Creative use of voiceover labels 

In this post I will explain how Apple demonstrated true UX design in the way they chose to label controls in the native iOS calendar app. To get a perspective though… just imagine if you had no way to write on a portable calendar. Blind folks struggled with this as the only way was to make a Braille list which was impossible to erase and revise. So, as smart phones progressed we became interested in using electronic calendar apps. At that time, few if any computer calendar software was user friendly to blind folks using a screen reader. Enter Apple with Voiceover in the iPhone, a true demonstration of universal design! But not only did the phone screen reader Voiceover work well, most of the native apps were accessible! This includes the calendar app! As I began using the calendar on my iPhone, I was very excited to see that Apple had truly watched how blind people used the app and made some creative use of the labels and hints they chose as they made it accessible. They did not just describe the icon. For example, for the plus icon used to add an event, one might label it as “plus”. This would seem logical. However, Apple chose to label it as “add” making it more intuitive to know the function of that button. 
When looking at a whole month on the calendar, one might think the numbers would be labeled as —well, numbers. This would work fine until a blind person desires to know what day of the week that day falls on. When trying to navigate back to the top row to find this out, one may or may not travel directly upward meaning you could easily get off and find the wrong day of the week. So, Apple came to the rescue. They labeled each day with the day of the week, month and day. So instead of three, I hear Tuesday, May 3. Thank you Apple! 
Another good example of quality UX is the “back” arrow button used in many Apple and third party apps. Apple doesn’t just say “arrow” or “back” but rather “back to settings” or whatever the back key returns you to. Again, what great service for the user! 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s