AppleVis Unlimited: What's New in Accessible Apps for May 2016
Welcome to the May 2016 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
AIM: Chat, Free Text, Photo Share, Voice Message (iOS, Free)
We’ve reinvented the AIM app to provide a cleaner, richer experience that is simpler to use and designed for the latest iPhone and iPad.
AIM is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family no matter where they are. Start or join a group chat, send voice messages, share images and your location, and continue conversations between devices seamlessly. Plus, you can also chat with friends on Google and compose Tweets.
Current Version: 7.3.0 (April 5 2016)
BBC Music (iOS, Free)
Enjoy a personalised slice of BBC Music on your iPhone or iPad.
Just tell the app what kind of music you’re into, and it’ll serve up a curated stream of exclusive live sessions, interviews and playlists from your favourite presenters, programmes and events.
The BBC Music app lets you…
- Check out audio & video of live performances from BBC sessions.
- Follow BBC Playlists from your favourite shows, presenters and events.
- Save tracks for later and listen in full on Deezer, Spotify, and YouTube.
- Find any track you’ve heard on BBC Radio in the last seven days.
Current Version: 1.2.0 (May 6 2016)
Big Finish Audiobook Player (iOS, Free)
Official Big Finish - Audiobook and Audio Drama Player
The best way to listen to your Big Finish audio books on your iOS device.
Download and store your library of Big Finish audio files on your Apple device. Listen to great stories from the following ranges wherever your are: Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Blake's 7, Dark Shadows, 2000 AD (Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog), Terrahawks, The Avengers, The Prisoner, Torchwood, Survivors, The Omega Factor and more.
- Download audio files direct to your Apple device.
- View a list of all your available audiobooks.
- Play each chapter in an audiobook in sequence or choose your starting chapter.
- Skip and scrub between chapters.
- Listen to your audiobooks while using other apps.
- Remembers playback position.
- Filter your purchases by title, release date and purchase date.
Current Version: 2.0.5 (May 18 2016)
Blindfold Checkers (iOS, Free)
Blindfold Checkers is a fully accessible Checkers game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.
Blindfold Checkers is played on an 8 by 8 checkerboard, where you and your opponent have 12 checkers, and you try eliminate all of your opponent's checkers by jumping over them.
You play against computer opponents whose skill varies from beginner to expert. There's a tutorial included with the game, and several different ways of getting hints.
Current Version: 1.2.2 (May 29 2016)
Calcbot — The Intelligent Calculator and Unit Converter (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Calcbot is an intelligent calculator and unit converter for the rest of us. Featuring an easy-to-read history tape, expression view, intuitive conversion, and much more!
- History Tape.
- Expression View.
- Apple Watch Extension.
- Scientific Functions.
- Round for Currency.
- iCloud Sync.
- Sounds & Animations.
Current Version: 2.1.2 (August 6 2015)
iDB app (iOS, Free)
iDownloadBlog keeps you in touch with everything Apple!
Stay up to date with the latest Apple news, tips, apps, and accessory reviews, directly from your iPhone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
BROWSE the latest headlines from your favorite Apple blog by swiping your finger right to left. If you see something you like, tap on it to read more.
BE NOTIFIED about every news story published on the site via push notification.
READ stories, including breaking news, must-have apps, cool new accessories and tutorials on how to get the most out of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac.
Current Version: 1.2.1 (May 25 2016)
Keeble - Accessible keyboard (iOS, US$19.99)
Keeble is an iOS keyboard that allows users with fine motor-challenges, switch users and users with vision impairments to type in any app. The keyboard offers word prediction, timing options, Select on Release, Select on Dwell, auditory feedback and other accessibility features. It also fully supports Switch Control and VoiceOver.
Keeble is currently localized in English, French, Spanish and Dutch, and offers optimized layouts for simplified, advanced and scanning keyboards.
Current Version: 3.0.2 (February 9 2016)
Phrase Madness (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Phrase Madness is a fully accessible phrase guessing game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.
Phrase Madness is a cross between concentration and wheel of fortune.
The objective of this game is to match the beginning of a common expression with the end of the expression.
For example, you would match "It's a beautiful day in the" with the ending "neighborhood".
You can play up to 26 phrases at a time.
