iOS Accessibility. More Is Needed.

As a low-vision user of iOS devices (iPhone and iPad), I use Accessibility features quite extensively.  The two most often used features in this category are VoiceOver and Zoom.

I use VoiceOver most frequently for tasks such as

  • Reading Mail Message headers
  • Reading Twitter Timeline messages
  • Selecting on-screen controls to determine button functions within an app
  • Reading on-screen text without needing to zoom in

These four workflow items are indispensable to me. The frustration is that VoiceOver function is not consistent from one app to another. For example, in iBooks, I can read the text of a book using VoiceOver, but I can’t perform the same function in the Amazon Kindle app. When I tap the screen in the Kindle app, all I get is a sound effect telling me I tapped the screen. Not much help at all.

VoiceOver

The same can be said for other iOS apps. In social networking, the Twitter app supports VoiceOver, but other Twitter client apps do not.

It would be greatly appreciated if VoiceOver worked consistently across the iOS experience instead of the “hit or miss” patchwork that a currently exists. This sketchy support makes it difficult to purchase apps. It would be nice if the app page in iTunes had an Accessibility compliancy section so I could more easily determine if the app supports features such as VoiceOver.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 02:  Apple CEO Steve...

Another shortfall is the on-screen keyboard. With my particular visual difficulties, the on-screen keyboard would be more effective if the key was dark and the lettering light in a look similar to the chic-let keyboards on a MacBook Pro. You can achieve this effect in Accessibility by manipulating the screen contrast, i.e., a reverse video effect. This changes the keyboard, but it also changing the entire screen. I don’t want to change the entire screen; only the keyboard. Come on Apple, you let me change the keyboard layout. Let me change the default color.

CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 04:  Apple's Senior Vi...

Yes, I know Apple, your company is a leader in making the technology experience available to a wider group of people. Apple is eons ahead of Amazon. Apple has added Siri to the iPhone 4s and dictation for the iPad. But, there is still more than can be done.; some which should be relatively simple to accomplish.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad

Soon after purchasing the iPad2 last year, I also bought the ZAGG KeySolo Bluetooth keyboard. I later purchased the companion ZAGG Folio case. For several months, I used the combination; mostly at work.

Last month, I bought the new iPad. While the ZAGG keyboard still worked, the folio case was a bit “iffy”. The iPad would still slid in, but the slightly thinker housing required a little force to push the iPad into place.

While wandering through Best Buy last week, I noticed that Logitech had a new offering; the Logitech Table Keyboard for iPad.

I didn;t purchase the item at that point, but went home and did a little on-line research. I ordered the item from Amazon ($40.04 with free Prime shipping).

The keyboard arrived Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, my vacation began. The keyboard accompanied me and my iPad.

Features I like:

  • Full Sized – The keyboard is wider than the iPad and looks to be similar in size to my laptop keyboard.
  • Keyboard Slant – unlike the ZAGG keyboard, the Logitech keyboard provides a slight slant. I know it is most likely mental suggestion, but my hand position feels more natural.
  • Fold-out Case – The keyboard comes with a clever case that doubles as a fold-out stand for the iPad. This allows me to position the iPad as I wish relative to the keyboard. I like to place the iPad to the left (at 11:00 o’clock). The stand also allows me to lean the iPad back in two distinct positions using the plastic , slide-out lip. I seem to prefer the position which provides the greatest slant to the iPad.
  • AAA Batteries – Instead of a charging cable and built-in battery, the Logitech keyboard is powered by 4 AAA batteries. The technical writeup indicates that the 4 batteries will provide up to 10 months of power under normal use. We will see.
  • My first attempt at this post was by editing the post directly on the site within Safari. This did not prove to work. Many of the keystrokes resulted in two characters being recorded; double ZZs and double deletes. I then moved to the Work Press app. Typing was normal here; just errors from my inability to type.