Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Apple’s Accessibility Options Improve Lives

by Juli from Pad Gadget:
Apple is known for having some of the most robust and advanced accessibility options on its iDevices, allowing people with vision, motor, and hearing impairments to have full access to the iPad and the iPhone.
For example, with VoiceOver options people with vision impairments can have everything on the screen read aloud, which lets them access a range of different apps and features on iDevices.

One man, David Woodbridge, uses Apple’s accessibility options with great success. Woodbridge, who has been blind since he was a teenager, owns several different Apple devices, including iPads, iPhones, and MacBooks. Woodbridge was interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald, where he detailed his life with Apple’s products.
VoiceOver is the main feature that allows Woodbridge to use his iDevices to run a successful business and to interact with his wife and children. Here’s what Woodbridge has to say about the feature:
“With VoiceOver I can support not only myself but also my boys and my wife. I press the Home button on the iPhone three times to turn VoiceOver on or off when I need to help them. For example, if my wife gets an SMS when she is driving I can call up VoiceOver on her iPhone to read the message to her and we can reply using Siri, which is one of the great iOS developments, getting better all the time.
Or, say an app on one of the iPads is not working properly. I use VoiceOver to shut the app down from App Switcher, relaunch it and triple-click to hand the iPad back with the app running as good as new.’’
He goes on to describe how he operates his Apple TV with VoiceOver and Apple’s Remote app, and explains that one of his favorite apps is Light Detector, which tells him if all of the lights in the house are off.
There are actually hundreds of apps designed for people with disabilities in the App Store, which is yet another reason why Apple has a leg up on the competition when it comes to accessibility.
Woodbridge is certainly not alone. Just a look at a few of his favorite apps, including the aforementioned Light Detector, Fleksy, a typing assistant, and the Looktel Money Reader, used for identifying money, reveal quite a few positive reviews from other folks with visual impairments.
Even I had the chance to explore Apple’s accessibility options when I had eye surgery two months ago. I couldn’t read my phone or my iPad for several days, but both devices were able to read to me, which was a total lifesaver.
Kudos to Apple for its continued dedication to accessibility – the company rarely gets enough recognition for all that it does to help disabled users – and kudos to Woodbridge, a man who makes the most out of the technology at his fingertips.

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