After you play for a while, simply matching phrases can get boring, and that's where the madness kicks in. With over 300 phrases, you'll find new and interesting combinations pop-up when you accidentally, or intentionally, match the beginning of one phrase with the end of another phrase.
Current Version: 1.3.4 (May 22 2016)
Reminiscent (iOS, US$0.99)
Common and still life can come to the end at any time and only faint tails of fragmentary memories will throw some light on the dark ongoing events. Being in chill of fear the principle character of the game comes round after losing consciousness at the bottom of a deep mine. He has no idea who he is, where he is, how he has found himself to be here, how he can manage to get out of this place and what is going on in general. He will have to glean all this information with your help in order to remember everything and find answers to the above questions.
Current Version: 1.0 (May 18 2016)
ShapeTones (iOS, Free)
ShapeTones is an accessible audiovisual memory game for iPhone and iPad – it can be played by anyone, including players with hearing or visual impairments.
A sequence of 3 shapes and tones (“ShapeTones”) is played, and the player tries to reproduce it. Tapping different areas of the screen trigger different ShapeTones. The game starts with 3 ShapeTones. As the game evolves, more ShapeTones become available. When a new ShapeTone is added, a trial screen is shown to demonstrate where each ShapeTone is triggered. Some surprises happen along the way. As a one player game, the sequence is created automatically. As a two player game, one player creates the sequence, passes the device to the other player, who tries to repeat it. They then swap the roles.
ShapeTones is jointly developed by Nuno Correia from Goldsmiths, University of London (part of Enabling AVUIs research project, funded by Marie Curie EU fellowship) and Fiore Martin, Nick Bryan-Kinns, Oussama Metatla and Tony Stockman from Queen Mary, University of London (part of DePIC research project, funded by a EPSRC UK grant).
Current Version: 1.0 (February 17, 2016)
Smart Metronome -tempo moduration programmable (iOS, Free)
Simple, stylish, accurate and programmable metronome!
The application of the beautiful look with realistic motion of the pendulum. It is so easy to use, yet very practical. Setting the BPM, beats, sounds are just tapping on the screen.
You can even set one beat into two eighth notes, triplets, four sixteenth notes, you could use this feature as a compound time such as 6/8 or 12/8. Also, it has the large BMP number display and Italian tempo markings.
Current Version: 3.0 (April 17 2016)
TripAdvisor Hotels Flights Restaurants
Millions of traveler reviews, photos, and maps from TripAdvisor. Plan and book your perfect trip. With over 225 million reviews and opinions by travelers, TripAdvisor makes it easy to find the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go. And booking options for hotels, restaurants and flights are just a tap away.
The TripAdvisor mobile app is free and easy to use.
- Browse millions of reviews, opinions and candid photos by travelers
- Find the best hotel for you, including Travelers' Choice award winners
- Explore restaurants and book tables online
- Discover cool things to do in any destination
- Compare airfares and find great deals
- Use Near Me Now to discover places near your current location
- Get answers to your specific travel questions in the forums
- Add your own reviews and photos
- Download maps, reviews, and your saves for over 300 cities worldwide onto your phone for free; avoid using expensive data roaming plans while you travel
- Support for Apple Watch. The TripAdvisor Apple Watch app shows you the best places to eat, play and stay wherever you are. Want to visit the suggested places later? Just save it on your Apple Watch and view it later on your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad or on TripAdvisor.co.uk
Current Version: 16.0.1 (May 31, 2016)
UZURV (iOS, Free)
UZURV is a Reservation Services App created to enhance the on-demand riding experience. The app works alongside existing on-demand services like Uber and Lyft to allow you to make advanced reservations with the on-demand driver of your choice.
Current Version: 1.5 (May 24, 2016)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
1Password - Password Manager and Secure Wallet (Mac, US$64.99)
1Password remembers all your passwords and other sensitive information so you don’t have to. Keep your digital life secure, always available, and safe behind the one password that only you know.
1Password enables you to:
- Store usernames and passwords, credit card information, addresses, bank account numbers, passport details, software licenses, and more
- Generate strong, random passwords and log in to websites without ever having to remember or type them
- Save usernames and passwords automatically from your favorite web browser
- Use Security Audit to see how your passwords stack up
- Enable Watchtower to find out if any of your passwords are leaving you vulnerable
- Search all of your items to find what you need fast
- Mark items as favorites for easy access
- Sync your 1Password vault across mobile devices and computers
Current Version: 6.3 (May 25, 2016)
Changes in Version 6.3
Spring has sprung and passion is in the air. The birds are feeling it, the bees are feeling it and we are too! We have heard from some very passionate users who have inspired us to make a few key improvements, especially in VoiceOver, Large Type and browser support. We’re really excited about the features we were able to include in this release and hope you are too!
