Why do mobile apps need to be keyboard accessible?


Accessibility requirements for mobile apps say that all interactive elements need to be navigable with the keyboard. Why would someone use an external keyboard with a tablet or mobile phone?


There are several reasons why someone may use an external keyboard with a mobile device:

  1. A user may have dexterity or sensory issues that make it difficult for them to use a small touchscreen keyboard. An external keyboard may improve accuracy and efficiency, especially for complex text entry such as filling out forms.
  2. When navigating content, some people prefer Windows keyboard shortcuts over using complex menus. In that case, a mobile wireless keyboard would be preferable to an onscreen keyboard.
  3. A mobile touchscreen may only offer audio feedback. For individuals who are deaf-blind, using a braille or QWERTY keyboard provides tactile feedback and a familiar layout.
  4. Not all people who are blind use a braille display, and braille displays can be unreliable with mobile devices, so users may opt to use an external keyboard. In some cases, an external keyboard may also work better for screen reader navigation than a braille display.

Checking for keyboard accessibility is part of our comprehensive WCAG audits; reach out to learn more!

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