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The Inclusive Toolkit is a set of tools to help iOS & OS X developers quickly and easily make their apps inclusive and accessible.
The Inclusive Toolkit is a set of tools to help iOS & OS X developers quickly and easily make their apps inclusive and accessible.
184 backers pledged £7,157 to help bring this project to life.

About

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How much time do you spend on your iPhone or on your Mac? Would you say it’s essential for you? It wakes you up in the morning, it gives you the news, it can pay for your coffee, it helps you get to work, and it enables you to do your work. It connects you with the people who matter most to you. But what if you couldn't do any of those things?

Here’s the problem: Disability affects 1 billion people worldwide. That's 1 in 7 people. For these people, the apps we use, the apps that enable us to do more, the apps that let us communicate, are often unusable.

My name is Sally Shepard. I’m an iOS developer and accessibility consultant based in London. Over the past six years, I've worked on apps that have been used by hospitals, installed in galleries, and named ‘App of the Year’ by Apple. I speak internationally about accessibility, development, and user experience, and am actively involved in the iOS and Mac development communities.

Testing every possible accessibility need is time consuming. If you work in a small team or you're time constrained, how can you do it? What if you could quickly see what's broken or where something could be improved? I’ve developed some solutions to speed up accessibility testing, make it part of your workflow and help you better understand the user experience. I’ve called this collection of tools the Inclusive Toolkit. I want these tools to be free for everyone to use—that's where I need your help. By backing this project you're enabling me to build them and provide them free of charge.

 I want to focus on making apps 'inclusive' rather than just making them 'accessible’. These two words are often used interchangeably, but with 'inclusive’ there’s more emphasis on making something for everyone versus just making something for people with a disability. There are many people who don't identify as having a disability but use and rely on accessibility features. Too often, 'accessibility’ is seen as a feature or user story instead of being something that all features and user stories should have. When we make accessibility a separate feature, it’s very likely to be left behind. The other reason behind using ‘inclusive’ is when you say ‘accessibility’ most developers think of VoiceOver, which is only part of the rich set of features Apple provides.

The common difficulties around implementing inclusive concepts in apps are a lack of resources, knowledge and empathy. All of Apple’s products have features that enable inclusivity, and they make a huge difference to people’s lives. Anyone developing for their platforms has access to the APIs to make their app equally accessible. 

So how can we fix this? 

From a user point of view, I want the Inclusive Toolkit to help solve two problems: unusable elements and poor experiences. And from a developer/designer/QA point of view, I want it to speed up development and testing time, as well as build empathy. It’s great if you work in a company that already has specific resources and knowledge about accessibility—but for many developers, that isn’t the case. I want to provide ways of making it part of the development process instead of something tacked on at the end.

The Inclusive Toolkit aims to cover:

Simplifying testing:

  • Recreate the UI with 'Visual Voiceover' to reveal each element's accessibility values while hiding elements without accessibility information.
  • Highlight 'invisible' UI elements like long animations, unintuitive gestures and complicated view hierarchies.
  • Highlight areas of the app that don't handle reduced transparency, dynamic text sizing, and other parts of the Visual Accommodations API.
  • Automate production of text ‘journeys’ through each screen and provide guidance on how to simplify it.
  • Automate output of screenshots of the above.

Building empathy by simulating impairments:

  • Provide recognisable representations of the effects of different impairments.
  • Simulate colour blindness.
  • Simulate visual impairments.

Understanding inclusive interfaces:

  • Build inclusive wireframes for the app journey. 
  • Consider parallel interfaces for specific needs. 
  • Use accessibility APIs effectively.

Improve effectiveness and timeliness of feedback:

  • Employ accessible methods to request feedback.
  • learn how users can rate an app's inclusiveness that's meaningful to developers and users alike.

Here are a few initial mockups of some of the tools:

Visual VoiceOver—on the left is the original; on the right is a mockup of the output of the Visual VoiceOver tool
Visual VoiceOver—on the left is the original; on the right is a mockup of the output of the Visual VoiceOver tool
Interface as text—on the left is the original; on the right is the interface displayed as only text
Interface as text—on the left is the original; on the right is the interface displayed as only text
Colour-blindness test—what the UI looks like through simulations of different types of colour blindness
Colour-blindness test—what the UI looks like through simulations of different types of colour blindness

Rewards

There are many ways you can support the Inclusive Toolkit! There are stickers, t-shirts, a wall of fame, accessibility app reviews and workshops. There is even a hero option where you can donate a workshop to a school or university!

Merchandise

There are some very awesome stickers, badges, t-shirts, and a wall of fame.

