What Every App Developer Should Know About CVAA

What is CVAA?

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was signed into law by President Obama on October 8, 2010. It was designed to increase the access of persons with disabilities and modern communications.

“The CVAA is divided into two broad titles or sections. Title I addresses communications access to make products and services using Broadband fully accessible to people with disabilities. For example, smart phones will be required to be usable by blind and visually impaired people as well as people with hearing aids. Title II of the accessibility act breaks new ground to make it easier for people with disabilities to view video programming on television and the Internet. For example, programs shown on television with captioning will be required to include the captioning when they are re-shown on the Internet. Both titles include provisions to ensure that people with disabilities have access to emergency information such as the next generation of 911 services and emergency information on the television.”

>> Click here to read more about CVAA

How does CVAA affect my app?

If you’re an app developer that deals with “advanced communications” (e.g. text messaging, e-mail, instant messaging, and video communications) or showing video programming online that was shown on TV, you will want to make your app accessible to avoid citations from the Federal Communications Commission. Otherwise, making your app accessible is simply good practice and is does not take very much effort. In fact, basic accessibility is mostly achieved by using standard UI elements.

At a high-level, you want to make sure to add accessibility labels to all of your UI Actions so that they can be discovered by audio navigation aids such as Apple’s VoiceOver or Android’s TalkBack.

>> Click here to view the iOS Accessibility Guide

>> Click here to view the Android Accessibility Guide

How can I avoid a CVAA fine?

Starting with Android SDK v3.7.0, Helpshift will be fully CVAA compliant. We’ve added labels to all of our UI actions in the SDK and Android’s TalkBack navigation will say the action along with the type of UI element. For example, you will hear “Contact Us Button” when you tap on the Contact Us button. This feature is available with all Helpshift Android SDK plans.

CVAA Compliance for iOS will be shipped in our next iOS SDK in early December.

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