A profile of Apple engineer Jordyn Castor has given new insight into how the company handles accessibility. Castor, a 22-year-old engineer in Apple's accessibility design and quality team, is blind, and works continuously to help make Apple's products accessible to more people.
For instance, Castor has helped develop Apple's new Swift Playgrounds app, meant to teach people to code using the company's Swift language, more accessible for blind people. From Mashable:
She was a driving force behind accessibility on Apple's soon-to-be released Swift Playgrounds, an intro-to-coding program geared toward children. She's been working to make the program accessible to blind children, who have been waiting a long time for the tool, she says.
"I would constantly get Facebook messages from so many parents of blind children, saying, 'My child wants to code so badly. Do you know of a way that they can do that?'" Castor says. "Now, when it's released, I can say, 'Absolutely, absolutely they can start coding.'"
The piece also delves into how Apple approaches accessibility as a whole. For Apple, it's important that features like VoiceOver come built-in, rather than being sold specifically to disabled people. This helps keep down costs, both for the users and for Apple.
Sarah Herrlinger, senior manager for global accessibility policy and initiatives at Apple, says a notable part of the company's steps toward accessibility is its dedication to making inclusivity features standard, not specialized. This allows those features to be dually accessible — both for getting the tech to more users, as well as keeping down costs.
Accessibility has been an important area of focus for Apple for some time, but many of us don't truly understand how much it means to so many people.