 

App reviews

Find out how inclusive your app is! I'll review your app, provide screenshots highlighting parts of your app that are inaccessible, and offer steps on how you can improve the experience. Once you fix any issues, I'll carry out a follow-up review to let you know whether the issues are resolved. One app review covers an iPhone, iPad or Mac app. If you have a universal app, you'll need two reviews. The review also covers WatchKit extensions, Today extensions, custom-keyboard extensions, photo-editing extensions, and Apple TV specific UI.

 

Workshops

The workshops are a great opportunity for developers, designers, QAs and companies to get some hands-on experience with accessibility. They also help me gather data on what areas people are struggling with, and they'll help shape future tools. There are a few workshop options:

  • Workshop hero: If you'd like to donate a workshop to a school or university, this is the option for you! You'll also get a t-shirt and some stickers as well as a special place on the wall of fame.
 
  • Individual developers/contractors: If you're a developer, you can get a ticket to attend a one day workshop in London. The workshop will cover the accessibility APIs in iOS and OS X, and we'll talk about how to use them, how to test them and how to think more inclusively. We'll do some hands-on exercises, and you can get help fixing an app you're working on.
  • Companies: If you're a company and you have a team of developers/designers/QAs, you can have me come in and do a half-day or full-day workshop, customised for your specific needs. Half-day workshops will cover the accessibility APIs in iOS and OS X, and we'll talk about how to use them, how to test them and how to think more inclusively. Full-day workshops are customisable—each workshop will include what's covered in the half-day workshop plus some other options like a hands-on testing of your app, advice on how you can fix accessibility issues, QA-specific approaches to testing accessibility features, and tips to help you build inclusive empathy within designers and product people. For companies in the UK, if you’re based more than 2 hours outside of London by train—contact me first to discuss travel costs. If you're based outside the UK, I can carry out a virtual workshop for your team—or there are also some shipping options available that will cover travel for me. Get in touch if you have any questions about location or availability. 

Conference Tickets

Support The Inclusive Toolkit while attending some of the best iOS & OS X conferences in the world! There are tickets from 360|iDev, iOSDevUK, NSScotland and Pragma Conference.

All of these tickets have been donated, it's really a testament to how wonderful and supportive the community is!

360|iDev - Denver, Colorado USA, August 16th-19th

iOSDevUK - Aberystwyth, Wales, 7th-10th of September

NSScotland - Edinburgh, Scotland, 24th-25th of October

Pragma Conference - Florence, Italy, 10th of October

Note: this reward entitles you to a ticket to the conference only, accommodation and travel are not included. 

You'll also get a t-shirt, some stickers, badges and a spot on the wall of fame!

Timeline

The project will be open source, so my progress will be fully visible and contribution and comments will be welcome.

I'll start work in mid-June, and I'll work through July, August and September. During July and August, I'll hold workshops and carry out accessibility app reviews. I'm aiming to have a testable pre-release by the end of September. I'll review the feedback from the workshops and testing, and I'll be upfront if there may be any potential course-corrections. 

The next landmark release will be by the end of October, to potentially coincide with iOS 9 / OS X 10.11. I want this to be an ongoing project with my input and community involvement providing guidance.

Stretch goal

The Inclusive Toolkit will fill a huge gap in accessibility tools for developers, but the other thing that is lacking is resources. My stretch goal for this project is a book. So, If this project reaches £12,000 then I will write a book about developing inclusive experiences!

I’m aiming to produce a digital book since I would hopefully be able to include some interactive code samples and I can do updates to it easily. If the project gets over £12,000 then I can add a print book goal.

What would the book cover?

The working title for the book is ‘Developing an inclusive experience’. There will be four main parts:

How to handle common design patterns

There are a lot of common design patterns that don't work well with accessibility, these would be covered with recipie-style solutions.

From basics to experience

The Inclusive Toolkit will get you to a point where your app is usable with Apple’s Accessibility features but what if you wanted to go beyond the bare minimum? This part of the book would cover adding an inclusive wow-factor.

Handling inclusion in games

Approaches to alternate controls, implementing the accessibility APIs in SpriteKit and SceneKit, adapting game play, and adapting graphics. (I'm working on running a hackathon in London in October/ November on a similar topic, get in touch if you’d like to be involved)

Case Studies

Find out what various developers have done to make their app inclusive, what their challenges were and what they’ve learned.

Budget

I want the Inclusive Toolkit to be free to use so that all iOS and Mac developers can use it. I also want to make this project happen! It takes a lot of time to develop the tools, go through feedback, and add features—and do all of this quickly. I want the Inclusive Toolkit to be maintained for years to come.

