The #MusicoftheSpheresWorldTour app is an excellent example of how technology can help support sustainable initiatives and demonstrates the importance of inclusion and accessibility in app development. By prioritizing accessibility features and incorporating feedback from users who are blind and visually impaired, the SAP Academy for Engineering team was able to create an application that is accessible to everyone and meets the needs of its target audience.
In 2022, Coldplay launched their Music Of The Spheres World Tour, aiming to make it their most eco-friendly and sustainable tour to date. To support this goal, SAP and its Academy for Engineering partnered with Coldplay to develop the Music Of The Spheres World Tour app. Working in collaboration with fans, Coldplay and the SAP development teams have been continuously enhancing the app's features and usability. This includes improving accessibility for fans with visual impairments.
SAP’s Commitment to Inclusivity
The development team first had uncertainties about how to make the app accessible to visually impaired users. Whilethey understood the coding requirements, they had questions about the specifics of implementation, such as how to label buttons effectively. To gain confidence and clarity, the team quickly realized the importance of direct and frequent feedback from their target user group.
To obtain better insights into the needs of their users with visual impairments, the SAP Academy for Engineering teamed up with a Coldplay fan from Mexico, and fellow SAP colleagues from Germany, who are all blind. The feedback they received was invaluable, allowing the team to understand the importance of user input from individuals with diverse abilities. Through this process, the developers gained a deeper understanding of how blind people use their phones, which guided the development of the later stages of the update. The result was an application that was not only accessible to everyone but also met the needs and desires of its target audience.
Fail Early, Fail Often
In the initial testing phase, the SAP Academy for Engineering team believed that the app's accessibility was adequate. However, they soon discovered that "good" was not good enough, as blind testers encountered difficulties at various points in the app that the visual development team had overlooked. Through close collaboration with their test users, the team gained valuable insights into areas of the app that needed further improvement.
The blind users tested the app at various stages of development. During live testing sessions, the development team was impressed by the users' ability to discern even the slightest vocal cues to decide whether to scroll or tap a button. The testers also offered feedback, indicating that certain buttons could be less descriptive because they could anticipate certain actions or outcomes based on their experience.
In addition to the test users’ feedback, the Academy team used descriptive texts to depict the many visually striking elements within the app. The team enjoyed developing accessibility functions in portions of the app that they believed the blind test users would appreciate, such as the descriptions of the planets in The Story of the Spheres. These mindful additions allowed visually impaired users to experience the entirety of the app’s visual content in a unique and inclusive way.