For many people who are deafblind, smartphones and tablets can offer a lot in terms of accessibility features. Whether it’s a screen reader like Voiceover on an Apple iPhone, or an iPad or Talkback on Android models, it’s great to see that manufacturers are considering accessibility at the heart of what they do.
That said, the vast array of features can be bewildering. As an Apple user, I make use of several online resources to help me get the best from my devices.
Apple launched an online portal in October 2016 to inform people about accessibility features in its products. The new portal was announced at the company’s ‘Apple October’ event, and allows users to explore and learn about different accessibility functions (based on differing impairments and needs) across a range of products, including iPhone, iPad, Apple watch and Mac computers.
Long term users of Apple products may have heard of the excellent AppleVis, an online community-led website offering a range of resources to support blind and low vision users of Apple products.
There is a lively forum which I use regularly to get advice and suggestions when I run in to any trouble with my iPhone. The forum is split into sections, for example focusing on the Apple watch, and even a section for those of us who link Braille Displays with Apple products. If you’re unsure of anything, the AppleVis forum is a great place to seek assistance.
As a blind user, one of the biggest frustrations of using an Apple product is wondering whether a particular app is accessible or not. AppleVis has an app directory which enables its users to share and recommend accessible apps. You can look at newly added apps, sort the apps into categories, or sort them alphabetically. When looking at a new app, I always have a quick check of AppleVis to see what other users are saying about it.
Getting assistance in store
Selected Apple stores across the country are now offering workshops with a focus on accessibility. They are run by friendly staff who are able to answer your queries about how to make the most out of your Apple device in relation to having a single or multi-sensory impairment. To find out more about what’s going on in your area, contact your local Apple store to find out if they’re running accessibility workshops.
As part of the Online Today project, an accessibility workshop is taking place at the Apple store in Leicester on Thursday 16 February. This is the second workshop out of a series of three, and aimed particularly towards those under 18. Please get in touch with the Online Today project officer Jessica on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.