AppleVis Unlimited: What's New in Accessible Apps for August 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Welcome to the August 2015 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series which aims to highlight what's new and noteworthy in the accessible app landscape. Below, you'll find a recap of the best content posted to AppleVis - from new app entries, to app updates, to podcasts and blogs. For easier navigation, the major sections of this post are at heading level 3, and each individual item is at heading level 4.

New and Noteworthy App Entries

Blindfold Dominoes (Free with In-App Purchases)

Blindfold Dominoes is a fully accessible Dominoes tile game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.

Blindfold Dominoes comes with a blocking game, where you and up to 3 computer opponents each place a matching domino on the table until one player runs out of tiles, or no one can move. The winner get the points of the losing players tiles.

You can customize the game to your liking: how much extra information is spoken and how quickly it is spoken, how many sound effects are used amongst other things. And you can post your high scores to Twitter or Facebook.

Current version: 1.0.5 (August 25, 2015)

Read Blindfold Dominoes' AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Blindfold Dominoes' page on the App Store

Blindfold Hearts (Free with In-App Purchases)

Blindfold Hearts is a fully accessible Hearts card game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.

Blindfold Hearts is a trick taking game, where you try to get the lowest score against 3 computer opponents. Each heart is worth one point, and the Queen of Spades is worth 13. You can also "shoot the moon" getting all hearts and the Queen of Spades, but beware - your opponents will try to stop you.

You can customize the game to your liking: how much extra information is spoken and how quickly it is spoken, how many sound effects are used amongst other things. And you can post your high scores to Twitter or Facebook.

Current version: 1.0.7 (August 19, 2015)

Read Blindfold Hearts' AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Blindfold Hearts' page on the App Store

Blindfold Simon (Free with In-App Purchases)

Blindfold Simon is a fully accessible audio game that's similar to the memory game Simon.

In Blindfold Simon, you listen to a sequence and then repeat that sequence. All action sequences are gestures on your iPhone or iPad, such as swipe up, down, left or right, or tapping with one finger or two fingers.

Each time you complete all the steps in a sequence, you win coins and move onto a sequence that is one step longer.

There is a one player mode where you can win coins, and a two player mode where you pass the iPhone back and forth between the two players. As you move from level to level, the number of gesture alternatives gets longer. You can change the many settings in the game.

Current version: 1.1.2 (August 12, 2015)

Read Blindfold Simon’s AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Blindfold Simon’s page on the App Store

bossjock jr (Free with In-App Purchases)

Little Studio, Big Sound.

Perfect for Podcasting, Dj mixes, Radio Production and More!

Record your voice over music and sound effects then share to Facebook, SoundCloud, Dropbox, libsyn or your favorite host via FTP. Mix things up with tracks from your Music Library or the bossjock jr store featuring free and for purchase rights cleared music.

Quickly produce rich audio content in real time on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple Watch.

bossjock jr is fully VoiceOver compatible.

Current version: 1.0 (July 31, 2015)

Read bossjock jr’s AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit bossjock jr’s page on the App Store

Our Groceries Shopping List (Free with In-App Purchases)

The easiest way to manage your family’s grocery shopping—and it’s FREE!

OurGroceries automatically keeps your family’s grocery list up to date with the latest changes—on every family member’s mobile phone, and our website. Nearly out of milk? Add it now on your phone and your partner can pick it up on their next shopping trip.

Every change to your shared shopping list is visible within seconds on any other iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or other smartphone grouped with yours. See items being checked off as your partner shops!

You can also keep track of the key ingredients in your favorite recipes and add them all at once to your shopping list.

Current version: 2.6.0 (August 15, 2015)

Read Our Groceries Shopping List’s AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Our Groceries Shopping List’s page on the App Store

StealthFly (US$2.99)

It is night. You are a pilot, navigating a treacherous cliff-side.

Suddenly, the lights dim in the plane. You can no longer see. You only have the sound of the plane whizzing past the cliffs to guide you. Enter StealthFly.

