#IOS #Accessibility How I use an Apple Watch

So the hashtag #BlindPeopleUsePhones went viral a while back after a meme surfaced showing a person with a white cane using a phone… the narrow minded thought was that if someone could use a phone then they MUST be faking there visual impairment.

Since that happened many many visually impaired people have flooded social media with images and captions of them using there phone.

Also since this happened despite efforts for organisations like RNIB I have heard people say:

Look she’s using her phone

I also had one occasion where a random stranger thought it would be ok to take pictures of me using my phone on the bus… in case your wondering that is NEVER ok!

So how do I use my phone… it’s ok to be confused by the title and the link referring to the Apple Watch I’m lumping the two devices together because how I use them is very similar.

Saying that I’m going to separate the Apple Watch for just one minute.

With the Apple Watch I have purchased the largest size, I need that extra few millimetres to make things as large as possible on screen. I then have the system font set to the largest size possible. The final thing that is ‘different’ is I use the XL digital watch face – meaning I have no complications and this is set to a pale colour to maximise contrast.

Now let’s talk about iOS devices as a whole.

I use a combination of VoiceOver, Zoom, large fonts and Siri to access my phone watch and my ancient Mac at home.

Sounds like a lot… kinda complicated? Well it kinda is!

My vision can change from hour to hour very dramatically… not in a good way.

So I may start my day using just larger fonts and the screen brightness all the way up.

I end my day needing to use voiceover unable to use the screen at all.

As an aside I use Siri voice assistant with voice feedback a lot!

I also have my phone set up to read the screen on command.

For more information on Apples accessibility for visually impaired check out this link.

So yes blind people can use phones, computers, (talking) cash machines and smart watches.

apple.news/AbswLIkqJQSG2x67z6bPiAA

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Bid to kill #CAPTCHA security test gains momentum

Bid to kill CAPTCHA security test gains momentum

This is great since CAPTCHA’s started popping up blind and visually impaired people have faced huge issues accessing anything online that needs a CAPTCHA. This has lead to people having to ask sighted people for help sometimes having to give out there log in details and other secure information.

Since they were initially launched there have been access improvements – many now have scrambled audio where numbers are spoken alongside what I can only describe as noise. Unfortunately this has not gone far enough the audio versions don’t work on mobile platforms and are often just as unintelligible as there written alternatives.

From the early days of the CAPTCHA there have been viable alternatives and quite frankly it’s about time code writers and designers start using them.

Snow Leapord – What The Media Have Forgotton To Tell

Apple – Mac OS X – Accessibility.

Snow Leopard the latest update to the popular Leopard operating system installed on all modern day Mac computers has got an update, it’s only a little one and mainly focuses around bug fixes, it’s not a complete overhaul of the way the system looks but at less than £30 you would not expect a miracle.

Opinion as I have understood it has been divided, many see snow Leopard as a bit of a waste of money and time, its well documented how it is faster than Leopard (which I have never found slow).

There are a collection of features that have not been spoken about in the public eye that I have seen in any way and that is the updates to the already good accessibility tools.

To put this into context most of the time I use something called Text- To -Speech or more commonly referred to in is easier form of TTS or a Screen Reader. For Mac this is something called Voiceover. Basically a lovely little American man called Alex reads me everything that happens on screen, all the things I would struggle to read. I navigate through different windows and applications with ease and am able to for the majority of my time edit the two websites and one forum which I own and manage solely using this software.

Its hard to explain to a person that has never used TTS but when Apple created Voiceover they took the manual on making TTS engines and threw it off  a plane before passing it through a mulching machine and stamping on its mussy remains. Voiceover is unique anyone can use it straight out of the box, no additional software needed.

A blind person can go along to an Apple store and say ‘I would like a MacBook please’, pay for it  return home open the box and use it straight off. Apple are the only computer and software developer to do this, they are incredibly committed to accessiblity and see there products as the way forward, even the iPhone3G S now has Voiceover and can be used by visually impaired people.

With the Microsoft  counterparts we all know and… hate that is simply not possible, you would have to purchase your laptop then spend an additional £800 on software to make it accessible and then install the software.

Snow Leopard is once again revolutionising the way that blind and partially sighted people use their computers TTS engines have forever relied on the keyboard to allow users to navigate their way around their computer, this is no more.

With Voiceover and Snow Leopard OS X 10.6 users can now not only navigate with the keyboard but also with the touch pad on MacBook’s using gestures. Now that for many people may well be the closest they ever get to using a computer mouse, something that if you have severe visual impairment you are seriously unlikely to ever do!  Voiceover is more powerful and better at handling complex web pages with the new release which will be very welcomed by many as there are certain web pages that Voiceover currently just does not have the power to understand.  For example the webpage I am writing this on right now, Voiceover cannot cope with all the information and the styling of WordPress, which is as much down to the design faults of wordpress as it is to the lack of Voiceover grunt. With increased power I hope that Voiceover will overcome the WordPress accessibility issues, but time will tell.

I must now buy Snow Leopard and quickly.

Alas I am not the only person jumping up and down giggling with technology fuelled excitement whilst drooling slightly at apples accessibility my freelancer friend Lesley Smith has decided to convert to the ways of apple, mostly because of the accessibility features I have just mentioned and a fair amount of persuading from me.

some news and other useless information for your reading pleasure

Well first up I absolutely feel it is necessary to declare my extreme hate and disgust at my computer! For no apparent reason it is running slower and slower everyday it seems and I am battling against continuous crashes, freezes and general slowness!

The usual defragment’s and disk clean-ups don’t seem to be having an impact, I even removed a whole gigabyte of data from it and its still not speeding up, I fear its coming to the end of its life.

I have been trying to do a project using Windows Movie Maker this evening and it has crashed twice already, I have now given up on what I was trying to do after it got to the point where I had to unplug the computer and boot it up again!

So I’m here updating this, for your reading pleasure and about time too! Its probably karma telling me to vent to you all about the crapness of the technological situation!
(if there are any large computer manufactures out there I would like it to be known that all donations are great fully received!)

The huge moan aside the real reason I wanted to write was because I found out on Friday that training with Gus is defiantly going ahead and that we will be training residentially in a very posh hotel!

Its great news, if I had been given the choice I would have always preferred to do residential training, it being my first dog it will give us some really good quality time without Ian or anyone else being a distraction.

So we start training together on the 23rd of June and I am seriously counting down the days, I have a lot of stuff to do before I disappear off for a whole 2 weeks, not to mention another 2 A level exams to sit. I really can’t wait to get stuck in to training; I know its going to be hard work but it’s going to be worth it!

Apparently there are 3 of us on class with one trainer and the class is taking place in a really nice hotel in Southampton, I will spend 2 weeks residentially there and then another 2 weeks (ish depending how it goes) training at home. It’s really good the training is in Southampton because I will be living there in September, it will give me a chance to get to know the place a lot better and hopefully learn some routes.