dear colleague of mine who attended the NSSpain recommended this talk by Daniel Devesa Derksen-Staats to me. In his talk, Daniel talks about his "365 days of accessibility" and how everyone can improve the accessibility of apps with a few tweaks. If you haven't watched the talk already, you definitely should. It's worth it.

After I watched the talk, I googled Daniel Devesa Derksen-Staats to follow him on Twitter and search for the content he creates. And one of the first things I saw was his book. His book is called Developing Accessible iOS Apps - Support VoiceOver, Dynamic Type, and More. I read a couple of reviews and decided it would be a good idea to purchase a copy of his book. Spoiler alert: It was the right decision. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But let's talk about why it was a good decision to purchase Daniel's book.

It's short ๐Ÿ‘

Yes, I do think it is great, that Daniel wrote a short book. The main reason is, that we need good introductions to important topics that don't overwhelm or intimidate people. That's what Daniel created. Sure, there is a lot more to learn even if you memorize every single word of this book. But it is a start. It's an awesome book to get your feet wet with the Apple's Accessibility API. The book has a strong focus on "VoiceOver" and "Dynamic Type". So if you are looking for a book about "Switch Control" or "Voice Control", this is not the right fit. But I think he made the right decision. If you create a good "VoiceOver" experience, chances are good, that you automatically improve the "Switch Control" experience.

It's easy to read ๐Ÿค“

Another important aspect of beginner-friendly resources. It easy to read and easy to understand. That makes it an excellent book, even if English is not your native language. Also, Daniel found a good balance between explaining concepts in his own words and referring to others resources (like Apple's documentation).

Good code examples โŒจ๏ธ

I think Daniel chose good code examples. The example are not too complex. There is nothing worse than getting lost in the example code. But on the other hand you don't want "Hello World" examples all over the place. If the examples are too simple, they won't provide relevant information for "real world" scenarios that we face in our job every day.

Any down-sides?

As usual, it depends on your expectations. As I said, it's perfect to get started with accessibility. But if you want to go further than just "VoiceOver" and "Dynamic Type" (and a few other concepts), you will need additional books/resources. For me, it was a perfect starting point.

The final quote

I want to close with a quote from Daniel Devesa Derksen-Staats:

If you are not making your apps accessible, you are just skipping a part of your job as an iOS Engineer.

Amen to that!

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