StealthFly is a single-player/multi-player endless runner game for the visually impaired which relies on sound to create obstacles. You use the phone's gyroscope to move around obstacles. You can play the game by yourself or let the game pair you with a buddy to race against.

Current version: 1.0 (August 14, 2015)

Read StealthFly’s AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit StealthFly’s page on the App Store

VisionConnectô (Free)

VisionConnectô provides a searchable directory of services available in the US and Canada for children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. Find services such as computer and technology training, daily living skills training, braille and reading instruction, dog guide training, employment services, low vision services, and more.

Individuals who are blind or have low vision can use this accessible app themselves to find resources and tips for living independently with visual impairment, including information on products and technology, personal stories about how people live everyday with macular degeneration or glaucoma, and advice on maintaining employment.

Health care providers can use the app to create customized lists of rehabilitation service providers that they can email to their clients, and provide their patients with home survey checklists, ideas for managing their medications, and more.

Current version: 1.0 (June 17, 2015)

Read VisionConnect's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit VisionConnect's page on the App Store

All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:

iOS
Mac
Apple Watch

Notable App Updates

AudioBoom (Free)

Welcome to the audioBoom app, where you can listen to the best spoken-word audio and podcasts from around the world, including Undisclosed (the follow-up to Serial) and The Russell Brand Podcast. Download now for free.

KEY FEATURES:

  • CarPlay - magical fun times in your car. Just plug the app into your CarPlay enabled dashboard and increase driving enjoyment by 87%
  • Daily Download - 2 hours of your favourite audio automatically available offline for your commute. Refreshed every day.
  • Explore featured and trending content from the world's best audio producers
  • Enjoy artificial intelligence so clever it hurts: the app will suggest content based on your listening history
  • Listen to great audio from 10 Downing St, TIME, VICE, NME, Sky Sports News, NPR, The Economist, Absolute Radio, the BBC, the Premier League, ABC, The Spectator, AFL, talkSPORT, the Guardian, Polydor, Telegraph, Huffington Post, ICC Cricket World Cup, Fox News, Sky News Radio, BlackcapsÖ and so much more
  • Search instantly for podcasts, categories, playlists and content providers
  • Record and edit straight from the app
  • Follow friends, podcasters and content providers
  • Record up to 10 mins per clip for freeÖ with as many clips as you like. Size doesn't matter, it's what you do with it that counts.
  • Send DMs to friends

Current Version: 4.3.0 (August 12, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 4.3.0

AudioBoom version 4.3.0 brings a redesigned user interface and full VoiceOver accessibility to the app.

Read AudioBoom's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit AudioBoom's page on the App Store

BlindSquare (US $29.99)

BlindSquare uses GPS and the compass to locate you. It then gathers information about the surrounding environment from FourSquare. BlindSquare has some unique algorithms to decide what information is the most relevant and then speaks it to you with high quality speech synthesis.

When you start the app, it will start telling you the interesting places and street crossings around you. By changing the radius, you can limit the area you are interested in. You can also search by search term or by category. You can select an interesting place from the search results and perform the following tasks:

  1. Get contact info (address, phone number)
  2. Open twitter feed or restaurant menu (if provided)
  3. Make a phone call
  4. Start tracking the place (BlindSquare will assist you by repeating the distance and the clock face direction)
  5. Start your favourite navigator for turn-by-turn instructions (TomTom, Navigon or Apple Maps)

Current Version: 3.3 (August 28, 2015)

Changes in Version 3.3
  • NEW: New options have been added to the Quick Access menu: You can now make a call, view a restaurant menu, hail a Uber cab, or view public transport options. To open the Quick Access menu, tab and hold the name of a place when in a list of places.
  • NEW: Added Clear Search History option to the Action menu on the Search screen.
  • NEW: You can now share any location using the QR code option on the Share Location screen.
  • NEW: You can now import locations using the QR code reader in the Tools menu.
  • CHANGE: When filtering by distance, numeric keypad is used
  • CHANGE: Find similar places searches a larger area than before, (max 25 kilometers)

Read the AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for BlindSquare
Visit the App Store page for BlindSquare

Capti Narrator (Free with In-App Purchases)

Listen to everything you want to read on the go and at your leisure!

