I was just wondering if anyone knew how IOS usage compared with android usage, say voiceover to talkback, though I do realise that android has more than one screen reader.
Do partially sighted and blind users tend towards IOS or the other way?
Realise I'm asking this in an apple based forum so this is rather echo chambery, but are there any quantitive studies out there of usage?
iOS vs Android In The Blind Community
I don't have any concrete data that answers your question unfortunately. However I think it's a worthwhile topic of investigation and hopefully there will be some further insight in the future. Anecdotally, all the blind people I've met use iPhones now, however there were 2 or 3 who used Android. The Braille users who were on Android switched to iPhone as soon as their means allowed for it, and the blind people using Android had enough vision such that they didn't need TalkBack, only slight screen magnification. In the US where I'm based, iOS devices are typically provided to blind students by their state Commissions for the blind or their schools (if they are enrolled at schools for the blind). However the opposite is usually true for laptops, as Windows is much more popular among these institutions than MacOS and the blind Mac users I know are either audio professionals or young tech-savvy people who took the initiative and switched of their own accord for ecosystem integration or Apple clout (the latter is especially pertinent to students). Hope this helps.
Just saw this topic. I'm…
Just saw this topic. I'm actually primarily an Android user, so I thought I would chip in here. I'm 30 and just got my first iPhone a few months ago, so I had no idea how good VoiceOver was. LOL I'm actually struggling to choose a primary device now that I have both since my Android phone is more customizable and integrates better with my Windows laptop, but VoiceOver is definitely ahead in some areas. In my teens, I always had Android phones since it's what my family could afford and I didn't know how accessible iPhones were. I had experiences with both a school for the blind and my VR program here. VR hardly ever gave me anything and the school didn't give out laptops or phones, just Braille displays or notetakers, but all the computers ran Windows. I think Texas, the state I live in, is somewhat an outlier though.
As someone who used android for a couple of days.
I'd honestly say that if you get a clean android settup running android 12, I think it is, (the latest version,) it's accesssible.
I personally prefer IOS because of the youtube app, I can flick down to hear what a video is called. instead of reading through the entire 13 minutes, video about Brad, title I can just flick down and hear, video about Brad.
There's other aps too like soundscape, blindsquare, and distopia that make IOS my platform of choice.
Having said that, android is definetly accessible, you just have to find the write build to make sure it works, I think anything running android 12, or perhaps it's 11, i'm not sure, should be fine.
Another thing about android devices vs IOS ones is that with IOS once you get used to some jestures, you can use them on every phone where as with android, some of the taps and flicks are difirent depending on the make of phone, for example; a google pixel will be laid out differently to a sampsung phone but you can download the phone launcher you are used to and have your phone up and running the way you want.
So it comes down to custamisability, for me; I just want my phone to work but for others they like tinkering.
As for a graph kind of thing, I don't think that exists but I can say that in countries like India, android is cheeper so is the prefered platform for most people.
thanks for the replies. Yeah…
thanks for the replies. Yeah, not really asking which is better, though I'm sure that will influence the numbers, but it does seem like data that developers of accessibility apps might consider such as seeing AI. Naturally they'll want to put funding into the most ubiquitous platform, concerns of hardware or platforms obviously having an influence but...
There is an app for android called the vOICe which maps vision into a grey scale based audio representation. I was talking with the developer and it came up that neither of us knew which was the more predominant platform. The app runs on android glasses which is of course the ideal for such a tool, but we were talking about the upcoming apple devices that will go into VR and AR.
If you've not heard of the project, give it a google, seeing with sound, it's pretty interesting with some impressive results though, ironically, the accessibility, EG it's not got an app on iPhone and there are no hardware head-mounted cameras that work with IOS at the moment, isn't great. Hence his leaning to the android platform.
Like others I don’t have any…
Like others I don’t have any data, but anecdotally I think iOS is the more popular among those who use a screen-reader, and Android is the more popular among low vision folks who use features like large font and magnification. At least in our part of the world Oliver, it may be different in the US where iPhone is generally more popular even in the mainstream than it is here.
While TalkBack and Commentary on Android are good, I personally think VoiceOver is stronger overall. Whereas I get the impression that Android, and especially Samsung, have the edge in the low vision space.
It would be interesting to see data though.
That's interesting re split…
That's interesting re split between screen reader users and those who use magnification. I guess voiceover has been around for longer and is arguably more mature and, due to the walled garden nature of apple products, has greater consistancy across devices whereas talkback performance, even gestures, is as variable as the devices upon which they appear.
