iPhone, Ipod Touch - Accessibility & Apps

New accessibility features in the new iPhone 3GS

VoiceOver is already built into the Mac and iPod Shuffle, but for iPhone this screen reader is a whole new ball game. Calling it the world’s first gesture-based screen reader, VoiceOver for iPhone reads aloud what is touched on the screen. Users can then gesture with a double-tap, drag, or flick to control the phone. According to Apple, users can “interact directly with objects on the screen to more naturally understand their location and context.” Touching the upper-left corner of the screen, for example, will prompt the spoken voice to announce what’s there; as users drag their finger around the screen, they’ll learn what’s nearby, providing “a true sense of how things appear on screen, not just descriptions of what they are.”
While it sounds complicated, like any new technology it can be learned over time. While the blind community is “cautiously optimistic” until they can try out the device, according to Blind Access Journal, the new iPhone marks a huge leap by Apple to bring accessibility to blind and visually impaired users. That’s because VoiceOver for iPhone is built-in, finger-and-touch-based and fully integrated with other apps like Phone, iPod, iTunes, Mail, Safari, and Maps. Another unexpected new feature is a hands-free, voice-control interface. By loading an app, users will be able to dictate commands to perform various tasks, such as calling a friend or playing a song in the phone’s iTunes library. Many tech experts predicted the new iPhone would include voice control, which holds obvious potential for the visually impaired as well as for sighted users, who relish being able to have hands-free, eyes-free control over their phones while driving or exercising.
Additionally, the iPhone 3G S (the S stands for speed) includes a new universal Zoom function that magnifies the entire screen, and the White on Black feature, which reverses the colors on screen to provide higher contrast for people with low vision. iPhone 3G S also supports Mono Audio, which combines left and right audio channels so that they can be heard in both earbuds for those with hearing loss in one ear. Overall, the iPhone 3G S (the S stands for speed) will be faster, with better graphics and longer battery life. It will come with an a video recording and editing tool and a three-megapixel camera with an autofocus feature called “tap to focus.” It also features Compass, a digital compass for instant navigation.

VoiceOver for iPhone comes in 12 languages. It alerts visually impaired users to status information such as battery level, Wi-Fi and cellular network signal levels, the cellular network provider, and time of day. It can be activated through iTunes using a compatible screen reader or in the Accessibility menu. Apple is also working with iPhone software developers so they can make their applications VoiceOver compatible.

Source: AbleBody.com

iPhone3GS Accessibility FeaturesIn addition to the many features that make iPhone easy to use for everyone, the accessibility features available on iPhone3GS are designed to make it easier for users with visual, auditory, or other physical disabilities to use iPhone. The iPhone3GS accessibility features include:
  • VoiceOver
  • Zoom
  • White on Black
  • Mono Audio
  • Speak Auto-text
With the exception of VoiceOver, these accessibility features work with all iPhone applications, including third-party applications you download from the App Store. VoiceOver works with all applications that come preinstalled on iPhone. In addition, third-party developers can use the iPhone Accessibility API to make their applications accessible for Voice Over users. Individual accessibility features can be turned on and off in the Accessibility settings on iPhone3GS. You can also turn accessibility features on or off in iTunes when iPhone3GS is connected to your computer.

Turn accessibility features on or off in iTunes:

  1. Connect iPhone3GS to your computer.
  2. In iTunes, select iPhone in the sidebar.
  3. In the Summary pane, click Configure Universal Access in the Options section.
  4. Select the accessibility features that you want to use and click OK.
Screenshot of iPhone accessibility features panel

Setting Up iPhone Using VoiceOverIf you are sight imparied, VoiceOver may help you set up iPhone without outside assistance. VoiceOver describes aloud what appears on the screen so that you can use iPhone without seeing it. When you connect iPhone to your computer, iTunes detects when you’re using a compatible screen reader on your computer, such as Voice Over on a Mac or GW-Micro Window-Eyes on a PC, and automatically enables VoiceOver on iPhone. Or a sighted user can enable VoiceOver on iPhone for you, using the Accessibility settings.

More information about VoiceOver on the iPhone . . .>

How to use VoiceOver . . .

Using the iPhone or iPod Touch as a communication aid

Proloquo2Go - AAC on an iPhone or iPod Touch

Proloquo2Go™ is a new product from AssistiveWare that provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking. It brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone and iPod touch.

If you know how to use an iPhone or iPod touch you know how to use Proloquo2Go. While Proloquo2Go has a lot of advanced features the basics are extremely simple and easy.

Proloquo2Go is now available for purchase on the App Store

Screenshot of iPhone with Proloquo2Go
How Proloquo2Go works

  • Screenshot of iPhoneUse the Grid or List view to quickly tap items that optionally speak as they get inserted into the Message window.
  • Hold one of the items to automatically get access to conjugations, plurals or possessives.
  • Tap the message window to speak your sentence.
  • Hit the plus button to permanently add the sentence to your vocabulary in a category of choice.
  • Select the Recents view and have Proloquo2Go speak one of the things you said an hour ago.
  • Tap the plus button if you want to add this to your vocabulary. Select a symbol for your new item in the Symbol Chooser or pick a photo from your library, or, on the iPhone, take a picture.
  • Go to the Typing view and use the iPhone keyboard to type a paragraph. Hit save and your text is symbolised.

Introduction to Proloquo2Go

Proloquo2Go appearance settings Part 1

Proloquo2Go appearance settings Part 2

Proloquo2Go appearance settings Part 3

Proloquo2Go appearance settings Part 4

Proloquo2Go - real life solution

The problem:

A Nebraska rural mail carrier who is unable to speak, but needs to communicate with customers when using pen and paper are not an option.