There are new browsers getting created all the time, each with their own niche to serve. 1Password 6.3 added support for three such browsers: Vivaldi, Brave and Opera Developer. Vivaldi aims to be the most customizable of browsers (and is it ever!), and Brave is focused on security and privacy. And Opera Developer is for those who love to live on the edge. These browsers now integrate with 1Password, enabling you to log in to websites with ease.
We love Large Type, and based on the feedback we’ve gotten, you do too! We received a lot of passionate pleas to anchor the Large Type window so that it doesn’t disappear so quickly. Now you can simply drag the window and it will transform itself into an anchored window that won’t disappear until you close it yourself or lock your vault.
Accessibility has always been important to us. VoiceOver support is a key tool in making 1Password more accessible to more users. That is why in version 6.3, we have made it easier to navigate when using VoiceOver.
Dice World - Dice with Friends (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
6 Great games in one App! Yatzy, Farkle, Pig, Threes, Balut and 24!
- More funny computer characters!
- More awesome custom dice sets!
- More everything!
Dice World is designed so blind and sighted can compete against each other! It is completely accessible to the blind!
Voted best game of year by AppleVis.com in 2014 & 2015!
Current Version: 9.03 (May 31, 2016)
- Play Hillary! Can you beat the pant suit off of her?
- Play Trump and make him the Loser!
- Play the 'Black Widow' and see if her bite is as bad as her dice game!
- Play 'Gretchen' to see who pays for the next round!
- Play Pennywise the clown!
New Custom Dice! Fun new dice sets available!
- Puppy Dice
- Kitty Dice
- Clown Dice
- Dragon Dice
- ... and more!!
Tons of VoiceOver enhancements:
- Magic tap for free gold
- Streamlined for faster and more efficient gameplay.
And many many other fixes and improvements.
iCatcher! Podcast Player (iOS, US$2.99)
Download, listen, watch and enjoy your favorite podcasts all from your device. Now with support for Apple Watch!
Updated for iOS 9! Support for split screen and slide over on devices that support that feature (newer iPads).
- Background Refresh (iOS 7 and up only)
- Subscribe to your favorite podcasts in the app and manage them in the app
- Download episodes over WiFi or Cellular (on devices that have cellular).
- Download in the background on devices running iOS 7+
- Download multiple episodes at once (up to 3 on WiFi and 2 on cellular).
- Support for Password Protected feeds
- Sync subscriptions, episode playback positions and playlists between your devices with iCloud
- Universal App
- Full retina display support
- Search in all views to find that podcast or episode you are looking for
- Play audio in the background
- Custom playlists with filtering options by podcast, episodes and more.
- Support for continuous playback (toggle it on now playing screen just below time elapsed).
- All device orientations supported with configurable option in the settings
- You can unsubscribe to podcasts and still have them on your device. Use that for those less than stellar podcasts!
- Full VoiceOver support
Current Version: 2.8.1 (May 28, 2016)
Changes in Versions 2.8-2.8.1
- Updated Watch Interface
- Bug fix for issue where podcast could start playing unexpectingly.
- Bug fix for iCloud sync wifi only option.
- Bug fix for some crashes that occur during a refresh
- Added sort option within podcast to sort by file size (downloaded or not)
- Added a Mark as New option within a playlist if you wanted to mark multiple episodes as new. That resets play count and sets current position to the beginning.
- Better Siri integration. You should now be able to say ask Siri to skip back or skip ahead by any amount. You can also ask siri to go to the next episode if in a playlist.
- You can now filter the podcasts tab to show all, show unplayed or show only playable. This is a feature for those with lots of podcasts. See filtering options under help and help topics
- Support for setting the playback position on the control center (swipe up on iOS Device) for devices running iOS 9.1 and higher.
- Re-design for the episodes view within a podcast. This will allow you to quickly see which episodes are playable, new/unplayed, or all of them. To get to delete actions and the mark as actions just tap the edit button and you will see those options. Other visual changes made as well.
