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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

In Apple’s rush to debut the new iPad tablet it forgot one little piece of marketing: Accessibility. Apple has an accessibility page but it didn’t bother to add the iPad before launching it yesterday at its headquarters. And even though Steve Jobs’ keynote was likely prepared, Apple didn’t bother to add captions for deaf or hard of hearing reporters, nor did it add captions to the 46-minute video broadcast of Jobs’ speech or the video “demo” of the new tablet. Sheesh. Apple knows better. The good news is that all existing iPhone accessibility features will be available on the iPad: - VoiceOver. This is the screen reader made popular on the Mac thats speaks menus, texts and objects aloud for people who are blind or visually impaired. But not all of VoiceOver’s 21 languages will be available. - Screen zoom. This will make the page or text larger. Contrast can also be changed ... keep reading »
Sometimes I get Mac envy. Like today when I was switching between my touchpad and wireless mouse to prevent hand fatigue and cramping, I had wished I owned a MacBook Air, which has a giant touchpad and offers an easier, more fun ‘touch’ experience using several fingers. I began thinking about alternative mouse devices, especially for people with physical and motor impairments. For those with limited motor skills, there are a variety of options that have been around for a while, including the joystick, head pointers, Mouse keys and eye gaze devices. But the coolest non-mouse is known as multitouch, which was popularized by Apple’s iPhone, and lets computer users control graphical applications with their fingers. Touch is quickly becoming a common way of directly interacting with software and devices. Today iPhone and MacBook Air are used by millions of people with and without disabilities, and other companies are bringing ... keep reading »
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has been quite active in the last couple months. On Friday, the NFB, along with Massachusetts General Martha Coakley, reached an agreement with Apple Inc. to make Apple’s iTunes — the most popular music retail outlet in the U.S. — more accessible to blind and visually-impaired Internet users. In September, Apple released, and was praised for, its 4th generation iPod Nano and iTunes 8, which is screen-reader friendly on both Macs and PCs. These new features let blind users manage their libraries as well as purchase and download content from the iTunes store. The new iPod itself is also equipped with talking menus and large font options. On a Mac, iTunes is compatible with Apple’s built-in VoiceOver screen reader; on a PC using Windows XP or Vista, it’s compatible with GW Micro’s Windows-Eyes (and soon, Freedom Scientific’s Jaws for Windows) screen readers, which must ... keep reading »
If you haven’t heard of Disaboom, you should definitely check out their site. It’s a strong community of PWDs who are learning from and interacting with each other. I was the subject of an interview for their Living Forward section that was published today. An excerpt: Suzanne first fell in love with assistive technology (AT) when she started her second New York City job at Businessweek Online. She was originally hired to cover stock market reports, but was soon asked if she wanted to write a weekly column on assistive technology. “I’ve always had people helping me—sign language interpreters, note-takers, etc.—never technology. It struck me how much independence I could gain through technology.” Writing about AT was a way for Suzanne to help people with disabilities gain independence. She is fascinated by the way assistive technology can be as simple as a mainstream product used in a special way, but still have ... keep reading »

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