The Solution:

He needed a device that he could hang around his neck and easily carry with him. It also needed good volume output for people to hear him in different scenarios.

Due to the iPod Touch's adaptability, Assistive Technology Partnership (ATP) Technology Specialist Peg was able to customize this device to meet her consumer's needs (see video opposite).

Proloquo2Go - real life solution

Huetility ColourBlindness Simulator App for the iPhone

The Huetility Colourblind Simulator app is intended for people who know someone who is colourblind and want to better understand how he or she perceives colour. It's ideal for parents with children who are colourblind or people who have friends who are colourblind. It's also useful for designers, content creators and developers who want to check that colours they have used are colourblind friendly.

The app has three important views: 1) normal colour vision, 2) colourblind view (including severe red-green, blue-yellow and complete colour loss) and 3) an error view which highlights, using a grayscale intensity image, the regions of the colour image that change colour the most and hence are likely to cause a colourblind viewer the greatest problems. When you rotate the device (left) it shows you the comparison of the original and simulated colourblind viewers. When you rotate the device (right) it shows you a view of all the different types of colourblindness for the loaded image. Other options include: save image, view image histogram.

The images can be loaded directly from the camera, your photo album or from the samples folder included in the application; the samples folder contains 28 images selected to highlight the accessibility barriers colourblindness presents.

Screenshot of the Huetility app for the iPhone

More information about this colourblindness app at:


Digital notetaking on iPhone


More about VoiceNotes . . .


More about Jott for iPhone . . .

Use the iPhone as a magnifier

Why spend hundreds of pounds on an electronic magnifier, when the chances are, you already have one in your pocket !

The iCanSee on-screen magnification controls even adapt to varied environmental situations including low-light. Once the application is launched, iPhone then magnifies anything held in front of it by as much as four times the original size, helping users read the fine print on labels, menus, contracts, books or other materials discreetly without the need for separate reading glasses.

iCanSee - Magnifier App demo

iCanSee - Magnifier App

iMagnify - up to 4x magnification

Other iPhone Apps

Voice recognition - web searching

More about Google Mobile Apps . . .

New Voice Memo App with firmware 3.0

VSearch - web searching by voice command

Vlingo - Voice Recognition

More information about the Vlingo software . . .

Voice Text Pro - Voice activated text messaging

Autism software for the iPhone and iPod Touch

App made by Adastrasoft

iPrompt for people with Learning Disabilities

iPrompt - Picture based communication

What they say about iPrompt:

"My wife and I have both been using iprompts for our son for several months now, I've just been a slacker with the review! He was diagnosed with Autism by our school district last year, and received a medical diagnosis just a couple weeks ago. Life has been hectic since we got a diagnosis, thus my forgetting to leave our review here. Anyhow, we are 100% thrilled with this app. Our son is very "picture dependent" and this app completely replaced our need for the old whiteboard and stickers schedule since my wife and I both have iPhones. We have a schedule and/or picture/choice on demand wherever we are! This app has been of of the best things we've discovered since our son's diagnosis. Thanks to the developers of this app. We look forward to it's continued improvement! ".
(Source: AppStoreHQ)

"Our child has autism and we've always used printed pictures to help him (from Boardmaker CD's, etc.). iPrompts is so much better than printing and carrying around those binders full of velcro-backed cards! Plus, with the camera, we can immediately use custom pics. Highly recommended! ".

(Source: AppStoreHQ)

"My son has Asperger's autism and this is wonderful for structuring his day - if he "sees" his schedule he feels like he has more control. We're using ABA and consider this a huge help because it's entirely portable - no notebooks or flash cards that get left behind on the kitchen counter when leaving the house! ".

(Source: AppStoreHQ)

Adapted Headstick Pointer for iPhone

Mouthstick for iPhone

Apps for the hearing impaired

New assistive hearing app for iPhone & iPod touch

soundAMP is the first assistive application that turns your iPhone and iPod touch into an interactive hearing device. It accepts audio input from iPhone’s built-in mic (or wired headset with mic), and provides real-time volume and tone modifications which are delivered instantly to the user’s headphones or earbuds. Simply plug-in your headset with mic, insert your earbuds, launch soundAMP and instantly hear nearby sounds better.

Developed by experts in software, sound processing and hearing, soundAMP improves your hearing, whether or not you have hearing loss. For those of you without hearing loss, launch soundAMP and relax, as there is no more straining to hear what is said. For those of you with hearing loss, soundAMP reawakens your sense of hearing; sounds come to life, and you hear better again.

soundAMP's advanced sound processor softens loud sounds and amplifies soft sounds to maximize hearing comfort. soundAMP's processor is combined with audio filters designed to help with speech intelligibility, bringing the important sounds around vividly into your life.

You get sonic clarity at all volume levels, with limited distortion. It allows you to adjust the tone and to improve the clarity of consonants. It even reduces the ambient and microphone motion-related hissing sound. And feedback or howling is minimized.Learn more on the iTunes App Store!!itunes.com/app/soundAMP

To find out more, please visit Ginger Labs

Apps for memory help


reQall is a voice-enabled memory aid that seamlessly integrates your mobile phone, email, text messaging and IM into a powerful organizer, reminder system and productivity assistant.

The reQall Memory JoggerTM is the heart and soul of reQall Pro. The proactive memory assistance it provides is based on years of memory research and a thorough understanding of how, why and when people forget.

The Memory Jogger constantly watches for opportunities to keep you well-prepared and memory-strong. It analyses your situation—looking at the current time, your current location and the upcoming items on your calendar—predicts when you’ll forget, and automatically delivers timely, relevant memory assistance. It can also predict when you'll forget and send you periodic "memory refreshers" to prevent forgetting.
More information about ReQall . . .

New York Times review of ReQall

ReQall review

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