accessibility


'accessibility' Articles Page 2

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