The budget will be allocated towards: 

  • Time—time for me to work on the tools, and carry out workshops and app reviews
  • Infrastructure—website and any ongoing costs
  • Production costs for rewards like stickers and t-shirts  
  • Stretch goal (if met)—writing a book

If you want more apps to be inclusive or if you're a developer and you want it to be easier to make your app inclusive, please consider backing my project, the Inclusive Toolkit—let's make apps everyone can use.

Thank you!

Special thanks to LILYwoot Pictures for making such a wonderful video :)

Risks and challenges

Possible changes and additions to iOS and OS X after this summer's WWDC may mean I'll have to adjust or expand goals. I’ll be upfront about it if that may be the case.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    SUPPORTER!

    You'll get my eternal thanks and email updates!

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    WALL OF FAME!

    You'll be featured on The Inclusive Toolkit wall of fame on the website. You'll also get some badges and stickers!

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    ACCESSIBILITY APP REVIEW!

    I’ll do an accessibility review of your app—I'll let you know how accessible your app is, where it can be improved and how you can improve it.

    This can be used for a Mac app, an iPhone app, or an iPad app. The review also covers WatchKit extensions, Today extensions, custom-keyboard extensions, photo-editing extensions, and Apple TV specific UI. Universal apps are treated as two separate apps.

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    ATTEND A FULL-DAY WORKSHOP!

    This entitles you to one ticket—I’ll hold a full-day (8-hour) workshop in central London, for up to 10 developers. This will include an introduction to the tools available on iOS / OS X. I’ll demo how to use these tools, and I'll go over the types of disabilities that people who use these tools typically have. I’ll then do a hands-on where we can go through specific iOS/OS X code examples on how to make an app accessible and you can get help fixing an app you're working on.

    If more than 10 people sign up, then I'll run two separate workshops. There's no set date yet, but it will most likely be a weekend in August or September.

    In addition to the workshop, you'll get a t-shirt, stickers, badges and a mention on the wall of fame.

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    PRAGMA CONFERENCE 2015 TICKET!

    The magnificent folks at Pragma Conference have donated four tickets! This is a wonderful iOS conference held in Florence, Italy on the 10th of October. The speaker lineup looks incredible, and I'll be speaking! Check out http://pragmaconference.com for more information.

    Note: this reward entitles you to a ticket to the conference only, accommodation and travel are not included.

    I'll also send you a t-shirt, stickers, badges and you'll get a spot on the wall of fame!

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    ATTEND A FULL-DAY WORKSHOP!

    This entitles you to one ticket—I’ll hold a full-day (8-hour) workshop in central London, for up to 10 developers. This will include an introduction to the tools available on iOS / OS X. I’ll demo how to use these tools, and I'll go over the types of disabilities that people who use these tools typically have. I’ll then do a hands-on where we can go through specific iOS/OS X code examples on how to make an app accessible and you can get help fixing an app you're working on.

    If more than 10 people sign up, then I'll run two separate workshops. There's no set date yet, but it will most likely be a weekend in August or September.

    In addition to the workshop, you'll get a t-shirt, stickers, badges and a mention on the wall of fame.

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    ACCESSIBILITY APP REVIEW!

    I’ll do an accessibility review of your app—I'll let you know how accessible your app is, where it can be improved and how you can improve it.

    This can be used for a Mac app, an iPhone app, or an iPad app. The review also covers WatchKit extensions, Today extensions, custom-keyboard extensions, photo-editing extensions, and Apple TV specific UI. Universal apps are treated as two separate apps.

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    TWO ACCESSIBILITY APP REVIEWS!

    I’ll do an accessibility review of your app—I'll let you know how accessible your app is, where it can be improved and how you can improve it.

    This can be used for any two of these following: a Mac app, an iPhone app, or an iPad app. The review also covers WatchKit extensions, Today extensions, custom-keyboard extensions, photo-editing extensions, and Apple TV specific UI. Universal apps are treated as two separate apps—so if you have a universal app, this is the option you need!

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    WORKSHOP HERO!

    Help fund a workshop for a school or university!

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    IOSDEVUK 2015 TICKET!

    The incredibly kind folks at iOSDevUK have donated a couple of tickets! This is a fantastic iOS conference held in Aberystwyth, Wales from the 7th-10th of September. The speaker lineup looks amazing, and it's always a great conference to attend! Check out http://www.iosdevuk.com for more information.

    Note: this reward entitles you to a ticket to the conference only, accommodation and travel are not included.

    I'll also send you a t-shirt, stickers, badges and you'll get a spot on the wall of fame!

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    Pledge £190 or more About $296

    TWO ACCESSIBILITY APP REVIEWS!

    I’ll do an accessibility review of your app—I'll let you know how accessible your app is, where it can be improved and how you can improve it.

