Tag Archives: apple

Accessibility features in macOS and iOS that everyone should try

iphone mac pixabayIf you’re someone who doesn’t have any specific reasons to go there, you may have never explored the Accessibility settings on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. While it’s true that those settings are there primarily for people who have special physical needs to modify how a device’s interface works, the fact is, many people who don’t consider themselves in need of any sort of accommodation can find something of value in these settings.

Accessibility has become a place where Apple buries some specific, nitpicky details about how its devices behave–and that’s why you should take a stroll through those settings sometime just to see if they solve problems you didn’t even realize were solvable. Here are some of my favorites:

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How major technology companies are improving accessibility for people with disabilities

The year 2016 saw an increase in focus on accessibility features to allow people with disabilities to access technology. The Microsoft Event that saw the launch of the Surface Studio on October 26, and the Apple event a day later on October 27 which saw the launch of the new Macbook Pro laptops, both opened with a video showcasing the efforts by the two companies at making their products more universally accessible. Earlier in the year, during the Facebook F8 conference, Facebook demonstrated a a new API with features for making user interfaces built using the React library more accessible to visually impaired users.

For the visually impaired, touchscreens are scary because they are devices where all controls defer to the screen. Nirmita Narasimhan, a Policy Director at The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in Bengaluru has contributed to policy decisions by the Indian Government to help the visually impaired better use technology. One of these measures was allowing the blind to convert ebooks to any format that would allow them to read it. Narasimhan believes that accessibility to new technologies can improve greatly for the visually impaired if major app distributors such as Apple and Google take efforts to make sure the same application works for blind users as well.

 

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How a Smart Home Empowers People with Disabilities

While advances in personal technology continue at a rapid pace, at times their designers seem to forget about the population that could perhaps benefit from it the most. Stabelfeldt says just the ability to charge a phone with a wheelchair didn’t even exist until a few years ago.

But features like Apple’s “Home” app allow Stabelfeldt to control a variety of smart accessories in his house — from door locks and window shades, to lights and his garage door. The best part for Stabelfeldt? He can command Apple’s intelligent digital assistant Siri to work it all.


A Game Changer
“We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our products are as accessible as possible for all users,” said Apple’s Sarah Herrlinger. She has worked at Apple for nearly 14 years and is their Senior Manager of accessibility policy and initiatives.

“For some people, doing something like turning on your lights or opening a blind or changing your thermostat might be seen as a convenience, but for others, that represents empowerment, and independence, and dignity,” she told NBC News.

“HomeKit and Switch Control and Siri have given me a lot of value and a lot of opportunities to demonstrate that I’m a quality man and I’m a man of integrity,” Todd Stabelfeldt. “To get up every day and go to work: Everybody’s valuable, everybody has worth, everybody should have the opportunity to demonstrate it.”

How to Get Your iPhone to Read On-Screen Text Aloud to You

Being able to hear written text on your phone read aloud to you can serve multiple purposes. If you have any type of impaired vision, it can certainly help in that regard. It’s also useful in settings where you don’t have the time nor capability to stare at your phone and read large blocks of text. Perhaps you want to treat whatever your reading as an audiobook of sorts.Whatever the case may be, your iPhone is perfectly capable of reading nearly any text you select back to you. All you first need to do is enable this feature in Settings.

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How disabled iPhone users can take control with blinks, nudges and even breath

tecla shield disabled touchscreen teclashield editTim Cook began Apple’s latest product unveiling with a video narrated by a disabled woman using a Mac with the help of an assistive device — a switch that she could bump with the side of her head. Her name is Sady Paulson, and the message couldn’t have been clearer: With the right technology, even people with almost no control over their bodies can interact with the world and harness their own creativity in ways that were previously impossible.

Wireless freedom for disabled people

The video was upbeat and inspirational, meant to affirm Apple’s commitment to accessibility. But what it didn’t show was the struggle those like Paulson have when it comes to controlling a multitude of devices. That head-triggered switch might be her only means of controlling her wheelchair, computer, or phone or tablet. If it’s hardwired into one of these devices, how can it control the others?

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Apple brings AirPod-style streaming, Live Listen accessibility to MFi hearing aids

 

Apple has enhanced its iOS accessibility features for users with hearing impairments, adapting its enhanced Bluetooth-based streaming to Made For iPhone hearing aids while introducing Live Listen, a feature that uses an iPhone’s mic to focus on conversations in loud environments.

 

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iOS App VoiceOver Accessibility Teaching and Testing Plan | AppleVis

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.

TL;DR

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New for accessibility in iOS 10, macOS, Apple TV & Apple Watch: Magnifier, Dwell Control, taptic time & more

Apple briefly mentioned some accessibility enhancements during its press event this week — watchOS 3 is adding wheelchair specific optimizations to Apple Watch — but iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10 and watchOS 3 also have many other improvements to assist users with motor, vision, hearing, and learning impairments. Here’s the rundown…

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New for accessibility in iOS 10, macOS, Apple TV & Apple Watch: Magnifier, Dwell Control, taptic time & more