When we talk about accessibility, one of the first things we hear is providing keyboard access. This is all well if there is a keyboard. But have you wondered what is the situation when somebody uses a touch screen, for example an iPhone? To make matters even more confusing, these days we hear that the iPhone or the iPad is one of the most accessible devices for people with disabilities.
There is more and more talk about the accessibility of iPhones and iPads. For blind and visually impaired people, it is one of the most accessible devices. But have you wondered how they can access it when all it has is a touch screen?
Last year I had a post discussing if blind people can see. At the moment, the answer was no, but there are some devices which can help a lot. Little did I know...
Not many iPhone applications get reviews that call them life-changing.
Samuel Sennott, a doctoral student in special educaton at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus, created an iPhone application that helps people with
communication disabilities speak. He worked with David Niemeijer, an Amsterdam-based developer, to build the software, called Proloquo2Go.
Users tap words, symbols, phrases, or sentences on the screen to create messages that are read aloud by the software. There are four different voice options,
including both child and adult voices.
We have discussed the advancements Apple has made in accessibility to Mac OS X and even the iPhone in the past, but recent examples show that Apple's attention to detail in technologies like VoiceOver and Voice Control can make all the difference in the world for users with speech or sight impairments. These technologies are earning Apple awards and the appreciation of users and further separate Apple from the competition.
On June 8, 2009 Apple has announced the new, iPhone 3G S it's newest iPhone. Instead of reviewing the features, I will discuss why is it a great advancement in the field of accessibility. Apple has implemented many accessibility features into it, which might become a large breakthrough for people to access mainstream, off the shelf products, without having to use extra assistive technologies.
Until now, most visually impaired people and people with coordination issues saw the iPhone as a no go area. It relies solely on touchscreen technology which requires tiny gestures to manipulate. It also provided no solution for screenreader users or those of us who need magnification. All we could do was sit back and be bitter about the disappearance of buttons you could feel, while our friends chatted gaily about the merits of having their iTunes library
on their phone, and how all the downloadable applications just rock their worlds. Apple obviously felt our pain and took it into account when designing the iPhone 3GS.