iOS Accessibility

iPhone Showing Voice Control Screen

Apple has always been a dedicated advocate for accessibility. Their products are designed to be exceptionally easy to use for users with varying degrees of abilities, and this focus on the customer experience has subsequently propelled them to almost 40% market share of the worldwide smartphone market in 2018. If you’re a devoted iPhone fan you’ll know why their share is so high!

At the National Federation of the Blind National Convention on July 1-6 Vital Source Technologies, an Ingram Content Group’s leading e-textbook solutions, showcased new features to its already comprehensive accessibility support for the VitalSource Bookshelf platform.

Vital Source Technologies works to continually support industry standards for accessibility through conformance testing on all bookshelf platforms.  They test offline on Windows and Macs, online on Windows and Macs using standard browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari), and on mobile devices for iOS and Android. All Bookshelf platforms are evaluated using screen readers such as JAWS and NVDA for Windows, VoiceOver for Mac and IOS, and TalkBack for Android.

Vital Source collaborates with accessibility consultants, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB, American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to insure the platform is tested in conformance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In addition to the client updates being released, Vital Source will provide an updated and independently-reviewed Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®) for each of the platforms. The Android, iOS, Browser, Macintosh and Windows VPAT®’s are available for download.

Read more on VPAT®’s and Accessibility Certification.

In this episode

Jeremy and Mark have a fund discussion about the accessibility of the iPhoneX especially as it relates to the facial recognition feature.

The Interactive Accessibility Podcast (IAP) is an entertaining approach to accessibility. We enjoy sharing our discussions on accessibility and how it relates to technology, real-life issues, information, businesses, and people with disabilities.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, played a video that focused on the accessibility features of Apple’s products. Paulson, a woman with cerebral palsy, starred in the video. But that was just the beginning; using Switch Control to interact with her computer, Paulson edited the entire video, too.

Cook also announced a redesigned accessibility website featuring accessibility needs and how Apple’s devices address these needs. It also includes a section for inclusive education. 

iOS has an accessibility feature to allow users to select their preferred text size. Some applications will respect this setting and change their text size appropriately, however, some do not. To change your preferred text size

The Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) has developed a custom keyboard for iOS. The new BrailleEasy Keyboard enables one-handed typing for people with vision disabilities and is based on braille. It is available for both Arabic and English speaking users.

The keyboard is based on a traditional two handed typing keyboard but has been customized for comfortable one handed typing. With a simple adaption of transforming two handed Brailling into two gestures, users quickly learn how to use the BrailleEasy keyboard.

Read more about the BrailleEasy keyboard. 

The science of touch is helping scholars from around the world develop new technology that will improve access for people with disabilities. Many of these haptic devises were on display at Northwestern University’s recent Haptics Conference. Among the new innovations are:

  • Playing music with the touch of a finger
  • Experiencing in-game gravity with a special stylus
  • TPAD – a sensory phone that allows the user to feel texture

Read more on the abc Eywitness News webpage. 

The release of new features for the first smartwatch app for people with vision disabilities was announced by Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The smartwatch app call ViaOpta is a turn-by-turn navigation app that allows users to navigate daily life with greater ease and fits seamlessly into their existing routines.

The additional new features include:

ViaOpta Navigation:

  • Points of Interest Feature: The user can discover points of interest near their location and:
    • Find information about it
    • Set Navigation to it
    • Find information on accessibility facilities around them
  • Extended Map Coverage: Map coverage has been extended worldwide, however it is less in rural areas

ViaOpta Daily:

  • New Object Recognizer Feature: Identifies objects when the user points the devise’s camera at an object.
  • Addition of Scene Recognizer Feature: When the user points the camera in a specific direction the voiceover will tell them what is in front of them, helping them navigate unfamiliar environments. 


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