Well, It has been so long since I worked on this blog that I have retired my wonderful 14.5 yer-old guide dog, Germaine, and went to Guide dogs for the Blind in boring, Oregon to get Iris, a much smaller lab.
She as been with me just over a year now and is settling into my routines and our family nicely. As for me, I am amazed at the quality training changes Guide Dogs has made and am also loving having a small dog—45 pounds! I am able to bathe her myself, and she fits much more easily in planes and cars with tight quarters! She is a delightful playful girl but totally dedicated to getting guide work done well.
Fortunately she and Germaine get along well together, so we’ve made it through our first year of getting Iris accustomed to our home and family.
The following article is adapted from some iPhone training material that I created for special education teachers in June 2011. It describes over 70 accessible iPhone apps.
Apple’s iPhones (starting with the 3GS) are accessible to people who are blind as they come, complete with a screen reader, “VoiceOver”, and print enlarger “zoom”. As you know, the iPhone is famous for its touch screen so this is a very new experience for most blind users. Apple reps are well prepared to sell these phones and to explain their accessibility features in their stores, although it’s a noisy environment so it can be somewhat challenging. Similar accessibility is experienced on iPod Touch and iPad devices.
Use of mobile devices has skyrocketed over the last five years, and due to Apple’s commitment to provide accessibility, people with disabilities are participating in mobile use as never before. Apple’s apps provided on iOS devices are amazingly accessible including calenders, maps, and even operational items such as battery life and settings. Third-party apps, however, are accessible only if developers created them with accessibility in mind. There are no mandates for app accessibility, no checklists, and little advice for developers. Please see the resources section at the end of this piece for links to existing guidance.
Accessible apps not only benefit people with disabilities but are often helpful as well to older people, people with low literacy or language limitations, and new or infrequent users. You can reach these populations more effectively with accessibility features built into your app. In this paper you will learn how to set up your device for accessibility testing, how to operate your device with VoiceOver turned on, and how to test your app for accessibility.