Tag Archives: Apps

How one device can be so versatile

Have been working with two clients today on #VoiceOver for #iOS. Very different requirements from the two of them. One very focused on wanting to be socially active with the use of email, txt messaging, some word processing and some #Facebook use. The other purely focused on accessing audio books and ebooks through #Audible and #DolphinEasyReader as well as using her device for assisting in day to day living. So we’ve done some work around using the built in magnifier app on her device and utilising several of the features in #SeeingAI as well. For me this really helps highlight just how useful an iOS device with a couple of apps installed can be to a person with sight loss. I think it clearly demonstrates that people can have such different requirements for their tech yet still have that ever present goal of remaining as independent as possible. I love my job.

2016 VoiceOver accessible iOS apps for children and families

I thought I’d write another blog like the one I did last year giving twelve of the best accessible apps for kids that are currently available for Apple iOS devices. So here are the apps I’ve chosen for 2016. All of them are fully accessible with VoiceOver. Just like last year I’ve tried to get a reasonable mixture of apps that are useful, educational and fun, but that can also be used by kids and families alike. This year I’ve only included free apps as there are so many good accessible free apps out there now. Some of them do have optional in-app purchases, but where possible I’ve only gone for completely free ones. In the list below you’ll find the name of the app, a brief description of what it does as well as which devices and operating systems it will work with, whether there are optional in-app purchases and finally a link to its page on the Apple iOS app store.

 

 

App name: World Documentary.

Price: Free.

Description: This is a fantastic free app that’s uncomplicated and incredibly easy to use. It pulls together a vast number of documentaries covering a wide variety of topics. Documentaries are organised into categories such as cities and countries, pages of past/history, transportation, the natural world, personalities, all about the universe, military and war and several more. Although the documentaries are not audio described there is so much dialogue in them that it doesn’t really matter. It’s a great app for slightly older kids who are at the stage where watching documentaries is useful to their school work but also if you’re a fan of documentaries in general. Note that you will need to be connected to wi-fi to use this app as you will be streaming the documentaries as you watch them.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/X8GKI.i

 

App name: Geek Quiz.

Price: Free with optional in-app purchases.

Description: A great quiz about all things geeky including computing, technology, space, science, video games and science fiction. It has single player or multiplayer modes and is completely accessible. Brilliant for kids and/or adults who are not afraid to show their inner geek. Very educational as the questions are so different to those that are normally found in general knowledge quizzes.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 9 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/ZFE4D.i

 

App name: QuizBang.

Price: Free with optional in-app purchases.

Description: A great general knowledge quiz for single or multiple players. This app regularly and automatically updates its questions each time you use it, so the quiz keeps up with the times. Excellent for general knowledge and educational whilst being fun.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 9 or later. Also offers AppleWatch and AppleTV apps.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/2DwV-.i

 

App name: TuneClash.

Price: Free.

Description: An absolutely brilliant music quiz in the style of Name That Tune. A huge number of music categories to choose from. The app plays a segment of a song and gives you multiple choices for the answers. Single or multi player modes. Really good fun and completely accessible.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 9 or later. Also offers AppleTV app.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/aol6-.i

 

App name: Boop.

Price: Free.

Description: This is a superb light detecting app that can be used to determine whether lights have been switched on, if it’s light or dark outside and even if LED lights on electronic devices are on . The app uses the camera of your iOS device to detect light. I’m completely blind and have no light sensitivity at all and this app has proven to be useful time and again. The app emits a tone that increases in pitch the brighter the light is, which means that focusing the camera over an LED actually works.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/8ViPdb.i

 

App name: Scout Legend.

Price: Free, offers in-app purchases.

Description: This is a really nice little app great for boys and girls. It works along the same lines as Tamagotchi used to in that you play a girl or boy Scout who you feed, water, control activities, choose outfits when you’ve earned enough points from the activities you’ve done. Fully accessible, free and fun, although maybe just a little bit addictive.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/HinC4.i

 

App name: YesChef.

Price: Free.

