accessibility

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'accessibility' How Tos

How to Make Icons and Fonts Bigger on Apple Watch

The Apple Watch screen is small. So small that it can be difficult for some people to read messages and other text on the device. Also, even though the Home screen icons get bigger when they are centered on the screen, you might find yourself accidentally tapping the wrong one more often than you'd like. Apple has included a couple of accessibility features that make dynamic text larger on the screen, and there are options to make all of the icons stay big on the Home screen instead of shrinking and growing when they are not centered. We have a tutorial to show you how to enable these features. Reduce Motion The same feature that helps keep people from getting motion sickness in iOS 8 makes app icons larger on the Home screen on Apple Watch. It makes it a little bit easier to tap those tiny icons. On Apple Watch, navigate to the Home screen and then open the Settings app. Select General. Then scroll down to Accessibility. Tap Reduce Motion and toggle the switch to the on position. Or Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to My Watch. Select General, and then Accessibility. Tap Reduce Motion and toggle the switch to the on position. Now, the icons on your Home screen will remain at their fullest size instead of shrinking down as they move away from the center of the screen, as seen in the image at the top of this post. Tip: If an app is centered on the screen, you don't even have to tap it to open it. Instead, rotate the Digital Crown to open the app. The hard part is being able to tell which app is centered.

'accessibility' Articles

ReSound LiNX 3D Hearing Aid and iOS App Connect Users to Their Audiologists for Remote Fine-Tuning

Danish hearing aid company GN Hearing today announced the newest iteration of its IoT hearing aid solution, called the ReSound LiNX 3D, as well as new apps for the iPhone and Apple Watch. The major update to GN's new hearing care solution is a way for users to get their hearing aids remotely fine-tuned by their audiologist after an initial fitting at their local clinic, through a cloud-based infrastructure called ReSound Smart Fit. The original ReSound LiNX allowed users to adjust their own settings on the fly, but now they can request assistance wherever they are directly from the mobile app, and their doctor can make all the adjustments necessary "to provide a better hearing experience for the user." ReSound LiNX 3D is the only device with complete remote fine-tuning capabilities that allows users to stay in touch with their hearing care professional wherever they are, receiving hearing care and getting new settings via the cloud without having to schedule and travel for a clinic appointment. The unique cloud integration enables hearing care professionals to stay connected with users no matter where they are. Users will be able to share feedback about any hearing difficulty as the situation occurs, rather than trying to remember how to describe it during an adjustment visit to the clinic. Hearing care professionals will have the freedom to offer follow-up services remotely – saving time for both hearing care professionals and users, and creating opportunities for even higher user satisfaction. The ReSound LiNX 3D includes GN Hearing's 5th generation 2.4 GHz

Apple Highlights Autism Acceptance Month Through App Store, Retail Field Trips

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and Apple plans to mark the occasion in several ways, including a dedicated section in the App Store and retail field trips. According to Steven Aquino, a journalist who covers accessibility topics, Apple will offer field trips to retail stores that will host music events designed to include children with disabilities. Kids will be able to participate in the events using the Skoogmusic Skoog 2.0 Tactile Musical Interface, one of the many accessibility-oriented accessories Apple sells in its online store. Skoog is a tactile cube that lets children with disabilities control sound through touch. Along with special Apple Store events, Apple has created an Autism Acceptance App Store section that includes dozens of important accessibility apps organized into sections like Apps for Every Day, Apps for Learning, Books, Podcasts, and iTunes U courses. Some of the apps included are Proloquo2Go, :prose, Keeble Accessible Keyboard, Assistive Express, TouchChat HD, RocketKeys, and more. Accessibility has always been hugely important to Apple, and the company has aimed to make its devices accessible for everyone, with in-depth accessibility settings to meet a range of needs. Back in October, Apple launched a new Accessibility website that highlights accessibility features across all of its

macOS Sierra Addresses Dropbox Security Concerns by Explicitly Asking for Accessibility User Permission

Following Dropbox-related security concerns that surfaced earlier this month, developer Phil Stokes has confirmed that macOS Sierra now explicitly requires apps to ask for user permission to access Accessibility (via Daring Fireball). Users can give access to an app, or click "not now" to deny the request. Concerns were raised after it was demonstrated that Dropbox appears in System Preferences > Security & Privacy under Accessibility, despite the fact that users were never prompted to grant access to the features. More details can be found in our previous coverage and in a Dropbox support document.Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Dropbox never does any evil on your computer. It remains the fact that the Dropbox process has that ability. And that means, if Dropbox itself has a bug in it, it’s possible an attacker could take control of your computer by hijacking flaws in Dropbox’s code. Of course, that’s entirely theoretical, but all security risks are until someone exploits them. The essence of good computer security and indeed the very reason why OSX has these kinds of safeguards in place to begin with is that apps should not have permissions greater than those that they need to do their job.At the time, Dropbox said it was working with Apple to reduce its dependence on elevated access in macOS Sierra, and would respect when people disable the app's Accessibility permissions, but now a much-needed safeguard exists regardless. In a new blog post, Dropbox still recommends that Mac users running macOS Sierra update their Accessibility permissions, if

