Where is the description?: investigating accessibility issues in portuguese versions of smart home apps
Smart Home devices (e.g. Alexa Echo dot, Smart TVs) are unique technologies to improve everyday lives, especially for people with disabilities. However, despite the advances provided by these technologies, people who are blind reported accessibility issues in the use of mobile applications that mediate interaction with smart devices. Our study aims to understand these applications’ current state of accessibility by analysing their Portuguese versions. First, we surveyed 20 Brazilians who are blind to map the uses and main accessibility challenges of Smart Home devices. Next, we evaluated the accessibility of five mobile applications used in this context: LG ThinQ, Amazon Alexa, openHAB, Google Home, and RSmart. We found a total of 1148 accessibility issues in their Portuguese versions. The most frequent issues were missing or incorrect labels and incorrect context (e.g., content descriptions in English). The tasks that presented the most accessibility problems were the devices’ search and configuration. These issues could limit the initial use of intelligent devices by users with disabilities and compel them to rely on someone else to perform essential tasks in these apps, even those created by tech giants.
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