Description: This is quite possibly the best app in this list in terms of usefulness, accessibility and fun factor. It’s an app that allows you to search for recipes, get the list of ingredients for the recipe you’re using, listen to step by step instructions and ask questions all hands free and with voice feedback. I’ve used this app with my two nieces who are not visually impaired at all but loved it as it was fun and easy to use; not to mention that they found it hilarious watching their uncle making a mess in the kitchen! This app is absolutely fantastic for kids who are at the stage of needing to come up with recipes and actually cook them at school.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/MiMibb.i

 

App name: Aipoly Vision.

Price: Free.

Description: An incredibly useful app that has two functions, as a colour detector and an object identifier. Select the colour detector function, point your device’ camera at the item you want to hear the colour of and the app announces the colour out of a list of over 900. I often use this to identify which colour shirt I’m going to wear. Alternatively switch the app to object identification mode, point your device camera at the object you want to identify then single finger double tap the on/off button located on the screen just above the Home button. The app will then announce the object or say that it’s not sure if it can’t identify it. You can also teach the app what items are by taking a photo and submitting it with a description, this is particularly useful as it makes the app more accurate for everybody who uses it. The app does not require a wi-fi connection to use it.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone 5S/6/6+/6S/6S+/SE/7/7+, iPad Air/Air 2, iPad Mini 2/Mini 3/Mini 4, iPad Pro (both sizes) and iPod Touch 6th generation running iOS 9 or later. I suspect that it may also work on iPad 3rd generation and later, but I don’t have one so I’m afraid I cannot confirm that.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/L9IU_.i

 

App name: Smart Metronome.

Price: Free.

Description: This is one for you musicians out there. Finally a fully accessible metronome app. You can easily increase or decrease the speed and rhythm pattern. Very easy to use and free.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/YNCb1.i

 

App name: Wikipedia.

Price: Free.

Description: A very useful app for research or just for reading about things you’re interested in. This new Wikipedia app is really very good, it’s fully accessible and easy to use.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 9.3 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/MlSwt.i

 

App name: Blindfold Word Games.

Price: Free with optional in-app purchases.

Description: A great little app that includes 5 different word games. Great for improving spelling and of course it’s fully accessible.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/m6sK_.i

 

App name: Blindfold Greeting Card.

Price: Free with optional in-app purchases.

Description: I couldn’t resist including this one as it’s Christmas. This is a really nice little app that allows you to send personalised audio greetings cards. It was my partner’s birthday recently and I used this to send her a card and she liked it very much. The app allows you to choose a sound effect or piece of music as an intro before the person receiving the card hears your personalised voice message. You can send 10 cards for free and then extra cards are are bought through in-app purchases. I thought this would be a nice one for this time of year as most kids will find a use for 10 free cards to send to friends and family.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/LFo0db.i

 

That wraps up this years list. I hope you find some or all of these apps useful.

VoiceOver accessible iOS apps suitable for kids

As we all know there are literally thousands of third party apps out there for smart phones and tablets, but sadly very few of them are actually accessible to those of us who are visually impaired and rely on using screen reading technology to operate our devices, let alone ones that are good for kids. As I’m a VoiceOver specialist this blog focuses on apps useful and suitable for kids using Apple iOS devices, there are of course apps for Android devices too, but as I’m not a trainer for Android and don’t have specific knowledge about them I’m afraid I’m unable to give any meaningful advice or opinions about them. So, in the spirit of Christmas I’ve pulled together a list of 12 apps that are fully accessible with VoiceOver, are suitable for kids and that work well. I’ve tried to get together a reasonable mixture of apps that are useful, educational and fun, but that can also be used by kids and families alike. In the list below you’ll find the name of the app, a brief description of what it does as well as which devices and operating systems it will work with, its cost and finally a link to its page on the Apple iOS app store.

 

 

App name: Accessible Letter Soup.

Price: £0.79.

Description: Learn words and spelling with Accessible Letter Soup. Words can be found vertically, horizontally or diagonally. You can also choose the size of board and difficulty of words. There are lots of different categories of words to choose from including, animals, musical instruments, colours, professions and jobs, human body. Good for most ages, and particularly good for learning spellings as you can start easy and work your way up.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/nKih6.i

 

App name: Blindfold Bowling.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: A good app for all ages. In this game you can play on your own, with friends and family or against computer opponents. The game is fully accessible and relies purely on the player’s hearing. It has excellent sound effects as you hear yourself get strikes and half strikes along with frustrating gutter balls.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/xTC79.i

 

App name: Blindfold Hopper.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: A really fun game for younger kids, this game is audio only and is fully accessible. In the game the player is a frog trying to jump from lily pad to lily pad as they pass by. The further through the game the player gets the quicker the lily pads pass by. Lots of great sound effects of animals give this game a really nice feel. But don’t get too distracted, if you miss the lily pad and fall in you’ll get eaten by an alligator!

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at:  https://appsto.re/gb/8Ibq6.i

 

App name: Blindfold Simon.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: This is a great fun app for all ages. Really good for the memory and helping kids get used to gestures on the touch screen. Just like the game Simon Says, this app gives the player a sequence, touch screen gestures are then used to replicate the sequence. Each time a sequence is successfully replicated another gesture is added to the next sequence and so on. This app has 1 and 2 player modes. In 2 player mode the iOS device is passed from one player to the next each time a sequence is successfully passed.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at:  https://appsto.re/gb/h5VF7.i

 

App name: Blindfold Pong.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: Based on the classic arcade game Pong, this app is audio only and the player wears headphones to hear the direction that the ball or balls are travelling. The app uses the gyroscope built into the iOS device to determine when the player is swinging the bat (the phone or iPod) to hit the ball. It has progressive levels that get harder and harder the further you get. Good fun for all ages and also great for developing motor skills.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later. However, it is rather difficult to play the game on an iPad due to the device size.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/UjqE7.i

 

App name: Braille Reference.

Price: £0.79.

Description: A great app for kids learning braille or for those who don’t use it very often. The app has over 250 braille symbols and contractions that can be easily looked up for reference. The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and a great tool to have in your bag or pocket if you’re a braille user.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 6.1 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/TwoZE.i

 

App name: Chime.

Price: Free.

Description: This is a great little app that enables your iOS device to make quarterly, half hourly or hourly time announcements. You can choose between several different sounds and two voices for the announcements. It’s a very useful app and is fully accessible with VoiceOver.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/c5CUy.i

 

App name: Double Post.

Price: Free with an optional in app upgrade purchase.

Description: A great app for older kids who have their own Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, it enables you to post to both simultaneously very quickly and easily as well as adding photos etc. It is fully accessible with VoiceOver and even works with AppleWatch.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/IhXdN.i

 

App name: JumpInSaucers.

Price: Free, there is also a paid version of the game that you can purchase.

Description: This is a game developed by parents of visually impaired children initially to allow their kids to play with their siblings. The game is an alien shoot ‘em up that utilises the iOS device’s gyroscope to allow the player to control the character. It’s fully accessible and suitable for all ages. It has good sound effects and interesting alien noises. This app is also available for Android devices on Google Play.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 6.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/kRB54.i

 

App name: Listerine Smile Detector.

Price: Free.

Description: This is a lovely fun little app that enables visually impaired and blind kids to see when people are smiling at them. The app is supported by the RNIB, is fully accessible with VoiceOver and also has built in magnification. The app can use the front or rear facing cameras and makes sounds or vibrates when a smile is detected. I think this is a really nice app that was created for all the right reasons.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.1 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/K-KV8.i

 

App name: Pages.

Price: Free.

Description: Pages is actually an Apple app and is fully accessible with VoiceOver. It’s a powerful word processing app that enables you to create, edit, read and save documents in multiple formats including Microsoft Word and PDF. It’s great for general word processing and good for school work as it offers a large selection of pre loaded documents templates for things like reports, posters, flyers, CVs, letters etc as well as enabling you to create your own unique documents. This app is fully accessible when using the touch screen on devices but it becomes even more viable as a tool for school work when a bluetooth keyboard is used with the iOS device.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8.4 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/EysIv.i

 

App name: Spelling Bee.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: A fully accessible spelling app great for improving kids’ spelling. The app comes with 1,000 pre loaded spelling tests organised into different difficulty levels. The spelling tests are made into games to help kids enjoy doing them. This app is aimed at children aged 9 to 11 years.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 6.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/lqQY0.i

 

 

This blog has made me think about doing the occasional article about apps that I find to be accessible and useful, so watch this space for future instalments.

Tick tock, my Apple Watch experience, using the Friends button on the Apple Watch

Using the Friends button on the Apple Watch:

 

This blog post refers to Apple Watches running Apple Watch 1.1 software.