- Episodes now have an info button on the right. When tapped it brings up the show notes for the episode (same as tap and hold).
- When viewing show notes for an episode (Tap and hold) the share icon will now give you the option to add to a playlist (iOS 8+)
- When viewing show notes for an episode if you highlight text a custom menu item has been added to Search Safari. This will launch Safari and search the web for the given highlighted text.
Read iCatcher’s AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information](http://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/entertainment/icatcher-podcast-app)
Visit iCatcher’s page on the App Store
Teamtalk 5 (iOS, Free)
TeamTalk is a conferencing system which allows users to participate in conferences on the Internet. Users can chat using voice over IP and listen to streaming media files.
TeamTalk for iOS has been designed with particular emphasis on accessibility features for visually impaired.
Here is a list of the main features:
- Real time voice over IP conversations
- Public and private instant text messaging
- Private rooms/channels for every group
- High quality audio codecs with both mono and stereo
- Push-to-talk and voice activation
- Standalone server available for both LAN and Internet environments
- User authentication with accounts
- Accessibility for visually impaired using VoiceOver
Current Version: 5.1.3 (May 2, 2016)
Changes in Version 5.1.3
- Fixed crash issue when creating channel and VoiceOver active.
- Fixed audio stream not resuming after phone call.
- Fixed disconnect issue after long phone call.
- Default to OPUS audio codec when creating new channel.
- iOS 7.0 support (iPhone 4).
- tt:// URL and .tt file support.
TuneIn Radio Pro - Stream MLB, NHL, NFL, Audiobooks, News, Talk, Podcasts & Music (iOS, US$9.99 with further In-App Purchases available)
Listen to your favorite radio stations for free with TuneIn Radio. With over 100,000 radio stations, TuneIn has the largest selection of sports, news, music and talk radio from around the world.
TuneIn Radio Pro is free of display ads and lets you record what you are listening to and listen later offline.
- Stream real radio stations from around the world live.
- Listen to your favorite talk shows and podcasts live and on demand.
- Enjoy live coverage of sporting events, concerts and more.
Current Version: 9.8 (May 9, 2016)
Changes in Version 9.8
- Version 9.8 features a new design for Home with recommendations and top content on TuneIn.
- Station, show, and event pages have a brand new look, too!
- Your profile has been redesigned as well, making finding the stations you follow easier than ever.
- Program pages will remember which episodes you've listened to and show progress indicators.
- We've also improved the VoiceOver accessibility across the app, and added localizations to Car Mode.
Twitterrific 5 for Twitter (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
The first app of its kind on the App Store, Twitterrific is the award-winning, elegant Twitter client that’s easy to understand and a delight to use.
Customize fonts, avatar sizes, image thumbnails and more via the theme panel. Quickly respond to tweets, change accounts or view conversation threads with minimum of effort using gestures. Rich media support including multiple images & Twitter animated GIFs. Robust VoiceOver support means Twitterrific is accessible for users with vision impairments.
Tweeting has never been simpler or so much fun.
- Universal app for iPhone and iPad
- Live streaming of tweets over wifi
- Large, beautiful images in your timeline
- Robust multi-image support
- Elegant interface
- Muffle or mute hashtags, users, or URLs that you don’t want to see
- Post from any account directly from the compose screen
- Automatic switch to Dark theme at night
- List management support
- VoiceOver support
- Receive push notifications for Replies, Mentions, Retweets, Favs, Direct Messages & more with in-app purchase
Current Version: 5.14.3 (May 2, 2016)
Changes in Version 5.14.3
- After attaching an image to a tweet, you can tap on the thumbnail to add a description for the visually impaired
- VoiceOver automatically reads descriptions for images that have been annotated with alternate text
- VoiceOver functionality on tweets now supports standard accessibility actions
- VoiceOver reads if there is an image or quote attached before the timestamp
- Improved VoiceOver interaction when changing tweet selection via the keyboard
- Push notifications for quoted tweets offer the same actions as mentions
- Streaming no longer displays retweets for users with disabled retweets
- Enabling/disabling retweets for a user works more reliably
- Added the swiping cursor navigation gesture to all text fields
- VoiceOver and the visual interface’s current tweet selection should no longer get out of sync
- VoiceOver can access the mark unread/delete thread actions in the direct messages inbox
- Fixed VoiceOver navigation of direct message threads
- Tapping a timeline tweet now sets focus as expected for keyboard shortcuts
- Fixed a bug that would occasionally freeze the app while scrolling
- Fixed a bug that caused the creation of new lists to fail
- Fixed a bug that caused saving a search to fail
Zombies, Run! (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Get ready for the run of your life. Join 3 million runners on an epic adventure!