You can listen to any content from Safari, Chrome, GoogleDrive, Dropbox, Bookshare, or Gutenberg. Whether you are a student, a language learner, a commuter, a busy professional, a retiree, or a person with dyslexia or other print disabilities, Capti will improve your productivity and make your reading more enjoyable. Synchronize your Playlist and switch seamlessly between your devices.

Current Version: 2.0 (August 20, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 2.0
  • Now you can read track content visually, and Capti will highlight every word it reads
  • You can use the table of content or navigate by page, sentence, paragraph, heading, etc.
  • With Capti extension, you can import content from Safari, Chrome, Opera and many other apps by using the Share button
  • You now have access to over 49,000 free books from Gutenberg
  • Import your documents from Microsoft’s OneDrive
  • Try our full-text search – pull down on the Playlist
  • Configure the speech rate for each language individually
  • Capti is now fully compatible with the iPad – synchronize with your iPhone playlist
  • Capti is also substantially more reliable
  • Free Voice Upgrade: the top quality voices are now even better
  • Try the new amazing high-quality voices: Sharon and kid Justin (U.S. English), Lisa (Australian English), Rhona (Welsh English), kids Jonas and Lea (German), kids Emilio and Valeria (U.S. Spanish and English), and Rodrigo (Spanish)

Read Capti Narrator's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Capti Narrator's page on the App Store

Duolingo - Learn Languages for Free (Free)

Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and English. Totally fun. Totally free.

Duolingo is changing the way people learn languages.

With Duolingo, you learn a language completely free, without ads or hidden charges. You have fun while you learn, leveling up and competing with friends.

Current Version: 4.3.5 (August 16, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 4.3.5

The release notes simply state “Bug fixes and performance improvements”. The good news is that this appears to include a fix for a recently introduced bug which had essentially made the app unusable with VoiceOver. Although there are still some accessibility issues, this release has at least made the app usable again.

Read Duolingo’s AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Duolingo’s page on the App Store

KNFBReader (US$99.99)

The KNFB Reader converts printed text into high quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple page documents with the tap of a button on the iPhone. Picture accuracy is facilitated by a Field of View Report, Automatic Page Detection, and Tilt Control.

Our app allows users to capture pictures of virtually any type of printed text, including mail, receipts, class handouts, memos and many other documents that you may encounter.

Proprietary document analysis technology determines the words and reads them aloud to the user with high quality text-to-speech and Braille access. Individuals with print disabilities will benefit from the synchronized speech and text highlighting capabilities.

KNFB Reader will revolutionize access to print materials for the mobile professional and busy student by providing advanced state of the art mobile reading technology in a single hand-held device.

Current Version: 2.0 (August 20, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 2.0
  • Stand mode added
  • Field of view report improved
  • Limit recognition and speech languages in the settings screen
  • VoiceOver improvements
  • Dropbox synchronisation and backup functionality
  • General improvements

Read KNFBReader's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit KNFBReader's page on the App Store
Listen to “AppleVis Extra #33: James Gashel and what’s new in KNFBReader Version 2.0”
Listen to “A Taste of what’s new in KNFBReader 2.0“

Voice - Take Pictures & Have Them Read/Spoken In Many Languages with Fast OCR (Free)

Take a picture of anything that has words on it, and Voice will read it to you! Designed for iOS 8, this simple and easy to use interface will let you listen to all your books/words/documents/magazines in a matter of seconds.

People with visual impairment or dyslexia can easily snap a photo of anything and have it read in a matter of seconds. Whether it is a menu at a restaurant, a medicine label, and expiration date on a milk carton, or even an information board at a museum.

Current Version: 3.3 (August 11, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 3.3
  • Now Voice can detect and read in over 30 languages!
  • Most, if not all, of the VoiceOver incompatibilities have been fixed (including the annoying introduction at the beginning). So, Voice is fully compatible with VoiceOver!
  • Export your detected text! You can now export it as a pdf, png, or txt file, and you can send it to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Email, and many more!
  • Improved field of view report and document detection.
  • iPhone also vibrates when four corners are detected.
  • Picking photos from iPhone photo library now is compatible with VoiceOver.
  • Made OCR processing faster.
  • Better automatic photo capture.
  • New bug spray invented to squash millions of bugs.
  • Other various improvements.

