students learn Java in their undergraduate program, it will be
easy for instructors to adopt the MILK modules in their courses. This set of modules is expected to grow not only from our
efforts, but from contributions from other external sources. We
invite other instructors, students, and developers to become involved in the MILK project and not only create new educational material, but to enhance existing modules as well.
Although there are numerous resources containing best
practice information for creating accessible mobile software
[ 3, 13], to our knowledge our work is the first of its kind in that
all educational modules
• are encapsulated into easily adoptable materials,
• include a simulation to the interaction barrier it addresses,
• have been reviewed by accessibility experts to ensure
• are evaluated to ensure that they meet the intended
The MILK modules are developed for use at any institution in a variety of courses including mobile computing, human-computer interaction (HCI), software engineering, and
Although our set of activities is growing, we presently have ten
accessibility exercises ranging from vision to speech-based solutions. The process outline for each activity is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: App Repair Process
Each of the modules contains:
1. mobile apps which contain well-defined accessibility issues;
2. documentation on the detrimental effects of the
accessibility issue and how they can affect people with
3. step-by-step documentation on how to repair the
accessibility issue, along with instructions and methods to
demonstrate that the accessibility issue has been repaired.
Each activity begins with providing background information
on the accessibility issue along with when, why, and how the accessibility issue occurs. When possible, students are provided
with real-world examples of the accessibility problem occurring
in real apps. All activities include at least one app, created specifically for each module, that contains an example of the accessibility issue. Using the steps outlined in the modules, students
can recreate and experience the accessibility problem first-hand.
One challenge for the implementation of our modules was
There were two primary concerns which led us to the creation
of these modules.
1. Necessary Skillsets: Instructing students and developers
how to create accessible software is a difficult task. All
computing instructors cannot be expected to be experts in
accessibility and are therefore often not prepared to create
a robust set of accessibility modules.
2. Creation Effort: Designing and developing interesting and
informative accessibility exercises such as ours is not easy,
frequently requiring substantial amounts of time and other
resources. Unfortunately, instructors at most institutions
do not have these luxuries and thus are unable to offer
robust mobile accessibility exercises in their curriculum.
Our project has several goals.
• Simplicity of Adoption: Even the most informative modules
will not see widespread use if they are not easily adoptable.
Modules must require modest set-up time and should be as
easy to use as possible.
• Applicability: Creating relevant, real-world accessibility
exercises will not only allow students to learn about
relevant accessibility issues but will keep them interested in
the activities due to their real-world nature.
• Addressing a Range of Skill Levels: Building accessible apps
is important for all developers, regardless of experience level.
While many of the modules are designed to address more
complicated accessibility challenges, others are created to be
simple enough for novice students and developers.
Thus far, we have created ten mobile accessibility exercises
which may be found on our project website [ 9]. All exercises
are implemented in Java for the Android platform. As many
Two vital components are needed
to engage engineering students on
the topic of accessibility.
First, students must be engaged in
practical real-world applications, such
as developing an accessible
mobile app. Second, students must
gain an empathy for people with
disabilities so that the accessibility
guidelines will be meaningful to them.