You tie your shoes, put on your headphones, take your first steps outside. You’ve barely covered 100 yards when you hear them. They must be close. You can hear every guttural breath, every rattling groan - they’re everywhere. Zombies. There’s only one thing you can do: Run!
Zombies, Run! is an ultra-immersive running game and audio adventure, co-created with award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman. Every run becomes a mission where you’re the hero, with our immersive audio drama putting you at the centre of your very own zombie adventure story. While you run to the perfect mix of heart-pumping audio drama and pulse-pounding songs from your own playlist, you’ll collect supplies to grow your base back home.
Current Version: 5.0.1 (May 31, 2016)
Changes in Version 5.0-5.0.1
Season 5. Runner 5. Version 5. It's a sign of great things!
Season 5 is here! Forget your Jon Snow and your White Walkers. We’ve got Runner Five and the Zombies. Who cares about The Governor when you’ve got The Minister? Does any character in any medium even compare to Sam Yao? While we’re on air, everyone else better step back, because we've got 40 fantastic missions that'll make your runs more exciting than ever before. And naturally, if you're a Pro Member, you get unlimited ad-free access!
And there’s plenty more to enjoy in our 5.0 update. We’ve introduced an all-new Base Builder interface that makes it easier than ever to grow your Abel Township. You now get 100% of your materials and supplies back when you demolish a building. That means you can reorganise your base to your heart's content, with no penalty - which is handy, because we’ll soon be adding a whole range of new buildings to accompany Season 4 and 5 missions!
Last but not least, we’ve improved our VoiceOver accessibility for the base builder, so everyone can get involved, along with other general UI improvements and bug fixes.
Speed and stability - that's what we're improving in this version. Zombies, Run! is now much faster to start up, and much more responsive. All the better to escape those fast zoms! We've also improved the Statistics screen and added labels so you can know precisely how you're performing and improving every day.
Stability-wise, we've eliminated a lot of crashes affecting iPhone 4s players, and players with very large bases.
Recent News and Views
From Smart to Dumb: My First Year With an Apple Watch
By David Goodwin | May 23, 2016
If you spend much time browsing the Internet, it’s likely that you have already encountered numerous articles over the past month where the writer has looked back over their first year with an Apple Watch. With so many of these appraisals already out in the wild, I wasn’t originally planning on adding to their numbers. However, I then reached the first birthday of my own Apple Watch, and the fact that it marked the occasion by being turned off and back in its box made me think that perhaps I had something to say after all, particularly as it doesn’t seem so long ago that I was writing about the small conveniences that owning an Apple Watch was bringing to my life.
Sadly, few of those small conveniences have stood the test of time, and that’s served to bring my focus back onto the failings of the first generation Apple Watch and some of my own personal dislikes and disappointments.
Apple Pay on the Apple Watch is a prime example of a convenience that didn’t stand the test of time for me. When it first launched here in the UK, it was like I had just arrived in the future. If James Bond ever went into his local cornershop to buy a sandwich, this would surely be the way that he would pay for it - a quick and subtle movement of the arm that would only be caught by the sharp-eyed and knowing. Of course, like many things, reality doesn’t always match the vision that you have in your head. In this case, reality generally involved much twisting and turning of my wrist as I tried to prompt the connection between the Watch and the payment terminal. At times, no amount of arm waving worked, leaving me to cancel the attempt and start all over. Instead of being accompanied by the James Bond theme music, the soundtrack to my performance typically comprised of sighs from the shop assistant and those behind me in the queue, all no doubt wishing that I would just use cash.
With my reality of Apple Pay on the Apple Watch being more Johnny English than James Bond, I soon switched back to using my iPhone for contactless payments. It may not offer the perceived ‘cool’ of the Apple Watch, but paying with the iPhone is immediate and has me out of the door instead of entertaining or frustrating those around me with my arm waving antics.