Apple's Dedication to Accessibility Highlighted by Story of Blind Engineer

Mashable today shared the inspiring story of Jordyn Castor, the 22-year-old Apple engineer who has been blind since birth and now plays a central role in improving the company's Accessibility features. Castor was born 15 weeks early and weighed just under two pounds – small enough to be held in the palm of her grandfather's hand. She defied doctor's predictions and survived those first weeks, and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Apple engineer Jordyn Castor works on Accessibility features for the blind (Image: Apple) A former college student at Michigan State University, tech-savvy Castor was introduced to Apple at a Minneapolis job fair in 2015, a gathering she attended nervously knowing that representatives of the Cupertino company would be there. Castor told Apple reps how amazed she was by the iPad she had received on her 17th birthday. "Everything just worked and was accessible just right out of the box," she said. "That was something I had never experienced before." Her passion made an immediate impression, and she was hired as an intern, with her work focusing on VoiceOver support. At the end of her internship, she won a position as an engineer on Apple's accessibility design and quality team. Castor has since been a driving force behind accessibility, in particular on Apple's Swift Playgrounds, an introduction-to-coding program geared toward kids. She's been working to make the program accessible to blind children, who have been waiting a long time for the tool, she told Mashable. "I would constantly get Facebook messages from so

Accessibility at WWDC: Dwell Control, Taptic Time, Software TTY, and More

Apple on Tuesday hosted a WWDC 2016 session called What's New in Accessibility that provided an overview of new assisitive technologies and features added to iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. Physical and Motor Skills Switch Control can now be used to interact with the tvOS interface using a single physical button, such as a switch on a wheelchair. There is both a cursor interface that highlights elements on the screen and an alternative interface with an on-screen remote. Accessibility users that already use Switch Control with an iOS device or Mac can automatically use the function on tvOS without re-pairing a switch. Dwell Control is a new feature for macOS Sierra that enables users to control the cursor on Mac using assistive technologies and hardware like a headband with reflective dots or eye movements. When the cursor dwells on a certain location, a timer appears that expires and invokes a mouse click or other customizable actions. Vision Apple has made display and color adjustments and introduced the option to tint the entire display on Mac, Apple TV, and iOS devices, which can significantly increase contrast and reading ability. Taptic Time is a new VoiceOver feature on watchOS 3 that uses a series of distinct taps from the Taptic Engine to help someone tell time silently and discreetly. Magnifier is a new systemwide iOS 10 feature that enables users to use the camera to magnify objects in their physical environment. Various color filters, such as grayscale and inverted grayscale, are supported to increase contrast. Hearing

Apple Begins Selling Accessibility Accessories on its Online Store

Apple recently updated its online storefront with the addition of a new "Accessibility" category, which is broken up into sections pertaining to the assistance of individuals with impairments related to vision, physical and motor skills, and learning and literacy (via Amvsement). There are 15 total products broken up into each of the three sections, with further sub-categories allowing users to shop the online store specifically looking for accessories that support the iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Some of the products include the HumanWare Brailliant BI 32 Braille Display that sits in front of a Mac's keyboard to allow anyone who is blind the ability to fully navigate OS X -- and even iOS -- with a lightweight, Bluetooth-enabled braille keyboard. Some of the other accessibility products offer more creative outlets, like the Skoog 2.0 Tactile Musical Interface for iPad, which lets anyone create music using the multi-purpose buttons on each side of the 5-sided cube. Thanks to the Skoog's versatility in tapping, squeezing, or twisting to create responsive sound, the accessory is said to encourage "expressive music making for children, parents, teachers, and musicians." It was rumored late last year that Apple would begin selling accessibility accessories in its physical retail stores in "early 2016," but it seems the company decided to rollout a few options to its online store first. For anyone close to an Apple Store location, Apple is offering a Personal Pickup option for the new accessories, as well. The new product category follows Apple's ongoing accessibility

Facebook iOS App Gets VoiceOver Feature to Help Blind Users 'See' Photos

Facebook has introduced a new accessibility tool to its iOS app for blind and visually impaired people to help identify images posted on their social feed. The function, called Automatic Alternative Text, works via VoiceOver and generates descriptions of photos that are spoken out loud as a user swipes past photos in the Facebook app. Previously, people using VoiceOver would only hear the name of the person who shared the photo, followed by the term "photo", when they came upon an image in the News Feed. Thanks to the new function – made possible by advancements in object recognition technology – a richer description is now available. For example, a user may hear, "Image may contain three people, smiling, outdoors." Automatic alternative text is currently only available in English, but Facebook plans to add the function for other languages soon. To use the feature on an iOS device with the Facebook app installed, go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> VoiceOver and turn on the VoiceOver function. Facebook is free on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link