    This can be used for any two of these following: a Mac app, an iPhone app, or an iPad app. The review also covers WatchKit extensions, Today extensions, custom-keyboard extensions, photo-editing extensions, and Apple TV specific UI. Universal apps are treated as two separate apps—so if you have a universal app, this is the option you need!

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    NSSCOTLAND 2015 TICKET!

    The lovely Alan Francis of NSScotland has donated a couple of tickets! This is a great iOS conference held in Edinburgh, Scotland on the 24th & 25th of October. The speaker lineup looks stunning, I spoke there last year and had a great time! Check out http://nsscotland.com for more information.

    Note: this reward entitles you to a ticket to the conference only, accommodation and travel are not included.

    I'll also send you a t-shirt, stickers, badges and you'll get a spot on the wall of fame!

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    360|IDEV 2015 TICKET!

    The very generous folks from 360|iDev have donated a couple of tickets! This is an amazing iOS conference held in Denver, Colorado USA from the 16th-19th of August. The speaker lineup looks awesome and I'm speaking there this year! Check out http://360idev.com for more information.

    Note: this reward entitles you to a ticket to the conference only, accommodation and travel are not included.

    I'll also send you a t-shirt, stickers, badges and you'll get a spot on the wall of fame!

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    EARLY BIRD
    HALF-DAY WORKSHOP FOR TEAMS!

    Have a team of developers/designers/QAs?

    I’ll spend a half day (4 hours) holding a workshop for your team or your company, for up to 10 people. This will include an introduction to the tools in iOS / OS X. I’ll also demonstrate how to use these tools, and I'll go over the types of disabilities that people who use these tools typically have. I’ll then do a hands-on where we can go through specific iOS code examples on how to make an app accessible.

    You'll also get some t-shirts, stickers, badges and a special place on the wall of fame!

    The workshop can be done in person or virtually.

    For companies in the UK, if you’re based more than 2 hours outside of London by train, contact me first to discuss travel costs.

    For companies outside the UK, if you want a virtual workshop, just choose the UK as a shipping option—otherwise choose your country to add travel costs for me to get to you!

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    Pledge £750 or more About $1,168

    HALF-DAY WORKSHOP FOR TEAMS!

    Have a team of developers/designers/QAs?

    I’ll spend a half day (4 hours) holding a workshop for your team or your company, for up to 10 people. This will include an introduction to the tools in iOS / OS X. I’ll also demonstrate how to use these tools, and I'll go over the types of disabilities that people who use these tools typically have. I’ll then do a hands-on where we can go through specific iOS code examples on how to make an app accessible.

    You'll also get some t-shirts, stickers, badges and a special place on the wall of fame!

    The workshop can be done in person or virtually.

    For companies in the UK, if you’re based more than 2 hours outside of London by train, contact me first to discuss travel costs.

    For companies outside the UK, if you want a virtual workshop, just choose the UK as a shipping option—otherwise choose your country to add travel costs for me to get to you!

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    Ships to Only certain countries
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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,558

    EARLY BIRD
    FULL-DAY WORKSHOP FOR TEAMS!

    Have a team of developers/designers/QAs?

    I’ll spend a full day (8 hours) holding a workshop for your team or your company, for up to 10 people. Full-day workshops are customisable—your workshop will include what's covered in the half-day workshop plus some other options like a hands-on testing of your app, advice on how you can fix accessibility issues, QA-specific approaches to testing accessibility features, and tips to help you build inclusive empathy within designers and product people.

    You'll also get some t-shirts, stickers, badges and a special place on the wall of fame!

    The workshop can be done in person or virtually.

    For companies in the UK, if you’re based more than 2 hours outside of London by train, contact me first to discuss travel costs.

    For companies outside the UK, if you want a virtual workshop, just choose the UK as a shipping option—otherwise choose your country to add travel costs for me to get to you!

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
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    Kickstarter is not a store.

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    Learn more about accountability.
  20. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,400 or more About $2,181

    FULL-DAY WORKSHOP FOR TEAMS!

    Have a team of developers/designers/QAs?

    I’ll spend a full day (8 hours) holding a workshop for your team or your company, for up to 10 people. Full-day workshops are customisable—your workshop will include what's covered in the half-day workshop plus some other options like a hands-on testing of your app, advice on how you can fix accessibility issues, QA-specific approaches to testing accessibility features, and tips to help you build inclusive empathy within designers and product people.

    You'll also get some t-shirts, stickers, badges and a special place on the wall of fame!

    The workshop can be done in person or virtually.

    For companies in the UK, if you’re based more than 2 hours outside of London by train, contact me first to discuss travel costs.

    For companies outside the UK, if you want a virtual workshop, just choose the UK as a shipping option—otherwise choose your country to add travel costs for me to get to you!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    1 backer
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    Kickstarter is not a store.

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Funding period

- (30 days)