Twitterrific 5 for Twitter and A Blind Legend Inducted into the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame
By AppleVis | May 21, 2016
First opened in 2011, the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame is one of the ways in which the AppleVis community seeks to recognize developers of accessible iOS applications. Apps in the Hall of Fame can be liberating and empowering; life-changing; provide access to information that sighted users take for granted; or, in some cases, they can just be good fun!
In short, the iOS App Hall of Fame represents the best of the best in accessible iOS applications, as decided by the AppleVis community.
Apple Releases iTunes 12.4; Bringing a Number of Interface and Navigation Changes
By AppleVis | May 15, 2016
In addition to releasing software updates for iOS, OS X, watchOS and the fourth-generation Apple TV, Apple has today released iTunes 12.4.
According to Apple’s release notes via 9to5Mac, this update brings a number of design and navigation tweaks:
- Now enjoy all of your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and more in a simpler design.
- Navigation. Now you can use Back and Forward buttons as you navigate between your Library, Apple Music, iTunes Store, and more.
- Media Picker. Easily switch between Music, Movies, TV shows and more–and Edit to choose just the items you want.
- Library and Playlists. Use Sidebar to view your Library in new ways. Drag and drop songs to easily add them to Playlists. And Edit Sidebar to show only your favorite views.
- Menus. Menus in iTunes are now simpler and easier to use. Use the View menu to customize your Library or try context menus to act on specific items.
Mention of design and navigation changes in any software update typically raises concerns that these may introduce accessibility-related issues for VoiceOver users. As we have not been able to test this update prior to its public release, we do not know at this time if there are any changes which will significantly alter the usability of iTunes for VoiceOver users. So, if you notice any changes, do please let us know by posting a comment below.
Apple Releases Software Updates for the Mac, Apple Watch and Fourth-Generation Apple TV
By AppleVis | May 15, 2016
Today has seen another flurry of software updates from Apple. In addition to the release of iOS 9.3.2, there have also been updates for the Mac, Apple Watch and fourth-generation Apple TV.
Full release notes for these updates are not yet available, but it is safe to assume that there will be the standard round of bug fixes, security patches, and under-the-hood improvements. We will update this post if we learn of any significant new features or changes.
The only one of these updates that we’ve been able to test prior to its public release is Mac OS X 10.11.5, and our experience suggests that blind and low vision users are going to find no accessibility-related changes.
Apple Releases iOS 9.3.2 With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements
By AppleVis | May 15, 2016
Apple has today released iOS 9.3.2 to the public, bringing with it bug fixes and under-the-hood improvements.
At the time of writing, it appears that blind and low vision users will find little change to the known accessibility bugs present in iOS 9.3.1.
The only change that we are presently aware of is some improvement in the bug which may see VoiceOver switch to another text-to-speech language when announcing some characters. This appears to have been mostly addressed for punctuation, but may still be encountered when using the emoji keyboard.
Working 9 to 5 with iOS
By Niall Gallagher | May 14, 2016
On the 3rd of May 2016 I started my first ever job, and I quickly realised that I needed a multi-technology strategy to match the productivity of my work colleagues. Being an iOS user since 2009 I was sure that part of my technology strategy would involve my iPhone or iPad, and I wasn’t wrong.
In this post I would like to tell you about the physical make up of the said strategy, i.e. what device I am using, and how using iOS enables me to increase my access and productivity simultaneously. I believe this post will also act as somewhat of a testament to the fact that iOS can be used in an employment environment, and that iDevices are not just a luxury consumer electronics product which is sometimes a misconception in the broader society.
Socially Inept: Trying to make friends with Facebook
By Morgan | May 13, 2016
I am walking through apricot orchards, on my way to another dreadfully long day at Cupertino Junior High. I am shorter and younger than most of the other boys. I am night blind and I wear sunglasses indoors. I do magic as a hobby and everyone knows it. I also don't know when to shut up. And, to guarantee my total social estrangement, I am carrying my violin case. The year is 1966 and I am on my way to another serious butt-kicking at school.
Social awareness was never my strong suit. Being a geek and partially blind complicated matters. I liked school dances, but had to stand stone still in the dark or inadvertently touch the unexpected. Crowded and dimly lit parties meant that I seldom knew who was standing in front of me, whether they were talking in my direction, and if they were still there when I tried to respond. I did retire my violin for a trombone with a spit valve, a strategic move, but marching band was another challenge when everyone else turned left and I kept high-stepping right into the End Zone.
