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Archive for August 2012

The Continued Importance of Accessibility in Mobile

A successful app serves the user first and must be built with the appropriate target audience in mind. It doesn’t matter how pixel-perfect the design and strategy behind the app is if it isn’t accessible to the people who will ultimately install, purchase and spend hours in the app!

That being said, almost one in five of the world’s population currently lives with some kind of recognized disability. The mobile industry, along with the Federal Communications Commission, is stepping up to help improve the usability of phones and tablets for those with disabilities. Mobile accessibility allows those with sensory or physical limitations to use devices in an intuitive, easy and simple way.  As the devices and technologies continue to advance, accessibility is increasingly improving and becoming more prevalent.

Below is a brief summary of both iOS and Android accessibility solutions…

iOS

Apple has always had a strong focus on accessibility. As of iOS 4, Apple has provided a mature API allowing developers to ensure that their apps work well with VoiceOver. The revolutionary screen reader for blind and low-vision users, VoiceOver, allows users to interact directly with objects onscreen and receive contextual information as they touch different interface elements. In addition, low-vision users can take advantage of global screen zoom, up to 56 pt text in system applications, white-on-black screen display, and speak selection for text, even when VoiceOver is disabled.

Apple also announced Guided Access as part of WWDC 2012 back in June. Guided Access helps students with disabilities, such as autism, remain on task and focused on content. It allows a parent, teacher, or administrator to limit an iOS device to one app by disabling the Home button, as well as restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen.

For hearing-impaired users, iOS supports closed captioning across all video players and custom vibrations can be assigned to contacts. Finally, AssistiveTouch is available to users with impaired motor skills. The AssistiveTouch technology allows users to use a single finger or stylus to perform Multi-Touch gestures and interact with hardware using an on-screen interface.

To learn more about Apple’s commitment to accessibility, visit http://www.apple.com/accessibility/

Android

Accessibility on Android devices has been entirely reworked for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Google’s Project Eyes-Free is a collection of Android applications that enable efficient eyes-free interaction with your mobile phone. Explore By Touch was added as part of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which made finding elements on screen much easier, and no longer required a keyboard or directional-pad on your device. In the latest version of Android this has been extended to include more accessibility gestures, and support for Braille keyboards. This is available through BrailleBack, a part of Google's Eyes-Free Project. Combined with the existing screen reader TalkBack service, the new accessibility tools have made the newest Android devices accessible to everyone. 

Our lead Android developer, Luke Wallace, believes the easiest way to make an Android app accessible is to rely on the core Android framework as much as possible. Using standard elements for navigation and display allow for simple implementations, usually by merely defining the description of the element in the layout itself. Following the Android Design Guidelines for sizing and spacing will ensure that all elements are touchable by everyone, and not so close together that blind and low-vision users have a hard time finding the various elements.

To learn more about Google’s commitment to accessibility, visit http://www.google.com/accessibility/ 

 

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The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: Our August Charity of the Month

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was established in 1977 to honor the memory of a famous Naturalist, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE. David funded the Warden of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya, where he served from its inception in 1948. He later passed away in 1977, but his legacy of excellence in the systems he installed for the management of Tsavo and wildlife conservation in Kenya lives on.

Calvin Carter, our Founder and President, elected The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their current work in protecting the welfare and conservation of wildlife and habitats in Kenya. They rescue and hand-rear orphaned animals so that they can eventually return to the wild when grown. They primarily focus on recusing orphaned elephant and rhinos but also spend time educating communities on the value of wildlife and environmental protection and campaigns against the abuse of wild animals in captivity.


All the orphans raised by the Trust are gradually rehabilitated back into the wild community of Tsavo National Park when grown, a transition that is made at their own pace and in their own time, but usually takes eight to ten years. The success of the Orphan Project is due to the assistance of many organizations and individuals who foster an animal for the minimum donation of $50 annually.

To learn more about how you can help, visit www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

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Bottle Rocket Apps Named 3rd Fastest Growing Company in North Texas

The Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC), the largest technology trade association in Texas, announced the winners of 12th annual Fast Tech awards last Friday. Fast Tech recognizes the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and clean technology companies in the D/FW Metroplex. The winners for 2012 were determined by the percentage revenue growth from 2009 to 2011.

We are pleased to share that Bottle Rocket Apps was named the third fastest growing company in North Texas! We are also the only software company represented in the top three!

We are proud of this prestigious award and know that we would not be among the winners without our great employees and client partnerships. Thank you to each and everyone one of you!

To see the complete list of honorees, visit http://www.techtitans.org

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Bottle Rocket has been named to the 2012 Inc. 500 List!!

Inc. magazine announced the 2012 Inc. 500 list today and Bottle Rocket Apps is ranked #62. The Inc. 500 showcases the nation's fastest-growing private companies and orders them according to percentage revenue growth from 2008 to 2011.

"Now, more than ever, we depend on Inc. 500|5000 companies to spur innovation, provide jobs, and drive the economy forward.  Growth companies, not large corporations, are where the action is,” says Inc. magazine Editor Eric Schurenberg.

In past years, companies such as Zappos, Intuit, Jamba Juice, Clif Bar, Microsoft, Vizio, Oracle, and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 500. We are honored to be in such great company!

A complete list of this year’s Inc. 500|5000, including company profiles can be found at www.inc.com/500.

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The Official WWE App is Live on iPhone, iPad and Android!

With the official WWE app you can take the WWE experience with you whenever you go, available on both Apple iOS and Android. The WWE app provides instant access to your favorite WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends - allowing you to save and store Superstar profiles for a quick look at extensive career milestones, biographies and social media feeds.

The app also serves as a massive library of WWE videos and action photos, as well as a source to track the most recent news. Plus, with a slide, swipe or tap of a finger, the app uncovers exclusive content found only in the WWE app! Users are also able to track the full schedule of events around the globe, find out which Superstars will be in action, set reminders and even order tickets and genuine WWE merchandise.

Want to join the Universe? Download the app here – iTunes or Google Play

Congrats to our partners at WWE. We are proud of the work we produced together and look forward to the response from the Universe. We are already climbing the charts!!

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One of Bottle Rocket Apps' latest applications has given a fast-food bird some new wings.

Chick-fil-A's latest version of its mobile app, released last week for iOS, allows customers to order and pay via their smartphone. The app allows customers to use the new features at more than 130 locations, with more expected to roll out in 2015.

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