Assistive Technology

10 more tips for users of Braille displays on iDevices

In June 2009, Apple changed the accessible smartphone market forever with the announcement of the VoiceOver screen reader on the iPhone 3GS. The device was officially released to the public on Friday, June 19, 2009; five years later, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my own early experiences with the iPhone, reflect on how much VoiceOver has changed (hint: more than I realized), and offer some thoughts on—and hopes for—the future.

The June 2 WWDC keynote—and presumably, the first public showcase and beta of iOS 8—is fast approaching. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been seeing some iOS 8 “feature lists," for lack of a better term, circulating around the internet. Jonathan Mosen from Mosen Consulting even put together a "Top 10 Accessibility Wish List" for iOS 8, which is definitely worth a read if you have not done so already. (After this article was published, I became aware of a few more accessibility wish lists.

In what could soon be coming as the first of its kind, Humanware appears to be developing a new braille display and app for synchronizing notes with iDevices. In late April, an app hit the App Store called Brailliant Sync. According to the description by Harpo, the app is designed "for synchronizing notes between Gmail, IMAP and similar servers and Brailliant 14 Braille devices." This tells us 2 things.

Over the last couple years, I’ve come to a conclusion about life as a blind person: it isn’t the physical lack of sight that’s the biggest difficulty I face; but rather, it is attempting to overcome peoples’ negative stereotypes and misconceptions about what I can—and cannot—do that is the real problem.

As we're approaching Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference which is to be held on June 10th, I thought I'd put together a list of the features I want to see included in iOS 7.

Apple and Google love their mobile operating systems. They do their best to convince users that their way of implementing features is better than the competition. Of course, therein lies a fundamental difference. Apple uses iOS on its own handsets and iDevices but Google practically gives away Android to hardware manufacturers -- to every company which wants to utilize and modify it.

If you're into words, you're always on the lookout for the best and the most decent vocabulary titles, word games, puzzles, and, last but not least, dictionaries. And you might want to take your treasury of words with you -- regardless of the OS you use. A good dictionary is the bread and butter of every logophile and having access to what many scholars deem authoritative is of utmost importance.

A quick word of caution about an app that's just been released called VisionAssist.

The app has been developed specifically for those with low-vision, and claims to offer the same functionality and  performance that you would expect from a handheld electronic magnifier, but with a few extra features and the advantages of being on your phone.

At the end of each month, we at the AppleVis Editorial Team take a look at all the apps that have been posted to the site during that month—either for the first time, or where there has been a significant update—and decide which of these we think is the most noteworthy.

AFB have just announced the forthcoming release of AccessNote, their note taking app for iOS.

With many of us already using mainstream apps that offer more functionality than appears to be present in the initial release of AccessNote, it will be interesting to see where it will fit in the iOS marketplace. At $30, some might anticipate that it will sit rather uncomfortably.

AI Squared announced on Thursday the release of ZoomContacts, an iPad app for the vision-impaired.

ZoomContacts is a “Large Print” contact application for iPad users who have difficulty seeing small text on the screen.  ZoomContacts uses Apple’s internal Contacts database to store and manage information, but offers multiple font size and color combination choices to make it easier on the eyes.

Remember my blog posts about the issues surrounding the accessibility of American Heritage English Dictionary? It all started almost four years ago when exciting efforts to make it accessible commenced. Then the efforts came to fruition and this worthwhile application

Apple has today made available a wealth of specific information regarding the implementation of accessibility features on Apple Watch. While it was recently announced that the watch would contain support for VoiceOver, Zoom, and Dynamic Type, there have—up until this point—still been many questions about how these features would be implemented.

Earlier this year, the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco (known as San Francisco Lighthouse to people who speak standard English) agreed that the support for the Macintosh Terminal app using VoiceOver was an inadequate solution for all but the most minimal of its possible use cases. To remedy this issue, they funded the development of a new little screen reader called tdsr.

At the end of each month, the members of the AppleVis Editorial Team take a look at all of the apps that have been posted to the site, along with those that have had significant updates during that month. We then vote on which of these we think is the most noteworthy. A great plus of owning an iDevice is that you are able to have access to many apps which will help you carry out many different types of tasks.
At the end of each month, we at the AppleVis Editorial Team take a look at all the apps that have been posted to the site during that month—either for the first time, or where there has been a significant update—and decide which of these we think is the most noteworthy. One of the great things about owning an iOS device is the easy access to apps, information, and resources. With an iOS device, one can access social networks, stay up-to-date on the news, and even read both audio and eBooks.

We are pleased to announce the results of the third annual AppleVis Golden Apple Awards.

The AppleVis Golden Apple Awards were launched in 2012 as a way for the community to recognize the best apps, products, and developers of a given year.

To be shortlisted for the Golden Apple Awards, apps must be completely accessible to blind and low vision users; they must be exceptionally good at their intended purpose; and they must have a developer who has continually demonstrated a strong commitment to accessibility.

At the end of each month, the members of the AppleVis Editorial Team take a look at all of the apps that have been posted to the site, along with those that have had significant updates during that month. We then vote on which of these we think is the most noteworthy.

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.