As I got older, I thoroughly enjoyed a smaller social circle. For us pre-Beatles Baby Boomers, interacting only with those within ten feet was the norm. A phone call to another town was expensive and infrequent. Writing letters required paper and stamps, which restricted communications with distant friends and family. There was no reason to talk, text, or tweet when walking alone. It was a quieter, more solitary, existence.
For decades, I was comfortable doing my own thing. Then, times changed. Facebook happened. And, from my vantage point, Facebook looked a lot like the Junior High cafeteria. Hordes of people, crowded together, sharing the highlights of their fascinating and wondrous personal lives, all apparently more noteworthy than my own. I did not want to relive puberty. What could I possibly share with the enlightened? "Hey everyone! I washed my socks and underwear this morning!"
Apple Highlights Audio-Described Movies with New iTunes Room
By AppleVis | May 10, 2016
Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 19, Apple has today launched a new room in iTunes dedicated to highlighting audio-described movies for blind and low vision users.
The room, available at http://www.iTunes.com/AudioDescription, for the first time makes available a listing of all audio-described movies on iTunes in one central location.
Among the hundreds of titles available in the new Audio Description room are Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Spectre, and The Peanuts Movie. Apple encourages users to check back regularly for new additions.
In other news, Apple has also updated its Accessible Apps Collection, a collection of iOS apps in the areas of Vision, Hearing, Speech, Learning and Literacy, Physical Motor, and Accessible Home with Siri.
iOS App VoiceOver Accessibility Teaching and Testing Plan
By Darrell Shandrow Hilliker | May 4, 2016
VoiceOver, a feature Apple has built into all iOS devices to enable Braille and speech access for users who are unable to see the screen, has revolutionized the lives of countless thousands of blind people around the world. It works best when apps are deliberately developed in ways that ensure compatibility with VoiceOver, blind people are considered during development and included in all facets of the testing process.
If you are a developer who has been asked to ensure the full VoiceOver accessibility of your app, following a step-by-step plan will help you get it right the first time, and keep getting it right through each subsequent update.
If you are an educator, following an organized plan will help you determine which iOS apps will best meet your blind students' needs and effectively teach them how to use each new app they encounter throughout their studies and beyond.
If you are a blind person who is new to iOS, or you are an advanced user of many apps, following a coherent plan will help you quickly come up to speed with the built-in capabilities of your device and each new app you install.
The purpose of this step-by-step plan is to provide a straightforward way for advocates, developers, educators and others to quickly explore, learn and improve the accessibility of all apps in Apple's iOS ecosystem.
Apple Begins Selling Some Accessibility Accessories Online and in Stores
By Scott Davert | May 4, 2016
As we reported in December 2015, Apple was rumored to begin selling accessories related to accessibility in early 2016. Those rumors are now coming to fruition At the time of posting, the Apple website lists a total of 15 accessories available for purchase. Among those accessories are several switch devices from AbleNet, 2 tactual music accessories from Skoogmusic, and the Humanware Brailliant BI 32 and 40. You can find an accessory review of the Brailliant BI 32 here. The prices appear to be the equivalent to what the actual companies are charging for these devices.
Could this be starting a new trend for offering accessibility options in the mainstream market? What devices would you like to see the Apple store carry next? Do you think you would be more apt to purchase such accessories from Apple instead of going directly to the manufacturer? Are you disappointed with Apple's initial offerings? We'd love to know your thoughts.
This Month in Podcasts
Using iOS with VoiceOver and a Bluetooth Keyboard Part 4: the Mail App
In part 4 of his series, Scott Davert continues showing off how to use various apps with an iOS Device and Bluetooth keyboard. This time around, Scott takes a look at the mail app. Part 1 which covers basics, can be found here, part 2 covering text editing can be heard by following this link, and part 3 covering Safari can be listened to here.
TeamTalk 5 for iOS: Meet and Talk with Others in TeamTalk’s Audio Conferencing Community
In this podcast, Thomas Domville gives us a walk-through and demonstration of TeamTalk 5, a free iOS app which allows multiple users to participate in audio and video conversations through a freeware conferencing system.
More information on setting up and using a TeamTalk server can be found on its official website, where you will also find details of the desktop client application which includes accessibility features for the vision impaired.
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website in the past month can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts