Apple Reveals Advanced Accessibility Tools at WWDC

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

Apple has announced the release of High Sierra and refinements to its other accessibility tools at the WWDC conference. Some of the changes include iPad-centric enhancements to iOS 11, the capability of automatically entering Reader View in Safari on macOS and iOS, enhanced Dynamic Type, type to Siri, smart invert colors, voice over image descriptions, an accessibility shortcut in the control Center and more.  

The Dynamic Type has been enhanced to optimize how it manages itself at the largest sizes. Apple has created options for bigger sizes that adapt smartly to different user interfaces. The Dynamic Type API that is handy for third-party developers to connect to their apps was also updated to access this capability.

The next enhancement has been to Type to Siri which is available on Mac and iOS. Users can now interact with Siri by using UI similar to iMessage. The interaction is currently one-way and users cannot switch between using text and voice. However, it is possible to use the Siri Dictation feature at the same time as typing, allowing the user to and send commands via voice while dictating text. Type to Siri is only initiated by pressing the Home button. If the user says “Hey Siri”, Siri waits for voice input as otherwise.

Apple’s Smart Invert Colors is similar to a dark mode. It inverts all the system colors, except for photos, and apps that are such as clocks that already dark. VoiceOver Image Descriptions using a three-finger tap on photos that have VoiceOver turned on elicits detailed descriptions of the images, including lighting, objects and facial expressions. The Control Center in iOS 11 has been redesigned for everything to fit on one page. The Accessibility Shortcut has also been added to Control Center.

iOS 11’s Refreshed User Interface Design includes bold headers that make it easier to find topics and high contrast iconography to discern buttons. This design increases accessibility and usability and reduces eye strain. These changes have been seen in Music and the App Store.

Gaming in Apple has also been made more accessible. The game Blackbox designed by McLeod is fully accessible, incorporates VoiceOver has taken a highly visual interface designed to be navigated by touch and other sensory inputs and added a brilliant sonic interface enabling a new world of gameplay.

Over the last few years, the messaging around accessibility has become more refined, and accessibility has become a cornerstone for Apple.

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