Read Voice's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Voice's page on the App Store

Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple (US$4.99)

Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Workflow includes over 200 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, and iCloud Documents, to name a few.

For example, you can use Workflow to:

  • Make animated GIFs
  • Add a home screen icon that calls a loved one
  • Make PDFs from Safari or any app with a share sheet
  • Get directions to the nearest coffee shop in one tap
  • Tweet the song you're listening to
  • Get all of the images on a web page
  • Send a message including the last screenshot you took
  • And so much more...

Current Version: 1.3 (August 27, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 1.3

This update introduces our brand-new Today Widget, our long-awaited Workflow Sync service, and many other new features!

With the Today Widget, you can quickly run workflows from any app by just pulling down Notification Center. Workflow Sync keeps your workflows synced between all of your devices and securely backs up your workflows to the cloud so you won't lose them.

We've also added 11 fancy new actions, including several Health-related ones (such as Log Workout and Log Health Sample), Share with Transmit, and more. We were shocked to find out that Workflow has bugs, so we fixed some of those, too.

Read Workflow's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Workflow's page on the App Store

Recent News and Views

Think Small

By Morgan | August 30, 2015

I absolutely love working this way! I am sitting in my living room comfy chair and happily writing my first AppleVis blog. All the computer I need is right here. My iPhone 5S is in my shirt pocket, my Apple ear pods are where they belong, and my Logitech Bluetooth Keys-To-Go keyboard is cool and light on my lap. Except for taking my guide dog outside for another break, I cannot think of a single good reason to get up.

For many decades, I aspired to being connected, to being productive, while being some place other than at my desk. I was so tired of being pinned down. I wanted to get real work done on my front porch, at the park, or in a moving car, at any time I pleased. I wanted access to everything, access to the entire world, even if I happen to be sitting in a Parisian cafe. And, I wanted my accessibility solution to fit in my pocket. Dream big. Think small.

Read More: ”Think Small”

A New Chapter in our History Opens With the Creation of the AppleVis Blog Team

By AppleVis | August 28, 2015

We are pleased and excited to announce the six people who have been invited to join our newly created AppleVis Blog Team. Each brings with them a unique mix of interests and experience, and we are sure that they will help us to make our blog an even more powerful and respected voice in the space that we occupy.

Rather than attempt to summarize each team member's unique backgrounds and qualifications, we felt it would be better to let each person introduce themselves:

Read More: ”A New Chapter in our History Opens With the Creation of the AppleVis Blog Team”

On Siri, Voice Control, and How the Blind Use iPhones

By Michael Hansen | August 16, 2015

I have a love-hate relationship with Siri.

When I tell Siri to set my alarm just before I go to bed, I appreciate the convenience of being able to simply tell my phone something and it get done. I’m the type of person who might possibly sleep through my first alarm, so I set several as an extra precaution. When I wake up and am sure I’m out of bed, I tell Siri, “Turn off all of my alarms,” and go on with my day. The same goes for setting my monthly hair cut appointments; almost always, it just works.

When I ask Siri things like, “What’s zero divided by zero?” I laugh, because its response is funny and because whoever programmed it clearly has a good sense of humor.

But when I dictate certain words, such as “horn,” (something I do regularly, as I am a railroad enthusiast and often send train horn recordings to friends) and Siri hears and inserts another four-letter word instead, I get really, really mad. But I know that text dictation will never be 100% accurate, and thus I either check all of my texts (paying particular attention to the ones I think it might have difficulties interpreting), or I just enter them by hand.

My biggest gripe with Siri isn't about anything it does or doesn't do, however. Rather, it is that Siri's potential to assist blind and low vision users is generally misunderstood and overstated. Too often, I read articles in the mainstream (that is, not specifically written for an audience of users with visual impairments) media about iOS accessibility which extol the access Siri provides blind users. While Siri is one of many accessibility tools, the sighted public's idea of how we use it is ripe with misconceptions.

