Accessibility

How to use Speak Selection for better accessibility on your iPhone and iPad

iPhones and iPads have great accessibility features that make them more inclusive and easier to use for everyone. The Speak Selection feature is an accessibility option that reads aloud specific text you've selected, for example, a paragraph on a web page. This makes it ideal for any time you have visual difficulty making out text because of small size or style, have dyslexia or are just learning a written language, or for any reason just want the words spoken to improve understanding. You can even have words highlighted as they're read to aid in comprehension, and adjust dialect and speed so you or a family member can better follow along.

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How to lock attention to a specific app with Guided Access for iPhone and iPad

Guided Access is an accessibility feature in iOS that allows to you to lock an iPhone or iPad to one specific app. As long as Guided Access is enabled, only that one specific app can be used, and there's no way to exit it for the Home screen or any other app. Guided Access can be extremely useful in education settings, to help kids focus for learning math, language, and other skills, and for working with people on the autistic spectrum. Guided Access can also be used by kiosks and even be used to create a "guest mode" so you can hand your device to someone and let them use Safari, iBooks, Video, or a game without having to worry about them snooping through your personal information. All you've got to do it set it up and activate it!

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How to enable on/off button labels for better accessibility on iPhone and iPad

When you're changing settings on your iPhone and iPad, you typically end up toggling a switch on or off in order to do so. For most folks, this works perfectly fine. However, if you've got a visual impairment, you may want a representation of whether switches are actually toggled on or off. Luckily iOS comes with On/Off labels that to just that. All you've got to do is enable them!

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How to use zoom for visual accessibility on your iPhone or iPad

If you have a visual impairment that makes it difficult for you to read text or see icons on your iPhone or iPad, the zoom feature is a great accessibility option that allows you to magnify text and even your Home screen, but only when you need to. While larger and bolder text helps, enabling zoom adds even more flexibility on the fly. All you've got to do is enable it first!

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Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory — how one iPod can make a world of difference

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, the Sundance Audience Award-winning documentary by Michael Rossato-Bennett that opens today in the U.S., soars on a single, inescapable note — that for people suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia, iPods and personal playlists can make a transformative difference.

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National Federation of the Blind wants to work with Apple on accessibility

A couple of days ago I wrote about Apple and accessibility, and the work they've done not only implementing but promoting accessibility — or better put, inclusivity. The same day an article from Reuters hit the wires that managed to mangle the story of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). It was unfortunate, but it has given the NFB a chance to tell it again, tell it directly, and hopefully to reach even more people.

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The power and promise of accessibility and inclusive design

Speaking of accessibility, here's a terrific talk by Robin Christopherson from Mobile Mobile Conf 2013.

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Apple and accessibility: Pushing back against unacceptable realities

Accessibility is something that seldom gets the attention it deserves. Most of us go about our day without ever wondering how accessible an iPhone or iPad or Mac is to the blind or the deaf, to those with autism or motor disfunction, or how accessible the apps that run on them are. Yet there are people who do care deeply about accessibility. Those who need iPhones and iPads and Macs to be ever-more accessible, of course, and those working to make iPhone and iPads and Macs ever-more accessible. Among technology companies, Apple does a tremendous job not only implementing accessibility, but promoting it and prioritizing it as well. And it starts at the very top.

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iOS 7.1 lets you take some of the magic — and all the motion sickness! — out of your iPhone and iPad

iOS 7.1 goes a long way towards "fixing" the usability problems some people experienced with the original version of iOS 7 — not by taking a step back but by taking a step diagonally. Apple has always led the industry when it comes to accessibility. With iOS 7, however, the added improvements were counter-balanced by some added problems. Fantastic new features like switches let you control your iPhone based only on the movement of your head, but other features like the physics and particle engine gave some people vertigo, thinner typography made it harder for some people to read, and "naked" buttons made navigation more difficult for some people to use. So what's the iOS 7.1 middle-ground Apple's found? In short, Accessibility Settings.

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Developers: If you're updating your app for iOS 7, please take a moment to consider accessibility

A lot of developers will either be updating their apps to fit the new look and feel of iOS 7, or launching entirely new apps to coincide with its release. While that's no doubt going to be a stressful, exhausting process all on it's own, it's also a landmark that seems like the perfect time to consider either adding or improving accessibility features as well. Here's why...

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