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H810: Week 15: Activity 33.3: Mobile Devices

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H810: Week 15: Activity 33.3: Accessibility of Mobile Devices

I wear contact lenses and now, as my optician tells me, I am getting old, I either need to have multifocal contact lenses or wear glasses on top of my distance lenses. This can be a real problem with text messages.

I have an iphone and I really like the fact that a magnified letter appears when you hit the key so you know you have hit the correct one!

AFB AccessWorld Editor's Page (Leventhal, 2007)

I think this article is a little old to be of use. In 2007 there were phones that had screen readers and other accessible features but they cost around £700 to buy. I remember this well as one of the students I was working with was asked to beta test the new Dolphin speech program for phones and he was given a phone to try it on and he was thrilled because he could not have afforded it otherwise.

The same lad has an iphone now which he uses to navigate between bus stops in London and he says that he really could not manage without it. He is very impressed with all the accessibility features.

Nuance Mobile Devices (Nuance, 2010)

Very impressed with Dragon Dictation - looks as if it could be really useful. The iphone users that I know are computing students and just use the touch screen to type but this may be easier to get used to for those who are not so dextrous or determined as these two lads!

The iPad could be the best mobile accessibility device on the market (iPadLot, 2010)

Major praise indeed - and searching finds even more improvements:


On 22nd November 2010. Apple released iOS4.2.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It makes iOS4.x available on the iPad for the first time, and introduces several accessibility improvements in the process.

The free update to 4.2.1 means you can now control VoiceOver using a wireless keyboard. Support for more than 30 bluetooth refreshable braille displays is also available, along with support for over 25 languages.

Accessing the iPad: Mouthsticks and Styluses (Natsch, 2010)

Amazing post - with great links to others


"new cell phones that run on WP7 will not include any significant built-in accessibility for people with vision loss, and it is not compatible with any third-party screen-access solutions"


Review of accessible GPS for the iPhone

Forum Post:

More of this in my blog but a few points here that I found interesting:

Last month Microsoft were forced to grovel to accessibility groups when they had to announce that their new operating system for phones (WP7) had less accessibility features than the previous version and that it would not have any built in accessibility features for people with vision loss and it was not compatible with any third-party screen-access solutions. Best quote ever from Microsoft: "We were incompetent" Andy Lees.

However, I do remember that Apple had to grovel to the same pressure groups when they first released the iPhone and now the RNIB are saying that "the iPad could be the best accessibility device on the market" It has become even better since November 2010 as Apple released iOS4.2.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This introduces several accessibility improvements including support for more than 30 bluetooth refreshable braille displays.

The force of public pressure seems to be doing its work on Apple - let's hope it works for Microsoft too.

On a personal note, my daughter has fibromyalgia and has found that using a stylus on her iPhone and touchpad for her Apple laptop means that she can continue to work even when she is in pain. In this way she is on track for completing her MSc dissertation.


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