I'd be surprised if the RNIB, over here, hasn't done at least a preliminary survey about such things.
I didn't think they were interested in this kind of stuff?
I know they have their own map app but don't actually know if it's any good, but I didn't think they'd care about this kind of stuff.
I thought they were more interested in pushing products for older people and not so much the younger croud.
I think they fund studies…
I think they fund studies into assistive technology use. They also, in conjunction with other parties, pilot schemes. They might not be cutting edge with tech, going for the average blind consumer, but they do quite a bit of work with others behind the scenes or, in fact, others do work in conjunction with the RNIB.
I just took a look at the results of the last WebAim survey. It has a split of 71% for iOS and 25% for android. However 90% of respondents use a screen reader, so I don’t think it’s necessarily giving a good view of the low vision side.
Perhaps somewhat helpful for what you’re looking for though.
That's really good, thank…
That's really good, thank you.
I do wish sometimes you could just reply in the reply box and not have to ad a subject line each time, I know it's off topic but sometimes I just can't think of things to say.
Webaim doesn’t tell the whole story
Hi Oliver, David and all,
Webaim is a great way of determining what us relatively affluent blind tech consumers use. It isn’t, however, representative of any data really outside our circles where people know what WEBAIM and WCAG are. I don’t have exact numbers but I’ve heard from my friends working on android accessibility it's probably something like 3 or 4 to 1 more blind android users worldwide when you look at all the markets apple hasn’t gotten much of a foothold in because of their price and brand values. If you’re blind in, say, Thailand or Nigeria or India you almost certainly use android because there are just very few iOS devices for sale there at prices most people can afford.
That makes a lot of sense. I…
That makes a lot of sense. I think there has also been a degree of price creep by apple that only wealthier countries tend to go for. I know smart phones can do a lot now but I remember getting nokias with internet, audio book players and pretty respectible cameras on them for under £200. Even at the time that seemed a lot but considering a iphone pro is now about a months pay of the average wage, post tax, it seems enevitable that less affluent consumers will have to look elsewhere.
Also, I'd imagine there is a greater number of blind people in poorer countries anyway due to restricted health care, prevention and correction.
Ah, the nokias...
Such good phones. Why back in my day you could plug in a good old N95 and get a week of charge, try doing that with a fancy smancy IPhone.
Oh sure there's more on the Iphones but you could brows the internet pretty nicely on the n95 and honestly? I'm sure it would be faster than my crappy core i 3 intel prosessor in this lenovo pc of mine, i'm going to buy a much better one next month on credit and honestly can't wait.
And the buttons! hammering…
And the buttons! hammering out a text on the T9 keyboard on my Nokia 6050, I think it was, a rubberised tiny thing with battery that went for days that included a torch... Ah... The golden age when phones were useful without being invasive...
PS, I do realise talking about anything 'rubberised' in conjunction with battery life can sound suspect. It was a phone.
Working as an app dev I see…
Working as an app dev I see much more usage out of iOS than Android for the blind community. More folks are likely to test on iOS we’ve reached out to the Android lists and folks usually ignore us which is sad as they often desire for more devs to work with them.
I think one other thing is where does someone live. I’ve heard folks say overseas folks may use Android more do to cost. Anymore here in the states everything is pretty affordable these days.
Good topic I would like to see what is peoples main device and why? I like Android but it’s braille support is so far behind it is just sad at this point. Folks complaining here on Applievis would poop a brick if they saw what Google has done with braille in the last 4 years which has been crickets.
As Brad said Apple really has the custom actions down. Even something as simple as the scroll bar just works and I can get to somewhere so fast within an app or webpage. On Android scrolling is so inconsisstant and I never know how much I am going to move by at any given time when using 2 fingers to scrool up.
What is the brail notetaker…
What is the brail notetaker you're using?
Most modern Braille notetakers run assorted versions of Android with accessibility services running on top of them. For instance, the BrailleNote Touch Plus (what I use on a daily basis for school) runs Android 8.1 with HumanWare's Keysoft accessibility service that enables seamless Braille input, output, speech output, and many other features from previous Braille notetakers that were running mobile versions of Windows. I also know that HIMS and the makers of the NeoBraille (not sure who they are or if they're still making that product) use Android on their notetakers as well. These notetakers are certified by Google so they are technically officially supported Android devices and TalkBack can be used on them if desired. However accessibility is spotty in some apps because of the aforementioned disparity in developer support for accessible Android software. Hope this helps.