Read More: ”On Siri, Voice Control, and How the Blind Use iPhones”

Apple Releases iOS 8.4.1 with VoiceOver Improvements for Apple Music

By AppleVis | August 13, 2015

Apple has today released iOS 8.4.1 to the public, bringing fixes and improvements to Apple Music and other areas of the iOS 8 operating system.

For VoiceOver users, iOS 8.4.1 includes fixes for the labeling of a number of buttons in Apple Music--including those for following and unfollowing artists in Connect.

Read More: "Apple Releases iOS 8.4.1 with VoiceOver Improvements for Apple Music"

Apple Releases OS X 10.10.5 with Mail, Security, and Other Improvements

By AppleVis | August 13, 2015

Alongside its release of iOS 8.4.1, Apple has today released OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 to the public.

Read More: "Apple Releases OS X 10.10.5 with Mail, Security, and Other Improvements"

This Month in Podcasts

Enjoy Live NFL on your iOS Device with Pro Football Radio & Live Scores

In this podcast, WildmanJoe gives us a demonstration of Pro Football Radio & Live Scores, an iOS app that streams any NFL game any time during the NFL season (including pre-season games).

Joe demonstrates 3 of the app’s 5 tabs: Team List, Schedules and Scoring. The Scoring tab did backfire on Joe a bit, but it will be understood when it is heard.

Listen to “Enjoy Live NFL on your iOS Device with Pro Football Radio & Live Scores”
Visit Pro Football Radio & Live Scores’ page on the App Store

Quick Tip: Using the Spellcheck Facility on Mac OS X

In this podcast, Scott Davert walks us through how to use the system-wide spellcheck facility on Mac OS X.

Listen to “Quick Tip: Using the Spellcheck Facility on Mac OS X”

A Taste of what’s new in KNFBReader 2.0

In this podcast, David Woodbridge demonstrates two new features introduced in version 2.0 of KNFBReader.

The KNFBReader iOS app converts printed text into high quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple page documents with the tap of a button on the iPhone. Picture accuracy is facilitated by a Field of View Report, Automatic Page Detection, and Tilt Control.

David demonstrates how KNFBReader is now optimized to work with document stands. When used with one of these, the app will automatically detect when you turn the page of a book in the stand or insert a different sheet.

The second new feature demonstrated by David is the option to have all scanned documents automatically saved to Dropbox. You can also restore files from Dropbox at any time.

Listen to “A Taste of what’s new in KNFBReader 2.0“
Visit KNFBReader’s page on the App Store

AppleVis Extra #33: James Gashel and what’s new in KNFBReader Version 2.0

In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Thomas and Alex speak with James Gashel about the new features and changes coming in version 2.0 of KNFBReader.

The KNFBReader app converts printed text into high quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple page documents with the tap of a button on the iPhone. Picture accuracy is facilitated by a Field of View Report, Automatic Page Detection, and Tilt Control.

One new feature that James is excited to show off, is optimization of KNFBReader to work with document stands. When used with one of these, the app will now automatically detect when you turn the page of a book in the stand or insert a different sheet.

Other changes include improvements in the accuracy of the Field of View Report and the option to have all scanned documents automatically saved to DropBox.

Listen to “AppleVis Extra #33: James Gashel and what’s new in KNFBReader Version 2.0”
Visit KNFBReader’s page on the App Store

AppleVis Extra #32: John Panarese; Mac For The Blind; and Apple Certified Training

In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Scott and Alex sat down with John Panarese of MacForTheBlind.com, who is an Apple-certified OS X instructor. He told us all about how anyone, blind or sighted, can obtain this certification. The only limitation is that the test must be taken in person at an authorized training center; use this page to locate your nearest training center.

Listen to “AppleVis Extra #32: John Panarese; Mac For The Blind; and Apple Certified Training”

A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website in the past month can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts

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