Accessibility

Global Accessibility Awareness Day and what you should know!

It's Global Awareness Accessibility Day — #GAAD — and that matters to everyone.

Accessibility and inclusivity are often thought of as helping people with visual, auditory, or physical challenges, learning challenges, are on the Autistic spectrum, or otherwise need assistance beyond what technology normally supplies. The truth is, making products accessible and inclusive, the way Apple does, makes them easier to use and better for everyone. It lets people young and old, novice and expert, use an iPhone or iPad or Apple Watch, and use it well. For those with challenges, however, it's not just about access, it's about empowerment. It can improve their lives and let them travel, communicate, and interact in ways never before possible. #GAAD is about getting the word out, so everyone can help, and everyone can benefit.

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Apple Watch update includes fixes for VoiceOver accessibility

The Watch OS 1.0.1 update also brings fixes to VoiceOver for Apple Watch

VoiceOver is an Accessibility feature that "speaks" the Apple Watch interface out loud for blind and visually impaired customers. There were a few bugs in the launch version, however, that are now fixed in today's Watch OS 1.0.1 software update.

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American Foundation for the Blind honoring Apple for their VoiceOver accessibility tool

Apple will be honored with the Helen Keller Achievement Award by the American Foundation for the Blind for its work on VoiceOver, a technology that allows users to hear descriptions of what is happening on their device's screen.

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Apple Watch gets reviewed — for accessibility

Molly Watt, who has Usher Syndrome Type 2a, and severely limited sight and hearing, recently got her Apple Watch

She spent some time with it and has written a preliminary review. It's focused on the accessibility features, and her findings so far are impressive to say the least.

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Apple highlights accessibility features of the Apple Watch

Apple had accessibility in mind when it came to the Apple Watch experience. The company has shared details on what options are available to those who require advanced assistance.

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Apple Watch and accessibility: First look

Apple's message that Apple Watch is "the most personal and intimate device we've ever created" resonates with me in two ways.

First, regarding the Apple Watch as an object, as a timepiece and fashion accessory: It's been years since I regularly wore a watch, but Apple Watch is pushing to change that. From everything I've seen and heard about the watch, I would be thrilled to wear it every day. As with Apple's other products, the watch seemingly strikes a good balance of form and function. Secondly, the Watch as a device — how it works and how one interacts with it — is bound to have far-reaching effects on users with disabilities. As a person with visual and motor delays, I've wondered myself how accessible the Watch will be, especially in context of the size of watch displays.

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Amazing iPad apps to help with autism and awareness

Today is World Autism Awareness Day and the beginning of Autism Awareness Month.

The United Nations General Assembly designated the day in 2007 as a way to raise autism acceptance and help those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since it's launch in 2010, the iPad and iPad apps have been a tool in providing that help, and in aiding those with autism in finding their voice.

According to the CDC, one in 68 kids in the U.S. are on the autistic spectrum. According to a study by UCLA, using the iPad can help minimally verbal children more than double the amount of words in their vocabulary, and the earlier they start, the better they do.

Apple has created features like Guided Access expressly for people on the autistic spectrum, and developers around the world have created dozens of apps either specifically or incidentally helpful as well. The App Store is currently featuring a collection of apps for Autism Awareness Month, including several on sale. Toca has also assembled a TocaBox for autism bundle. Here they are, and more!

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Safari Reader view and instant accessibility

Like many people, I get most of my news nowadays via Twitter. Whenever I find a story that interests me, I usually read it right away using the in-app browser.

My Twitter client of choice is Tweetbot. I do this at the expense of a read-it-later service like Instapaper, because I find more often than not that I want the information right now and I'll take the time to get it. Unfortunately, my desire for instant gratification has relegated my use of Instapaper virtually non-existent in practice, despite the fact that I continue to hold the service (and others like it) in theoretical high esteem.

Although I will read a story within Tweetbot's in-app browser, the reading experience isn't ideal, especially on iPhone. In those cases, I will use the Action button to send a page to Safari to read there. Unfortunately, there are times when the trusty pinch-to-zoom gesture won't work with a website, so I switch to Reader View. I've found Reader View to be great: it's not perfect, but it's a handy tool and, most importantly to me, visually accessible.

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Force Touch is going to do incredible things for accessibility

I'm really excited about Force Touch for a bunch of reasons. But where I think it's going to really succeed? Accessibility.

I've been thinking about Force Touch almost non-stop since the Apple event a few weeks ago — what it means for Macs now, what it could mean for the future of software development, and how it might change artistry on the iPad. I've also been musing on what it could bring to accessibility in computing.

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Accessibility is for everyone

The point of my work as a freelancer writing about accessibility is to advocate for (and raise awareness of) iOS users with special needs. This is meaningful work to me, as I'm a disabled user myself, and I've worked with children with special needs who have leveraged iOS to help them learn. Yet, for as often as I champion Apple's work in making iOS usable by the disabled, so too have I tried to champion the idea of Accessibility's utility for those with no disabilities at all.

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