Apple Brings Futuristic Accessibility Features to all Devices
Making smart technology more accessible for everyone is currently a point of emphasis for many industries. Technology, in particular, has been constantly evolving to accommodate those with all types of physical disabilities. However, Apple has long been the industry leader in this area and continues to pave the way in creating new and innovative accessibility options. From helping those with blindness to full-body paralyzation, here are a few ways in which Apple technology is the golden standard in accessibility.
Sure, voice control isn’t a new technology, but Apple has recently added a huge number of features that make it much more useful for disabled people, particularly those with motor function complications. Apple has added so many voice control commands to their devices that almost all the features of their smartphones, computers and tablets are accessible with simple voice commands. In the video below, Apple demonstrates how easy it can be to use their technology using their voice control features.
Being able to easily interact with an online community using only your voice has helped disabled people avoid debilitating conditions such as depression and loneliness. And while it may never be as fast or convenient as using your fingers to type or swipe, there’s no denying that Apple has come a long way to improving these features in such a short span of time, helping millions of people along the way.
Unique vibration patterns
Apple incorporating custom vibration patterns for certain contacts is a relatively minor feature but shouldn't be overlooked. It’s all well and good for your phone to vibrate when a call comes through, but this can’t tell you who is actually calling. By allowing users to create different vibration patterns for specific contacts, Apple is helping those with sight issues to more easily identify an incoming call.
By simply making a two-finger “spreading” motion, you can zoom into any screen on all Apple devices. The default zoom is 5x magnification but can be set to up to 15x magnification, depending on your needs. This built-in feature is extremely helpful for those with sight issues. This even works on the Apple watch, meaning those with limited vision can still take advantage of new wearable technology.
Apple has actually supported a virtual Braille keyboard for a number of years, but their iOS now has it in 25 languages and offers support for 50 types of Braille keyboards. This can be combined with voice controls for complete access to all the features of Apple devices. In fact, an American disability rights advocate named Haben Girma used accessibility technology to become the first deaf-blind person to graduate from Harvard Law, as can be seen in the video below.
By improving the Braille keyboard, Apple has opened the door for millions of sight-impaired individuals to connect with the digital world. While operating the Braille keyboard may sound complicated, it’s actually very easy and quick to set up and learn. Click here to learn how to set up your Braille keyboard.
Bringing accessibility to the forefront
While this might not seem like the biggest leap, Apple has recently added an Accessibility tab on the App Store, which collects all relevant accessibility apps in a single place. Here you can find a multitude of innovative and high-accessibility apps for activities like writing or navigating daily tasks. This demonstrates how the company is focusing its efforts on making accessibility more convenient and visible, rather than simply allowing it to exist in the background.
To further emphasize their commitment to accessibility, Apple has recently added accessibility options to their initial start-up menus. Doing so shows their attention to accessibility, and means that someone can use their device from the start, rather than needing to navigate their way to the settings menu. That said, accessibility is now found in the main settings menu, rather than buried deep. Even as a symbolic gesture, this makes a big difference.
Apple’s efforts to make their technology accessible by all people on accessibility is inspiring and should be mirrored by other technology companies. Most importantly, by giving disabled people the ability to interact, collaborate and work with other non-disabled people, Apple is redefining what it means to be disabled and opening new doors and opportunities for millions around the world.