Apple Celebrates Autism Acceptance Month With Two New Videos

Earlier this morning, Apple posted a pair of videos onto its YouTube channel to join in on celebrating Autism Acceptance Month. The videos - titled "Dillan's Voice" and "Dillan's Path" - show how the company's technology, namely the iPad, has helped a young man with autism navigate a world that doesn't fully understand what he's going through. Dillan narrates the first video, Dillan's Voice, using the help of an assistive communication app on the iPad. He mentions that most of his life it was impossible to convey what he felt to people around him, but with the help of the iPad he can finally speak and have conversations with his friends and family. So many people can't understand that I have a mind. All they can see is a person who is not in control. But now you can hear me. The iPad helps me to see not only my words but to hold onto my thoughts. Having a voice has changed everything in my life. No more isolation. I can finally speak with the people that love me. I can say what I think and let them know I love them too. Dillan's mom Tami, and his therapist Deborah Spengler, provide some background into Dillan's past in the second video. Dillan was born in 1999 and Tami mentions that what the iPad has done for her son is "just the most incredible thing ever, to suddenly start to hear your child's voice." Before he could use the iPad to type, Dillan describes "a lonely existence" where he had to create relationships with his various toy animals since he couldn't communicate with his family. Apple has been known as a big proponent for first-party accessibility

Apple Stores to Begin Selling Accessibility Accessories in Early 2016

Apple is rumored to begin selling accessibility-related accessories and peripherals in its retail stores sometime in early 2016. The report, from Mac Otakara [Google Translate], states that the new iOS- and OS X-supported devices will go on sale between January and March of next year. No specific hint was given as to what kind of peripherals users can expect to find within an Apple Store once accessibility products go on sale at the company's retail locations. Apple has been a big supporter of accessibility on the software side for years now, offering features such as Grayscale, AssistiveTouch, VoiceOver, accessibility shortcuts, and more. Apple's various accessibility efforts even earned it the Helen Keller Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind back in

Apple's Award-Winning Accessibility Features Help Bring Gaming to the Blind on iOS

Apple today was honored as a recipient of a Helen Keller Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for the company's accessibility efforts, particularly VoiceOver's ability to give vision-impaired users access to iOS devices. With the advent of the Apple Watch, many of those accessibility features are now also migrating over to the wrist. Coincidentally, MacRumors' sister site TouchArcade today took a look at the possibilities for accessibility features in iOS gaming. The report highlights a close-knit community that is gaining the ability to use and interact with experiences on iOS thanks to a few motivated developers taking the time to implement Apple's extensive accessibility options in their own games. The genesis of the article came from a single comment posted on an RPG-related piece which included the game King of Dragon Pass [Direct Link]. The user, Zack Kline, caught TouchArcade's attention by mentioning the little talked-about feature of the iOS game implementing a successful and satisfying amount of options to become playable for blind players. Screenshot from King of Dragon Pass This time around, one comment from a reader named Zack Kline caught my attention. It reads, "One aspect which often gets overlooked is that it's one of the few big iOS games which has really gone out of its way to become playable by the blind. There's a sizable population of iOS users, myself included, who are really happy that Apple has done so much work on making their platform accessible, but don't have a lot of interesting games to enjoy. Frankly, (King

Apple Watch Accessibility Features: VoiceOver, Mono Audio, Grayscale, Taptic Engine and More

Apple has outlined the Apple Watch's built-in accessibility features for vision and hearing on its website, with four of the primary assisitive technologies being VoiceOver, font adjustment, mono audio and the Taptic Engine. The accessibility features can be accessed using the Apple Watch directly or through the Settings app on a paired iPhone. For the visually impaired, the Apple Watch features VoiceOver, a gesture-based tool that uses the device's built-in speaker to communicate what is appearing on the screen. VoiceOver is compatible with built-in apps and available in 14 supported languages. Apple Watch users can also activate Larger Dynamic Type to adjust the size of the font or choose Bold Text to make the text heavier. Apple outlines six other assistive technologies for the visually impaired: zoom, grayscale, extra large watch face, reduce transparency, on/off labels and reduce motion. Zoom is controlled using the Digital Crown on the side of the Apple Watch, while the other accessibility features must be enabled through settings. Apple Watch also supports mono audio for people that are deaf or have hearing loss in one ear, enabling users to play both audio channels in both ears and adjust the balance for greater volume in either ear. Apple Watch also features the Taptic Engine for haptic feedback, giving your wrist a gentle tap every time a notification comes