iOS Accessibility

Specialists in computer vision and Machine learning who are base at the University of Lincoln, UK and funded by a Google Faculty Research Award are looking to embed a smart vision system in mobile devices. This would be to help people with vision disabilities navigate unfamiliar indoor environments.

Their work is based on preliminary work done on assistive technologies at the Lincoln Center for Autonomous Systems. The plan is to use color and depth sensor technology inside new smartphones and tablets to enable 3D mapping and localization, navigation and object recognition. The team is working to develop the best interface to relate the information to users.

Read more in the GAATES Article

The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) is focused on helping accessibility professionals develop and advance their careers and to help organizations integrate accessibility into their products and infrastructure. One way you can further build your accessibility skills and strategies is to take advantage of the IAAP Webinar Series. IAAP webinars are offered on a monthly basis on a variety of topics.

Kathy Wahlbin of Interactive Accessibility will be presenting the next IAAP webinar, Mobile Accessibility on the Move on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. By attending this webinar you will learn how managers, designers, user experience, developers and testers can make mobile content more accessible. This webinar is open to anyone looking to develop their mobile accessibility knowledge and skills. By the end of this webinar you will understand mobile accessibility and be able to make more accessible mobile content.

To register for Mobile Accessibility on the Move, visit the IAAP Webinar Registration. I look forward to discussing and sharing ideas with you about mobile accessibility. If you have any questions you may contact Kathy at

Sohan Dharmaraja, formally a Stanford engineering doctoral candidate, has created the first Braille-writer App. The app performs similar functions to a Brailler, which is a laptop like computer that is an important but specific tool used by people who are blind or have low vision. A Brailler can be used for things like typing documents and notes and to send and receive emails.  

Now, thanks to the Braille-writer app, a tablet can be used in lue of needing to purchase the very specific and dedicated Brailler. A Brailler uses a series of eight keys, one for each fingertip, the iBrailler draws the key around each fingertip. If the user becomes disoriented, they can easily recalibrate by lifting their fingers off the glass and put them back down.

Other features include:

  • Undo/redo function
  • One-click Google access
  • Search results by speech

The iPad app is now available in the app store. 

NJ Foundation for the Blind is hosting a free demonstration of the iPhones and iPads assistive technology. That assistive technology gives access to people who are blind or have low vision. The demonstration will be on Wednesday, Feb 18th from 10:00 am to 1:00pm at the NJ Foundation for the Blind on 230 Diamond Spring Road in Denville.

The demonstration will introduce people who are blind or have low vision to the iPhone and iPad accessibility features:

  • Voice Over
  • Gesture-based screen reader
  • Zoom magnification

You must register in advance by February 11 as seating is limited. To register call 973-627-0055 or by email.

Google has improved the accessibility of the mobile versions of its app on both Android and iOS, which include:

  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Slides

Among the new features and improvements are:

  • Real-time spell-checking in documents
  • Hiding rows and columns in spreadsheets
  • Grouping shapes in presentations

People who are blind and have vision disabilities can use screen readers such as TalkBack on Android and VoiceOver in iOS to create, edit, and share files in Docs, Sheets and Slides. The apps are also improved for screen magnification.

The updates are available for the App Store now for the iOS version of Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

GoodReader, the world's top-selling PDF reader and file management app for iPhone and iPad, has added VoiceOver compatibility in its just-released version. VoiceOver is part of Apple's accessibility features, a gesture-based way to have an iPhone or iPad speak what is written on the screen. Combined with GoodReader's recently released "Text-to-Speech" feature, GoodReader now better enables iPhone and iPad users with visual or reading disabilities to access PDFs and other documents.

With VoiceOver support and GoodReader's new "Speak" text-to-speech feature, any PDF or TXT document on an iPhone or iPad can be read audibly for busy professionals or those unable to read small text on their iOS devices. GoodReader users may now listen to full documents or sections of documents in their preferred language, and with absolute control over the speed of how fast the text is read aloud and the language it's read in.

The difference between VoiceOver and the "Speak" option in GoodReader is a text-to-speech feature simply reads out highlighted text, while VoiceOver is specifically designed for visually impaired users and reads aloud anything they need, including window names and menu details. With VoiceOver, a user can move their finger across the screen and the app will audibly read what is supposed to be seen there - the names of the buttons, the items in the menus, and the names of the files and folders. Using "Speak," users press on a blank section of a document and are presented with options for reading the document to them - including volume, language and speed controls.

"We are excited to be able to provide better access to documents on iPads and iPhones to those with visual or reading disabilities," said Yuri Selukoff, president of Good.iWare. "Our aim is for GoodReader to be the best reader for all iPad and iPhone users, including those with difficulty reading documents on the screens of their devices. We want to help as many people as possible to take advantage of our advanced product, which is why we are improving accessibility for those who have trouble reading small text or seeing small button icons on an iPhone or iPad screen."

Download Good Reader from iTunes.

Dropbox has improved its accessibility features in its iOS app. It is now fully accessible with VoiceOver. The app was re-evaluated top down. Ease of use was assessed for everything from login to navigation. They also looked a feedback from the AppleVis community to make more improvements.

The new improvements include:

  • More clearly identified content in the welcome tutorial
  • More descriptive thumbnails on the Photos tab
  • Easily enable or disable your passcode lock
  • Passcode field and digits can be selected more easily
  • New button to close out “More Actions” using VoiceOver.

You can download Dropbox from the Apple Store. 

Talkitt gives people with speech disabilities their voice back. The app for android and iPhone differs from other speech recognition software in that it recognizes patterns. It listens to the speech of a person with a speech impediment and translates what they are saying through the use of pattern recognition and a calibrated personalized dictionary. 

by Mark Miller and Rosemary Musachio

In our June blog post iOS 8 Accessibility Features Delivers in the Details, we gave you a sneak peek at the Accessibility features of iOS8 like improved zoom, greyscale, and a Braille keyboard.  If you’re an iPhone and/or iPad owner prepare to do a little dance and giggle with device in hand, iOS8 has rolled and it’s rockin’ the accessibility features.

Here is the rundown on what you’ll find behind the iOS8 accessibility tab:


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