 

Easily one of the best features of the Apple Watch is the ability to access contacts quickly and make calls using the watch itself. There’s something wonderfully sci fi about talking at your wrist and having a two way conversation through it.

 

One of the easiest and quickest ways to get to some of your favourite contacts is to use the Friends button found below the Digital crown on the right side of the watch. This function is really useful as you can choose up to 12 people from your contacts list on your iPhone to create something called the ‘Friends Circle’ on your watch. To create your friends Circle do the following:

 

HOT TIP: First go to the Contacts setting in the Apple Watch app and make sure that ‘Mirror my iPhone’ is selected. This will mean that your entire contacts list from your iPhone will also be available on your Apple Watch. It will also mean that any contacts on your iPhone contacts list that are blocked will also be blocked on your Apple Watch.

 

1. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to Friends.

 

2. Once in the Friends setting area you will be presented with 12 spaces in which to add contacts of your choosing. The way Apple have done this is very clever and very easy for those of us who are blind or visually impaired to imagine. Basically the screen displays a list numbered 1 to 12 and starting from the top going down the list it displays, “Add friend, 12 o’clock on friends circle”, “Add friend, 1 o’clock on friends circle” and so on until all 12 hour positions on a metaphorical clock face are accounted for.

 

3. Single finger double tap on the clock face position you want to add a contact to. Note that you can reorder the position of contacts in your Friends Circle once you’ve filled some or all of the available spaces.

 

4. Your contacts list will open on your iPhone to allow you to select who to add. Simply find the person you want and single finger double tap on their name. That person will then be added to the Friends Circle position you selected.

 

To reorder contacts that you’ve added to your Friends Circle do the following:

 

1. When in the Friends screen in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, single finger double tap on the Edit button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

2. There will now be a “reorder” button down the right side of the screen next to each contact you’ve added to your Friends Circle. Single finger double tap and hold on the reorder button next to the contact you wish to move and wait for the popping sound.

 

3. Now move your finger up or down the list. VoiceOver will announce where you are moving the contact to. For example “Moved above Bob” or “Moved below Sarah”.

 

4. Lift your finger off the screen and repeat step 3 for each contact you wish to reorder.

 

5. Once you’ve finished single finger double tap on the Done button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

To delete contacts from your Friends Circle do the following:

 

1. When in the Friends screen in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, single finger double tap on the Edit button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

2. There will now be a “Delete” button down the left side of the screen just after the name of each contact you’ve added to your Friends Circle. Single finger double tap on the delete button.

 

3. A “Remove”  button will now appear on the right side of the screen next to the contact you selected the delete button on. Single finger double tap the Remove button and the contact will be removed from your Friends Circle but will remain in your iPhone contacts list.

 

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each contact you wish to delete from your Friends Circle. Then, once you’ve finished single finger double tap the Done button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

Now you’ve created your Friends Circle here is how you can use it .

 

1. Press and release the Friends button on your Apple Watch to display your Friends Circle.

 

2. Use Digital Crown Navigation or a finger tip on the Apple Watch screen to move around the names of contacts in the Friends Circle.

 

3. Single finger double tap on the name button of the person you want to call or message. A new screen will be displayed giving you options to call, message, digital touch or send a tap. Note that the digital touch/tap option button will be greyed out/dimmed if the person does not have an Apple Watch.

 

4. Use Digital Crown Navigation or a fingertip on the screen to move around the option buttons and do the following :

 

Single finger double tap on the person’s name button to send a digital touch.

 

Single finger triple tap on the person’s name button to send a tap.

 

Single finger double tap on the Phone button to call the person.

 

Single finger double tap on the Message button to send the person a message.

 

You can also single finger double tap on the Back button found at the top left of the screen to return you to your Friends Circle list.

 

5. If you wish to switch your Apple Watch off, press and hold the Friends button for 2 seconds. A new screen will then be displayed giving you 4 options. You can single finger swipe left or right to find Cancel, Power off, Power reserve and Lock device buttons. Simply single finger double tap on the button for the action you want to perform.

 

6. To switch your Apple Watch on, press and hold the Friends button for 2 seconds. The watch will take approximately 90 seconds to boot up. It will then ask you to enter your watch passcode.

 

 

In my next blog I will be talking about adding and removing third party apps from the Apple Watch.