Context: Nowadays, mobile applications (or apps) have become vital in our daily life, particularly within education. Many institutions increasingly rely on mobile apps to provide access to all their students. However, many education mobile apps remain inaccessible to users with disabilities who need to utilize accessibility features like talkback or screen reader features. Accessibility features have to be considered in mobile apps to foster equity and inclusion in the educational environment allowing to use of such apps without limitations. Gaps in the accessibility to educational systems persist.

Objective: In this paper, we focus on the accessibility of the Blackboard mobile app, which is one of the most common Learning Management Systems (LMS) used by many universities, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: This study is divided into two-fold. First, we conduct a survey using questionnaires and interviews to explore the extent to which students consider the Blackboard mobile app usability. A Total of 1,308 hearing students and 65 deaf and hard-of-hearing students participated in the study. Second, we collected 15,478 user reviews from the Google Play Store and analyzed the reviews to extract accessibility issues.

Result: We observed that most deaf and hard-of-hearing students found difficulty in the Blackboard mobile app, compared to hearing students. Also, our app store analysis showed that only 31% of the reviews reported violations of accessibility principles that apps like Blackboard must comply with. This study highlights these violations and their corresponding implications to support LMS frameworks in becoming more inclusive for all users.

Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2023


© Owner/Author(s) 2023. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in W4A '23: Proceedings of the 20th International Web for All Conference, https://doi.org/10.1145/3587281.3587291

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

Software Engineering (GCCIS)


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